Welcome to the Tiki Central 2.0 Beta. Read the announcement
Celebrating classic and modern Polynesian Pop

Tiki Central / General Tiki

Heading to wildwood, NJ

Pages: 1 10 replies


Any good places up there in WW. Going the first week of July. Everybody i talk to hasn't been there since they were a kid, as well as myself.


i haven't been in a while but there are a bunch of silly tropic style motels from the 60s...i think the Carribbean is one that has been fixed up and has a great pool deck w/ phoney palms. enjoy!



Yeah there are alot of 50's stlye motels with ALOT of fake palms.

Actually they term it Do-Wop Style

I guess that would be the 50's :wink:

It's been along time since I've been there, so maybe you could search around and report back if you find anything worthy! Aloha!

Wildwood is a true time warp of Motel theme design and signage. There are several Hawaiaan themed ones, not as tikified as the Tropics, but still very authentic.

The term they use, "Doo Wop" style, points to the tricky difference in point of view between the sensibilities of the town council, who is aware of the uniqueness of the place but wants to go more out in the direction of Disney/retro diner/50s style for the tourists, and some mod commers and Society of Commercial Archeology members, who want to leave it untouched in it's original state.
The eternal challenge: Even if you get people on your side, slight shifts in perspective may leave you still worlds apart.


Well, thanks all for the info.

You were right alot of fake palm trees. I can't figure out if they are doing the doo wop style to be kitsch or the just don't feel like moving on.



I know this reply is a little late, but I can talk with some autority about Wildwood Tiki, because I lived in Wildwood for the summer three years ago. My grandmother owns a place there and it ws a nice place for me to go after the grueling task of finishing film school in NYC.

Anyway, Sven was right when he said that there are a lot of Tiki-Polynesian-themed motels and hotels in Wildwood. The Aloha Motel in North Wildwood is okay, but pretty generic. The Tahiti Motel (Atlantic Ave.), on the Crest, is the place to stay. It's cheap and if it is anyting like it was three years ago, the signage is groovy and there were still a few good Tikis. The Bali Hi Motel is actually more of an apartment complex and still has some of its Tiki Era charm; that motel is also near the Tahiti Motel, so if you stay at one, snap a picture of the other.

If you are absolutey out of money, stay at the Hawaii Kai Motor Inn on Ocean Ave. It's real cheap and really cool looking, but if you have money to burn, try the Royal Hawaiian Motel, which has a cool structure, and if I remember right, has a killer view. I have a picture of the Royal somewhere and maybe even an old postcard. I've collected this East Coast Tiki stuff for about four years now and I've got so much of it, sometimes it gets a little scattered.

As far as I know, the town of Wildwood has no waterng holes any longer. My dad had a business card from a place called The Tahitian that he took my mother to in the early '70s (sad it was a great bar/restaurant). That is no longer there I'm pretty sure. It was not at the address on the card, and no one knew anything about it when I was there. I didn't know about their Doo-Wop society at the time, or I might have struck up a friendship and given them some Tiki-influenced appreciation for the summer.

That said, Wildwood is filled with good Mini-Golf places, most with some sort of tropical theme, but this can often be Caribbean or Pirate, though I like those nautical ones, as well, if they are done in a '60s style (which many are). Gilligan's Island Mini-Golf in North Wildwood is really good, but even better is the Hawaiian Rumble Pancake House. They only serve breakfast, but I think when you order one of the pancake specials, you get a free game of Mini-Golf. I like the Erupter and the Volcano Special. It's a cool little place, with some good Tiki (bring a camera there, FOR SURE).

Surf shops all over naturally have Tikis inside and outside, but they are nothing to write home about... most of them do not have a great sensability. But, if you are on Surf Ave., be sure to check out the Tiki Ice Cream Palour. I'm not sure if it is Tiki Era or not, but it is so cool looking. And a little off the beaten path in Wildwood is a great Nautical-themed Seafood restaurant called Menzes with fish tanks and a lot of '60s decor. Very cool.

Finally, my last piece of Wildwood advice: if you look in a Wildwood phone book, do not necessarily rush off to places called "Islander" or "The Islander." There are like twenty places that are dubbed "Islander," which are theme parks, family fun houses, ice cream parlours, etc., but I don't think any of them are Tiki. I tried most of them and can't remember anything good.

Okay, on to Ocean City, NJ (which is about 30 minutes from Wildwood). The Island Shore Chinese Restaurant, I believe, was once a glorious Tiki Era restaurant. Ocean City is a dry town; I'm not sure if it was always that way, so I don't know if this place once served potent mixes or not, but it is still a really good place to eat and there is some great decor leftover.

If you go on the Ocean City, NJ boardwalk, check out their little rides pier. Someone told me that many major renovations have been made to that pier (or they are planning to be made) and that they no longer really resemble their Modern Era glory, so maybe it isn't as great as it once was. When I was there, it looked like a mini Pacific Ocean Park. Either way, I know for sure that the OC boardwalk still has a little place called the Hula Grill. The menu tells the story of a couple who lived in Hawaii and moved back east to be closer to their family. Missing Hawaii, they decided to expose their Hawaiian culinary accumen to Ocean City, NJ. There are no Tikis, but it is pretty GREAT Hawaiian food, so don't miss that.

I also reember here being a few Tiki motels in Ocean City but I never wrote them down or took pictures. I guess I thought they'd be there forever, at the time. I wasn't nearly as fervent as I am today.

Let me finish by saying this: if you are looking for a true "Tiki" vacation, I don't think Wildwood is what you are looking for. If you have a time share or family down there, then you will find enough Tiki-Polynesia to feed your craving for the week. But, for my money, if I want a trip with some Tiki travel time, I'd head down to the Mai Kai in Ft. Lauderale during the winter. There is also a lot to do in Miami, which is thirty minutes from Lauderdale and it can be a great vacation. If Miami is not your cup 'o tea, go central and stay at the Disney Polynesian Resort in Orlando. Either way, the Mai Kai is the place to go; the best surviving Tiki bar, without a doubt.

The Hula Grill is still there in Ocean City as of last summer. As for accommodations, we stay at the Tahiti Inn - http://www.tahitiinn.com. I'll post some photos in a separate thread.

You realize you just responded to a 12 year-old post?
All the same, I'm thinking of taking the family there this summer, so thanks!

Yup, I realized it, and your response shows it was of value! :)

Pages: 1 10 replies