Nothing is like spending the summertime by the beach and from Philadelphia it is only a short trip to the Jersey Shore. This August we enjoyed heading down to Wildwood, NJ to check out the largest seaside amusement park in the Western Hemisphere. Morey’s Piers & Beachfront Water Parks is a classic seaside amusement park located on the Wildwood boardwalk with more than 100 rides and attractions along three action packed amusement piers and two beachfront waterparks.
Summer of 2018 marks the 50th season for Morey’s Piers. It all started back in 1968 when two brothers, Will and Bill Morey, spotted a 12 lane fiberglass slide in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. They took a risk buying this slide and setting up on the Wildwood boardwalk in 1969. This began their journey into the world of amusement parks and boardwalk veterans were skeptical at first. The Morey brothers pushed ahead acquiring more land in the area by paying twice the going rate. In 1976 they acquired their second pier and continued to grow. By 1979 they had established a full waterslide complex that would later grow into two waterparks. In 1986 the family purchased their third amusement pier and the mid 80-90s brought roller coaster to Morey’s Piers.
Starlux Boutique Hotel
We checked in for the weekend at the retro Starlux Boutique Hotel, owned by Morey’s Piers. Only blocks from the boardwalk and Wildwood Convention Center, this hotel is very conveniently located and features classic Americana architecture you won’t often find at the Jersey Shore. The all-glass lobby and lounge area opens onto the pool promenade where there is a heated pool, hot tub (open year round), and barbecue grills. Guests are also provided with free parking (1 car per room), free wireless internet, guest laundry, complimentary beach cruiser bicycles and beach gear in addition to complimentary Continental Breakfast (May 1st to Oct. 15).
Hotels guests also receive a special discount next door at the Starlux Mini Golf Course, where the wild things par! This mini golf is a unique two level course with three themes (beach, ocean, and boardwalk) and a total of 27 holes! We couldn’t resist playing the course which is open late on the weekends and even has its own Kohr Brothers ice cream booth.
Just like their rides and attractions, Morey’s Piers offers the widest selection of food and beverages with over 20 food outlets and eateries where guests can indulge in their boardwalk favorites and more. One of our favorite staples are the famous Curley’s Fries, introduced in 1974 and still remains a boardwalk staple today. With the growth and evolution of the piers, so did their food and beverage offerings.
Jumbo’s Seafood restaurant at Mariner’s Pier was the first Morey’s Piers sit-down restaurant and eatery to open in 1999. Today Jumbo’s offers extra large pizza pies and seafood options in a casual atmosphere with both indoor and outdoor seating. Executive Chef Walter “Wally” Jurusz joined the Morey’s Piers team in 2009 bringing his passion and culinary experience for elevated boardwalk food with a gourmet flair to the piers.
We started our Saturday morning with a visit to the Ocean Oasis Waterpark & Beach Club. Take a walk to the end of Surfside Pier, lies a tropical island getaway with an exciting collection of waterslides like the Cliff Dive slide where you’ll drop 5 stories in 3 seconds! The newest slide is the six-lane WipeOut where you can race family and friends. Bonsai Beach allows kids and parents to enjoy the interactive play area with water jets, climbing ropes and slides especially for the little ones. And of course you’re always welcome to lie back and relax as you float through the Lazy River or indulge in a cocktail at the swim up bar.
Stubborn Brothers Beach Bar & Grille
We took a lunch break at Stubborn Brothers Beach Bar & Grille (also accessible without waterpark admission). The restaurant is named for the two brothers who started it all, Will and Bill Morey. Sit back and enjoy something refreshing, they offer over 10 specialty cocktails featuring tropical ingredients and fresh fruit in original combinations- plus a variety of craft and local beers! We loved the healthy option of the Quinoa Bowl loaded with shaved Brussels sprouts, arugula, candied walnuts, avocado and orange vinaigrette. You’re sure to enjoy this dish with the option to add protein like salmon, grilled or crispy chicken. We also enjoyed the Steamed Pork Potstickers served with an Asian dipping sauce as an appetizer and the Crabby Cake Sandwich, a jumbo lump house-made crab cake with lemon Dijon mustard, is another very popular menu item. The outdoor restaurant has live music daily from 1:00pm to 5:00pm. Open daily during season from 10:00am to 6:00pm.
Joe’s Fish Co.
Opened in Summer 2010, Joe’s Fish Co. is the second full restaurant opened by Morey’s Piers. We enjoyed the outside seating at this casual, contemporary family restaurant amidst the action of the rides on the pier. What is also special, and great for the older crowd is that Joe’s Fish Co. features a lively second floor bar overlooking all the action and featuring live musicians on weekends. We started off our meal with the delicious Crabby Pretzel, jumbo pretzel topped with our crab dip and melted cheddar baked bubbly! Their menu also offers a variety of fresh seafood options like local oysters, platters, fish and chips, grilled local fish, and whole steamed 1.5 lb. whole Maine lobster or 1 lb. snow crab legs.
The next summer, Morey’s Piers began offering “Breakfast in the Sky” where guests can enjoy a gourmet breakfast while they ride the Giant Ferris Wheel. This unique dining concept was the idea of Will Morey Sr. back in the late 90’s. A decade later Breakfast in the Sky was brought to life and has sold out many seasons so be sure to get your tickets at the start of the season! You’ll enjoy your breakfast with views 150 feet above sea level complete with white linens, china, and a signature menu.
Pig Dog Beach Bar
Brand new for Summer 2018, Pig Dog Beach Bar allows families to bring their furry friends to join them at this new breed of beach bar is serving up tasty barbecue classics, cocktails and local beers. Stop by and enjoy hammocks, picnic tables, and beach games while you enjoy your sips and snacks. We loved the slow-cooked smokey goodness of summer barbecue like the Loaded BBQ Fries topped with pulled pork, Texas western sauce, cheddar sauce, chilis, and scallions. We loved the lighter option of the Grilled Summer Shrimp Salad with field greens, watercress, hearts of palm, cucumbers, grapefruit, red peppers and mango-pineapple vinaigrette.
Another favorite is The Pig Big, a sourdough loaf stuffed with smoked pulled pork, covered in Monterey Jack cheese, and topped with pickled jalapeños and scallions. We also enjoyed the variety of sandwich and platter options. We loved the Smoked 1/2 Half Chicken served with parkerhouse rolls and cole slaw. Rubbed and smoked this dark meat chicken is glazed with Texas western barbecue sauce. PigDog Beach Bar invites pooches and guests of all ages to kick-back and enjoy the laidback atmosphere accessible via Raging Waters Water Park, the beach, and the boardwalk. Open post-labor day weekend, Friday – Sunday 11 am – 7 pm.
One of our favorite meals of the weekend was having dinner at Jersey Girl. Only a block from the boardwalk, this modern American restaurant features classic vibes of the shore. The menu provides guests with gourmet Mediterranean cuisine.
We loved all the fresh seafood options at Jersey Girl. The Jumbo Lump Crab & Avocado Mango’tini’ and local Cape May Oysters chilled on the half shell. What could be a more refreshing way to start your evening at the jersey shore? We also enjoyed the Feta & Summer Watermelon Salad with a delicious mix of grapes, cucumbers, fresh mint, walnuts and honey drizzle. The Fried Calamari appetizer was offered for the evening as a salad special and easily large enough to enjoy as an entree.
For the main course you cannot go wrong with either the surf or turf. We enjoyed the Blackened Tuna with mango cucumber salsa, rice pilaf and grilled asparagus. The Filet Mignon was also delicious served over top of grilled asparagus in a cabernet demi place with crispy bacon and a little bleu cheese on top.
George Mallous, General Manager says, ”I’ve been working in the culinary industry alongside my brother and Executive Chef, Argie Mallous, for over 30 years. We make a great team and are passionate about the food we cook and the customers we serve. Our goal is to exceed expectations, making every dining experience with us truly memorable and delicious. “
No matter what your choice, you are sure to find some exquisite dining at the jersey shore. Wildwood is filled with a beautiful beach and lots of entertainment, but we can attest to the fact that the dining scene is vibrant on its own. And the fun doesn’t just wrap up Labor Day Weekend! Be sure to check out the local festivals showcasing beachside into the Fall. Morey’s Piers Oktoberfest is taking place September 21-23, 27-29, and October 5-7. The Annual Wildwood Irish Fall Festival is September 21-23. Wildwood Seafood & Music Festival is October 6th. Plus the Wildwood Downtown Farmer’s Market is being held every Saturday!