Why all the fake palm trees in Wildwood, NJ?

vintage signs palm trees jersey shore


I was in Wildwood, NJ at the Jersey Shore last week, and something grabbed my attention and made me wonder: why are there so many fake palm trees in this area? Did the hotel developers who built these vacation destinations in the 1940s and 1950s want visitors to think they were in Miami Beach rather than the Jersey Shore?

fake palm trees wildwood nj
Fake palm trees seen in Wildwood, NJ, at the Jersey Shore.

Not only are there fake palm trees next to hotels, but they’re located at destinations around town, as you can see in the Marvis Diner picture below left. The palm tree motif is also seen in hotel signs, as you can see below right. This one is interesting when one considers the fact that this neon sign in Wildwood mentions Wi-Fi … it seems even newer hotel owners want to continue this idea of palm trees and being somewhere other than New Jersey, which doesn’t have palm trees.

vintage signs palm trees jersey shore
Fake palm trees at the Marvis Diner, and palm trees in neon signs, found in Wildwood, NJ.

I guess part of the reason why this really intrigues me is because I had a fantastic time on the beach and in-and-around Wildwood and Wildwood Crest, so I was quite happy being exactly where I was, and didn’t need or want to pretend that I was in Miami, or Palm Springs, or any other tropical location.

jersey shore fake palm trees wildwood
The fake palm trees run along the full length of this hotel in Wildwood, NJ at the shore.

If anyone knows any historical reason for all of these fake palm trees in Wildwood, please share your insight in the comments section below.

Editor’s Note: I did some more research on this and have a follow-up post here: “More on Palm Trees in Wildwood, NJ.”

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21 thoughts on “Why all the fake palm trees in Wildwood, NJ?

  1. My guess is to simply give off that island feeling? Though not sure. I really do love it here, even though we are from Connecticut, we have been vacationing in the Wildwoods every year for almost 20 years now.

    1. It definitely gives a “vacation” feeling, and I loved it there too. I’ve been reading about it, and see that it’s called the “Doo Wop Motel District” and they refer to “space age architectural style,” and other such descriptions like “Googie” and “Populuxe.” I’m curious to learn more!

    2. I live in New Jersey and I like the fake palm trees!!! I don’t understand why someone would (I don’t even know to complete this sentence!) Who cares! Most people like the palm trees. Why in gods name would anyone question a beautiful city like Wildwood?? I grew up in Philadelphia. Every summer my family always went down to Wildwood. I am now in my 50’s (58 to be exact), I still go to Wildwood. I like the palm trees, sorry I’m ranting but come on! I had to have my say on this!!!

  2. Hi dummies, the world has been turning and people have been living before the internet. To explain why Wildwood, NJ has palm trees might begin with the post WWII economic growth. The answer would be TLDR. By the way, Miami was considered a mosquito infested sweat box when Wildwood was being marketed. Google some history of Wildwood. It is mildly interesting, would it make a top ten list, probably not.

  3. I would think that it would have to do with the fantasy motels that came about in the mid century. Back then people didn’t typically travel out of the country for vacation. They traveled to places more local like Wildwood with its escapism motels. The motels conjured exotic locations and the palms helped to reinforce the exotic imagery. Some motels also had pirate statues, ship wheels, and exotic middle eastern domes to help with their escapist fantasies.

    1. That explanation was as good as any … I’m not sure why the constant Miami comparison. Plenty of places have palm trees … they create an exotic island motif. There was a place in North Wildwood that brought in real ones every year. Thanks for that explanation though, I will accept that over the Miami thing.

  4. So what’s the problem if they put in palm trees? I think it looks nice. It’s a good addition to the places that have them. Unbelievable. Trying to be nice and some people ARE inconsiderate.

    1. Artsology doesn’t have any problem with the palm trees – we think they’re fun. Maybe the original point is being overlooked – the compliment was that Wildwood and the Jersey Shore are beautiful in their own right without fake trees.

  5. I am a Jersey girl … palm trees only grow in the warm climates. They can not grow in Jersey because of the seasons changing … they won’t survive the winter … so that is why they are fake.

  6. I agree with all! I have been visiting the Wildwoods for many years and I love all of it! The Crest is my favorite but Wildwood City, North Wildwood, West Wildwood all have their special charm. As for the Palm Trees, they only add to the special feeling you get when you’re there.

  7. I love my hometown of Wildwood.
    Palm trees have been around all my life.
    We are an island and it’s a great vacation feel.
    Doo Wop and palm trees, that is the Wildwoods.

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