The Caribbean is the best-preserved of the Wildwoods’s 90 remaining “doo-wop” motels, which once enticed 1950s working stiffs to the Jersey shore with their exotic names and flamboyant designs. (When it opened in 1957, the Caribbean was the first accommodation in the Wildwoods to plant plastic palms by the pool.) With its glowing neon sign and groovy Technicolor decor, the motel looks like something out of the Jetsons’ vacation photos, but the newly renovated rooms are clean, and the prices aren’t that far removed from the Eisenhower era. Best of all, the Caribbean—a drive of just under four hours from DC—lies a block off the beach and two from the boardwalk’s quieter side.
The Caribbean Motel, Wildwood Crest, N.J.; 609-522-8292; caribbeanmotel.com. Weekend rates: $69 to $175.