Cape May, New Jersey is a coastal community at the southern tip of the New Jersey peninsula. Cape May is one of the country’s oldest seaside resort communities, and with one visit to the charming town, you will understand why it is so popular to this day. From young to old, single to married, there is something in this town for everyone. There are so many fun, exciting, and interesting things to do in Cape May and the surrounding area, you will never get bored! Below are some excellent things to do in Cape May and the surrounding area.
If your visit to Cape May takes place over the summer than a trip to the beach is a must! While the beach is not free (beach tags cost $5.00 daily), the beach is clean, well maintained and is completely patrolled by lifeguards. It’s very easy to spend the day on the beach relaxing. While sunning, keep an eye out for dolphins because they can often be seen swimming close to the coast!
Atlantic bottlenose dolphins and the occasional whale can be spotted in the Atlantic just off the Cape May coast and the surrounding area. There are numerous companies that offer boat tours. During most boat excursions, you will see a pod of dolphins, but if you’re lucky you will also see a whale.
Another way to experience the water is to kayak. Both river kayaks and sea kayaks are available for rental. Kayaking can be as relaxing or as strenuous as you make it. Plus, it’s a great way to get close to nature. Kayaks are available from Miss Chris on the Cape Island Creek or Aqua Trails through the Nature Center of Cape May.
If you happen to be in town for the 4th of July holiday than you must see the annual fireworks show. The fireworks are off the coast, over the water, directly in front of the Congress Hall hotel. Congress Hall hosts an annual BBQ and a Clam Bake on their great lawn that overlooks the water, so it’s the perfect location spend the afternoon and evening.
Cape May is so much more than it’s warm weather activities. On the off chance you have a rainy or cool day in Cape May, or come to visit outside of the summer months, then a visit to the Cape May County Zoo is a fantastic option. For a smaller, regional zoo, there are over 250 different types of animals to see and the zoo and surrounding park are really a secret gem.
If you are looking for some more adult activities, than a trip to any of the local award winning wineries or the local brewery would be a great option. Cape May’s location and soil make the area perfect for wineries, and there are now 6 in the Cape May area. The wineries are Cape May Winery and Vineyard in Cape May, Hawk Haven Vineyard and Winery in Rio Grande, Jessie Creek Winery and Natali Vineyards in Cape May Court House, Turdo Vineyards and Winery in North Cape May, and Willow Creek Winery in West Cape May. Lastly, Cape May is home to the Cape May Brewing Company, which is a small microbrewery that is located in the industrial area surrounding the Cape May County airport. The brewery is currently only open on Saturday afternoons for sampling beers, filling growlers, or touring the brewery. If you are interested in craft beers, than a visit to the Cape May Brewing Company should be on your must do list.
Want to get the best view of the area? Climb the Cape May Lighthouse in Cape May Point State Park. If you are up to the challenge, only 217 steps keep you from the top. On a clear day, you will be able to see for miles. The lighthouse is open year around.
If you are interested in birds, then you may already be aware that Cape May is a migratory bird hotspot as they travel up and down the Atlantic coast. One spot to see the birds is right along the beach in the 200-acre South Cape May Meadows Preserve. This preserve has a walking loop that takes visitors through freshwater wetlands to the beach, with views of ponds and dunes. You can view nature at its finest here year around; however, if you are looking to see specific species: from mid May to mid June you can see shorebirds that are migrating through the Delaware Bay area, and it is also your best bet to see beach nesting piping plovers, least terns, and the American Oystercatchers. During September and October migrating songbirds, waterfowl, shorebirds, raptors and monarch butterflies are in the Cape May area.
Another nature viewing area is the Nature Center of Cape May, which is in the northern part of Cape May along the harbor. It has a 2-story observation area, with indoor and outdoor areas to view the harbor and the nature meadow surrounding the area. There are numerous free things to do at the Nature Center, along with tours that are offered for a fee. This is a good activity for families looking to kill a few hours all the way through to the serious ornithologists.
After reading this, hopefully you will consider Cape May, New Jersey for your next vacation. With all of the options for activities, there is something for everyone in this truly special place on the Atlantic Coast.
***For another interesting, sea-side city with rich history, check out Charleston, South Carolina.