Saturday, November 04, 2023

Discover the Charm of Cape May, NJ: Our Top Tips for a Memorable Trip

Cape May, New Jersey is a charming seaside town located at the southern tip of the state. Known for its picturesque beaches, historic Victorian architecture, family-friendly vibe, and quaint small-town atmosphere, Cape May is the perfect destination for a relaxing and memorable trip. Whether you are planning a romantic getaway, a family vacation, or a solo adventure, this coastal gem offers something for everyone. Check out our top tips for visiting Cape May and making the most out of your experience. 

Cape May, NJ Travel Tips

Practical Tips for Your Visit to Cape May

So you're planning a trip to Cape May? That's a fantastic choice! Before you head off on your seaside adventure, here are some practical tips to help you make the most out of your visit. First things first, be sure to check the weather forecast before you pack. Cape May has a moderate climate, but it's always a good idea to come prepared for any surprises that the coast might throw your way.

When it comes to accommodation, consider staying in one of Cape May's charming bed and breakfasts. They offer a cozy and unique experience, with many of them housed in historic Victorian buildings. We stayed at the Blue Fish Inn. It is within walking or biking distance to the beach. They offer a pool, an outdoor shower (which may have been my favorite amenity!), and different types of rooms for your unique needs, whether for pets, larger families, or a kitchenette. At the time of our visit, the inn had undergone some renovations, and everything was new and lovely. One of the reasons Cape May is such a great destination is that the community takes pride in caring for its buildings and always starts the season with repairs and fresh coats of paint!

Transportation-wise, Cape May is a great place to explore on foot or by bike. The town is relatively small and pedestrian-friendly, with many attractions within walking distance. Renting a bike is also a popular option and a fun way to see the sights.

You can save some money and avoid the big crowds by traveling off-season. We scheduled our trip the week before schools let out for the season in May. There were still some maintenance projects going on around the town, but things were open, and we found plenty to do!

Now, let's talk about the beach! 

Cape May is famous for its beautiful sandy shores. Don't forget to pack your sunscreen, beach towel, and a good book to enjoy a lazy day by the sea. We explored a couple of the beachside options: the public beach on, you guessed it, Beach Avenue, and Diamond Beach.

The public beach has clean, white sands. 

Cape May Boat on beach

Ever heard of Cape May Diamonds? On Diamond Beach in Cape May, you can go hunting for diamonds! Okay, not real diamonds, but the shoreline offers the beachcomber a chance to cast around for Cape May Diamonds. These diamonds are quartz pebbles. You can even buy a Cape May Diamond from local stores. The pebbles are cut and polished to resemble real diamonds. We spent an evening searching for our own.

Footprint and bird tracks on beach

In addition to the diamonds, you can see a wreck of an old experimental ship, the SS Atlantus. During WWI, the SS Atlantus was built from concrete due to the scarcity of steel. After several excursions across the Atlantic, the ship was abandoned and eventually broke loose of her fastenings and wreaked. 
Shipwreak seen from beach

And Diamond Beach has one of the best sunset views in town. Look at that sun dog!
Sunset at beach with sundog

The Historical Charms of Cape May, NJ

Cape May, New Jersey is not only a stunning beach town, but it is also rich in history and architectural beauty. As you wander through the streets, you'll be transported back in time to the Victorian era, with its ornate homes and charming storefronts. Cape May has the distinction of being a National Historic Landmark, and it's easy to see why. 

View of shore and beach of Cape May New Jersey

One of the highlights of Cape May's historical charm is its collection of Victorian buildings. Take a leisurely stroll through the Historic District and admire the well-preserved architecture. From the grand Cape May Lighthouse to the elegant Emlen Physick Estate, there are countless historic sites to explore. If you're interested in a more interactive experience, consider taking a guided tour of one of the many historic homes in Cape May. These tours provide fascinating insights into the lives of the families who once lived in these architectural treasures. We visited the lighthouse and were able to get some fantastic pictures and views of the town and beach!

Cape May Lighthouse

For history buffs, a visit to the Cape May Historic Museum is a must. Here, you can delve into the town's past and learn about its significance as a popular vacation destination for well-to-do families in the late 19th century. The museum showcases artifacts and exhibits that tell the story of Cape May's transformation over the years. Or you could choose to visit Historic Cold Springs Village. The village has historically clothed interpreters demonstrating blacksmithing, printing, woodworking, basket weaving, and bookbinding! Ceesa picked this excursion. She got up close and personal for basket weaving and played an old-fashioned game. There was lots to see and do on our visit as they were having an extra event.

Basket weaving demonstration

Whether you're an architecture enthusiast or simply appreciate the charm of a bygone era, Cape May's historical charms are sure to captivate you. Take your time exploring the town, and immerse yourself in its rich history – you won't be disappointed.  Don't forget to snap a few pictures along the way, as the backdrop of these magnificent buildings is truly breathtaking.

Exploring the Natural Beauty around Cape May

When you visit Cape May, New Jersey, you'll not only be captivated by its historic charm but also by its unspoiled natural beauty. This seaside gem is home to stunning beaches, lush nature reserves, and breathtaking sunsets that are sure to leave you in awe. 

Start your exploration by visiting Cape May Point State Park. This 244-acre park offers a variety of hiking trails, as well as stunning views of the Cape May Lighthouse. Take a leisurely stroll through the park and immerse yourself in the tranquility of nature.

Cape May Lighthouse seen from Cape May Point State Park

For birdwatching enthusiasts, a visit to the Cape May Bird Observatory is a must. This world-renowned birding destination is located at the southernmost tip of New Jersey and is a prime spot for observing migratory birds. Don't forget your binoculars!

If you're looking to get up close and personal with nature, consider taking a boat tour of the Delaware Bay. These tours offer a unique opportunity to see dolphins, whales, and other marine wildlife in their natural habitat. It's an experience you won't want to miss. For a more serene experience, head to the Cape May Nature Center. Located on the shores of Cape May Harbor, this center offers educational exhibits and guided nature walks that allow you to explore the area's diverse ecosystem. Jo-Jo wanted to visit the nature center. We went during a time we could go on a walk to the shore and check out some of the aquatic life.

Group gathering sea creatures on beach

No matter where you go in Cape May, you'll be surrounded by unspoiled natural beauty. So grab your camera, put on your walking shoes, and get ready to explore the wonders of this coastal paradise.

Seaside Strolls: Enjoying Cape May's Promenade

There's nothing quite like taking a leisurely stroll along Cape May's Promenade. This charming boardwalk stretches for two miles along the beach, offering stunning views of the ocean and a refreshing sea breeze. It's the perfect spot to relax, people-watch, and soak up the seaside atmosphere.
As you walk along the Promenade, you'll pass by quaint shops, cafes, and restaurants. Take a moment to browse the unique beach boutiques or grab a cup of coffee and indulge in some people-watching from a beachfront cafe. The Promenade is also home to the famous Cape May Convention Hall, where you can catch live performances, art exhibitions, and other cultural events.

One of the highlights of the Promenade is the Cape May Carousel. This historic carousel, built in 1904, is a beloved attraction for visitors of all ages. Take a ride on one of the beautifully crafted horses and let the nostalgic music transport you back in time.

For those looking to get some exercise, the Promenade is a great place for a run or bike ride. With the beach on one side and the charming Victorian homes on the other, you'll have a picturesque backdrop as you work up a sweat.

Cape May beach and shoreline

No matter how you choose to enjoy the Promenade, be sure to take a moment to pause and admire the breathtaking sunset over the Atlantic Ocean. There's truly nothing more magical than watching the sun sink below the horizon, casting a warm glow over the beach and creating a picture-perfect moment.
So lace up your walking shoes, grab your camera, and get ready for a delightful seaside stroll along Cape May's Promenade. It's the perfect way to experience the beauty and charm of this beloved coastal town.

Savor the Flavor: Top Eats in Cape May

We visited Cape May before I started adapting to an autoimmune protocol diet, so these tips are for those without dietary restrictions.

For a true seafood experience, head to The Lobster House. This iconic restaurant has been serving up delicious seafood since 1954 and is a must-visit for any seafood lover. Be sure to try their famous lobster bisque and enjoy the stunning waterfront views. We had a lovely evening here.

If you're in the mood for Italian cuisine, look no further than La Verandah. This cozy restaurant offers authentic Italian dishes made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients. From homemade pasta to mouthwatering desserts, every bite is a taste of Italy.

Right off the beach was one of our favorite eateries, Blue Moon Pizza. It's probably some of the best pizza I have ever had! 

And of course, no trip to Cape May is complete without indulging in some ice cream. Head to the Cape May Ice Cream Co. for a sweet treat. With flavors like salted caramel pretzel and mint chocolate chip, you'll find it hard to choose just one scoop.

So whether you're a seafood lover, Italian food aficionado, or just have a sweet tooth, Cape May has something to satisfy every craving. Don't forget to bring your appetite and get ready to savor the flavor of Cape May.

sleepy baby in stroller

With these practical tips in mind, you're all set for a memorable trip to Cape May. So pack your bags, soak up the sun, and get ready to discover the charm of this seaside gem!

Have you been to Cape May? Tell us about your adventures. 

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