In the southern tip of New Jersey, where Delaware Bay meets the ocean, lies one of the nation’s oldest seashore resorts that has been welcoming travelers, Cape May. It attracts visitors with its Victorian cottages restored into hotels with easy access to walk or bike to explore the National Historic Landmark and captivating beaches. Cape May is ideal for older couples, newlyweds, and families on a budget.
In Cape May, boredom is impossible due to the ideal blend of attractions and relaxation to suit everyone. We spent four days in Cape May and enjoyed every minute of it. Besides the beach, there are plenty of other things to do in Cape May. The beach is only open from 10 am to 5 pm, so there is plenty of time to go sightseeing and eat good food.
Here are some things to do in Cape May.
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Places to See in Cape May
Beach Plum Farm
High on the list of things to do in Cape May is The Beach Plum Farm, a 62-acre farm perfect for visiting after a day at the beach. The name might be confusing, but the farm has many different fruits, vegetables, flowers, pasture-raised meats, and more, not just plums. This assortment of fruits and veggies allows local restaurants’ kitchens to get some of the freshest produce grown and harvested right here in Cape May at places like Louisa’s Cafe, Rusty Nail, Blue Pig Tavern, Boiler Room, and many more local farm-to-table gems. The Beach Plum Farm also has a kitchen and market where you can get fresh and delicious food products, along with some vintage Victorian-age antiques and rustic farm-style decor.
Cape May Lighthouse
Want a good workout, historical find, plus an immaculate view? Then, check out the local Cape May Lighthouse. With 199 steps to climb from the original 1859 iron stairway, the Cape May Lighthouse, upon reaching the optic section, provides an astounding few views of the Delaware Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the nature of the Cape May parks. Furthermore, there are interactive panels at the base and within the lighthouse which provide stories and how the lighthouse historically works and functions now. Almost 3 million tourists have climbed this National Historic Landmark since it opened to the public in 1988.
Whale and Dolphin Watching
Unlike most excursions requiring submarines or deep-sea scuba diving to see some of these fascinating creatures, the Delaware Bay offers sightings of whales and dolphins within a ten-mile radius of the shores of Cape May. In addition, the short ride length provides a better opportunity for an offshore experience for both families and experienced ocean lovers to enjoy sightings in Cape May.
Many locations along the southern Jersey tip provide these tours. Yet, few companies with concise knowledge of the legends and facts of the Delaware Bay. For instance, one company known as the Cape May Whale Watcher has seasoned members and certified naturalist guides that narrate the local history and the marine life within the Delaware Bay. Plus, most boats are equipped with wheelchair accessibility, bathrooms, and other conveniences to enhance comfortability along with the excursion experience.
The Washington Commons or Washington Street Mall is the perfect place to shop for souvenirs, clothing, food, etc. This three-block-long street mall was built from 1965 to 1971 and attracted many more tourists to Cape May. Morning or night, the Victorian-style buildings make the mall a beautiful and colorful place to shop and dine.
The Sea Spa is located at the Congress Hall hotel, part of the Cape Resorts group. The Sea Spa gives you a relaxing and uplifting experience. The oasis cabana-style treatments provide a unique experience unlike any other, with the fresh sea breeze and a serene, tranquil environment. With many different treatment options, you can find a treatment that fits your wants.
Afterward, walk the building and grounds of Congress Hall and enjoy the history and gardens. The hotel calls itself America’s First Seaside Resort. The hotel traces its history back to 1816 and has been in operation since then with a few gaps. Complete your stay at Congress Hall by renting some bikes for an hour and biking around Cape May’s scenic streets.
Arcades on the Boardwalk
After a long day at the beach, you can take a nighttime stroll on the boardwalk and stop by the arcades. The arcades are easy to access from the paved walkway and are perfect for family fun. Kids can play games and win ticket to exchange for prizes.
Food and Treats in Cape May
Fine Fellows Creamery
Who doesn’t love ice cream on the beach? This ice cream place is across the road from the beach and boardwalk. It’s a perfect place to get a sweet treat. It’s an easy walk from most hotels and beach houses. Fine Fellows has multiple delicious ice cream flavors, milkshakes, sundaes, and more.
Magic Brain Cafe
The Magic Brain Cafe makes your mind blow from the superb coffee. The cafe also has several delicious pastries, great with your morning cup of coffee. Magic Brain Cafe has almost 30 syrup flavors, from simple almond syrup to extreme twists such as root beer. Visitors must be patient, though, since the line is sometimes lengthy.
“La Doña Restaurante Mexicano” is a tasty restaurant with mouth-watering traditional Mexican cuisine. With their mouth-watering guacamole as an appetizer to their heavenly churros for dessert, La Doña is the best place to come for a reasonably priced meal. This restaurant also has a part for seafood by combining traditional Mexican food without food from the ocean.
A popular spot for seasoned Cape May visitors is Carney’s Restaurant and Bar, an excellent place to come for dinner after a long day at the beach. Their finger-licking food has been around since 1979, with an astounding sunset view from the front doors. The festive spirit of Cape May continues to live, with live music to listen to on certain days.
In the mood for ice cream and cookies, you can have both! Piece Pie serves delicious ice cream sandwiches. These tasty treats can be easily accessed from the downtown portion of Washington Street Mall. The small building is ‘sandwiched’ between more prominent Victorians. Piece Pie has a ton of unique flavors that will make your taste buds go wild for more!
Panico’s is an Italian restaurant with Mediterranean twists and off the beaten path in West Cap May. They have tasty pasta and pizza to eat along with the “BYOB” rule. The restaurant used to be an old church, which the owners bought and converted into this Italian flare restaurant. The restaurant is busy on most nights, so reservations are a must.
Uncle Bill’s Pancake House
A 60-year-old restaurant on the coast of Cape May sits Uncle Bill’s Pancake House. This breakfast restaurant has many different options of pancakes, waffles, eggs, French toast, and more. Uncle Bill’s Pancake House is perfect for the most delectable brunch.
Hot Dog Tommy’s
Are you relaxing at the beach and needing to grab a bite of energy to keep you going at the beach? Then, head to Hot Dog Tommy’s for a speedy and inexpensive lunch. Greeted by a man with a hotdog on his head, here, you will find tons of toppings to have on your hot dog, just the way you love.
Rusty Nail Bar and Grill
Rusty Nail is a restaurant that is part of the Beach Shack hotel. A lively communal place for family and friends to enjoy by sitting outside by the fire pits and putting your feet in the sand. Dogs are welcome too! They have classical American food with fresh local seafood, great live music, and a perfect view of the beach sunset in the distance.
Coffee Tyme is another excellent coffee shop across the street from the beach and boardwalk. You can get your morning cup of coffee and a bagel to eat for breakfast to start your day. Coffee Tyme is quick, and the coffee is made fresh for enjoyment.
Places to Stay in Cape May
Cape May has plenty of possibilities for hotels and rentals. Families can select rental homes and condos through Airbnb or VRBO. We stayed in the Beach Shack Hotel, a part of the Cape Resorts group. Our favorite memory was the views from the balcony of the ocean and sunrise. The hotel also has a recently renovated outdoor pool. In addition, the boardwalk is easy to access for a morning run.
Visit Cape May and Relax
The best way to enjoy Cape May is to get your coffee and breakfast, hit the beach at 10 am when it opens, and stay for a few hours. In the afternoon, do some of the things we suggest in Cape May as the temperature rises. In the evening, dine at one of the restaurants we like and have some ice cream.
A visitor to Cape May has plenty of more things to do; we only touched the surface in four days. So save some money for next year and visit Cape May. The beach resort town is ideally located from New York City (NYC), Philadelphia, or Washington DC.
This article was produced by Dividend Power’s family.
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Prakash Kolli is the founder of the Dividend Power site. He is a self-taught investor, analyst, and writer on dividend growth stocks and financial independence. His writings can be found on Seeking Alpha, InvestorPlace, Business Insider, Nasdaq, TalkMarkets, ValueWalk, The Money Show, Forbes, Yahoo Finance, and leading financial sites. In addition, he is part of the Portfolio Insight and Sure Dividend teams. He was recently in the top 1.0% and 100 (73 out of over 13,450) financial bloggers, as tracked by TipRanks (an independent analyst tracking site) for his articles on Seeking Alpha.