Cape May is known today as a fashionable summer hot spot for the rich and famous, but it’s also preserved its past as a Victorian-era beach resort.
Explore the nature trails, sunbathe on the beaches, people watch or enjoy the historical attractions at Cape May, New Jersey. The best way to get around the city is by bike or on foot; the terrain is flat and there is limited car parking.
Cape May has been a destination for tourists since the late 18th century. During its heyday in the 1800s, it was the destination of choice for wealthy travelers, attracting visitors from the former colonial capital of Philadelphia and from New York.
A visit to one of the local beaches is a great place to start your trip to Cape May. Watch a flag-lowering ceremony and see the 80-year-old wreck SS Atlantus at Sunset Beach, to the west of downtown Cape May. For a livelier scene, head to the popular beaches of Cape May city, located on the southeast side of the cape. To access these beaches, you’ll need to buy a beach tag from the City Hall Tax Office, or at the beach entrance during the summer season.
Further west down the Atlantic Coast lies the 244-acre Cape May Point State Park. There are nature trails, beaches and an observation platform from where you can see hawks flying overhead during the fall. It’s also home to the Cape May Lighthouse, New Jersey’s southernmost point. Climb up the 199 steps to enjoy striking vistas of the Delaware Bay below.
Boat trips are another popular activity in Cape May. Spend a morning out on the waves fishing, sightseeing or dolphin and whale watching.
Back on land, take the time to explore the town. The streets are lined with Victorian-era buildings. These are known as “painted ladies” because of their colorful appearance. The historic housing, which ranges from mansions to “gingerbread” cottages, is meticulously maintained.
After a day spent outdoors, enjoy a delicious meal of fresh local seafood at one of the restaurants on and around Beach Avenue.