A classic destination in New Jersey for centuries — Cape May offers beautiful beaches, world-class food and drinks, quaint and unique shopping and attractions and exquisite places to stay that meet virtually all tastes — from laid-back surfer vibes to luxurious amenities.
“The Nation’s Oldest Seashore Resort” is at the southern point of Cape May Peninsula.
The entire city is within the Cape May Historic District, as its large amount of Victorian buildings makes it a National Historic Landmark.
Cape May was named for Cornelius Jacobsen Mey, a Dutch captain who chartered the area from 1611 to 1614.
Cape May first began hosting vacationers in the mid-18th century (many from the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area) and had made a name for itself as a fine resort town within decades.
Whether you are a state resident looking for a staycation or an out-of-towner, Cape May has plenty to offer — so where to start?
Places to stay in Cape May, N.J.
810 Lafayette Street, Cape May
A surf-inspired hotel that first opened in 2019. There are dog-friendly rooms, which can be booked over the phone.
200 Congress Place, Cape May
The oldest seaside resort in not just the state, but the country, since first opening in 1816. It offers “relaxed elegance” and “historic charm.”
205 Beach Avenue, Cape May
Beach Shack is billed as “Cape May’s fresh and fun alternative for beach lovers” and family-friendly. There’s beach service, an on-site pool, fire pit, and limited rooms that are pet-friendly, too.
1101 Beach Avenue, Cape May
Designed for those who “seek timeless bed and breakfast coziness without having to give up modern, upscale comfort.” ICONA also has its own Sunseeker Predator Yacht, available for captained charters May through October.
Things to do in Cape May, N.J.
Aside from the obvious attraction — stunning beaches — there’s also great shopping, centered around Washington Street Mall.
Washington Street Mall
401 Washington Street, Cape May (the Mall’s intersection with Jackson Street)
The pedestrian-only outdoor mall is considered the “heart” of Cape May, stretching the 300, 400, and 500 blocks of Washington Street, along with adjoining portions of Carpenters Lane, Lyle Lane, Decatur Street, and Jackson Street. There’s a full roster of more than 60 distinct stores.
Washington Street Mall also hosts, sponsors and supports several signature events each “normal” year — sidewalk sales, summer concerts, trick-or-treating, a Halloween Parade and a Christmas Parade.
Cape May Zoo
707 North Route 9, Cape May Court House
Cape May County Park and Zoo are free, with donations greatly appreciated. Open everyday other than Christmas. Park Central’s Hours: 7 a.m. to dusk
Summer Zoo Hours: 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Winter Zoo Hours: 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
It’s an accredited zoo that’s home to African lions, cheetah, giraffes, zebras, tamarins, and many more species.
In addition to all the animals, there’s also a “Tree to Tree Adventure Park” at Cape May Zoo that offers over 100 aerial adventure activities. It’s divided into color-coded courses for kids, youth and adults. Tree to Tree requires paid admission, depending on the adventures you choose, and can be booked online.
Railbiking with Revolution Rail Co.
609 Lafayette Street, Cape May 08204
This excursion activity allows you to ride historic railroad tracks under your “own power” and explore. Locally, it runs from the heart of Cape May and alongside the Garrett Family Preserve, about four-miles out-and-back, 90 minutes long, among wildflower meadows and other nature viewing opportunities.
For nearly all ages (with worn-baby carriers or five-point seatbelts). Trips run seven days a week in peak summer season, and spots are available to book online.
Jersey Shore Alapacas
521 Route 47 South, Cape May
The farm is visit by appointment only – no drop-ins, please. You can book either a public tour on a Saturday, as spots are available, or a private tour on one of the three days a week they are offered, during the summer (as of 2021 it’s Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays). Visitors need to book well in advance, as private tours are currently booked six weeks out. All info is on their website.
Places to grab a bite — or more — to eat in Cape May, N.J.
Harry’s Ocean Bar & Grille
1025 Beach Ave, Cape May
Cape May’s only rooftop bar and restaurant, located at The Montreal Beach Resort. Open daily from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m., all seating for the 2021 season is first come, first served.
Fins Bar &Grille
142 Decatur Street, Cape May
Fin’s is located among the offerings of Washington Street Mall. It offers “colorful modern grill specializing in seafood & cocktails, with outdoor dining & regular live music.” Closed on Mondays, it opens for lunch at 11:30 a.m. all other days and starts dinner service at 4 p.m.
Blue Pig Tavern
200 Congress Place, Cape May
Blue Pig Tavern is within Congress Hall, offering farm-to-table American cuisine. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as brunch on Saturdays and Sundays.
7 Ocean Street, Cape May
Phone: 609-884-5555 ext. 226
Aleathea’s Restaurant — at the Inn of Cape May — is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner with a menu that appeals to both families and to those looking for upscale romantic dining, served in a Victorian setting with ocean views and porch dining. Patio dining also is offered in season.
315 Ocean Street, Cape May (Washington Commons area)
301 Beach Avenue (first and original Cape May location)
A landmark “snug eatery” for decades, George’s has gotten acclaim from being featured on Guy Fieri & “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.” Now with a total of three Cape May area locations (and a fourth in Wildwood), the newer location on Ocean Street offers both indoor and outdoor seating options in addition to takeout.
There’s also the “original” spot along Beach, that’s cash-only, BYOB open from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. daily.
Cheers! Grab a drink in Cape May, N.J.
Cape May Winery
711 Townbank Road, Cape May
Open year-round, only closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. Check their website or call for seasonal hours, seasonal tour schedule and tapas kitchen hours.
As the 5th largest producing winery in New Jersey. The Cape May Winery harvests 26 out of its 150 acres, across 4 vineyards that are home to 11 grape varietals.
Cape May Brewing Company
1288 Hornet Road, Cape May
The brewery — now celebrating a decade in business — has its roots planted at the Cape May Airport. (With growing success, they’ve added a warehouse and offices a bit up the Parkway in Egg Harbor Township.)
Open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., with last call at 7:45 p.m. No reservations are accepted for any sized party as of summer 2021. All ages are welcome, and visitors must be 21 and older to drink.
Cape May Brewery offers a beer garden and tasting room, which features up to 24 of their craft beers and homemade sodas on tap at any time. There’s also a production facility and dedicated sour brewery on-site.
Gusto Brewing Company
3860 Bayshore Road, North Cape May
New Jersey’s Southernmost Brewery & Taproom bears the motto “Keep it small, keep it weird.”
Closed on Tuesdays. Gusto offers a Beer Garden, Taproom, and curbside cans-to-go. Current and up-to-date hours can always be found on the brewery’s website.
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