20 Best Things to Do in Cape May, NJ

Cape May, NJ
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Housing a National Historic District, Cape May has a lot of aesthetics to offer.

With a lot of Victorian buildings, this place is as historic as it gets.

Home to some of the best beaches and buildings, Cape May is an ideal holiday destination for a family.

The place is so charming that you won't be able to forget it.

Here are the best things to do in Cape May, New Jersey:

Tour the Cape May Historic District

Houses in Cape May Historic District
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Did you know that Cape May is filled with National Historic Landmarks?

The entire city brims with history.

You won't be able to find a spot that isn't historically significant.

Victorian style houses at Cape May Historic District
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There are over 600 houses in Cape May that were built during the Victorian era.

Roam around the district on foot and look at all the fantastic things that Cape May has to offer.

Explore Cape May's Stunning Beaches

People indulging in various activities at Cape May Beach
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Located in a prime location between the Atlantic Ocean and Delaware Bay, Cape May has some of the most amazing beaches you'll ever see.

There are some sandy beaches which are known for their immaculate beauty.

Aerial view of turquioise water crashing on the shores of Cape May Beach
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The government takes a lot of time to keep these beaches well-maintained for visitors.

You will always find them clean and convenient.

Since the beaches are open to all, you will usually find them very crowded during tourist-heavy seasons.

Sandy pathway leading to a beach in Cape May
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If you want to go surfing, the beaches are well-suited for that.

There is a beach called Sunset Beach, where tourists go if they want to take a leisurely walk and enjoy the sea breeze.

Go Birdwatching

Birds at Wildlife refuge in Cape May
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If you love birds, Cape May might be one of the best tourist locations for you.

After all, everyone claims Cape May to be a haven for ornithologists and bird lovers.

There are a lot of appropriate locations for birds to come and make their home here.

Yellow bird at Cape May
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The abundance of swampy and marshy lands makes Cape May ideal for spotting birds.

The city is reported to be home to 400 species of different birds, both exotic and native.

Specific places for birdwatching include West Cape May and Higbee Beach Wildlife Management Area.

Visit the Cape May Lighthouse

Cape May Lighthouse during the golden sunset hour
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The Cape May lighthouse is one of the city's most popular attractions.

It is not exactly in the heart of the city, but it's within walking distance of the city center.

The lighthouse's construction was completed in 1859.

Cape May Lighthouse in New Jersey
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Offering some of the most panoramic views in Cape May, the lighthouse itself is also quite a sight.

The landscape around the lighthouse is quite rugged, and people tend to love this terrain.

Hike the Trails at Cape May Point State Park

People strolling around at Cape May Point State Park
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Cape May Point State Park is where you'll find the Cape May Lighthouse.

Though the lighthouse is its main attraction, there are some other things in the park that will blow you away.

Sign board of Cape May Point State Park
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For example, there are a lot of hiking trails in the area.

The Monarch Trail, Plover Trail, and Duck Pond Trail are three of the state park's most popular trails.

Hikers walking on the dusty trail in Cape May Point State Park
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You might even get the chance to spot some exotic birds while hiking.

Surrounded by wildflowers and the Atlantic Ocean, every one of the trails is the epitome of beauty.

Spend the Night at a Quaint Local Cottage

Victorian style building in Cape May
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When you're in Cape May, it's hard not to notice that the city is filled with Victorian-era homes.

Some of these homes were actually transformed into bed and breakfast accommodations.

Why not spend a night at one of these Victorian mansions?

Imagine waking up in a historic home that boasts both ancient architecture and modern services!

Spot WWII-Era Aircraft at the Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum

Display at Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum
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The Naval Air Station Wildwood (NASW) Aviation Museum is one of the most historical places in Cape May.

Its location in the Cape May airport allows it to attract a lot of visitors.

The story of Naval Air Station Wildwood dates back to WWII, when it served as a dive-bomber squadron training facility.

Exterior view of Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum
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Now, the museum contains some of the equipment that was used during the war.

When you step foot inside the Naval Air Station Wildwood (NASW) Aviation Museum, it's filled with aircraft.

You'll get to see a lot of planes that were used in the war.

Display of a military helicopter at Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum
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Go Fishing at Schellenger's Landing

Have you ever been to a fisherman's wharf?

If not, you'll get a chance to visit one in Cape May: Schellenger's Landing.

This one also happens to be one of the most favored ones in the United States.

Cape May has quite an important marine past.

What remains of it is the famous Schellenger's Landing.

Schellenger's Landing is your go-to place if you want to go fishing or boating.

There are many shops here that sell the best equipment.

Visit the Emlen Physick Estate

Exterior view of Emlen Physick Estate
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The Emlen Physick Estate is one of the beautiful houses in Cape May that serve as a visual treat for tourists.

The house was damaged to a great extent; but as it's held as an important piece of history, it's gone through several renovations to preserve it.

Gazebo at Emlen Physick Estate
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Now, you can see 15 beautiful rooms that have been restored to their former glory.

A lot of the furniture also dates back to that old era.

Garden at Emlen Physick Estate
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Spend a Peaceful Day at Cape May Harbor

Ships docked at Cape May Harbor
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Are you ready to see some of the most peaceful ocean scenes?

Cape May Harbor features a breathtaking mix of the blue sky, turquoise waters, and boats sailing by.

One of the most picturesque locations in the city, the harbor is an excellent place to hang out if you want to have some alone time.

Front view of the Cape May Harbor
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Are you planning to go there with family and friends?

There's a beach where you can sit down and have a picnic.

There are also certain coves where you can explore more of Cape May.

Catch a Performance at Cape May Stage Professional Equity Theater

Exterior view of the Cape May Stage Professional Equity Theater
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There are several performances, plays, and dinner and show packages to choose from at Cape May Stage Professional Equity Theater in the town of Cape May.

It offers professional performances to the community in a calm, intimate environment.

It encourages and supports education in the arts.

Throughout May and December, Cape May Stage produces over 150 productions, showcasing various styles and writers, from the classics to the cutting-edge.

Magicians and Puppet Shows and creative one-act plays by award-winning regional and worldwide artists and authors are among the signature stage creations.

Go Shopping at the Washington Street Mall

People walking around Washington Street Mall
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The Washington Street Mall is one of the best places to enjoy in Cape May.

It's an open-air space where you can walk around the different stalls and buy what you need.

Souvenir shops in Washington Street Mall
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The entire area is pedestrian-friendly, which makes everything better.

It's a slice of paradise for all shoppers.

Shops at Washington Street Mall
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Learn about the Region's Past at The Museum of Cape May County

Dedicated to preserving Cape May County's rich history for future generations, the Museum of Cape May County opened its doors in 1927.

The museum, established and run by the Cape May County Historical and Genealogical Society, has long been a leading voice in the fight to preserve and exhibit local history.

Rotating exhibitions and displays, guided tours for children, history-related lectures and events, and a world-renowned genealogy and research library are only some of the elements of the museum, which is housed in three ancient buildings.

Historic homes from the early 1700s, a Federal-style extension from 1830, and barns and carriage sheds from the 19th and 20th centuries are among the objects on display.

The Cape May County Museum is a great spot to spend time with the family because of its convenient location near some of the county's most popular beaches and tourist sites.

Go Back in Time at Historic Cold Springs Village

David Gandy house, built in 1830, in Cold Springs Village
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Historic Cold Springs Village is one of the best places to visit in Cape May.

Going to this place is like taking a step back in history.

You will feel that time has not moved at all here.

Blacksmith shop at Cold Springs Village
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There are a lot of preserved buildings in this area, and all of them date back to the 1800s.

Looking to grab a bite to eat?

There is a vintage ice cream parlor and a bakery in the vicinity.

Carriage house in Cold Springs Village
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Ride Horse-Drawn Carriages at Cape May Carriage Company

With its horse-drawn carriages, the Cape May Carriage Company has remained a feature of Cape May's Victorian scene since 1983.

During a 15-minute carriage tour, the Cape May Carriage Company connects many of the city's most notable attractions.

There are two distinct seasons in the Historic District: summer and winter.

What better way to see Cape May's historic neighborhood than riding in a horse-drawn carriage led by a knowledgeable carriage coachman?

Relax and enjoy the historic district's atmosphere to the fullest extent possible!

Enjoy Nature at the Nature Center of Cape May

Exterior view of Nature Center of Cape May
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Want to visit a protected piece of nature?

Head over to the Nature Center of Cape May, where you can enjoy nature and learn about it simultaneously.

Aquarium in Nature Center of Cape May
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Open since 1992, the Nature Center has been quite a popular spot throughout the years.

There are both kayaking as well as boating trips available here.

There are also a lot of observation areas where you can stand and admire the different plants.

Go on a Biking Tour of Cape May

Here is a new way to enjoy the beauty of Cape May.

The downside of going on a self-guided tour is that you usually miss out on some places.

The only way to avoid that is to make use of a guide.

Out of many tour operators, Curious Cape May has a unique way of touring people around the city: they take you biking.

As you go around the different places and the seaside, they let you know about the various historic stories behind these sites.

Visit the Charming Village of West Cape May

Restaurant at West Cape May
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Cape May is not all about the iconic historic community located in the heart of the city.

There are a lot of other places beyond that, and all of them are beautiful in their ways.

West Cape May is a quaint village that is one of the most gorgeous sights you will ever see.

European colonists mainly used the area, and the site's creation dates back to the 1600s.

While walking around, you are bound to experience ancient European vibes.

Climb the Fire Control Tower No. 23

No. 23 Fire Control Tower, completed in 1942, is the only surviving World War II-era tower that played a crucial part in coastal defenses.

It was one of 15 coastal battery observation towers situated between North Wildwood, New Jersey, and Bethany Beach, Delaware, during World War II.

This includes the Eternal Flame Monument, an All Veterans Memorial on a deck next to the tower's base deck, and two memorial plaques throughout the building.

The spiral staircase makes the ascent a breeze for visitors.

Those unable to climb the tower can nevertheless learn about its history by perusing the folder located at the entrance.

Indulge in Various Local Flavors at Cape May Food Tours

Cape May Food Tours takes tourists on a gastronomic and cultural tour around the city's most exciting areas.

Cape May's award-winning restaurants, delicious eateries, and unusual specialty food stores focus on this three-hour guided food sampling and cultural walking excursions.

The trip includes six delectable selections, allowing for a filling lunch for most people.

Local guides walk you around Cape May's bustling streets, sharing their insights and expertise of its history, culture, and architecture, resulting in a beautiful fusion of cuisine, design, and people.

Tickets for these fantastic and highly sought-after tours should be acquired in advance.

Final Thoughts

If you've had enough of modern seaside cities and want a taste of a more refined and old-fashioned beach escape, Cape May, New Jersey, is your place.