16 Best Things to Do in Cape May County, NJ

Cape May County

I've always thought there's something quite magical about Cape May County.

It's not just the quintessential charm of this New Jersey gem but also the sheer variety of experiences it offers.

Whether it's the breezy summer days, the blossoming springs, the picturesque falls, or the cozy winters, every season has its own tale to tell.

It's genuinely a place where every nook and cranny whispers stories of history, adventure, and natural beauty.

It's here that I find my solitude on quieter days and my adventure on brighter ones.

So, buckle up as I unveil the best things to do in Cape May County.

About this article: This article was written by a local contributor based on their own experiences and those around them. While this list showcases some remarkable places, it's important to note that this is an opinion piece, and there are many other exceptional places to visit that are not featured here.
Our aim is not just to guide you to popular places but to encourage you to venture out and experience the city for yourself.

Discover the Wonders of Nature at Cape May County Park & Zoo

Giraffe at Cape May County Park and Zoo
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I've always had a soft spot for wildlife, and living so close to Cape May County Park & Zoo, I find myself here quite often.

Every visit is an absolute delight, and feels like I'm stepping into a natural paradise filled with over 500 beautiful creatures.

The zoo is an excellent place to relax and unwind.

The atmosphere is always welcoming, with friendly staff who are always willing to assist and share their knowledge.

They put a lot of effort into keeping this place in perfect condition, which is evident in the vibrant and healthy animals we see on every visit.

One of the highlights of the zoo is the diverse range of animals.

From the towering giraffes and agile cheetahs to the playful monkeys and colorful birds, each visit feels like a new adventure.

The animals are usually active and roaming around, making it a heartwarming experience to watch them in their natural behavior.

Zebras at Cape May County Park and Zoo
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But it's not just the animals; the Safari Cafe serves delicious pizzas and sandwiches, a much-needed treat after wandering around the zoo.

What makes Cape May County Park & Zoo even more special is the play area right in front of the zoo.

It's a fantastic place for both kids and adults to have fun.

They've thoughtfully added special needs-friendly swings, ensuring everyone has a great time.

Whether for a casual visit, a family day out, or special occasions like birthday parties, this zoo has never disappointed me.

Despite the free entry, I often find myself donating as the zoo relies on these contributions.

I'm already looking forward to my next visit and discovering more of the wonders this place has to offer.

A beautiful peacock at Cape May County Park and Zoo
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Go on a Historical Adventure at Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum

Exterior of the Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum
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One of the things I love about living in this area is the rich history it holds.

My absolute favorite place to explore is the Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum.

Every visit feels fresh and exciting, thanks to the rotating exhibits and interactive displays.

I've been there three times in the past couple of months alone, and I've been blown away every single time.

From the moment I step inside, I'm transported back to a different era.

The historic aircraft and engines are a sight to behold.

But what really sets this place apart is that it's not just a place to look - it’s a place to touch and engage.

But it's not just about the machines.

The museum brings history to life with personal stories of soldiers from the 1940s.

I always find myself drawn to this special room filled with love letters and deeply personal accounts from that time.

It's a poignant reminder of the people behind the machines, the people who fought and sacrificed for our freedom.

Interior of the Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum
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For history buffs, the museum offers an in-depth look at World War II life in Cape May.

It perfectly complements a visit to the Fire Control tower.

And for aviation enthusiasts, the opportunity to climb into a fighter jet cockpit is a dream come true.

And let's not forget the little ones.

This place is a wonderful way to teach children about our history and instill a sense of adventure in them.

For me, it's a source of immense pride to share this local gem with my nephews and nieces.

But the fun doesn't stop there.

After a day of exploring, I love grabbing a bite at the Flight Deck diner across the parking lot.

They serve solid, good food at reasonable prices. It's the perfect way to cap off a day at Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum.

Aircraft cockpit in Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum
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Climb the Majestic Cape May Lighthouse

Daytime view of Cape May Lighthouse
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Let me tell you about one of my favorite places on earth - the Cape May Lighthouse.

It's not just a lighthouse; it's a beacon of memories for me, steeped in rich history and surrounded by stunning natural beauty.

It has been standing tall since 1859, and every time I see it, I am filled with a sense of awe and admiration.

My favorite part has to be the climb to the top.

Yes, all 199 steps of it!

The journey up is an adventure in itself, but the reward waiting at the top is what makes it all worth it.

The panoramic view of the sea, the sky blending in at the horizon, the swaying trees, and the distant speck of the bustling city - it's a view that words can hardly do justice to.

The lighthouse also houses an intriguing oil house turned museum, which is a treasure trove for history enthusiasts like me.

The gift shop never fails to amaze me with its collection of unique souvenirs.

The lamp of Cape May Lighthouse
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I often end up buying something, be it a tiny replica of the lighthouse or a charming postcard.

Surrounding Cape May Lighthouse are scenic trails leading to a serene pond, a marsh area, and a pineland.

Walking these trails is like therapy.

The varying landscapes, the sound of birds chirping, the rustling of leaves - it's an immersive experience.

There's also a trail leading to the beach, which is another favorite spot of mine.

The sight of the majestic lighthouse in the backdrop of the sparkling water is a sight I never tire of.

There's also a ruined castle-like building near the beach that adds a mystical touch to the place.

Looking out the window of Cape May Lighthouse
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Stroll the Ocean City Boardwalk

Daytime view of the Ocean City Boardwalk
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Oh, the joys of living in Ocean City, New Jersey.

Every morning, I wake up to the soothing sound of the waves hitting the shore and the enticing aroma of pizza, fudge, and ice cream wafting from the boardwalk.

Trust me when I say it's a tantalizing symphony that sets the tone for my day.

The Ocean City Boardwalk is more than just a tourist spot.

It's a hub of activities, alive with the sound of laughter and chatter.

Miniature golf stands hand-in-hand with the vintage amusement park, making nostalgia an integral part of everyday life.

The boardwalk has its unique charm.

It's family-friendly, and unlike many other boardwalks, it's clean and free from any vulgar display.

Store sign of a popcorn store at Ocean City Boardwalk
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Here, decency is valued and maintained.

There's no room for embarrassment when strolling down this boardwalk.

The beaches? They're pristine.

On any given day, you'll find people engaged in a friendly match of volleyball or soccer, the sand serving as their battleground.

And if you're a fan of fishing like me, it's a delight to know you can rent a rod and spend your day fishing.

Walking on Ocean City Boardwalk, shopping at a local store, or simply enjoying a glorious sunset over the ocean, every day here is a mini-vacation.

And it's not just about escaping the heat; it's about experiencing a slice of heaven right here on earth.

French fry factory at Ocean City Boardwalk
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Go Birdwatching at Cape May Point State Park

Signage of Cape May Point State Park
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Every day, I find myself drawn to the natural beauty of Cape May Point State Park.

It's a place that dazzles with its diverse wildlife, breathtaking views, and numerous activities to dive into.

Just a stone's throw away from my home, the park is my haven from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Whether I'm looking to strengthen my relationship with nature through bird watching and hiking or unwinding by the shore, it has never failed to provide me with the peace I seek.

The majestic lighthouse, standing tall at 199 steps high, is a sight to behold for both locals and visitors alike.

I've climbed those steps more times than I can count, and every ascent brings with it a sense of accomplishment.

The view from the top is nothing short of spectacular, overlooking the park in its entirety and the shimmering ocean beyond.

Next to the lighthouse is a quaint gift shop brimming with cool knickknacks, stickers, and historical memorabilia.

It's always a pleasure walking around and learning about the park's history.

Don’t forget the beach!

Boardwalk at Cape May Point State Park
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While the sand may not be as soft, the raw and rugged beauty of the beach is something that has always appealed to me.

And if you're up for a picnic, Cape May Point State Park offers some great spots to spread out a blanket and relax while enjoying the sight of the crashing waves.

For those looking for more adventure, there are many trails that wind through the dunes and protected lands, offering thrilling hikes that lead to nature observation decks.

These walks are sure to please any nature enthusiast, with the chance to spot diverse bird species.

But my personal favorite is to hop on my bike and ride into the town for a meal and some exploration.

The journey from the park to the town is an adventure in itself, with picturesque landscapes at every turn.

A swan at Cape May Point State Park
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Go Winetasting Cape May Winery Charm

There's nothing quite like a leisurely day spent at the Cape May Winery.

The allure of the vineyard tours and the temptation of the tap room tastings are a delight to any wine enthusiast.

Imagine tasting six distinct wines, each with its own unique character, while learning about the intricate process of winemaking.

And after you've broadened your wine knowledge, you get to kick back with some live music and tapas.

You won't want to miss the hummus here – it doesn't just taste great, it's also served up with a flair that's both impressive and inviting.

And their outdoor seating? It's an absolute dream.

Nothing quite beats the experience of sipping on a flight of wine under the beautiful spring sky, with the winery's stunning water feature and lighting fixture adding to the ambiance.

The Cape May Winery offers more than just wine.

They have a small but superb menu of tapas and cheese plates that complement their wines perfectly.

You can settle down in their lovely garden, wine, and cheese plate in hand, and just soak in the delightful atmosphere.

Go Fishing at Corson's Inlet State Park

The waters of Corson's Inlet State Park
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I'm telling you, there's something magical about starting your day off with a hike at Corson's Inlet State Park.

The crunch of the gravel underfoot, the brisk ocean air filling your lungs, and the stunning view with the sun just beginning to peek over the horizon - it's pure serenity.

This is more than just a place to me.

It's a retreat, a sanctuary, where I find solitude away from the bustle of Ocean City.

The park's long and winding trails through the dunes and marshes are just right for an invigorating morning run or a calming evening stroll.

I've spotted so many different types of birds on my walks.

It's like being in the middle of a National Geographic documentary.

If you’re into fishing or crabbing, this is your spot.

I've spent countless afternoons casting my line from the bridge, the sun warm on my back, and the rhythmic lapping of the waves creating a soothing backdrop.

The best part? Bringing home a bucket full of fish or crabs for a seafood dinner.

Sand trail at Corson's Inlet State Park
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But it's not just nature that makes Corson's Inlet State Park special.

It's the people.

The park employees are a wealth of knowledge about the local wildlife.

I've learned so much about the plants, birds, and even the horseshoe crabs from chatting with them.

And, oh, the beach! It's not as crowded as the main beaches in Ocean City.

Perfect for a lazy day of sunbathing or a refreshing swim.

Just remember to watch out for the jet skis zooming around during the weekends.

Beat the Rides at Playland's Castaway Cove

A thrilling ride at Playland’s Castaway Cove
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Every time I step into Playland's Castaway Cove, I feel like I've been transported into a vibrant storybook come alive.

The air is filled with joy and laughter, the vivid colors and the thrilling rides echoing the childlike wonder I experienced growing up in this town.

The sheer variety of rides and attractions always leaves me spoilt for choice.

As a fan of nostalgia, I often find myself irresistibly drawn to the timeless carousel, and on days when I crave a bit more excitement, the roller coaster serves just the right dose of adrenaline.

It's heartening to see that despite the thrills, the park still maintains its family-friendly charm.

Safety is undoubtedly a top priority at Playland's Castaway Cove.

Over the years, I've seen countless parents, including myself, watch their children partake in the fun with a sense of ease and comfort, knowing they are in good hands.

The staff here are not just attentive; they exude warmth and genuine enthusiasm that adds to the overall magic of the experience.

Ferris wheel at Playland’s Castaway Cove
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As a parent, I appreciate the well-equipped rest areas in the park, making the experience a breeze for families.

The multiple food options available, from kid-friendly meals to healthier alternatives, further elevate the experience.

The best part? Entry to this theme park is absolutely free!

Although you can purchase tickets at multiple booths for the rides, just walking around and enjoying the festive atmosphere doesn't cost a dime.

Despite being a local, every visit to Playland's Castaway Cove feels like a new adventure.

It's where my children's eyes light up with joy and where I get to relive my childhood memories.

Amusement ride at Playland’s Castaway Cove
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Commune with Nature at Exquisite Beach Plum Farm

Exterior of Beach Plum Farm
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Imagine a place tucked away from the world, where you can feel the serenity of nature through its picturesque gardens, vibrant flowers, and fresh produce.

That sanctuary for me is the Beach Plum Farm.

I've been frequenting this farm for years, and every visit is a new revelation of tranquility and gastronomic delight.

The farm is not just a feast for the eyes but also for the palate.

They always offer gluten-free options and a diverse range of lemonade and iced tea that my taste buds never tire of.

One particular charm that keeps me going back is their salad dressing; it's simply divine!

And the best part?

The prices are quite reasonable for the exceptional farm-to-table food they serve.

Visiting Beach Plum Farm is not just about the food; it's about the whole experience.

Welcome sign of Beach Plum Farm
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Strolling around the gardens and the market, immersing in the peaceful ambiance and the friendly staff always ready to lend a hand.

There's always plenty of outdoor seating available, so you can just relax and tune out the world while you enjoy your meal.

One of the most unforgettable experiences I had was during one of their farm-to-table dinner series.

The sumptuous Jersey peaches, fresh tomatoes, and shishito peppers were just out of this world.

But what really left a mark was the kindness of the general manager, Ed Hackett.

When my car wouldn't unlock, he was kind enough to offer us a ride back to our Airbnb!

It's these little acts of kindness that make this place feel like home.

Feel the Thrill at Morey's Piers & Beachfront Water Parks

Neon sign of Morey’s Piers and Beachfront Water Parks
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From the moment you lay your eyes on the 6-block expanse of Morey's Piers & Beachfront Water Parks, you can tell it's a place of endless fun and excitement.

Here's an insider tip: you can check out their array of attractions at Morey's Piers & Beachfront Water Parks.

Amid the thrill rides that challenge your courage, the delightful kiddie rides, and the enticing seasonal water parks, there's something to keep everyone engaged.

First things first, the place exudes an atmosphere of cleanliness and safety.

The staff is meticulous about everything - from ensuring each safety belt is checked multiple times to keeping the whole area pristine.

The attention to safety details is commendable, and the friendliness of the staff is heartwarming.

It's a comfort to see such care taken in a place teeming with families and children all day.

One thing's for sure, the rides on each pier never fail to bring my adventurous spirit to life.

Whether it's the high-speed roller coasters or the more laid-back Ferris wheel, there's always an exhilarating ride waiting for you.

Amusement rides at Morey’s Piers and Beachfront Water Parks
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The games and food stalls are also a hit.

Admittedly, some might find the games a bit pricey, but then again, where's the fun without a little challenge?

Aerial view of the lively Morey’s Piers and Beachfront Water Parks
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A Refreshing Day at Splash Zone Waterpark

When the summer heat in our town gets unbearable, there is one place where I find refuge - the Splash Zone Waterpark.

As soon as you enter the park, you can easily feel the exhilarating vibe that perfectly complements the warm weather.

My family and I spent a memorable day at the waterpark recently.

We rented one of their reasonably priced cabanas, which was a great decision, especially since we were with our young kids.

The cabana provided us with a comforting shade amidst the blazing sun and a pleasant spot to rest when we needed a break from all the water activities.

Splash Zone Waterpark was not overly packed that day, which made the experience even more enjoyable for us.

The kids absolutely loved the large splash area and had a blast floating around the lazy river.

I was immensely impressed with how clean the park was maintained.

Take a Glimpse into Victorian Life at the Emlen Physick Estate

Exterior of the Emlen Physick Estate
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Who knew that stepping into a house could be like stepping into a time machine?

Well, that's precisely what it feels like when you visit the Emlen Physick Estate.

Nestled right here in our own town, this Victorian-era gem offers a captivating glimpse into the past.

Walking through this estate is like stepping into the year 1879, a time when life was a lot different from what it is today.

The grandeur of the place is immediately apparent the moment you lay eyes on its strikingly beautiful facade.

Victorian architecture is preserved to perfection, and every room is a treasure trove of history with its unique furniture and artwork.

You can almost hear the rustle of Victorian gowns and feel the presence of the estate's original inhabitants as you explore.

The Emlen Physick Estate is more than just a house; it's an immersive experience.

Each room tells a story, presenting beautifully curated exhibits that provide a snapshot of daily life from a bygone era.

But the richness of this experience can sometimes be overwhelming, especially if you're part of a large tour group.

Facade of the Emlen Physick Estate
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There's so much to take in, and you might feel rushed, especially if you're among the last to enter a room.

In addition to the house tour, there's also a trolley tour of historic Cape May that's usually included in the admission.

The house tour itself is a rewarding experience, a chance to immerse yourself in a world that's markedly different from ours.

The Emlen Physick Estate is also known for its atmosphere, which can feel delightfully eerie, especially when the weather plays along.

There's something about exploring a Victorian mansion under a foreboding sky that adds a deliciously spooky layer to the whole experience.

Gazebo at Emlen Physick Estate
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Walk through History at the Cold Spring Village

Country store at the Historic Cold Spring Village
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Strolling through the lanes of Historic Cold Spring Village always fills my heart with a sense of nostalgia and pride.

It's a living testament to the early years of American independence and an integral part of my hometown.

The village offers more than a glimpse into our past; it's a journey back in time that takes you to the heart of life during the country's formative years.

I love visiting this place on warm summer weekends and immersing myself in the flurry of activities it has to offer.

The village is brimming with craftsmen busily engaged in their respective trades, giving us a glimpse into the rich tapestry of our history.

It's always a joy to interact with the friendly and knowledgeable staff, each ready with a fascinating story or a nugget of historical information that makes the whole experience quite enriching.

What makes the experience even more rewarding is the chance to witness the making of traditional handmade products.

A cabin at the Historic Cold Spring Village
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Be it the rhythmic blow of the blacksmith's hammer, the buzz of the woodworker's saw, or the potter's hands shaping clay on the wheel, every corner of the village is filled with mesmerizing sights and sounds.

And if you're interested in taking home some memories, the village's general store is a treasure trove of vintage products and handmade items.

I still remember the joy of finding a beautifully handcrafted notebook, a memento from Historic Cold Spring Village that I now use to jot down my thoughts and experiences.

But the village offers more than just history. It's also a place of fun and relaxation.

The on-site brewery and restaurant offer an excellent respite from all the exploration.

Blacksmith shop at the Historic Cold Spring Village
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Indulge in Seafood at The Lobster House

Welcome sign of The Lobster House
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There's nothing like spending a perfect day in Cape May and ending it with a delightful dinner at The Lobster House.

This place is nothing short of a seafood haven, nestled comfortably on the harborfront.

It might look rough on the outside, but believe me; it's a hidden gem with a lot to offer!

The moment you step inside, you're greeted by a warm, welcoming atmosphere.

The maritime decor adds a nice, authentic touch.

You're immediately transported to a relaxed seaside setting.

Not to mention, their diligent and friendly staff is always there to assist you, making the experience even more pleasant.

The Lobster House's menu is intriguing, with a variety of fresh seafood choices.

I usually start my meal with the Snapper Turtle soup, a rich and deliciously spiced delight that sets the tone for the rest of the dining experience.

Also, their homemade bread is a must-try, especially if you appreciate the simple yet satisfying taste of freshly baked goodies.

But the real stars here are the main courses.

Outdoor dining setup at The Lobster House
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While everything on the menu is fantastic, Crab Imperial is my personal favorite.

It's served piping hot, and the dish is creamy and decadent beyond description.

My partner, on the other hand, swears by the Charred board Swordfish.

It comes with creamy mashed potatoes and a pleasant assortment of grilled veggies, making it a wholesome and delicious meal.

And if you have to wait for a table, don't worry.

You can spend that time at the Schooner Bar.

The Orange Crush there is simply delicious and serves as a perfect drink to pass the time.

Bond with Your Family at Gillian's Wonderland Pier

Amusement rides at Gillian’s Wonderland Pier
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I can't count the number of times I've taken my kids to Gillian's Wonderland Pier.

It's a local favorite for us and we just can't get enough of it.

As soon as the clock hits 2 pm, there's only one place you'll find us - racing around the park, trying to make the most out of the unlimited rides pass, which is only $25.

Just make sure you check out their website Gillian's Wonderland Pier, for the kids' height requirements to avoid any disappointment.

We've got quite a few favorites among the 31 rides, but the giant Ferris wheel is always a must-do for us.

The kids, ranging from toddlers to pre-teens, have a blast, and it's worth every penny to see their faces light up.

I've found that the rides are diverse enough to cater to all their wildly varying interests.

A fun tip for families with small kids: even if they don't meet the height requirement, they can still enjoy the rides as long as they're with an adult.

So be prepared to relive your childhood!

Sun protection is a must, as most of the rides are exposed.

I recommend packing extra water bottles, sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses to stay safe during those sunny afternoons.

One of the highlights for us is the Man and Dog show.

My son is a big fan of animatronics, and let me tell you, he was not disappointed.

He was absolutely mesmerized by the performance.

The staff at Gillian's Wonderland Pier are always friendly and attentive, especially the lifeguards.

And if you're a foodie like me, you'll enjoy their cafeteria-style restaurant.

They serve some delicious pizza and have a good selection of Fanta soda to quench your thirst after a round of intense rides.

The beach, the rides, the food, and the fun games are all part of our regular visits to this local gem.

Test Your Luck at Gateway 26

Exterior of Gateway 26
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There's something beautifully nostalgic about the sound of arcade games, the flicker of neon lights, and the scent of freshly cooked food filling the air.

That's exactly what you'll find at Gateway 26.

Every weekend, I savor the excitement this place offers well into the evening.

There's a stunning variety of games to choose from here.

From the thrilling rush of the driving games to the strategic challenge of air hockey, there's something for everyone.

And yes, for the old-school fans among us, they still have a few 25-cent machines sprinkled throughout the space.

One of the unique things about Gateway 26 is its efficient card system.

Instead of carrying coins or tokens around, you load money onto a card and use that to play.

It makes the whole experience seamless, allowing you to spend more time immersed in the fun.

But let's not forget about the casino. The blackjack and poker tables are always bustling.

And don't worry; if gambling isn't your thing, there are plenty of other ways to entertain yourself.

The arcade is a treasure trove of classic games that will take you back to your childhood.

When hunger strikes, the food at Gateway 26 won't disappoint. From classic comfort food to tasty snacks, they've got everything covered.

In the warmer months, the boardwalk outside is an added attraction, and in the off-season, it's open on weekends for those who yearn for a dose of fun.

Final Thoughts

The charm of Cape May County lies in its rich blend of history, nature, and fun-filled attractions.

With the best things to do in Cape May County, it's no wonder I am constantly falling in love with this place all over again.

It's a haven where every day presents a new adventure.

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