A Travel Guide To Cape May, New Jersey

Lately, the cold winter weather has me longing for sunshine and beaches. I’ve been subconsciously planning trips to warmer places in my mind for about two weeks, now. One of my favorite quick escapes during the spring and summer is a weekend in Cape May.

Since the 18th century, it has been a favorite vacation destination, giving it the motto, “The Nation’s Oldest Seaside Resort.” The community has embraced their long history, and the entire city is a National Historic Landmark. With dozens of pristine Victorian homes and top-notch dining, you will quickly fall in love with this city.  I’ve put together some of my favorites from past trips to make your planning easier.

Where To Stay:

Since many of the historical Victorians have become into Bed & Breakfasts, there is no shortage of places to stay. The Queen Victoria has been flawlessly restored and offers an expansive breakfast buffet. If romance is the aim of your trip, their two-story Crown Jewel Suite provides a private entrance, two person jacuzzi tub, & fireplace. The Mainstay Inn is another finely restored property, and possibly the most aesthetically pleasing home in the area. It once served as a gentleman’s club where men would gather for gambling and “other pleasures.”

If B&B’s aren’t for you, consider checking out Congress Hall, which was rebuilt in the 1920’s and holds much of its original splendor. La Mer, while lacking a unique history, offers all of the amenities and comforts of hotel experience.

Where To Eat:

For breakfast, I recommend George’s Place which is serving up some of the best I’ve ever had. The Mad Batter, located in The Carol Villa Hotel, should not be missed either. While their breakfast is excellent, they have mastered culinary delight and serve delicious lunch and dinner as well. Uncle Bill’s Pancake House is another great option which is both family and budget friendly.

For fine dining Peter Shields Inn, Union Park Dining Room, and The Washington Inn all offer an excellent selection. The Washington Inn also offers a pre-fixe menu with discounted theatre tickets to the nearby Cape May Stage if you’re looking for dinner & a show.

If you’re in search of cheap eats and quick lunches, there are dozens of quality places to get them. Check out Westside Market, Key West Tacos, Cappelletti & Sons Deli, and Bagel Time Cafe for your midday munchies.

Things To Do:

The expansive sandy beach is the main draw for tourists in Cape May. If you come during peak beach season, expect a crowd and be sure to rent a day tag for access.

Washinton Street Mall is an open-air, pedestrian-only shopping center in the heart of the city. Many shops occupy the historic buildings and peddle everything from fine art to antiques to souvenirs. Buy Trolley Tour tickets near the Ocean Street entrance and learn the history of the city in style. The tour concludes at the Emlen Physick Estate where you will get an in-depth tour of the living museum.

The Cape May Lighthouse, WWII Lookout Tower, Fire Department Museum & the Historic Cold Spring Village are all family friendly experiences. However, if you’re searching for adult-oriented fun I highly recommend a trip to the Cape May Winery. Take a tour and learn about winemaking while sipping wine from your complimentary glass.

Not to be missed are the many specialty shops Cape May offers. Cape May Olive Oil Company has a cozy tasting room with a vast variety of oils and vinegar. Every time I take a trip here I come home laden with goodies from The Original Fudge Kitchen and Seaside Cheese Company. I just can’t help myself around delicious foods, and both places allow you to sample before buying. Cape May is also a treasure trove for fans of antiquing with dozens of locations offering everything from furniture to old toys.

As you can see, Cape May is the perfect place for a weekend getaway.

No matter what your interests are, you will easily be able to find something to do. While events take place year round, I recommend visiting between April and October. While there are more crowds, there is also far more to do. Beaches close when the weather starts to get cold and many businesses only operate seasonally. Are you ready to plan your weekend escape? What are you waiting for?

What is your favorite place for a weekend escape? Tell us about it so we can check it out!