Cape May, New Jersey is a historic seaside resort dotted with over 600 immaculately preserved Victorian homes in the National Historic District. Just minutes away from many vacation rentals in Cape May is a beautiful promenade that runs alongside the sandy beaches, which are some of the most beautiful along the East Coast. Higbee Beach offers spectacular views of the dunes, while Poverty Beach has excellent food stalls. You can play volleyball at Steger Beach, and Sunset Beach is the best place to catch a spectacular panoramic sunset.
1. Naval Air Station Wildwood (NASW) Aviation Museum
Dive-bomber squadrons trained for combat during World War II at historic Hangar #1 at the Cape May Airport. Converted into an Aviation Museum, Hangar #1 houses several WWII-era helicopters and planes as well as interactive displays that detail the history of the war. You can sit in a real air traffic control tower, climb into an aircraft cockpit, and play flight simulation games.
2. Emlen Physick Estate
Immerse yourself in the lifestyle and culture of the Victorian era as you stroll through 15 restored rooms in this beautiful house museum. Admire the wall hangings and period crockery, and imagine what it was like using a button hook to fasten your clothing.
3. Historic Cold Springs Village
This village gives you a glimpse of Cape May’s crop farming heritage as you mingle with local residents who make the connection between the past and present way of life. There are plenty of hands-on family activities and 26 restored buildings to explore.
4. Nature Center of Cape May
This Nature Center is an environmental education campus on the shores of Cape May Harbor. Stroll through the multiple themed display gardens, climb the three-level observation tower for spectacular views, enjoy the colorful aquaria exhibit, and stop by the gift shop for a snack or souvenir. You can partake in numerous programs that incorporate the area’s diverse habitats while taking a boat tour through a salt marsh or viewing nature at ground level on a kayaking tour.
5. Cape May Lighthouse
Climb to the top of this historic 1859 lighthouse for glorious views of the ocean and surrounding landscapes. As an alternative to climbing stairs, a fully accessible Visitors Orientation Center is a great place to learn about history and the valuable aid this lighthouse provided to the mariners of the past.
6. The Washington Street Mall
Take a leisurely stroll through this open-air mall located close to the beach. Buy handmade saltwater taffy, choose some nautically themed earrings, or pick up a Cape May hoodie for those chilly nights by the sea. Take your Ben & Jerry’s ice cream cone onto the boardwalk, and rest on pathway benches beside cooling fountains. For more nourishing fare, grab a lobster roll at the Cape May Fish Market, or settle in for a satisfying gourmet Italian meal at That’s Amore.
7. Fire Control Tower No. 23
This stately 1942 Tower played an important coastal defense role during World War II. Take an easy climb up the spiral stairway to learn more about the tower’s history, or peruse similar information available at the entrance. As a tribute to those who served, there’s an All Veteran Memorial on the deck at the base of the Tower, Memorial Plaques lining the walls, and an Eternal Flame memorial.
8. South Cape May Meadows
Birding enthusiasts flock to the meadows that provide an excellent resting habitat for migrating birds along the Atlantic Flyway before they enter Delaware Bay. Walk along the one-mile loop trail to an observation platform for amazing views of habitats that include freshwater wetlands, meadows, dunes, ponds, and a stretch of protected beach.
9. The Colonial House Museum
This charming museum was originally a tavern and the family home of Revolutionary War patriot Memucan Hughes. Architecturally distinctive, this building is lovingly restored so you can become acquainted with Cape May’s history as you wander through common and tea rooms, the tavern, and a colonial-era kitchen, as well as a research and exhibit space.
10. Louisa’s Restaurant and Chocolate Bar
Mingle with the locals at this relaxing and inviting local restaurant. The chalkboard menu features seafood entrees and farm-to-table fare prepared using locally-sourced fresh ingredients. Be sure to stock up on handmade chocolates, artisan chocolate bars, and creamy caramels before heading out to the next attraction on your itinerary.
11. Cape May Stage Professional Equity Theater
Sit back and enjoy a variety of shows, plays, and dinner shows in this intimate 19th-century church known as the Robert Shackleton Playhouse. Choose from over 150 performances, from mid-May through December, that range from magicians and puppet shows to original one-act biographical plays written by regional and international artists and writers.
12. Cape May Food Tours
Take a culinary and cultural journey through Cape May on this three-hour tasting tour that includes six stops at award-winning Cape May restaurants. Follow your guides through the bustling streets as they blend the history of this beautiful area with food, architecture, and defining insights about the hearty folks of Cape May.
13. Cape May Whale Watch and Research Center
Explore the mysteries and beauty of the Atlantic Ocean on a seafaring safari aboard the 90-foot M/V American Star. With tips gleaned from the naturalists on board, you can take breathtaking photos of whales, dolphins, seals, and the pelagic birds in their natural habitats. As your vessel glides through the water, you gain knowledge about how the animals feed, their migration routes, breeding habits, and the best technique for spotting sometimes elusive wildlife.
14. Cape May Trolley Tour
Hop aboard the trolley, and take a guided tour through the streets of Cape May. You can choose from a variety of tours, including kid-friendly options. The popular Cape Mayhem Trolley Tour discusses the superstitions, strange beliefs, and mysteries that surrounded the nation’s oldest seaside resort during the 19th century.
15. Bay Springs Farm Alpacas
This privately owned alpaca breeding farm is the oldest and largest in Cape May County. The fine fibers of alpaca fleece are transformed into yarn that is then used to make sweaters, throws, socks, and other accessories, which are sold in the gift shop.
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