Cape May, New Jersey, is the oldest seashore resort town in the U.S. and one of the most beautiful places to spend a weekend, summer vacation or getaway.
The entire city is a National Historic District.
Cape May lighthouse at Cape May Point State Park was built in 1859. About 100,000 visitors climb to the top of the historic lighthouse every year. For those who are not going to make the climb, there is plenty to explore at the visitors center and museum shop, including memorabilia and maritime artifacts. The lighthouse offers special activities throughout the year. Visit capemaymac.org for hours, tickets and more.
If you still have some strength left in your legs, climb the World War II Lookout Tower, known as Fire Control Tower No. 23. It was part of the large harbor defense system of Delaware known as Fort Miles. This tower was built in 1942 and was part of the original 15 towers used to aim coastal artillery from North Wildwood, New Jersey, to Bethany Beach, Delaware. It was one of four in the county of Cape May.
The tower features a Wall of Honor with photos of more than 100 WWII veterans from the area. For more information call 609-884-5404 or visit capemaymac.org.
With about 600 preserved Victorian buildings, Cape May is known for its historic homes. The fire of 1878 wiped out 30 blocks of the town, and out of that came these beautiful houses. Guided tours are available at capemaymac.org/house-tours.
A visit to Naval Air Station Wildwood’s aviation museum will take visitors into historic Hangar #1, commissioned in 1943. For more information and hours, call 609-886-8787.
Washington Street downtown is loaded with shops. From soaps to popcorn and sports memorabilia to olive oil, there is some special treasure to take home. Visitors will find places to eat, grab an ice cream or sit on a bench and enjoy the activity.
Or, hop on a trolley with Cape May Trolley Tours to get a view of the town and a little history before you go out on your own. Trolley tours take visitors through this historic area and offers an evening ghost tour. Visit capemaymac.org for all the information.
The promenade area of Cape May runs parallel to Beach Avenue for two miles, taking visitors on a beautiful scenic walk. Along the way travelers can stop for a little fun at the arcades.
Whale and dolphin tours are an exciting adventure to experience during a visit to Cape May. Visit capemay.com for the information on available tours.
Going with the kids
The free Cape May County Park and Zoo has more than 550 animals. The snow leopards are popular, and seven cubs have been born there in four years. Parking is also free.
Cape May’s Fireman’s Museum is always a hit with the kids, and it’s free to the public. The personnel at the station help guide visitors. Visit capemay.com for more information on the museum, where to stay and where to eat.