Best Kept Secrets of Cape May, New Jersey

Cape May sits at the very end of the Garden State Parkway — exit zero.  It is a place of history, bed and breakfasts, shopping, and much more!

Getting there is half the fun.  Cape May is accessible by two bridges.  If the main bridge is backed up, you can sneak around to the lesser-used bridge on route 109.  Follow the signs for the ferry!  When you get to the first light, turn left onto Route 626 and head over the bridge into West Cape May.  You can laugh the whole way while the other vacationers sit and sweat and curse on the bridge!

With all the visitors and locals, getting around town is much easier on a bicycle or on foot.  No matter where you park, the center of town is only about a twenty minute walk away.  See if your accommodations loan out bicycles, or ask them where you can rent one.  You’ll save yourself the hassle of driving AND the cost of parking.  For a breathtakingly beautiful ride, bike along Sunset Boulevard at sunset.  When you reach Sunset Beach, look for the remains of the SS Atlantus just offshore.  During World War I when steel was hard to come by, the government began construction of concrete ships.  The Atlantus was one of the very first concrete prototype ships, run aground after the war in 1926.

If you DO drive, bring a ton of quarters for the parking meters and keep an eye on the time!

If you’re trying to save money by preparing your own meals, do your shopping in West Cape May.  You can get farm fresh fruits and veggies at the produce stands, and quality cuts of meat from the West Side Market.  Barbeque, anyone?

Save time for a walking tour of Cape May — you can pick up tour maps at the Cape May Welcome Center.  Or take a trolley tour.  Or a horse-drawn carriage ride with a knowledgable driver.  (Carriage rides at sunset are a nice romantic ride, if you’re traveling as a couple.)  The town contains some six hundred gorgeous restored historic houses!  And if you’d rather shop while you walk, browse the stores at the Washington Street Mall.  Pick up souvenirs, send fudge or salt water taffy to friends back home, or just window shop!

If nautical adventures are your style, why not take a whale or dolphin watching cruise?  The Cape May Whale Watcher sails between April and October, four times a day.  Try a sightseeing cruise on the Yankee Schooner, or take the ferry across the Delaware Bay to Lewes, Delaware.  It’s usually a good idea to reserve your spot on the ferry; it’s a popular thing to do in the summer!

For dining, don’t miss the Washington Inn.  The Inn has a ten thousand bottle wine cellar that is the largest in south Jersey!  They also offer Early Family Dinners from 5 to 6pm, Wednesday through Sunday nights.

While you’re on the beach, spend some time hunting for Cape May “Diamonds”.  They’re not real diamonds, don’t get your hopes up.  They are actually quartz crystals that have traveled down the Delaware River and ended up on the beaches of Cape May!  Before the invention of modern gem scanning equipment, Cape May Diamonds fooled many a buyer!