Just because you’re on vacation doesn’t mean you should ignore the rich history around you! Southern New Jersey is home to lighthouses, a zoo, gardens, and much more! Take a break from the beach and explore the New Jersey that used to be! Find out what life was like in the colonial days, or during the 19th century. See old fashioned fishing boats or wartime aircraft. No matter what period of American history is your passion, you can find out more at the Jersey shore!
Cape May is home to a twenty-two acre living history museum known as Historic Cold Spring Village! You can explore twenty-five restored buildings and talk with costumed interpreters who bring the sights, sounds, and smells of the 1800s. Begin your visit at the Welcome Center and learn a little bit about Cape May’s history. Throughout the village, you’ll find interpreters demonstrating trades like blacksmithing and tinsmithing, spinning and basket weaving, printing and bookbinding, and much more!
For centuries, fishermen have used the Hereford Inlet as a safe haven, but strong currents and shifting sand bars often made it dangerous. In the 1800s, a small fishing village grew up and was called Anglesea; the United States Lifesaving Service established a small lighthouse there. Fast forward more than a hundred years, and the city of North Wildwood found themselves with a derelict lighthouse. It was restored in the 1980s and today offers guided tours, art and craft shows, butterfly watching, and North Wildwood’s annual Christmas celebration.
Travel back to 1695 and visit this one-room whaler’s cabin on Route 9 in Swainton. Visit the herb and vegetable garden to see tobacco and cotton growing like they did in colonial days.
Believe it or not, the miles of boardwalk in Wildwood were built around the turn of the century! Who says history can’t be quick, easy, and fun? The boardwalk actually has more rides than Disneyland. Another interesting boardwalk fact is that it’s been moved twice — closer to the ocean both times.
Your souvenir hunters may enjoy the George Boyer Historic Museum, which tells tale of the Wildwoods through hundreds of vintage postcards. Photos go back as far as the 1880s!
Tour the Emlen Physick House and explore the only authentically restored house museum in Cape May! The Physick Estate also offers tours of Cape May’s Historic District. Information is available at the Physick Estate on Washington Street in Cape May.
Your New Jersey visit would be incomplete without a tour of the famous Cape May Lighthouse! Built in 1859, the lighthouse is believed to be the second oldest, continually running lighthouse in the country. And don’t miss the Light House Museum and its amazing view of the Jersey Cape.
A World War II hangar houses the Aviation Museum at the Cape May County Airport. See more than fifteen planes and helicopters from the World War II era and through the present. The Airport also features Warbird and Vintage airplane shows.