If you’re searching for things to do in Cape May this summer, head to the beach! Cape May Beach is the most popular option, as it has seasonal lifeguards on patrol and is next to the Cape May Boardwalk. This means there are plenty of food and accommodation options nearby. Other Cape May beaches include Pearl Beach, Higbee Beach and Sunset Beach. That latter is indeed a great spot to watch the sunrise and sunset.
1. Emlen Physick Estate
One of the most historical things to do in Cape May is visit Emlen Physick Estate, New Jersey’s only Victorian house museum. Emlen Physick moved into the home in 1879, alongside his widowed mother and maiden aunt. Its 15 rooms have been beautifully restored to give you a glimpse at what life would have been like in the late 19th century. There are guided tours that take you through the house and to the Carriage House, which hosts exhibitions in its Carriage Gallery.
2. Cape May Lighthouse
Built in 1859, Cape May Lighthouse is still operational today. Visitors can take the 199 steps to the top for views across Cape May and to Cape Henlopen in Delaware on a clear day. The onsite Oil House is home to an information center and Museum Shop that’s stocked with souvenirs and books. There are several annual events at Cape May Lighthouse as well, including full moon climbs, family fun days, and even a Christmas in July celebration.
3. Nature Center of Cape May
The Nature Center of Cape May is an award-winning facility built on Cape May Harbor. Established in 1992, the center is aimed at environmental education and creating a responsible stewardship program for the surrounding harbor area. The Nature Center of Cape May features a three-story observation tower, themed gardens, live animals and an aquarium, a nature trail, and a small gift shop. It offers natural history programs, summer camp and family programs throughout the year as well.
4. Historic Cold Spring Village
Opened in the summer months, the Historic Cold Spring Village is a living history village depicting what life was like in the first years of American independence. There are 27 buildings on the 30-acre site, where staff in period clothes demonstrate printing, pottery, basket weaving, and more. Historic Cold Spring Village also has a farm with live animals, horse-drawn wagon rides and historic games. Visitors will find an ice cream shop, brewery and restaurant on site as well. This is one of the most family-friendly things to do in Cape May.
5. Cape May Beaches
If you’re searching for things to do in Cape May this summer, head to the beach! Cape May Beach is the most popular option, as it has seasonal lifeguards on patrol and is next to the Cape May Boardwalk. This means there are plenty of food and accommodation options nearby. Other beaches include Pearl Beach, Higbee Beach and Sunset Beach. That latter is indeed a great spot to watch the sunrise and sunset.
6. Washington Street Mall
Washington Street Mall is a three-block shopping and dining district in the middle of Cape May. Accentuated by colorful and historic buildings, Washington Street Mall is filled with plenty of locally-owned shops and art galleries. For souvenirs, pick up a sweet treat from The Original Fudge Kitchen then head to Great White Shark, which is stocked with novelty t-shirts and gifts. In the summer, Washington Street Mall’s Rotary Park hosts concerts on select evenings too.
7. Jersey Shore Alpacas
Jersey Shore Alpacas is a family-owned and operated farm in Cape May. The small farm is currently home to 18 alpacas, which the owners personally breed “because they enjoy them so much.” Jersey Shore Alpacas hosts Open Farm Days on Saturdays when the public can visit to meet and feed the alpacas with provided carrots. The onsite Farm Store is also stocked with products made from alpaca fleece, such as sweaters, scarves, socks and more.
8. Naval Air Station Wildwood
Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum is located in Hangar #1 at Cape May Airport. The hangar was an active dive-bomber squadron training facility during World War II. The aviation museum is home to a large collection of aircraft from World War II, the Vietnam War, the Korean War, and the Cold War. There’s also interactive displays and special exhibitions on aviation, New Jersey and WWII history. Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum is another family-friendly attraction you should visit.
9. Cape May Winery & Vineyard
Cape May Winery & Vineyard is one of the largest wine producers in New Jersey. The family-owned business produces an average of 40,000 gallons of wine annually, which equates to over 16,000 cases. They have four vineyards across 26 acres, which grow 11 grape varietals. Their wine selection includes reds, whites and port. Stop by Cape May Winery & Vineyard to sample their wines in the tasting room, which pair perfectly with the daily tapas menu.
10. The Colonial House Museum
Another one of the best things to do in Cape May in summer is stop by The Colonial House Museum. The museum was formerly a tavern and home of Revolutionary War patriot, Memucan Hughes. Built in the 18th century, it’s believed to be one of Cape Island’s oldest houses. Today, it’s free to visit The Colonial House Museum, which is open seasonally from June to September. It’s filled with artifacts and exhibits that show this town’s interesting history.
11. Willow Creek Winery
Willow Creek Winery is the only Napa-style winery on Cape May Island. It’s also the area’s newest and largest winery, with a 50-acre vineyard. The climate here is similar to that in Bordeaux, which leads to the finest grape harvests. Willow Creek Winery currently produces 13 red and white wine varietals. Open daily, visitors can head to the winery for tastings, vineyard tours, to purchase their wines, and to enjoy lunch or dinner at their farm-to-table restaurant.
12. World War II Lookout Tower
This World War II Lookout Tower is specifically Fire Control Tower No. 23, which played a massive part in coastal defence during the war. It’s the last remaining World War II Lookout Tower in New Jersey. Sitting in Cape May Point State Park, the World War II Lookout Tower was restored in 2008 and 2009. Today, you can take guided and self-guided tours of the tower, as well as visit the exhibition gallery on the second level.
13. Cape May Fire Department Museum
One of the best free things to do with the family in Cape May is visit the local Fire Department Museum. Inside the small museum you can learn all about the history of the Cape May Fire Department, through interactive displays and artifacts. There’s even an antique fire engine from 1928 inside (the American LaFrance Fire Engine to be exact)! Before you leave, visit the gift shop to purchase a memorable t-shirt or gift.
14. Cape May Stage Professional Equity Theater
Cape May Stage is a Professional Equity Theater that aims to inspire performers, audiences, and the local community. Cape May Stage organizes Main Stage productions featuring top local performers; family, training and educational programs; and its Monday Night Second State series. This series involves hosting the best performers from Broadway and across the country. The historic Robert Shackleton Playhouse in downtown is where most of the magic happens.