Visit The Jersey CapeA Jersey Cape Vacation - It never gets old!
From the sandy beaches of the Atlantic Ocean to the natural strands along Delaware Bay, north to south and east to west, the Jersey Cape has what you are looking for in a vacation destination! Cape May County encompasses 267 square miles and is home to nearly 95,000 year-round residents, with that number swelling to a seasonal population of over 820,000 during the summer months.
The county welcomes literally millions of visitors every year who enjoy the sun and sand, the birds and butterflies, the Arts and entertainment and the romance and solitude of a walk on the beach. Many enjoy the relaxation of a night sleeping under the stars at one of our many campgrounds. Others prefer luxury and lace at a Bed and Breakfast Inn, and then there are those who return year after year to their favorite hotel, motel or rental property. Spend a day, a weekend, or an extended vacation in Cape May County and you will see why generations of families return year after year.
Once primarily a summer destination, the county is quickly becoming more and more of a year-round resort. Special events bring visitors back all year long, add world class birding and nature based activities, shopping, antiquing, golf, biking and hiking, wineries and great dining to the mix and you have a great spring, fall and winter getaway.
Fall fishing is considered the best along the back bays and from the surf, piers and boats on the Jersey Cape. Party and Charter boats go out well into November, or longer, depending on what is running. Many beaches allow vehicles on the beaches with permits for surf fishing. Fishing is allowed on rock piles, fishing piers and designated areas along bridges. Fresh water fishing requires a license.
Cape May’s Victorian Week and winter holiday calendar extend through New Year’s Eve and pick up again on Presidents Weekend. Cape May's Convention Center, opened in 2012, offers concerts and other events throughout the year. Hotels and Bed and Breakfast Inns along with many restaurants and shops are perfect retreats and are open to help visitors survive the winter blues.
Ocean City has a varied schedule of unique fall events including a Fall Block Party, Indian Summer and a First Night celebration that included 70 family fun and cultural events spread over venues throughout the city. First Night activities culminate in a fireworks display off their famous boardwalk. The vibrant downtown shopping district has unique boutiques and eateries with many remaining open all year for those who need their Ocean City fix after the summer months have passed.
The Wildwoods celebrate their Doo Wop heritage with a rock and roll weekend every October and a growing list of attractions at the Convention Center draw big crowds throughout the year. The special events in the Wildwoods range from classic car shows along the boardwalk to ethnic festivals and concerts under the stars. Each September, North Wildwood hosts one of the largest Irish Festivals in the state.
Arts and Entertainment
Theater and concerts are a great way to spend a special night out with family and friends. Special children's productions are part of the entertainment line up in most venues. Art classes, tours and movies on the Beach are a great way for families to spend a summer day. Culinary events, wine tastings and tours are available for those seeking to learn while on vacation. Open mic night is a great way to join in the fun and top off an evening on the Jersey Cape.
The Ocean City Music Pier is home to the Ocean City Pops and the Miss New Jersey Pageant and features a full schedule of concerts, theater and art shows throughout the year. The Wildwoods Convention Center rocks with the Fabulous 50s Concert and a full schedule of events that range from music to sports. The Cape May Convention Hall hosts an exciting line up of entertainment with their Summer Concert Series. The Cape May Music Festival is held each spring and offers everything from Classical to Jazz for your entertainment. The Exit Zero Jazz Festival is a multi venue event that brings in the best in jazz.
Dinner and a show are packaged by Eastlynn Equity Theatre and Cape May Stage. The choice is yours when it comes to activities and events. From ethnic festivals, to fall block parties, to holiday events, check the calendar of events at the top of this page to see what's happening on the Jersey Cape.
Part of the county’s charm is its history that spans more than 300 years. A number of local museums and arts centers help preserve this history that goes back to the late 1600s when whalers from New England, many of whom were descendants of the Pilgrims who came over on he Mayflower, followed the whales to and settled in Townbank in Lower Township, along the Delaware Bay.
A trip to a local museum is a great family activity, especially for those rainy days. You might be pleasantly surprised to learn about the Lenni Lenape Native Americans who first lived in the county, pirates that buried treasures along our beaches, our connection to the Underground Railroad, tales of war battles and ships that sunk off our shores. Some of our history is spiced with stories of speakeasies and gentlemen's clubs and a few reports of ghosts that still reportedly come out in the night.
Cape May’s Victorian architecture is just part of our preserved history. U.S. Route 9, the old stage coach road from Philadelphia, tells an expanded story of the county's rich history. Drive to Cape May Court House and a see the original county court house, travel north through Middle Township to the Museum of Cape May County, continue through Dennisville and catch a glimpse of our early ship building history.
Check out Dennis Creek, where cedar was mined and shingles made for the roof of Independence Hall in Philadelphia. Go back in time to the days of rock 'n roll to the Wildwood’s fun and funky Doo Wop styles and neon lights are all part of the county’s eclectic history.
Visit a living outdoor museum and sample a taste of mid-eighteen century farm life in Southern New Jersey at Historic Cold Spring Village or check out the Fishing Creek School, a one room school house, in Villas, Lower Township.
Lodging and Dining
Accommodations include rentals, condos, motels, bed and Breakfast Inns and campgrounds. There are more than 18,000 rooms and 15,000 campsites available during the summer months along the Jersey Cape. Shoulder season availability varies with most staying open through September and others offer year round lodging options. Rates and level of services also vary and can be found on websites links through local chambers of commerce on this site.
Many people – perhaps the lucky ones – have a second home here in Cape May County so they can enjoy all that we have to offer any time of the year. Vacation homes are available through real estate offices also linked on this site.
Restaurants range from the family friendly with menu choices popular with the youngsters to bistros and café for casual fare to acclaimed establishments with gourmet entrees that blend with the ambiance that goes with fine dining. Many offer excellent wine selections and the latest in new cocktails, some have breathtaking ocean views.
The vast diversity of activities and events found at the Jersey Cape are bringing visitors back year after year for day trips and extended stays. So much more than great beaches and exciting boardwalks, Cape May County offers a unique quality of life for year round residents, second homeowners and visitors. If it is a slower pace you're looking for, you can find it here.
Cape May County Parks and Zoo
Lions and Tiger and Bears are just a few of the more than 250 species of animals found at the Cape May County Zoo. Located on Route 9 in Cape May Court House, this 22 acres zoo is full of fun and surprises. The well maintained gardens line paths that take visitors throughout the park to allow you to get about as up close and personal as you ever want to be with the more than 500 animals that call the zoo home.
The Savannah takes you on a wooden walkway to view giraffes, zebra and camels. The Reptile House, Eagle Exhibit, Aviary and Large Cat and Small Primate areas are found along the walk to the delight of the young and old alike.
A trip the Cape May County Zoo is a great way to spend a relaxing day and to unwind and slow down your busy pace and don't forget your camera. Stop by and say Hello to Rocky our tiger; Lex and Belle our lions and Brutu, our gray Parrot.
The Cape May County Zoo is a TripAdvisor favorite and is ranked as one of the best in the country. The Zoo is free and donations are gladly accepted. Make plans to visit the Zoo or one of the three county parks that offer a beautiful natural setting, walking trails and nature based activities.
The Bounty of the County
Cape May County's appeal since first incorporated in 1692 was agriculture and fishing and while there have been many changes to the landscape, not much has changed in the allure of our pristine beaches, clean ocean waters and lush mainland communities. Farming continues to be a way of life for many residents in Cape May County and Jersey Fresh produce and farm products are found at roadside stands and local farmers markets in each community.
Look for 'made in Cape May County' products such as sea salt, olive oil, breads, peanut butter, candies, candles, soaps and body lotions and products made with local honey.
Local Vineyards are growing varieties of grapes resulting in award winning wines sold at the Cape May County wineries, restaurants and other retail outlets. Currently, six wineries are located on the Jersey Cape, offering tours and tastings to visitors throughout the spring, summer and fall. Breweries and a distillery are in operation and are also using local produce in their lines.
The combined port of Cape May/Wildwood is the largest commercial fishing port in New Jersey and is one of the largest on the East Coast. Cape May/Wildwood is the center of fish processing and freezing in New Jersey. Some of the largest vessels fishing on the East Coast are home ported here.
Commercial and recreational fishing boats produce fresh seafood daily and the "catch of the day" is often found on menus in restaurants, not only along the Jersey Cape, but all over the eastern seaboard. Local oysters, such as Cape May Salts, are being harvested along the Delaware Bay and have become a favorite among seafood lovers.
Request our Visitor Guide
Request or read our destination guide, The Southern New Jersey Vacationer. The digital copy is conveniently located on this page.