Cape May County in Southern New Jersey is full of amazing
bargains and freebies that guests can stumble upon. This guide narrows down the
top 20 ways to enjoy the many perks of the Cape May area for free. So do your
bank account a favor and take the kids over to the New Jersey Cape for
stress-free, no expense paid adventures.
1. Animal lovers on a budget will want to meet Jerome the
Giraffe, Charlie the Camel and Ellie the Lion at Cape May County
Zoo. Admission and parking are free (charges only apply to busses
and large passenger vans). However, the non profit zoo will accept donations
that go toward maintaining the welfare and health of the animals. Guests will
enjoy the zebras, monkeys, otters and many other exotic creatures at the zoo.
2. Every July in Lower Township, Cape May Beach Property hosts
an annual Whale of a Day festival. Visitors can
celebrate the whales that are known to migrate to its shores. Hundreds of
street vendors flock to the area to sell their best goods, and children can
take advantage of the arts and craft booths to make whale art and souvenirs.
Live music, flea markets and food trucks are all available to enjoy on the
premises. There is no admission fee to attend and the event will go on, rain or
3. For a dose of nautical history, head over to the Delaware
Bay and see the remains of the S.S. Atlantus ship that can be seen over the ocean. Lore
has it that in 1926, this concrete ship sank after a violent storm broke her
loose and pummeled her to the bottom of the ocean floor. Because S.S. Atlantus
was made of concrete, it was nearly impossible to pry her out of the ocean.
Instead, the ship has been a popular tourist attraction for more than 80 years,
but is slowly disappearing as it erodes and sinks deeper into the seabed. Take
your chances to swing by this historic marvel for free during your visit to
Cape May. Afterwards, stop and look around the beach for Cape May Diamonds --
thousands of year old quartzes that can be polished and used like real
diamonds. They are yours to take home if you find them.
4. Get your bean fix at the Lima Bean Festival that takes place on Columbus Day weekend
each year. At Wilbraham Park in West Cape May, guests will have the opportunity
to try unusual lima-bean flavored ice cream and other lima-infused dishes.
Guests can browse through sculptures in the shape of lima beans, jewelry
inspired by the beans or make a purchase of lima bean-influenced memorabilia.
And before you know it -- your kids will be begging for more lima beans.
5. Another great free thing to do is to check out some of the
beaches of Cape May County such as Wildwood’s beaches. Wildwood was ranked as the
best beach in the state by the New Jersey Marine Sciences Consortium and is one
of the only four free beaches in the state. With no parking or beach admission
fee, guests can come and go anytime on the beach at no expense and relax under
the sun. After a refreshing swim, beachgoers can go on a
stroll along the boardwalk loaded with novelty shops, piers and a historic
amusement park to put a pizzazz on your New Jersey beach vacation.
6. Go on scenic hikes at some of Southern New Jersey’s
gorgeous nature reserves including Cape May Point State Park and Higbee Beach Wildlife Management Area.
Overlooking the Atlantic ocean, the parks are known for sporting fascinating
birds (songbirds, hawks, shorebirds), so be sure to bring your binoculars. Some
of the parks like Higbee Beach are known for their well-preserved, historic
Indian burial grounds.
7. They don’t call Wildwood “The Parade Capital of New Jersey”
for nothing. Whether it’s St. Patrick's Day, Mummer’s Day, Christmas in July or
honoring firefighters, Wildwood is known for going all-out festive with glitzy parades
and celebrations. Schedule your visit around the holidays or special
events to catch fleets of talented bagpipers, holiday adorned boats or vintage
firetrucks parading down the street.
8. Each spring, avid birders flock to Cape May County to enjoy
the spectacle of more than a million migrating birds heading north. Cape May has
the second largest assembled shorebird population in the Western Hemisphere.
With no admission fees, guests will only need to bring their binoculars to
catch a glimpse of herons, egrets and iconic bald eagles.
9. To celebrate Cape May County’s cultural history, the Sam Azeez Museum of
Woodbine Heritage focuses on the wave of Russian Jews immigrating to
the area at the end of the 19th century. At this free museum, guests can learn
about the hardship and evolution of farming and the construction of their own
synagogue. Today, the Brotherhood Synagogue (in the museum) houses documents,
artifacts and personal stories of its past immigrants.
10. The National Marbles Tournament is a longstanding
tradition of Cape May County and takes place at Wildwood’s Ringer Stadium at
the beach. Visitors can watch youngsters aged 8-14 compete for the coveted
title of king and queen of marbles. At no costs, guests (mibsters) can watch up
to 1,200 marble games and root for their favorite players.
11. Why walk through Cape May County when you can peddle along
one of its many scenic bike routes? The county is known for it’s extra-flat
surfaces, making it ideal for bikers to enjoy their great adventures. The most
popular designated bike trails are in Middle Township, Cold Spring, Petersburg
and Woodbine. This bicycle-friendly county also has paved bike lanes by
highways and boardwalks. A map of the complete bike lanes/trails is
important to study before planning your ride.
12. Dreaming for a visit to Italy but don’t have the funds for
it? Ocean City may be the much more affordable alternative as it hosts the
annual Night in
Venice festival every summer where the largest boat parade in the
world is held. Thousands of spectators gather each year for free to see the
beautifully decorated boats of all sizes. The boats leave from Longport Bridge
and head south.
13. Every Friday during the summer, Wildwood
Boardwalk is proud to host majestic and patriotic fireworks over the
ocean. Free to spectators, the fireworks start at 10 p.m. and explode
rhythmically to a musical score. Don’t forget to bring your beach chair or
picnic blankets to make your comfortable evening go out with a bang.
14. Reveal your inner swashbuckler by grabbing a shovel and
start digging for Captain Kidd’s treasure on the beach in North
Wildwood. For the past 50 summers, the infamous pirate pays a visit to the
shore and recruits your children to help him find the bounty he left behind
hundreds of years ago. Honorary children and adult pirates will start to dig
for hidden treasures when the event begins. Mateys that dig up the famed
treasure will take it home for free.
15. During the middle of November, tip toe to Ocean City for
the annual Quiet Festival. The event has one solid rule
-- guests are to remain silent or speak quietly as they enjoy the many
amenities. Children can make flying paper planes, partake in a Yawn Along,
listen to seashells and partake in many quiet activities.