America’s oldest seaside resort, has welcomed visitors for generations with its hospitality and Victorian charm. This Victorian community is not just for summertime. Combine Cape May’s location, architecture and hospitality with its year round calendar of cultural, and family-friendly events, and it’s clear that this is a destination for all seasons.
From its emergence as a popular seaside resort before the Civil War until now, Cape May has experienced both boom and bust. In 1869 and again in 1878, the town suffered major fires, the latter destroying 35 acres of property including most of Cape May’s legendary hotels. However, active community residents and city leaders helped rebuild Cape May into an architectural marvel of picturesque Victorian landscapes, and then maintained its turn-of-the-century look and feel by implementing conscientious zoning laws and an active historic preservation contingent. As a result, the entire city of Cape May was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1976.
The “Reinvention” of Cape May
Victorian houses still line the sidewalks and a storied history still pervades this city, but something has changed in this tranquil little shore town. Unlike other popular East Coast seaside locales, Cape May stays open year-round and thrives during the shoulder season, with a variety of activities every weekend through Christmas. Cape May hosts a world-renowned jazz and music festivals. Not one, but two top-notch theater companies. It boasts award-winning wineries; top restaurants with menus ranging from finger food to fine dining; funky shops with unique merchandise.
More than a Vacation at the Beach
Although Cape May was named one of America’s top beaches, non-beach bums can choose to participate in educational, natural, cultural, or sightseeing activities beyond the sea. Cape May activities run the gamut and span all ages, allowing each visitor to design a personalized vacation with his or her own customized itinerary.
Location & Climate
Cape May is approximately 2.5 square miles, located at the southern tip of New Jersey, below the Mason Dixon line and shares the same geographic latitudinal line with Washington, D.C. In autumn and early winter, Cape May experiences much warmer temperatures than interior regions of New Jersey and in the spring and summer, ocean breezes help to keep the shore town’s temperatures cooler. Hence, its nickname: “Cool Cape May.”
Named “The restaurant capital of New Jersey” by The New York Times, Cape May offers an assortment of cuisines any “foodie” would love. Whether you plan on dining in or taking out, Cape May restaurants provide a number of exceptional options. Elegant atmospheres complete with Victorian charm and hospitality invite guests to relax and enjoy a total dining experience. Top chefs dot the kitchens in Cape May, and impress guests with attention to detail and an appreciation of food as an art form, creating culinary masterpieces, both pleasing to the eye and the taste buds.
The Great Outdoors
Known for its emphasis on eco & geo-tourism as well as its attention to preserving the environment and natural spaces, Cape May’s beautiful seaside location makes it ideal for water sports such as swimming, kayaking, boating, parasailing and fishing. Land lovers, there is biking, golfing and tennis just to name a few. Birders can’t wait to add Cape May to their list of must see’s, which includes the spring & fall migrations of birds and butterflies.