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A weekend getaway in Cape May NJ is a priceless experience. Those of you not local to New Jersey might be asking yourselves, “Cape May? Where’s that?”
Haha, I’m not insulted. I totally get it. You haven’t visited New Jersey yet. No worries. Not many travelers intentionally set their sights on New Jersey, instead heading for more famous locations such as New York and Philadelphia.
I don’t blame them. Much.
However, New Jersey is … a surprisingly promising tourist destination, especially along the state’s pristine coast. And, in my opinion, scenic Cape May is one of the most incredible towns in all of New Jersey.
Need more information? Happy to oblige!
Cape May is a seaside resort located at New Jersey’s most southern tip. Believe it or not, Cape May is so far south that the area has a completely different climate pattern than the rest of the state.
I highly recommend all visitors coming to New Jersey to pack their bags, hop into their rental cars, and check out Cape May.
Just don’t visit too frequently, because I complain whenever Washington Mall Street gets super crowded, haha.
Why I Love a Weekend Getaway in Cape May NJ
Cape May is near and dear to my heart. Whenever the crowds and general craziness of northern NJ get on my nerves (I’m looking at you, Interstate 287), I pack my bags and head down to Cape May for a long and chill weekend.
For me, Cape May is a vacation whenever the stress of daily life becomes too much to handle.
To clarify what I mean, I think we’ve all been in that hazy mental state when we suddenly think, “Whoooooa, I just need a nice break without spending a fortune on a plane ticket.”
Heading down to Cape May for a couple days is a nice breather for me. After all, it is a relatively quick trip without the financial burden of a plane ticket appearing on my credit card statement.
Furthermore, I spent many summers down at the Jersey Shore, especially Cape May. The nostalgia of Cape May’s restaurants and shops are very comforting to me. Especially the restaurants. Cape May has a unique culinary history that’s worth reading about if you’re coming to visit.
7 Things to do in Cape May This Weekend
You’ll discover so many things to do in Cape May NJ. The main town of Cape May itself has lovely trolley tours, historical homes to visit, cool bars to relax at, and much more. The Jersey Shore is a place to pamper yourself with self-love and feel happy as a clam.
Honestly, the entire surrounding area offers well over a week’s worth of attractions, but Cape May is still perfect for a short weekend break. Just don’t rush around too much.
So, in this guide, I’ll talk about my seven favorite things about Cape May. Have a great time planning your trip!
The Victorian Homes are So Beautiful
Cape May feels like a living, breathing Victorian novel. The stately Victorian homes are absolutely stunning.
You don’t need to spend any money wandering Cape May’s streets and snapping photos of the Victorian manors. Several of these homes have been converted into bed and breakfasts, restaurants, and boutiques, but keep in mind that a lot of homes are now private residences.
Bed and Breakfasts are usually fine with you coming into the lobby to take photos,. As for the private residences, however, please respect the family’s privacy, and don’t trespass to score that wonderful Instragram photo. Not worth it.
On your weekend getaway in Cape May NJ, allow yourself to get lost in the Cape May Historic District. Like I said, you’ll find several examples of Victorian architecture. What I love most is how many colors are used to paint these homes. Bright greens, purples, pinks, and more! Cape May is a rainbow.
If you want to learn the history of one of the homes, go to the Emien Physick Estate and check out the museum. You’ll see a glimpse into shore life 100 years ago.
The Restaurants are Absolutely Exquisite
I’m smitten with Cape May’s restaurant scene. Seriously, I’d be able to eat every day in Cape May, and never feel bored with the food options.
Not a fan of spending all your money at restaurants? Fair enough. Cape May has lots of fresh seafood options even if you want to cook at home. I recommend going to the Lobster House’s market, and bringing back fish to make in the comfort of your own kitchen. You’ll have a great meal without the price tag of eating in a restaurant.
However, if you want to splurge on your weekend getaway in Cape May NJ, then you definitely want to make reservations at Peter Shields and The Washington Inn. Both of these establishments bring fine dining to a whole new level. Their early bird specials will help you save money, too.
As for lunch, Tisha’s on Washington Street Mall serves excellent American cuisine.
Don’t expect to lose weight in Cape May. It won’t happen.
The Beach Has Lots of Room to Enjoy!
Cape May is very well known for spectacularly pretty beaches. Who can say “no” to sand, surf, and sun?
Beach lovers should absolutely head to Cape May in the summer months, particularly July and August. Lounge for an entire afternoon on a beach towel with your favorite novel. Any stress will instantly melt off your body.
However, my favorite time to visit Cape May’s beaches is right in the late afternoon as the crowds head back to their rooms to prepare for dinner.
Swim at your own risk, though, when choosing to visit the beach in the evening. The lifeguards stop working around 5:00 pm.
Oh, and sunsets are breathtaking, too. Don’t forget your camera.
Plenty of Shopping at Washington Street Mall
Are you on a tight budget? Then I have some bad news for you, my friend.
Cape May makes parting with your money an easy task. Not joking.
In particular, you’ll find plenty of shopping at Washington Street Mall. And what’s cool about this shopping area is that you’ll stumble upon lots of small boutiques, art galleries, and even a cute little chocolate shop. No big soulless stores in this downtown!
I have a couple favorite places to shop. For chocolate junkies, I highly recommend Louisa’s Chocolate Bar which sells artisan chocolates. So delicious. I’m also a huge fan of Cash and Clive and Caroline Boutique – both selling women’s clothing.
B&Bs are Romantic, Charming, & Abundant
If you’re spending a weekend getaway in Cape May NJ, then you need to sleep at a reputable Bed and Breakfast. You’ll feel like a Victorian Princess! While Cape May has some hotels, you’ll capture the true charm of this small New Jersey resort if you opt for the B&B instead. Trust me!
For those of you who need specific suggestions, Carol Villa Hotel B&B is a wonderful option for any visit to Cape May. You can eat next door at the Mad Batter, which also has the best Happy Hour in the entire town. Why? Happy Hour happens every single night, even on Saturdays.
Another nearby option is The Virginia Hotel & Cottages, which is my personal favorite at Christmas time. The bar is well known for serving the most delicious deviled eggs.
If you just can’t resist a hotel, then you might want to check out Congress Hall to still enjoy a splash of Cape May’s Victorian history. It was first constructed in 1816 as a seaside resort and retains its historical roots.
You’ll Learn Lots of Local History
As I’ve made very obvious to you guys, Cape May is a historical town that dates back to as far as 1620. It wasn’t until the 19th century that Cape May transformed into a seaside resort to serve the elite of Philadelphia, Baltimore, New York, and Washington.
Today you’re still able to learn all about Cape May’s history. I personally think booking a Trolley tour is a fun way to see the town and hear all about its past.
These trolley tours have many different options. You can even take a ghost tour to learn about spirits that maaay still roam Cape May’s pretty streets.
Cape May Has Plenty of Nearby Attractions
Do you need a break from Victorian splendor? No worries! Cape May has lots of wonderful attractions within a short driving distance.
The Cape May Lighthouse is one example that is located at Cape May Point. This lighthouse is still in working operation, and provides incredible views of all the nearby beaches.
Another attraction will make all you craft beer lovers dance for joy. The Cape May Brewing Co. is a great place to sample some thoughtfully created beers. It’s one of my favorite breweries in the world.
If you’re willing to drive farther, Wildwood and Ocean City have classic boardwalk delights including thrilling rides and pizza.
Just make sure to rent a car. Cape County is … lacking in public transportation, to say the least, although Uber is available in the summer months.
When to Do a Weekend Getaway in Cape May NJ?
Unlike a lot of Jersey shore towns, Cape May has events throughout most of the year.
Summer brings the largest crowds and highest prices. New Jersey is hot and humid in July and August. However, the ocean breeze in Cape May brings much needed relief. Summer is a good time to visit Cape May if you have no other options, but personally, I love Cape May a lot more in the autumn.
Why fall? A weekend getaway in Cape May NJ in fall has all the wonderful weather with none of the massive summer crowds! Most of the shops and restaurants are still open, and you should be able to find slightly lower prices regarding accommodation.
In addition to summer, another one of the most popular times to come to Cape May is the holiday season. The decorations would even make Scrooge throw on a Santa Hat and sing Christmas carols.
Would you like to plan a weekend getaway in Cape May NJ? What small USA towns are your favorites to spend a weekend? How about local getaways? Any secrets you would like to talk about? Share all your thoughts in the comments.