Cape May Travel Guide

Cape May, New Jersey, is a small town of about 3,500 located at the end of the Cape May Peninsula, which lies at the extreme southeastern corner of the state. During the summer months, the population of Cape May soars to over 40,000 due to seasonal residents. The city is popular for its beaches, Victorian architecture, and prime birdwatching opportunities.


Though Dutch explorer Cornelius Mey, after whom the cape and city take their common name, sighted Cape May in the early 1600’s, it was immigrants from New England who first colonized the cape. The city itself was originally incorporated as “Cape Island” in 1848 but later changed its name. However, the area had already become a resort destination for Philadelphians desirous to escape the “urban rut,” and during the 1800’s, Cape May grew to be a nationally famous resort town.

Things to see and do in Cape May

Visit Cape May Point State Park, where you can hike through 235 acres of nature trails. There are sandy beaches and dunes, wooded isles, marshy coast lands, and great opportunities to watch for migrating birds in the autumn. However, the number one attraction is the Cape May Lighthouse.

Cape May Lighthouse – Cape May, New Jersey

Cape May Lighthouse

Relax at Sunset Beach, where you can not only swim, sun yourself, and walk the sandy shore but also see the remains of the USS Atlantus protruding up out of the water in the distance. Additionally, a World War II observation tower is nearby. Finally, there is a flag-lowering ceremony every night in honor of a veteran.

Explore the Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum at Hangar Number One at Cape May Airport. The airport and hangar themselves are historic, but inside, you will see aircraft dating from World War II and other later wars.

Cape May, New Jersey

Waves rolling in at Cape May. Cape May Lighthouse in the background.

Tour the Emlen Physick Estate, one of the numerous Victorian structures in Cape May. This particular building, however, houses a museum in it. You can peruse the furnishings on the inside and note the Stick Style and over-sized features of the exterior.

Take the kids to for a day of fun at the Cape May County Park and Zoo. There is no entry fee, and you can use the facility anytime of year. You will see over 250 species of animals on the 85-acre premises. The African, reptile, and aviary exhibits are especially noteworthy, but there are many more as well.

Climate conditions

Cape May has a “humid subtropical” climate. Its summers are hot and humid, while its winters are fairly cold. Winters are, however, still milder than the rest of New Jersey. July highs average 85 degrees, while January highs average 42 degrees. The area receives 42 inches of rain and 16 inches of snow per year.