Charming Cape May is one of the Jersey Shore's top family destinations for good reason. With its wide beaches, quaint boardwalk, mini-golf courses, arcades, and ice cream shops, Cape May can entertain kids of all ages. The shopping and family-friendly dining options can't be beat. Head down to Exit Zero, on the southern tip of the Jersey Shore, and enjoy all this town has to offer, from its fabulous beaches and amazing zoo to the historic lighthouse and blazing sunsets.
Read on for our list of 25 can't-miss things to do during your visit to Cape May. For even more fun at the shore, don't miss our summer fun guide.
1. Stretch out on Cape May's famously wide beaches, and watch from your beach blanket as dolphins swim by, frolicking in the surf.
Explore historic Cape May, including the shops along the Washington Street Mall pedestrian area via foot or bike. Photo by Shinya Suzuki via Flickr.
2. Stroll along the Washington Street pedestrian mall and go window shopping at art galleries, specialty clothing stores, souvenir stalls, and sweet shops.
3. Play old-time carnival games on the lawn of Congress Hall on Monday evenings. Keep an eye out for the wandering Blue Pig, the historic hotel's mascot.
4. Visit the Cape May Lighthouse for storytime, or climb to the top for a vista of the Atlantic Ocean meeting the Delaware Bay.
5. Catch a movie after dark on the sand, weekly at Stockton Beach.
6. Rent bicycles and cruise along the boardwalk in the morning, or along the breezy bike lane on New Jersey Avenue. If your littles are too young to pedal, strap them into a surrey.
7. Taste a morsel of freshly made fudge at The Original Fudge Kitchen. Salted caramel, mint, and peanut butter are faves.
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Say hello to the giraffes at the Cape May County Zoo. Photo courtesy of the zoo.
8. Explore the wildlife, including zebras, giraffes, and pink flamingos, at the Cape May County Zoo. Your own little monkeys can swing on the playground equipment near the entrance.
9. Marvel at the FREE magic show at the Convention Center on summer Tuesdays.
10. Listen to an old-time brass band concert at the Rotary Park Gazebo.
11. Soak up the town's Victorian charm on a trolley tour or horse-drawn carriage ride, or stroll past rows of stately, gingerbread-style homes.
12. Indulge in some fresh-made guacamole, crab cakes, or raspberry lemonade at the West Cape May Farmers' Market on Tuesdays.
13. Tour the historic Emlen Physick Estate for a glimpse back in time to the Victorian resort town's prior splendor.
14. Swing your mini-golf club at one of four local putt-putt courses.
15. Board a whale-watching cruise to spy dolphins and whales up close.
16. Follow nature trails through the bird sanctuary and watch the birds take flight.
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Congress Hall Carnival on the lawn. Photo by the author
17. Relax on a rocker or an Adirondack chair while the kids play on the sprawling lawn of Congress Hall Hotel. Fresh juice or cocktails from the outdoor bar recommended.
18. Order a French-style crepe stuffed with fresh fruit at Chill on Beach Avenue.
19. Ride the Cape May-Lewes Ferry for a day trip to Delaware. Or just enjoy the playground, mini-golf, and picnic offerings at the ferry landing.
20. Dig for Cape May diamonds, the tiny quartz crystals that wash up at Sunset Beach.
21. Drive north a few miles into Wildwood for more than 100 thrill rides on the boardwalk at Morey's Piers.
22. Cruise through the coastal wetlands on a Salt Marsh Safari to see crustaceans, plant life, and inland tidal flows.
23. Visit the Aviation Museum, where kids can climb into the cockpit, play flight simulation games, and check out an air traffic control tower.
24. Amble along the dirt paths at Beach Plum Farm, picking berries, feeding hens, and smelling flowers as you go. Grab a fresh-brewed iced tea and sandwich at the barn.
25. Watch the sun set in a blaze of colors over the Delaware Bay on Sunset Beach in Cape May Point, where a patriotic flag-lowering ceremony is held each evening.
Top photo: Cape May's beaches are some of the best on the Jersey Shore.