Cape May

Cape May is in the state of New Jersey, in the United States. It lies at the southernmost point in New Jersey, on the Cape May Peninsula, on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. "Cape May" may refer to the small city at the tip of the peninsula, the peninsula itself, or the county which extends about 33 miles northeast of Cape May city to Ocean City. On the other side of the Delaware Bay lies the state of Delaware.

The Victorian Mainstay Inn on Columbia Ave. in Cape May


Cape May, located at the very southern tip of New Jersey, is a Victorian resort town. It was the country's first seaside resort and much of the original flavor still exists in the properties and other sites within the city. Settled by whalers and fishermen in colonial times, the town suffered a devastating fire in 1878 and was rebuilt during the Victorian period. As a result, Cape May is known for its concentration of Victorian era architecture. It was declared a national historic landmark in 1976.

A canal, dug from a natural shallow creek, runs from Cape May's harbor to the Delaware Bay, which makes Cape May an island. In fact, historically, it's known as Cape Island.

The two main industries within Cape May are tourism and fishing. Cape May is second to Atlantic City for tourism in the state of New Jersey. Being at the confluence of the Delaware Bay and the Atlantic Ocean allows Cape May full access to many types of fishing opportunities.

Cape May is also home to the Coast Guard Training Station.

Get in

By plane

The nearest large airports to Cape May are Baltimore-Washington International (BWI), in Baltimore, Maryland, Philadelphia International and Newark International. From these airports you will either have to fly to the smaller airport in Atlantic City and drive for about an hour, or drive directly, which will take approximately three hours. For those with private aircraft, there is a small airport (WWD) just a few miles out of town.

By train

The closet rail terminal is Atlantic City, NJ (about 45 minutes by car or two hours by bus to the North). This station is served by NJ Transit's Atlantic City Line from Philadelphia and is connected to Cape May by NJ Transit bus, see below.

By car

Drive time to Cape May is about three hours drive from the New York City metropolitan area and from Baltimore, Maryland.

If you fly into Philadelphia, it only takes about two hours (assuming you hit good traffic).

If you're able to fly into Atlantic City, you can make it down in about 45 minutes.

By bus

New Jersey Transit runs the 552 bus route from Atlantic City to Cape May.

From the New York Port Authority Bus Terminal, take New Jersey Transit bus route 319 to Atlantic City. A Few 319 buses wiil terminate and begin in Cape May, check the schedule.

Note: New Jersey Transit runs a summer schedule on these two routes when school is out for the summer. So pick up a printed schedule when in doubt. The Web site for New Jersey Transit publishes the normal schedule.

By boat

Cape May has complete harbor access from the Delaware River and the Atlantic Ocean. It is on the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, so it is accessible to boaters from Key West, Florida to Boston, Massachusetts. It is also possible to take the Cape May-Lewes Ferry from Lewes, Delaware to Cape May.


Get around

Cape May is a relatively small town, compared with other mid-atlantic and southern United States resort communities. While cars are allowed on the island, it's best to park it and walk or take a bike. The flat terrain makes biking ideal.




Restaurants, bars & hotels are undeniably the largest employers on the island. Much work available here is seasonal only.


One of the shopping areas in Cape May is the Washington Street Mall, located in the heart of the town. This three-block outdoor mall features a variety of family-owned shops unlike any others, although many are not open during the week in the off season. Call ahead.

There are also many one of a kind shops throughout Cape May and West Cape May. Among them:


There is a wide variety of dining available in Cape May, from family and elegant to seafood and pancakes. However, many restaurants operate on a seasonal basis. Most restaurants are open seven days a week from Late May through early October. After that, it's best to call ahead.

Lunch and Casual Dining

There are good places to eat on nearly every corner. Good pizza and lots of good Italian food. Seafood and burgers are easily found at budget prices, though it might be wise to search for seafood at mid-range prices and above.


There are many places where it is possible to get very good food (esp. sea food) at reasonable prices. One can buy fish right off the boats coming in from the day's fishing.


Cape May is known for its many fine restaurants. The town's been dubbed the Restaurant Capital of New Jersey.






Go next

Routes through Cape May

Newark Sea Isle City  N  S  END
Atlantic City Wildwood  N  S  END
LaurelLewes ferry  W  N  Pleasantville New York City

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Tuesday, February 02, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.