As we are about to embark on another family trip to my favorite place in the world, I thought I might share some of the places we visit year after year.
Even though I grew up in Northern Maryland, I spent my summers visiting the Jersey Shore. Cape May, specifically. The beauty of Cape May is its lack of commercialization. There is none, there is literally no Wal-Mart in the town of Cape May. I know, mind blown. The town sticks true to its 1800s Victorian style that is absolutely breath-taking. If you are looking for a low-key, safe and perfect piece of American History on the East Coast this is the perfect vacation destination for you.
Over the last 25 years that I have been visiting this historic beach town, not much has changed. Maybe that’s why I love it so much. I was even lucky enough to stay on the iconic Jackson Street year after year as a child. Jackson Street is home to some of the most beautiful bed and breakfast’s on the East Coast that are within a block to the beach. You are also a quick walk to the “Heart of Cape May,” The Washington Street Mall.
Cape May Carriage Company. The view of this town gets even better when you see it on a carriage being drawn by horses. No matter how many times you go on one of these unforgettable tours, you still learn something new every time. Your tour guide will teach you about the town’s history in a way that will make you feel like you were there. We were even blessed enough to get a ride through town after we said, “I do”.
Sunset beach. Located at the far end of the island, you can see a beautiful sunset without any obstructing views every evening. Along with the sunset, they have a flag lowering ceremony to honor a veteran every evening as well. Before catching the sunset, make sure you check out the awesome gift shop, mini golf and you can even hunt for Cape May diamonds on the beach. Cape May diamonds are a clear stone that has been naturally polished by the ocean and left on the beach. In the gift shop, you will find beautiful jewelry they make with them. There, you can also find one of only twelve concrete ships that was ever put into service during World War 1, USS Atlantus.
Cape May County Zoo. I can’t say enough good things about this Zoo. It is mostly shaded, it is free (but don’t forget to leave them a donation anyway!) and they take great care of their animals. They have a train, a carousel, rock wall and have added a tree-to-tree adventure park where you can do activities like zip-lining!
The Mad Batter and Cabana’s on the Beach are my top two favorite places to eat. The Mad Batter has the best egg’s Benedict I have ever had and their filet and crab cake is unforgettable! This restaurant is located on Jackson Street, which is a great place to be! If you are looking for a great place with a view of the ocean for lunch or dinner, I highly recommend Cabana’s on the Beach. The atmosphere is hard to beat and their music always makes you feel like you’re in the Caribbean. Their Baja fish tacos are phenomenal. When we were just there for Memorial Day, the special was Mako Shark tacos and they were unreal! Cabana’s a great place to unwind after a long day in the sun. (Below is a picture of the Mako Shark tacos.)
The beach. That is what we came here for right? Well, if you are unfamiliar with the Jersey Shore, you must know that they operate with beach tags. Visitors 12 and up are required to purchase a beach tag to get onto the beach. Currently, a weekly pass will cost you $18. You are only required to bring your beach tag between the hours of 10 and 5, when the lifeguard in on Duty. Paying for the beach might seem silly, but they take keeping the beaches clean very seriously and when you have your kids with you it’s nice to not be surrounded by cigarette butts!
If you still have more time, just take in all of exquisite victorian architecture. This town is one of a kind and something that everyone that lives there takes great pride in. Another great way to do this as a family is to rent a Surrey from Shield’s Bike Rental. You could also take a Trolley Ghost Tour or plan a day to go dolphin watching. Whatever you do you won’t be disappointed. I promise.