Top Things To Do In Cape May This Summer

Sink your toes in the sand at this treasured beach town located at the southernmost tip of the Jersey Shore. Recognized as America’s Original Seaside Resort, the entire city is a National Historic District brimming with historic buildings, charming bed & breakfasts, and stunning stretches of sand and surf. The town’s postcard destinations, romantic spots, and fun family traditions make Cape May a go-to for extended summer vacays and weekend getaways.

For History Buffs:
If you’re interested in exploring New Jersey’s rich historical sites and attractions, Cape May is a must. Walking through the charming streets is like stepping back in time, as the town has dedicated itself to preserving its historic structures and celebrating its storied past.

1.    Hop on a TrolleyTour Cape May the fun, easy (and comfortable) way – in a cheery red trolley. Knowledgeable guides will acquaint you with America’s first seaside resort, from Cape May’s Victorian heritage and maritime history to local hotspots, wineries, and more.

Cape May Trolley

2.    Tour the Harriet Tubman Museum – Discover the deep history of abolitionist activism and the pivotal role Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad played in the fight for freedom. Ticket information can be found here.

3.    Explore the Emlen Physick Estate – This historic wonder is one of the best examples of Victorian Stick Style architecture in the country. Take a guided tour of the first and second floors of this 18-room Victorian mansion for an in-depth look at how the Physick family lived, worked, and spent their leisure time. 

4.    Admire the Painted Ladies Cape May has one of the largest concentrations of Victorian structures in the United States, second only to San Francisco. One of the most famous attractions in Cape May, the colorful historic homes found throughout the town are known affectionately as the “Painted Ladies.” These ornate buildings and elaborate mansions have been meticulously preserved and offer picturesque representations of Victorian/Edwardian architecture. 

Cape May Victorians

5.    Step up to the Cape May Lighthouse – Built in 1859, this beacon of light and history is still an aid to navigation. Climb the 199 steps to the top of the lighthouse, and you’ll be rewarded with unforgettable panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean and Delaware Bay.

Cape May Lighthouse

For Nature Lovers:
New Jersey is known for its incredible shoreline, with more than 60 beaches brimming with coastal wildlife and breathtaking natural scenery. The seaside town of Cape May is the perfect destination for soaking in all the natural beauty of the Southern Shore. 

1.    Adore the Shore – Of course, one of the best things to do in Cape May in summer is to head to the water. Ranked one of the Top 10 Best Beach Towns on the East Coast by Condé Nast Traveler, Cape May’s beaches are some of the most beautiful in New Jersey. Serene and pristine with spectacular views, beach lounging doesn’t get much better than this.

2.    Go Birdwatching – If you haven’t before, now’s the time to give birding a try. It may become your next favorite pastime. National Geographic lists Cape May as a World’s Best destination for birdwatching. Flock to Cape May Bird Observatory, Higbee Beach, and Sunset Beach to observe a multitude of feathered friends.

3.    Get Out on the Water – Go on a whale- and dolphin-watching expedition aboard the 110-foot Cape May Whale Watcher. You’ll take a three-hour tour, exploring the Delaware Bay Estuary and searching for marine life. Don’t forget your camera! You’ll want to remember this once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

For Arts & Culture Enthusiasts:
From museums to performing arts centers, New Jersey is bursting with attractions that showcase the state’s talented artists and deeply rooted culture. Cape May’s own local talent is on full display each summer with unique performances and annual shows.

1.    See a Performance – Get tickets for a Cape May Stage production at the Robert Shackleton Playhouse downtown. Or check out the East Lynn Theatre Company, which brings the American spirit to the stage with selections of contemporary performances and plays resurrected from America’s theatrical past.

Robert Shackleton Playhouse

2.    Check Out the Galleries – Cape May has a thriving art scene with many galleries showcasing works by local and regional artists. Stroll along Washington Street Mall or explore the side streets to discover hidden gems.
3.    Catch a Craft Show – In June, July and August, artisans display their wares at Cape May’s annual Summer Craft Show on the Promenade. Speak with local artists and craftspeople about their original work, and take home some one-of-a-kind, hand-made pieces.

For Families:
Each year, families flock to New Jersey to explore the state’s kid-friendly favorites, from aquariums to amusement parks. Summers in Cape May draw families from across the country for a picturesque coastal getaway packed with fun for all ages.

1.    Watch a Film by the Sea – On Thursday evenings in July and August, you can experience a Cape May summer tradition: Movies on the Beach. Grab a blanket or some beach chairs and sit back to enjoy some classic, family-friendly entertainment.

2.    Get Wild at the Cape May County Park & Zoo – If you haven’t visited this top family pick, add it to your calendar. Eighty-five acres of lush landscape and more than 550 animals representing more than 250 species make this a must-visit New Jersey destination.

3.    Shop Washington Street Mall - In the heart of Cape May, you’ll find this picturesque town square lined with local eateries, trendy boutiques, beach shops, and more. Stop at Fralinger's to try their famous saltwater taffy, then pick out a few souvenirs for the family.

Washington Street Mall 
Be sure to check your destination’s website and social media pages before you go for the latest updates and information. Find more ways to enjoy New Jersey at