Easy-Breezy Summertime at the Southern Shore

From toes-in-the-sand relaxation and boundless thrills on the water to rich natural and cultural discoveries, everyone can pursue their personal interests at the New Jersey Southern Shore, where life takes on a refreshingly unhurried pace and everyone is warmly welcomed.

Connect With Nature
Driving to the Southern Shore, you’ll want to route your trip along the Bayshore Heritage Scenic Byway. A tad out of the way? It’s worth a detour to soak up the inspiring natural landscapes, including coastal marshlands that are home to migratory seabirds and endangered species. You may even spot a bald eagle flying overhead!

Explore the Southern Shore’s creeks, ponds, tidal marshes, and old-growth woodlands at Glades Wildlife Refuge (Newport, Downe Township), Meadow Wood Environmental Sanctuary (Maurice River Township), Cape May Bird Observatory, and the 500-acre Maurice River Bluffs Preserve (Millville).

Hit The Beaches
Fans of sand and surf have a nearly endless list of options for oceanfront beaches (many of which also boast lively boardwalks). Bring your boogie board to Ocean CityStrathmereSea Isle CityAvalonStone Harborthe Wildwoods, or Cape May. For calmer waters and quieter shorelines, you can lay your blanket down at any of a number of bay beaches stretching from North Cape May into Cumberland County.

Go On An Adventure
Charter a fishing boat at Fortescue State Marina, where anglers head to reel in weakfish or admire dolphins in their natural habitat from the deck of the Cape May Whale Watcher. Would you rather navigate the local waters yourself? The four M Rivers: Maurice, Menantico, Manumuskin, and Muskee, are ideal spots for paddling. If you prefer land-based adventures, the bank of the Maurice River also boasts a scenic walking and biking trail.

Take In Maritime Marvels
The historic “Oyster Capital of the World,” Port Norris offers opportunities for you to witness oystermen at work at the Bayshore Center at Bivalve or set sail aboard the 1928 schooner AJ Meerwald (New Jersey’s official tall ship). For more illuminating experiences, you can visit the East Point Lighthouse (Heislerville) and Cape May Lighthouse.

Discover The Wildlife
New Jersey Southern Shore has not just one but two zoos to visit. Flock to Cohanzick Zoo to make feathered and furry friends with nearly 100 birds and mammals representing more than 45 species. Then make the acquaintance of even more animals—from alpacas to snow leopards—at Cape May County Zoo.

Touch History
Dive into an open-air living history museum at Historic Cold Spring Village, discover multiple museums established by the Cumberland County Historical Society, or travel through time on an authentic trolley tour of Cape May’s Historic District. Become inspired by one woman’s extraordinary courage at the Harriet Tubman Museum in Cape May, a recommended stop on our Black Heritage Destinations in Southern New Jersey Itinerary. And explore these must-sees for military enthusiasts: the Millville Army Air Field Museum, Cape May’s World War II Lookout Tower, and the Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum.

Applaud The Arts 
Let’s be clear—the New Jersey Southern Shore has a long and storied glassmaking heritage. You can see it for yourself in Millville's Glasstown Arts District and the internationally acclaimed WheatonArts (open seasonally), which offers demonstrations in its Artist Studios and exhibits in its Museum of American Glass. You can also enjoy the performing arts at a quartet of venues, including the Levoy Theatre (Millville), Landis Theater (Vineland), Cape May Stage, and East Lynne Theater Company (Cape May).

Need help planning your Southern Shore getaway? Explore your options for accommodations, then download our travel guide and sign-up for our e-newsletter – both are free. To make the most of your trip, we recommend checking out the official websites or social media pages of the attractions you plan to visit before hitting the road.