Winter Weekend Getaway in Cape May

Cape May in the summer is stunning, but this Victorian-inspired seaside resort is spectacular in the off-season too. With no lines, free parking, tours and inviting places to stay close to dining and shopping, Cape May is the quintessential beach town winter getaway.

Where to Stay

Want to feel like you’re in your own little cottage by the sea? Book a stay at Congress Hall. Known as America’s First Seaside Resort, this charmer offers breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean and the relaxed yet elegant feel of a true American classic. Be dazzled by the sights, sounds and festive events of Winter Wonderland taking place from November 25 through January 1, 2023, too. 

Also topping our list is Rhythm of the Sea, regarded as Cape May’s only oceanfront bed & breakfast. Convenient to, well, everything, stylish and romantic, this 1912 Craftsman-style inn has become an ultra-popular choice for intimate weddings and honeymoon getaways. Ask about the Valentine’s Weekend Package Stay. 

Two other destinations you’ll love: The Mainstay Inn, one of Cape May’s oldest (and most opulent) inns boasting twelve regally decorated rooms and a beach apartment suite with a cozy fireplace. Awarded New Jersey’s Most Charming Bed, Breakfast & Inn by Reader’s Digest, The Mason Cottage, built in 1871, seamlessly blends Victorian architecture with modern sensibility in Cape May’s historic downtown district. Curl up with a good book in the parlor by the fire. 

Where to Eat

First up is the award-winning Mad Batter Restaurant & Bar, regarded as the granddaddy of Cape May’s fine restaurants. Set on historic Jackson Street with a skylit dining room and live music and events, this iconic destination will be an instant favorite. Try the chorizo and eggs or the Mad Batter Benedict for breakfast and stop back later for lunch (and maybe dinner too.) 

Don’t miss the chance to dine fireside at The Blue Pig Tavern, renowned for its delicious farm-to-table menu featuring fresh produce, herbs and eggs from their very own farm. Tucked in the corner of Congress Hall, this NJ gem was honored with Open Table Diner’s Choice Awards and is recognized annually with the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Other must-dine opportunities include The Lobster House, a true seafood stand-out home to award-winning upscale dining and five picturesque dining rooms overlooking the Cape May Harbor. And if a unique dining experience is what you’re driving at, Exit Zero Filling Station is your place. This once gas station, now bar, restaurant and souvenir shop dishes up Indian and Thai curries along with amazing burgers and other unforgettable fare. Reserve a private dining trailer for music, memorabilia and many, many Instagrammable moments. 

What to Do

When in Cape May, you simply must shop West End Garage, winner of prestigious awards such as Philadelphia Magazine and NJ Monthly’s Best of the Shore. This shopping mecca that started life as a garage and gas station instantly fuels our passion for fashion, art, photography, antiques, jewelry, vintage discoveries and home décor. Another premier shopping location is Best of Cape May recipient Washington Street Mall boasting 75 beautiful boutiques, stores, fine dining, bars, quick bites and activities spanning three beautiful blocks. 

Cheers to Cape May! Visit the brewery that helped put Cape May on the map for craft beer—Cape May Brewing Co. and be greeted by one of the largest and most accessible tasting rooms in the state. Take an interactive, self-guided tour and browse merchandise and beer-to-go in the Brewtique. Also, raise a glass for a staple of Exit 0, Cape May Winery & Vineyard. Visit the taproom to enjoy some of South Jersey’s finest wines, savor the daily tapas menu or book an educational wine tasting.

Cape May offers some of the East Coast’s most interesting tours—trolley tours, historic home tours, ghost tours, you name it. Two to check out: Emlen Physick Estate, Cape May’s only Victorian House Museum. Get an in-depth look at Victorian architecture in this 18-room mansion built in 1879 and how the Victorian Physick family lived, worked and spent their leisure time. Guided tour of the Harriet Tubman Museum—an informative and inspiring account of the freedom fighter’s time in Cape May and how it contributed to the success of the Underground Railroad. Be sure to book in advance.

More ideas: a soothing afternoon at the Cape May Day Spa or winter birdwatching at the Nature Conservatory at South Cape May Meadows. Be on the lookout for northern harriers hunting in the marshes and ducks, such as the northern pintail, green-winged teal and shoveler.

Before you head out, be sure to check with your chosen destinations for the latest updates and details. Discover more winter getaways and get your free official travel guide at VisitNJ.org.