Celebrate the Holidays Amidst Victorian Splendor in Cape May

Throughout the year, Cape May turns on the charm. But when the holidays come around, this seaside destination with National Historic Landmark flair truly knows how to put on a show. From November 20, 2020 - January 1, 2021, during "Christmas in Cape May," bring your loved ones for an enchanting experience that couldn’t be more picturesque if it were portrayed by Charles Dickens himself.


Lots of festive fun awaits in this town characterized by larger-than-life gingerbread houses. Delight in it all by spending your evenings too. Cozy up in one of the wonderful Victorian homes (we call them “Painted Ladies”) that are now bed & breakfasts and inns. Be sure to check current offers and deals across the array of Cape May accommodations.


A Dazzling Holiday Extravaganza

Ready to roll on this holly, jolly...trolley...Christmas? Travel through time—and Cape May’s Historic District streets—with a seasonally themed trolley tour. Pick from the Holiday Lights Trolley Ride to sing along to carols while marveling at merry décor, or the Ghosts of Christmas Past Trolley Ride to be regaled with a spooky tale.


If the little ones can’t wait another minute to chat with Ole’ St. Nick, or the grownups just wish to feel like kids again, you’re in luck. On Santa’s Trolley Ride, Mrs. Claus leads stories and songs, and later, Santa greets children with a sweet in the Emlen Physick Estate Carriage House. At the Inn of Cape May, treat them to Breakfast with Santa for a magical visit and family-friendly buffet (Christmas lists accepted!).


Take in captivating holiday theater with An Actor’s Carol presented by Cape May Stage, O. Henry’s Christmas Tales presented by the East Lynne Theater Company and Scrooge: The Musical presented by Elaine's Dinner Theater.


Candlelit Victorian Christmas

For the 45th year, Cape May’s Christmas Candlelight House Tours  (December 1, 8 and 15) will illuminate its renowned, Victorian architectural legacy. You’ll promenade the gaslit streets to admire the town’s precious gems in their most radiant glory. Some of its nearly 600 restored buildings—homes, inns, hotels and churches—will be beautifully bedecked. Plus, revel in Christmas caroling, strolling musicians, traditional goodies and admission to the 1879 Physick Estate and “An Old-Fashioned Christmas” exhibit.


But that’s not the only way to catch a closer glimpse. Choose from a whole host of holiday tours, such as the Holiday Inns Tour, Cheery Cherry House Christmas Tour, Evening Yuletide Tour, Lamplighter Christmas Tour and Physick Family Christmas House Tour.


Savor the Season’s Eatings

Award-winning and acclaimed. Heart- and belly-warming. Cape May cuisine often garners rave reviews. Indulge in favorites like the Union Park Dining Room, Mad Batter Restaurant & Bar, Peter Shields Inn & Restaurant, Ebbitt Room and Washington Inn.


Cape May dining possibilities pair nicely with real holiday cheer: tastings in Cape May Wine Country, at Cape May Winery & Vineyard, Hawk Haven Vineyard & Winery, Turdo Vineyards & Winery and Willow Creek Farm & Winery. Or see what’s on tap at the Cape May Brewing Company.


Keep an eye on the holiday food and wine events, where gourmet feasts, chocolate and even bingo are on the menu! 


Pack a Sleighful of Presents

Help Santa cross some names off his “nice” list! Cape May delivers a variety of gifts. Shopping includes Washington Street Mall, an eclectic collection of retailers stocking toys, treats, art, fashion, books, décor and more. For a one-size-fits-all option, consider a Cape May gift certificate, which can be used at dozens of local merchants and organizations, such as restaurants, shops, accommodations and those providing tours, entertainment and adventures.


Stop by the popular Holiday Crafts and Collectibles Show (November 23-24). Or, browse holiday history during “Let’s Go Shopping” (December 15), a richly illustrated presentation about Victorian consumer culture, and one of the season’s slate of Holiday Lunch & Learns.


Outdoors Alongside the Ocean

Sometimes, you simply need a breather from the holiday hustle and bustle. Cape May comes through then too! Enjoy ample chances for reenergizing alfresco. Stroll the beach, and treasure Atlantic views and that brisk sea breeze.


Want a loftier look? Climb 199 steps inside the 1859 Cape May Lighthouse, open on select dates, for a Jersey Cape and Delaware Bay panorama. At the Cape May Bird Observatory, discover why this is one of the top spots to watch feathered friends take flight. Or walk on the wild side at Cape May County Park & Zoo. The Zoo is free and open daily, every day but Christmas.


Check the lists at CapeMay.com much more than twice, because this town’s calendar impresses with events and things to do all year long. You can unwrap holiday activities held throughout the state at visitnj.org, where you can also download a free NJ travel guide or sign up for e-news from New Jersey Travel and Tourism.