Cape May

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Cape May Family Activities

Aqua Trails kayaking trips

Older children will enjoy gliding through tidal marshes, nearby Pine Barrens lake, or even the Atlantic Ocean in double or single kayaks, led by a high school biology teacher who provides interesting tidbits along the way.

1600 Delaware Ave., NJ, 609-884-5600, www.aquatrails.com
Tags: family | water sports | things to do | outdoors | adventure

Bay Springs Alpaca Farm

Children love visiting the cuddly alpacas – smaller, nicer versions of llamas – at this Bay Springs farm Friday through Sunday. Buy a stuffed version in the store to take home, or some soft and fluffy alpaca yarn for knitting.

542 New England Rd., NJ, 609-884-0563, www.bayspringsalpacas.com
Tags: family | things to do | wildlife

Blue Fish Inn

Family owned and operated, the 12-room Blue Fish Inn (really a motel), has a heated pool, WiFi, and free parking. Bright, cheery rooms, some with kitchenettes, and free beach chairs and umbrellas make for a relaxing stay. The beach is about seven blocks away.

601 Madison Ave., NJ, 609-884-4838, www.bluefishinn.com
Tags: family | budget

Cape May County Zoo

Over 550 animals – including lions, tigers, bears, red pandas, camels, birds, and reptiles – populate this park-like zoo. The Hummingbird Express, a four-car “steam” train, pulls park visitors around the zoo. Admission and parking are both free. The 80-acre zoo is nestled within a 200-acre park with playgrounds and fishing spots.

Corner of Crest Haven Rd. and Rte. 9, NJ, 609-465-5271, www.capemaycountyzoo.org
Tags: family | things to do | outdoors | wildlife | zoo

Cape May Whale Watcher tours

You might see a Humpback or Finback whale, but you will definitely see dolphins on these tours, which take place on 110-foot-long, red boats that cruise the Delaware Bay. Summer trips sell out, so buy tickets in advance – children under 6 are free, and ages 7 to 12 have reduced-price tickets. Bring your own binoculars, or rent them on board.

Corner of 2nd Ave. & Wilson Dr., Schellenger's Landing, NJ, 609-884-5445, www.capemaywhalewatcher.com
Tags: family | things to do | outdoors | wildlife | whale watching

Capri Motor Lodge

Ping pong, shuffleboard, and a gas BBQ grill make the Capri Motor Lodge, conveniently located across the street from the beach, a great family spot. The 33 rooms with kitchenettes, nine suites, and two townhouses (available by the week) have a modern, beachy feel, with ceiling fans circling lazily overhead (though this is apparently just for effect as A/C is available in all rooms). Note: the motel is closed in the winter months.

Beach and Madison aves., NJ, 609-884-4727, www.caprimotorlodge.com
Tags: family | budget

Congress Hall

The 113-room Congress Hall, with its Victorian Christmases and prime location across the road from the beach, is one of America’s oldest seaside grand hotels, first opened in 1816 as a “simple boarding house for summer visitors,” and many families make a tradition of staying here year after year. Many of the sunny rooms face the water; thick old walls ensure a quiet night. Your old-timey room key ensures you a cushioned lounge chair and umbrella on the beach, or a comfy poolside chair.

251 Beach Ave., NJ, 888-944-1816, www.congresshall.com
Tags: family | moderate | great value | views

Dellas 5 & 10

This authentic soda fountain counter has been serving egg creams and sandwiches since 1947. The store surrounding it sells everything from sunscreen to paperbacks, but locals come for the ice cream (choose from almost 20 toppings!) and grilled cheese.

501-503 Washington St., NJ, 609-884-4568, www.dellas5and10.com
Tags: family | budget | american

Historic Cold Spring Village

Sit at a desk in a one-room schoolhouse, look through the goods at a country store, and learn about rural village life in 18th- and 19th-cenutry New Jersey. Interpreters demonstrate everything from basket weaving to blacksmithing at this living history museum, a collection of buildings transported here from across southern New Jersey. Open May 31 to mid-September.

720 Rte. 9 South, NJ, 609-898-2300, www.hcsv.org
Tags: family | things to do | history | museum

Island Bowl

If you’re stuck inside on a rainy day, bring the kids to this 32-lane bowling alley in Wildwood. 

3401 New Jersey Ave., NJ, 609-729-0111, www.islandbowling.com/
Tags: family | things to do | bowling

Movies on the beach

For a drive-in movie experience without the car, visit nearby Wildwood, which hosts first-run movies on the beach every night during the summer. Cape May usually hosts three family movie nights on its beach in July (check the calendar of events at www.capemaychamber.com). Bring your own beach chair or blanket (or rent a chair on site). Concessions are available, or bring your own picnic (but no alcohol).

On the beach next to the Wildwoods Convention Center, NJ, 609-522-6340, www.sunsetcinemainc.com
Tags: family | things to do | outdoors

Nature Center of Cape May

Climb up the three-story observation tower for a good look at the birds, marshes, and landscape of Cape May. An indoor observation center has telescopes; in summer, you can rent kayaks.

1600 Delaware Ave., NJ, 609-898-8848, www.njaudubon.org/centers/nccm
Tags: family | views | things to do | outdoors | wildlife

Ocean City, NJ

For a more traditional Jersey Shore experience, head to Ocean City, where you’ll find mini-golf, a marina, an arcade, and almost three miles of boardwalk.

30 miles north of Cape May; 35 minutes by car, NJ, www.oceancitychamber.com
Tags: beach | family | outdoors | day trip


Philadelphia is known as the home of the Liberty Bell and the Constitutional Convention, but it’s also a charming, walkable city with lively bars and tasty Amish food markets.

92 miles northwest of Cape May; about 1.5 hours by car, PA, www.gophila.com
Tags: family | art | culture | architecture | history | day trip | culinary

The Buckingham Motel

A favorite of families with young children, the 24-room Buckingham Motel’s prime selling point is its location across from the beach and its green, shady lawn. There are few ocean view rooms, but for good access to town and beach at great rates, this may be your best bet.

1111 Beach Ave., NJ, 609-884-4073, www.buckinghammotel.com
Tags: family | budget | views

The Star Inn

Perfect for families spending a week at the shore, The Star Inn has something for groups of every size: a carriage house with two 2-bedroom, 2-bath apartments with large, ocean-view decks; a 9-room inn with a Starbucks on the first floor; and an upgrade on the classic roadside motel, in which all 10 fully-equipped efficiencies have backyard space or a deck. The whimsical accommodations have unexpected touches (note the leopard carpets in the motel) and offer the full beach and spa services of Congress Hall, across the street.

29 Perry St., NJ, 800-297-3779 or 609-884-4590, www.thestarinn.net
Tags: family | moderate | great value | views

The Wildwood Boardwalk

Roller coasters, carnival games, and water parks stretch along two miles of boardwalk in nearby Wildwood. The five piers combined are said to have more rides than Disneyland – in any case, there are certainly enough thrills to fill a summer day. Small children will enjoy kiddie rides like the flying elephants and bouncing giraffes; teens will get thrills on the twisting roller coasters. Stay until evening for weekly fireworks (Fridays at 10:30pm) during the summer.

16th Ave., NJ, 609-522-3900, www.gwcoc.com/boardwalk.html
Tags: family | editor pick | things to do | amusement park

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