- Cape May NJ Travel Guide and Vacation Planner Blog

Month: September 2017

CarMax has selected Cape May as one the top places to visit this fall

Along with Hilton Head, South Carolina, Point Reyes, California, West Beach, Alabama and Cape Blanco Oregon, nationwide car retailer CarMax has selected Cape May as one the top places to visit this fall. CarMax editors offer tips before your trip and lots of suggestions for the right kind of ride. Read “Best Places to Travel this Fall” and see for yourself. We’re delighted to know that they too appreciate beautiful Cape May.

Storm Safety Guide: A Q&A on Preparing for Hurricanes on Vacation

Images from Superstorm Sandy /

With all of this wild weather lately, we want to equip all of Cape May’s fall and winter tourists with helpful information on what to do in the event of a big storm or hurricane. Keep your family safe and sound while on vacation by using our tips below to prep for bad weather.

We answer five common questions about hurricanes and provide resources for finding out more about New Jersey’s tropical storms and precautions to take when dealing with them.

What defines a hurricane?

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a hurricane is a type of tropical cyclone that forms over tropical or subtropical waters. When a tropical storm’s winds reach 74 mph or higher, it is classified as a hurricane. A hurricane’s maximum winds are rated 1 through 5 by weather experts; the higher the rating, the greater the storm’s potential for property damage.

When is the Atlantic hurricane season?

The Atlantic hurricane season technically starts on June 1st, and comes to an end on November 30. However, tropical storms or hurricanes can develop outside of that timeframe. Tune in to our local news stations (Cape May’s 6ABC Action News is a great resource) to stay updated on upcoming storms.

What can I do to prepare for a hurricane on vacation?

New Jersey’s Office of Emergency Management recommends creating a kit of safety and emergency supplies. Items may include:

  • Battery operated radio and extra batteries
  • Flashlight(s)
  • Personal toiletries
  • First aid kit
  • Important medications

For a full list of what to put in your emergency kit, click here.

Make a plan with your family about what to do during a storm: have a predetermined meeting place, note the quickest ways to leave your beach house and get everyone to safety, and make sure to have an out-of-state contact your family can check in with and stay with should the hurricane become dangerous. Review these plans your family and practice any drills!

How will I know if it is time to evacuate?

Local county or state emergency management officials will notify Cape May neighborhoods of the need to evacuate via the Emergency Alert System messages on local radio and TV. Officials may also opt to alert areas via community notification systems such as “Reverse 911,” which sends messages to telephones.

What is Cape May’s evacuation route?

Click on this PDF here to see Cape May’s evacuation route; as you’ll see noted on there, you will follow blue circular signs that say “Coastal Evacuation Route” to safety. For a list of other New Jersey evacuation routes split up by county, please click here.

Please remember that all evacuation plans are flexible and could change based on the nature of an emergency. Rest assured though that when Cape May’s law enforcement send out the order to evacuate, they will provide specific information about the roads you should take; authorities will direct traffic and block roads that are hazardous.

Stay safe, readers! Does anyone have storm-preparation advice or practices they’ve used that have been successful in the past during hurricanes? Comment below!

6 Kid-Friendly Activities During Beautiful Fall in Cape May

Fall is one of my favorite seasons in Cape May; the summer crowds are gone, but there’s still just as much to do and see, and the weather is absolutely gorgeous! We’ve rounded up our top six events and activities that are must-dos for you and your kids down the shore this autumn.

Celebrate fall with live music, delicious food and fun activities at Beach Plum Farm. Every Saturday from 11am – 7pm September 30th through October 28th, Beach Plum Farm on Steven’s Street in West Cape May will be hosting its “Fall on the Farm.” Sit in the shade, listen to the SunDogs play, and sip on a local craft beer while your kids enjoy the farm’s hayrides, pumpkin picking and decorating, and face painting.

Explore the exciting 85 acres of Cape May Zoo. The Zoo is open from 10am – 4:30pm all week long and is the perfect place to take your kids for a great day of animal sightseeing. Bonus: donations are encouraged, but admission is otherwise free! Check out the annual “Boo at the Zoo” event on Saturday October 28th, where visitors are invited to wear a costume and partake in games, candy-eating, entertainment, an inflatable obstacle course, a magic show and more.

Bring your family to the 26th Annual Pumpkin Festival. On Saturday October 21st, head to Historic Cold Spring Village for festive games and pumpkin painting while snacking on hot dogs and funnel cake. If you and your kids are feeling brave, test your courage inside the spooky haunted house at the Village Barn before you leave.

Encourage your kids’ inner artist by getting creative at the Cape May County’s Art @ The Library.  After reading a picture book, children are invited to freely draw characters, themes, scenes, animals, anything that stems from the book using a variety of art materials. These events run from 3:30pm – 4:30pm on Thursdays in Cape May at the library.

Walk through Scarecrow Alley at Cape May’s Physick Estate. From October 7th – October 31st, the Estate will be transformed for Halloween; Scarecrow Alley showcases homemade scarecrows, from spooky to funny. Have your kids vote for their favorite; they’re also welcome to submit a scarecrow for display – there may be an awesome prize for them if theirs wins!

Spot dolphins and whales on the Cape May Whale Watcher. Sailing from March until December from the Miss Chris Marina, the Whale Watcher is a great activity for the entire family. Breathe in the fresh ocean air while your kids learn fun facts about the sea life surrounding you while on the water. Children 6 and under can sail for free with a paid adult!

Are there any other activities that you’ve brought your kids to in Cape May during the fall season that we missed? Leave suggestions in the comments!

9/11/17 Patriot Day Memorial at Cove Beach

Every year on September 11th, The Kiwanis Club of Cape May and the City of Cape May gather the city together at Cove Beach for a beautiful and moving Patriot Day ceremony to remember and commemorate the lives lost in the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and aboard Flight 93.

Community leaders took turns sharing a few words about 9/11 and reminding attendees about the heroic actions and sacrifices of the police, firefighters and other emergency personnel who helped so many that day. Attendees this year sang This Land is Your Land and America the Beautiful, followed by a moment of silence as the flag at 2nd and Beach Avenue was lowered.

Two members of the Kiwanis Club shared a poem towards the end of the ceremony called ‘We’re Still Standing’ written by a 7th grade student named Hannah Schoechert. The poem was an amazing reminder of the strength, endurance and hopefulness of this nation.

Those twin towers
Standing tall with pride,
Fell with grieving hearts.
Stunned, America cried.
But we’re still standing.
Bin Laden tried
To crush our land,
But we stood our ground
With our flag in hand.
And we’re still standing.
Red for valor
And the blood that fell.
White for purity
Our heroes tell.
Blue for the justice
That will be done,
Proving once more
These colors don’t run.
And we’re still standing.

Where to eat outside in Cape May

Summer isn’t over quite yet! Get your fix of warm weather dining al fresco at one of Cape May’s many beautiful restaurants. You’re on vacation and shouldn’t have to be doing any research, obviously, so we went ahead and compiled a list of all the hot spots to eat in town that have fun outdoor seating options. Take a look!

410 Bank Street

In the canopied garden or on the veranda, enjoy the tasty creations of Chef Chet Saign, such as local-caught tuna, lobster, and the restaurant’s famous steaks and prime rib dishes.

Bella Vida Garden Cafe

A quaint, charming little cafe with amazing home cooking – think soups, fresh greens, wraps and seafood. Plus, their custom roasted Costa Rican coffee is delicious. They have seating outside in their pretty garden, and even a “pampered pooch patio” for man’s best friend.

Blue Pig Tavern at Congress Hall

Classic American comfort food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Sit on the Blue Pig’s sunny porch during the warmer months, and in the winter, head inside to enjoy your hearty meal near the restaurant’s cozy fireplace in the main dining room.

Cold Spring Grange

Cold Spring Grange embraces the “farm to table” concept and uses only the best ingredients for mouth-watering entrees such as soft shell crab, seasoned salmon and grilled flank steak. This two-story building, Grange Hall, is the only building in Historic Cold Spring Village which stands on its original site.

Egg & Dart

New restaurant near Washington Street’s Acme shopping center. Unbelievable breakfast sandwiches made with the freshest eggs. Outdoor seating too, so you can have your breakfast and coffee while people-watching!

Fins Bar & Grille

A fun and hip place to hit happy hour with friends. Enjoy live music, outdoor seating and the wonderful menu that boasts great appetizers, ample choices of seafood (order the crispy calamari) and amazing flatbreads.

Harbor View

Go here if you love watching the sunset! Accessible via car or boat, with indoor or outdoor deck seating with fantastic views of the water.

Harry’s Ocean Bar & Grille

The largest indoor/outdoor bar of any Cape May beach! You can sit and enjoy your dinner with one of over 30 choices of draft and bottled beers while overlooking the beach at the oceanfront Montreal Beach Resort.

La Doña Restaurante Mexicano

Open for lunch and dinner with a beautiful red porch for sitting outside. Authentic Mexican cuisine with a menu that features seafood, meats, and vegetarian dishes prepared with fresh, locally-sourced products. Take the owner’s advice and BYOT (Bring Your Own Tequila!).

La Verandah

Located in the historic, exquisite Hotel Alcott. Dine on the intimate porch and enjoy the ocean breeze or enjoy your meal in the elegant dining room inside; you can’t go wrong either way.

Lobster House

This waterfront restaurant’s five dining rooms and full bar offer a family-friendly dining experience in a nautical setting. Enjoy a cocktail before dinner on the 130 foot-long authentic Grand Banks sailing vessel, the Schooner American, moored dockside.

Mad Batter Restaurant

Open year-round and famous for its breakfasts; we recommend the award-winning buttermilk pancakes! Visitors can dine on the beautiful and breezy front porch in-season, the garden terrace or the skylit dining room.

Magnolia Room

Traditional Southern cuisine that includes delectable fried chicken and corn pudding. And don’t forget about dessert here! The blueberry cobbler is a must-try. Enjoy your meal on the restaurant’s verandah during a warm summer night.

Mario’s of Cape May

A family-run business with a huge variety of pizzas, complete with homemade sauce! Try their salads and garlic knots too. Located in the Washington Commons Mall, with seats inside and outside.

Peter Shields Inn & Restaurant

Executive Chef Carl Messick prepares all contemporary cuisine to perfection. Dine in one of the Zagat-rated restaurants five luxurious dining rooms or on the porch overlooking the sea.

Quincy’s Original

Tasty lobster, shrimp and crab rolls and other assorted seafood choices in a lively and casual setting. Located on Beach Ave., right on the Boardwalk.

Saltwater Cafe

Open for breakfast and lunch. Take in the South Jersey Marina views while choosing from the unique and delicious food here, like the crabby benedict, the seasonal berry pancakes or the ‘feelin’ groovy’ egg white omelet.

Sapore Italiano

High-quality Italian dining and impeccable service. Located on South Broadway with indoor and outdoor seating. Be sure to save room for the tiramisu for dessert.


Flavorful dishes with hints of Mediterranean and Asian influence. Grab a drink at the low-key Tiki Ten35 outside while you listen to local bands.

Stewart’s Root Beer

Wonderful burgers and milkshakes to eat in or out for a quick refuel while walking Washington Street.


Enjoy your American/Italian cuisine indoors or outdoors here! Fine dining, open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner.

Ugly Mug

Local hot spot! Right on Washington Street, where you can sit under an awning outside right on the Mall. Great sandwiches and seafood entrees here. Try the chowder!

Uncle Bill’s Pancake House

Over 15 types of pancakes, waffles and french toast, and omelets to test out at this classic breakfast staple in New Jersey! Pet-friendly outdoor seating.

Zoe’s Beachfront Eatery

Generous portions of delicious food – they roast their own turkey and beef! Dog-friendly patio for sitting outside.

Results for the 2017 Best of Cape May

The Best of Cape May is’s annual survey, when we ask you to tell us what businesses you think deserve the title “Best of Cape May.” It took us over two days to crawl through the responses, but we have determined a winner and runner-up for every category in this year’s Best of Cape May. Public voting was open from August 1-25 and we broke previous voting records with over 2,200 votes across 81 categories. Many names on this list are ones you’ve seen before, but we are excited to welcome the newcomers. Here are your winners of this year’s Best of Cape May.

The Best of Cape May: Shopping

Women’s Clothing Pink by Victorious
Runner Up: Cotton Co.

Men’s Clothing Galvanic
Runner Up: Cotton Co.

Children’s Clothing Happy Baby
Runner Up: Lynn Arden’s

Shoes Casales
Runner Up: Pink by Victorious

Accessories Victorious
Runner Up: Whale’s Tale

Jewelry Henry’s
Runner Up: Whale’s Tale

Swim Wear Pete Smith’s Surf Shop
Runner Up: South End Surf Shop

Handbags and Totes Victorious
Runner Up: Red Oak Trading Co.

Candy Original Fudge Kitchen
Runner Up: Fralinger’s

Gifts Whale’s Tale
Runner Up: West End Garage

Home Decor West End Garage
Runner Up: Cape May Wicker

Art gallery or art store SOMA Gallery
Runner Up: Washington Street Gallery

Furniture Cape May Wicker
Runner Up: West End Garage

Antiques West End Garage
Runner Up: Antique Doorknob

Gourmet / Specialty Food Cape May Peanut Butter Co.
Runner Up: Love the Cook

Surfing gear South End Surf Shop
Runner Up: Pete Smith’s

Toys Whale’s Tale
Runner Up: Toy Shop of Cape May

Dog accessories Dog Days of Cape May
Runner Up: Wagging Tail

Cape May souvenirs Sunset Beach Gift Shops
Runner Up: Whale’s Tale

Bath and Body Bath Time
Runner Up: A Place on Earth

Liquor or Wine Collier’s
Runner Up: Sunset Liquors

The Best of Cape May: Dining

Coffee Coffee Tyme
Runner Up: Magic Brain

Tea Coffee Tyme
Runner Up: Magic Brain

Smoothies Aloha Smoothie Co
Runner Up: Chill

Pancakes Uncle Bill’s Pancake House
Runner Up: Mad Batter

Brunch Mad Batter
Runner Up: George’s Place

Hot Dog Hot Dog Tommy’s
Runner Up: Captain Kahuna

Wings C-View Inn
Runner Up: Mad Batter

Burger The Ugly Mug
Runner Up: Lucky Bones

Fish Taco Key West Tacos
Runner Up: The Rusty Nail

Sandwich or hoagie Westside Market
Runner Up: Cappy’s

Pizza TIE! Mario’s and Louie’s
Runner Up: TIE! Cappy’s and Lucky Bones

Outdoor Dining Lobster House
Runner Up: Rusty Nail

Seafood Lobster House
Runner Up: Oyster Bay

Mexican / Tex Mex La Dona
Runner Up: Gecko’s

Italian Sapore Italiano
Runner Up: Panico’s

Steak Washington Inn
Runner Up: Oyster Bay

Crabcakes Lobster House
Runner Up: Freda’s

Ice cream / custard / gelato Kohr Bros.
Runner Up: Uncle Charley’s

Vegetarian Good Earth Organic Eatery
Runner Up: Bella Vida

Fries Lucky Bones
Runner Up: Mad Batter, Curley’s (Wildwood)

Dessert Washington Inn
Runner Up: The Mad Batter

Baked Goods & Pastries Little Store
Runner Up: Madison’s Bakery

Takeout Lobster House
Runner Up: Lucky Bones

Children’s Menu Rusty Nail
Runner Up: Oceanview Diner

Best Place for a Date Washington Inn
Runner Up: Peter Shields Inn

A restaurant worth the splurge Washington Inn
Runner Up: Peter Shields Inn

Best bar for a cocktail The Brown Room
Runner Up: The Mad Batter

Best bar for craft beer The Mad Batter
Runner Up: Ugly Mug

Best venue for live music Mad Batter
Runner Up: Rusty Nail

Best outdoor bar Rusty Nail
Runner Up: Harry’s Ocean Bar & Grille

Best happy hour Mad Batter
Runner Up: Harry’s Ocean Bar & Grille

Best mocktails Mad Batter
Runner Up: Harry’s Ocean Bar & Grille

The Best of Cape May: Leisure

Spa or Massage Cape May Day Spa
Runner Up: Sea Spa

Golf course Cape May National Golf Club
Runner Up: Avalon Golf

Miniature golf TIE! Stockton Mini Golf and Ocean Putt
Runner Up: Sunset Beach Gift Shops

Free or low-cost activity Cape May County Park & Zoo
Runner Up: Cape May beaches

Winery tasting/tours Cape May Winery
Runner Up: Willow Creek Winery

Brewery or distillery tours/tasting Cape May Brewing Co.
Runner Up: Nauti Spirits Distillery

Guided or walking tour Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities
Runner Up: Cape May Food Tours

Self-guided tour The Cape May Lighthouse
Runner Up: Beach Plum Farm

Cruise or boat tour Cape May Whale Watcher
Runner Up: Cape May-Lewes Ferry

Bicycle and surrey rental Shields Bicycle Rental
Runner Up: Village Bicycle

Kid-friendly activity Cape May County Park & Zoo
Runner Up: The Cape May Lighthouse

Museum The Emlen Physick Estate
Runner Up: Naval Air Station Wildwood

Thrill/adrenaline rush East Coast Parasail
Runner Up: Morey’s Piers
Honorable mention: “Finding parking” received 3 votes!

Live performing arts Cape May Stage
Runner Up: Convention Hall Summer Concert Series

Food festival/event Cape May Crab & Craft Beer Festival
Runner Up: West Cape May Lima Bean Festival

Holiday festival/event West Cape May Christmas Parade
Runner Up: Congress Hall Winter Wonderland

The Best of Cape May: Accommodations

B&B The Queen Victoria
Runner Up: The Carroll Villa

Guest House Highland House
Runner Up: Antoinette’s

Hotel Congress Hall
Runner Up: Victorian Motel

Campground Beachcomber
Runner Up: Holly Shores

Best accommodation for couples The Queen Victoria
Runner Up: TIE! Congress Hall and The Carroll Villa

Best place to stay with pets Highland House
Runner Up: TIE! Beach Shack and the Marquis de Lafayette

Best place to stay with kids Victorian Motel
Runner Up: Congress Hall

Best place for girls’ getaway The Queen Victoria
Runner Up: Congress Hall

Best swimming pool Congress Hall
Runner Up: Victorian Motel

Best view Congress Hall
Runner Up: La Mer

Best on-site amenities The Queen Victoria
Runner Up: Congress Hall

Most accommodating staff The Queen Victoria
Runner Up: Congress Hall

That’s it for the 2017 Best of Cape May! We hope you found a few new places to try out. Thank you so much to everyone who voted in this year’s survey. If you missed this year’s voting window and your favorites didn’t make the list, please check back next August.

Results are final as published. Winners are determined by a public vote, not by Cape Publishing’s staff, and this list should not be considered endorsement.