- Things to Do
Cape May is located at the southernmost tip of New Jersey, at the end of the Garden State Parkway. It is a year-round destination. These are many of the most commonly asked questions by people who are planning a trip here.
During the summer, finding parking places in Cape May can be exasperating. The center of town collects much of the traffic and has limited free parking spaces. Most spaces are metered. The good news is that no matter where you park in Cape May, you're probably no more than a 20-minute walk to the center of town.
Cape May's parking meters are in effect every day from May 1 through October, between 10am and 10pm. Parking along the Washington Street Mall is restricted to three hours.
Parking meters cost $0.25 for 15 minutes. Standalone meters accept quarters and work with the Parkmobile app. Multi-meters accept dollar bills, credit cards, and work with the Parkmobile app. The City provides a five (5) minute grace period on all meters before an overtime violation occurs.
New in 2017: Cape May's parking meters now work with the Parkmobile App, which allows you to pay by smartphone and keep an eye on your meter from the beach. The Parkmobile app is available in the App Store, on Google Play, and in the Windows Store.
During the summer months, free parking is offered in the Cape May Elementary School lot on Lafayette Street. Free shuttle trolleys run from the lot to locations in town on a regular basis. Overnight parking is not available. When school is in session, free parking is available Saturday and Sunday only.
There are free parking spaces on many side streets throughout town. These typically fill up early in the morning, though if you like driving around, you can find occasional spaces open during the day.
All parking is free in West Cape May.
In the evenings, several businesses offer parking spaces for a flat fee (usually between $5 and $7). While this isn't necessarily more economical, it can be less of a headache.
Parking is available at Washington Commons (where Acme grocery store is located) for an hourly rate. The first 30 minutes is free, so this is a great option if you are making a quick trip to the grocery store. The Washington Commons lot closes at 11pm and is not intended for overnight parking. During the winter months, this parking lot does not charge.
The Bank Street Lot is by permit only.
By law, handicapped persons properly displaying a special license plate or placard or parking permit issued by the State of New Jersey under NJ.S.A. 39:4 205 or any other state, district or territory of the United States, or by Canada in accordance with N.1.S.A. 39:4-207.5 you are not required to pay parking meter fees.
Exemption from parking meter fees only applies to a vehicle properly displaying a placard and/or wheelchair license plate when the handicapped person to whom the same is issued is the driver or passenger.
Any vehicle properly displaying a placard and/or wheelchair license plate may only remain parked in one location for up to 24 hours. Any vehicle remaining in one location in excess of 24 hours is subject to penalties.
Due to the historic nature of the town, not all Cape May accommodations are able to offer on-site parking. Always ask your accommodation about parking. Many have parking permits for lots around Cape May. In some cases, you're on your own and must find parking for the duration of your stay. In this case, we recommend finding a free spot early in the morning, parking your car, and only moving it if absolutely necessary.
The best way to see Cape May is to walk through town. Cape May is a small island with so much to see that walking is the best way to explore. Of course, if you want to take another mode of transportation, that's okay too!
Biking in Cape May is a favorite pasttime among visitors and locals, and one of the easiest ways to get around town. Local bike rental companies that offer daily or weekly rental periods and can even deliver the bikes to your hotel or B&B.
The Great American Trolley Company offers free Park & Ride service to the Washington Street Mall, beach, and promenade, and one-way trolley rides in Cape May.
Cape May's public restrooms are called "Comfort Stations" and may be found on the Washington St. Mall and Washington Commons, as well as along the beach and promenade. These are heated/air-conditioned buildings with running water and soap, and electric hand dryers.
Mall "Comfort Station" Locations are always open, year-round.
Beachfront locations are open from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. In season, they open approximately 6:30 a.m.
There are no public locker rooms or shower facilities, but there are open showers located along the beachfront that allow you to wash away sand.
Sometimes people wonder if there might be a low-cost motel near the beach where they can rent a room for a few hours. Unfortunately, even the most affordable motels on the island have minimum-night requirements during the summer, so this would end up being a very costly solution.
If you are a daytripper and plan to spend the day on the beach and then head to dinner, more than likely you won't be able to take a full shower and change. There simply aren't facilities for that. We would recommend removing as much sand as possible with the outdoor showers, throwing on a cute coverup, and enjoying your evening regardless!
Acme Markets is located at Lafayette & Ocean Street and is open year-round. There is a full-size Acme, with a liquor store, in North Cape May, and ShopRite and Aldi in Rio Grande, just off GSP Exit 4.
The nearest Sam's Club is in Pleasantville, outside Atlantic City, roughly 45 minutes away. The nearest Costco is located in Stafford Township, about an hour and a half drive, north of Atlantic City. We'd recommend scheduling these stops into your drive down.
For medical emergencies, always dial 9-1-1.
Cape Regional Medical Center
(Hospital and emergency room - 15-minute drive from Cape May)
Stone Harbor Blvd and US Hwy No 9
Cape May Court House, NJ 08210
Cape Urgent Care
(walk-in medical care – 5-minute drive from Cape May)
900 Route 109, Cape May
No appointments necessary at Urgent Care. X-ray and lab testing is available. Urgent Care is for medical conditions that are non-life threatening. If you are experiencing signs or symptoms of a heart attack or stroke, call 911. If you are in labor, go to the hospital
The local power company is Atlantic City Electric. Their general line is 1-800-642-3780
To report a power outage, call Atlantic City Electric at 1-800-833-7476.
Internet and cable are provided by Comcast and Verizon.
Recycling is handled by the Cape May County MUA.
Cape May is a year-round destination, but every season is different. Here, find things to do in any season, as well as average air and water temperatures.
Ahh, Spring. Can’t you smell the sweet fragrance of hyacinths in the air? Don your Easter bonnet and take a stroll in the Easter Parade. Make sure to book your Easter Sunday dinner reservations early. Other than Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day, this is one of the busiest restaurant days of the year.
Be sure to join us when we tip our hats to the tulip as Cape May hosts the Spring Festival – the Spring Victorian & Tulip and Garden Festival. Then, before you know it – it’s Memorial Day Weekend – the lifeguards are on duty, every day gets busier and busier, warmer and warmer.
Do you love food? The first week of June is Cape May Restaurant Week, an eight-day culinary event offering fixed-price dining at Cape May's best restaurants. The hustle bustle of summer is a few weeks away, so use this time for a quiet walk along the promenade at sunset or ride a bicycle down to Higbee Beach to watch the sun rise or set.
Shops and stores that close for the winter open their doors on weekends and some full-time.
The average monthly temperatures in the spring are 60ºF in April, and in May it get to be as warm as 69ºF. We all can't wait for June when it is finally warm enough for the beach! June's average temperature is 78ºF. Average water temperatures are 48-68ºF.
Summer is, without doubt, the most exciting time of the year in Cape May. The area offers visitors any number of activities from whale watching to sport fishing. Cape May plays host to the The MidAtlantic that "boat to boat" is the richest and largest Marlin –Tuna contest in the world. The Nature Center of Cape May as well as the Cape May Bird Observatory offer programs and tours everyday in the summer.
Of course, the usual activities are at your finger tips – the beach, bicycling, and walking. You can park your car and bike or walk around the island. In fact, If you're coming to Cape May for the first time, make a stop at the Welcome Area of the Transportation Center (where the buses go) off Lafayette Street across from the Acme shopping center and pick up a guide map on a "Car Free/Care Free" vacation. Volunteers from the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts (MAC) and the Chamber of Commerce are ready, willing and able to familiarize you with your new surroundings and let you know what’s going on in town during your stay.
Shops and stores open early and close late.
The average temperatures in the summer are 78ºF in June, 84ºF in July, 83ºF in August and 77ºF in September. Average water temperatures are 71-73ºF.
Don’t think that because it’s Labor Day you have to pack away your sandals and shorts. There’s plenty of fun to be had in Cape May in the fall. If you like change, just stick around, the fall months offer lots of weather-related changes from 90-degree beach days to crisp fall evenings.
In addition, the Calendar of Events for September, October and November is plum full of things to do. Just to give you an idea: You can attend the Food and Wine Festival and Jackson Street's Oktoberfest in September, or the Lima Bean Festival in October. And don’t forget the Cape May New Jersey State Film Festival.
Did you know that Cape May Point offers nature lovers one of the most spectacular spectacles of nature available? The Bird Show, sponsored by the New Jersey Audubon Society, celebrates the fall migration of thousands of species of birds, butterflies and raptors. Participation is as easy as bringing your binoculars or you can sign up for the many seminars, nature walks and lectures offered.
Cape May Restaurant Weekend, a scaled-down version of the annual June event, takes place from Thursday through Sunday sometime in November.
The Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts, (MAC) which hosts many of the historic tours of Cape May throughout the year, sponsors Victorian Weekend, celebrating all things Victorian in which many historic home owners open their doors to give you a peak of the past. MAC also sponsors the Holiday Preview Tours held toward the end of November. Visitors can get a head start on their gift list while celebrating the Victorian lifestyle.
Most restaurants are open through the fall, though some may have reduced hours mid-week.
The average monthly temperatures during the fall are 77ºF in September, 66ºF in October and 56ºF in November. Average water temperatures are 73-60ºF
Christmas is the loveliest time of the year in Cape May. The town is dressed up in its finest Victorian splendor so visitors can get a glimpse of a Dickensian Christmas - Cape May style. Speaking of Dickens, the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts (MAC) hosts a "Dickens Christmas Extravaganza" in early December. Participants can enjoy the tastes, scents, and smells of the Dickens’ era. MAC also sponsors the 34th Annual Christmas Candlelight House Tour – a must see.
The West Cape May Christmas Parade evokes the pleasure and the joy of small town life. The parade is scheduled for the first Saturday every December. And make sure you pencil in Cape May’s tree lighting ceremony and community caroling as well as hospitality night when the Washington Street Mall merchants open their doors and offer shoppers a treat and a beverage as they hurry to finish their Christmas shopping.
Speaking of shopping, stop by Winter Wonderland at Congress Hall during December for outdoor shopping stalls, food and drink, and even a carousel! Special events are also offered for children.
Don’t think the fun has to end with the New Year bell ringing. January, February and early March are great times to plan that romantic getaway you’ve been talking about. Many of the hotels and B&Bs that remain open offer specials which often include a trip to the spa, a massage or a free dinner wrapped up in the package.
Most shops and restaurants are fully open right around Christmas. After New Year's, several will close for a few months, but there are year-round restaurants in Cape May.
The average monthly temperatures in the winter are 47ºF - 42ºF during December, January and February. March climbs up to about 51ºF. Average water temperatures are 42-37ºF.