9+ Hidden Things to Do in Cape May

Dawn breaks; binoculars in hand, you're ready. But will Cape May's rarest birds grace your adventure? Uncover what awaits...
Date Published
March 8, 2024

Table of Contents

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Think you've seen all that beach towns have to offer? Well, buckle up, buttercup! Because Cape May is about to school you in the art of sublime seaside serenity mixed with a dash of historical spice. Sure, you could laze on any sandy shore across America, but where else can you immerse yourself in a feathered frenzy of birding bliss, or meander through hallowed Victorian-age streets where each cobblestone whispers tales from yesteryears?

Your Cape May adventure kicks off at a bird-watcher's paradise that rivals the Galapagos—spoiler alert: you won't need a passport for this trip! And just when you think the day can't get any better, you find yourself toe-tapping at a hidden Sunset Pavilion concert or indulging your inner foodie at local farm markets bursting with fresh catches and harvests. This quaint New Jersey gem is a cultural cocktail that'll have your Instagram begging for mercy. From the haunting allure of ghost tours to beachside yoga at dawn's break, this town rolls out quirky, cozy, and utterly unforgettable activities like antique shops serve up rare finds. Let's dive in, shall we?

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Uncover Cape May's Birding Treasures

Listen up, birding enthusiasts and lovers of the great outdoors! Did you know that Cape May is a hidden gem when it comes to birding? That’s right, the place is a flutter with wings, and it's not just your run-of-the-mill sparrows we're talking about – it's a veritable all-you-can-see buffet of avian wonders! So, grab your binoculars, because you're about to immerse yourself in one of the most spectacular bird-watching adventures of your life.

Cape May isn’t just another spot on the map; it's renowned for its epic birding tours. These tours are like a backstage pass to a feathery festival that goes on all year round. Whether you're a seasoned birder or just have a casual interest in feathered friends, you'll find something to marvel at. Pinky promise, from warblers in the spring to hawks in the fall, this place has it all.

Let's not forget about the unique Cape May boutiques peppered around town, where bird-themed treasures await. After a day of wildlife watching, why not swoop into one of these charming shops? Get yourself some fancy souvenirs, like a hand-carved birdhouse or local artwork. You know, to remember the day you became part of the Cape May birding club – no secret handshake required, although that would be cool.

And if you're whispering, “Take me to where the wild things are,” then you should absolutely check out Higbee Beach. The wildlife watching here? Second to none. Little tip - hit the beach at dawn. That magical hour when the light breaks gives you the best show as the sun paints the sky and the birds start their daily hustle.

Remember, whether you're a solo explorer with the eye of a hawk or wrangling a flock of your own little nestlings, Higbee Beach and those birding tours are must-dos. Trust me, you'll be chirping about it for days. So what are you waiting for? Let’s fly!

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Embark on a Cape May Historic Cold Spring Village Adventure

Picture yourself stepping back in time, strolling down tree-lined paths, with the charm of the 19th century wrapping around you like a warm, cozy blanket. That's the enchanting experience waiting for you at historic Cold Spring Village in Cape May. You're not just visiting a place; you're immersing yourself in a living history!

This open-air museum isn't just a Walk in the Park. Oh no, your inner historian can geek out with over 25 restored Victorian architecture structures displaying the rich heritage that Cape May holds dear. Imagine blacksmiths hammering away, weavers crafting textiles as they did centuries ago, and carpenters shaping wood into tools and treasures. It's like each building contains a story just yearning to be heard.

But what's a historic trip without a tangible treat to remember it by? Wander through the Country Store, snatch up a piece of the past with the unique antiques and hand-crafted goods made right before your eyes! Trust me; this isn't your typical gift shop trinket. You're carrying home a piece of Cape May history.

And who says learning isn't fun? Take the kiddos to the interactive workshops and watch their eyes twinkle with fascination. You'll be the coolest history teacher they've never had. Spend a couple of hours or an entire day – the village's charm will keep your feet and heart contentedly busy.

Whether you're a lover of bygone eras, architectural aficionado, or a fun-seeking family, historic Cold Spring Village hits the sweet spot between educational and absolutely delightful. Bring your friends, your family, or just your love for history and let Cape May's past whisk you away to a time where life was simpler, but oh-so-intriguing. It's a hidden gem that makes Cape May not just a beach destination, but a time-traveler’s delight as well!

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Relax at Cape May's Hidden Sunset Pavilion

Imagine this: the sun's dipping low, painting the sky in shades of orange and pink, and you're lounging at the hidden gem of Cape May—Sunset Pavilion. Forget everything else; this is where beachside chill meets rhythmic thrill.

So, what’s on the docket here? Well:

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  • Sunset Beach Magic: On a scale of 1 to awesome, Sunset Beach scores a solid fabulous. Your toes in the sand, the sound of the waves, and, wait for it... Cape May diamonds twinkling at your feet! Yes, those naturally polished quartz stones that folks go bananas for.
  • Concerts by the Sea: The Sunset Pavilion isn't just pretty to look at; it's got beats, too. With concerts happening throughout the summer, your ears are in for a treat. Just picture it: Music fills the air, a gentle sea breeze whispers by, and you’ve got the perfect soundtrack for a seaside soirĂ©e.

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Now, you gotta know, beachside picnics here are not your average sandwich affair. Nope. This is Cape May, honey, and even our picnics are next-level. Bring your basket and blanket, then settle in for a feast as the sun says goodbye for the day.

Grab a group of friends, or get cozy with that special someone. It's a vibe that's made for sharing. Trust me; once you're here, snapping a pic for the 'gram will be the last thing on your mind.

Oh, and if the crowd's more flip-flops than high heels, then you’re bang on. Sunset Beach welcomes everyone—families, couples, even your furry pals. Guess what? It's a free show every evening courtesy of Mother Nature's kaleidoscope in the sky.

Here's a little insider tip: don't rush off once the sun's gone. Stick around for the flag-lowering ceremony. It's all about honoring veterans and it's a heartfelt tradition that'll add a touch of poignancy to your visit.

So really, why settle for a regular beach day when you can make memories that'll stick like the sand on your feet? Head to the Sunset Pavilion, plant yourself firmly in the sand, and soak in all the simple pleasures of Cape May’s coastline. It's not just a spot; it's the spot where the day ends with a round of applause. And believe me, it deserves every clap.

Your day at Cape May? It's looking pretty unbeatable from here.

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Sample Local Flavors at Cape May Farm Markets

Get ready to meet the charming side of Cape May that your palate has been craving for. Yes, you're about to embark on a journey of fresh, juicy, and locally-grown heaven at the quaint Cape May farm markets. Tiny tomatoes that burst with sunshine, cucumbers so crisp they snap with a look, and friendly farmers who know their apples from their peaches—this is where eco-tourism meets deliciousness.

What about eco-tourism in Cape May? You got it! Eco-tourism doesn't just mean hugging trees; it means supporting local growers and munching on the freshest produce that didn't take a cross-country road trip to get to you.

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  • Local farms and markets? They're the heartbeat of Cape May's culinary scene! Wander the stalls, basket in hand, and treat yourself to the melodic sounds of fresh produce tumbling into your day's haul.
  • Craving a deeper dive into Cape May’s food culture? Cape May food tours got you covered! Imagine strolling the local markets with a guide who's got the inside scoop on every cherry and cheese wedge.
  • Ever wonder how a carrot feels plucked straight out of the earth? You'll find out and likely make a green-thumbed friend or two in the process.

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Plan to spend a couple of hours in this lush landscape. It's great for families looking for a little teachable moment on natural foods, or for friends aiming to gather the best ingredients for a beachside picnic. Anyone up for a challenge can even create a farm-to-table meal out of their finds—now we're talkin'!

Lastly, you're not just trying tasty tomatoes—you're part of a movement. Each carrot-top you carry home is a high-five to eco-tourism in Cape May, helping to keep the land loved and the community thriving.

Alright, are you feeling like a true locavore yet? Click here to explore Cape May’s fresh selection and plot your very own market adventure.

(Believe me, your taste buds will high-five you for this.)

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Antiques and Aesthetics in Cape May

Imagine strolling down a charming street, each store with its own unique character, beckoning antiquers and window-shoppers alike. Your journey into the quaint world of antiques shopping in Cape May is a step back in time, surrounded by history and items with stories untold.

The air is thick with nostalgia—you can sense it. This isn't just any ordinary shopping spree; it's a treasure hunt in the most picturesque of settings. Cape May shopping areas are crammed with these gems waiting for you to uncover them. There's a certain allure to holding something in your hands that's been around for generations—maybe it's the time-worn patina or the echoes of the past in every scratch and dent.

Now, let's talk specifics—what's in it for you, right? Lose yourself among carefully curated selections in charming boutiques that truly reflect the spirit of this historical coastal town. Each of the unique Cape May boutiques presents an eclectic mix of old and new, perfect for finding that one-of-a-kind souvenir, a piece to complete your home's decor, or a special gift for someone back home.

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  • From vintage jewelry to rustic home goods, don't be surprised to fall in love with items you didn't even know you needed.
  • Set aside a good chunk of your day for this adventure—it's not about the hustle, it's about the experience.
  • Ideal for nostalgia enthusiasts, collectors, or anyone looking for a memento that tells a story.

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Just when you think you've seen it all, turn the corner, and a new nook full of stories beckons. So whether you're a seasoned antique aficionado or you just appreciate the beauty of bygone eras, make sure to carve out time for some antiques shopping in Cape May. Trust me, it's more than a shopping trip—it's a walk through history.

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Experience Serenity with Beach Yoga in Cape May

Picture this: it's just you, the soothing sounds of the waves, and the soft whisper of the breeze as you move into your warrior pose on the sandy shores of Cape May. That's right, it's time to stretch out those limbs and find your zen with beach yoga sessions.

If you're asking yourself, "Is beach yoga really a thing in Cape May?" You bet it is! Beach yoga sessions are not just a thing; they're the thing you didn't know you needed in your life. For all you activity-seeking, tranquility-chasing folks out there, imagine doing your sun salutations as the actual sun rises right in front of your eyes. Magic, folks. Pure magic.

Here's what's cool about doing yoga on the beach in Cape May: not only do you get to connect with nature on a spiritual level, but you're also getting those good vibes that come from being outdoors. Wave hello to Vitamin D and goodbye to stress. Whether you're a seasoned yogi or someone who thinks downward dog is just a command you give to your pet pooch, you're welcome here.

On top of that, opting for a yoga session is hands-down one of the best Cape May beach activities. You could be exploring solitude spots in Cape May, but why not also do something that's great for your body and soul? Plus, you'll be surrounded by like-minded serenity seekers, making it a fantastic way to meet new beach buddies.

Here’s your takeaway: grab that yoga mat (or rent one!) and hit the sands early morning or as the sun sets. Spend a modest hour or so aligning your chakras and breathing in that salty sea air. This is perfect for singles, couples, or anyone who's looking to join the 'namaste' lifestyle.

So, come on down to Cape May, where the beaches double as blissful studios. You'll head back home not just with souvenirs, but with an inner peace that’s hard to beat. Don't forget to check for the best local spots to roll out your mat, because truly, this is where your road to relaxation begins.

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Paddle Through Cape May on a Kayaking Journey

Picture this: You're gliding through the calm waters of Cape May, the gentle sound of your paddle dipping in and out of the shimmering water, with nature's beauty unfolding around you. That's what you get with an unforgettable Cape May kayaking adventure. And trust me, it's as serene as it sounds.

Kayaking in Cape May isn't just a paddle in the park; it's a front-row seat to the awe-inspiring dance of local wildlife and an eco-tourism dream come true. Whether you're a seasoned kayaker or a curious newbie ready to dip your toes in the water, these tours will have you up close with nature's finest without disturbing its rhythm.

Here's what the kayaking scene in Cape May has in store for you:

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  • Meet the Locals: And by locals, I mean the feathery, scaly, and maybe slightly slimy inhabitants of Cape May's rich natural habitats. From majestic herons to playful dolphins, every paddle brings a new "hello!"
  • Chill and Thrill: Nature walks in Cape May are chill, but kayaking? It's both chill and a thrill. You'll balance relaxation with a touch of adventure, perfect for anyone looking to add a bit of spice to their tranquility.
  • Eco-friendly Exploration: As part of Cape May's eco-tourism offerings, kayaking respects the environment, lets you leave no trace, and whispers "thanks" to Mother Nature with every gentle stroke.

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So, how long should you bask in this paddler's paradise? Give yourself at least a couple of hours – enough to soak in the sights without a sunburn reminding you of your escapades. It's a sweet spot for couples, families, or even solo-voyagers craving the quiet companionship of nature.

When you're ready to embark on this journey, strap on a life jacket, grab a paddle, and join a guided Cape May kayaking trip. Glide, drift, and let the tides of serenity steer your way through the picturesque realm of Cape May. And who knows, you might just find your new favorite paddling tale to tell.

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Nighttime Ghost Tours of Historic Cape May

Picture this: a moonlit evening, the distant crash of ocean waves, and you—yes, you—tiptoeing through the historic, shadow-laden streets of Cape May on a ghost tour. Feeling goosebumps yet? You should be, because these night-time adventures through Cape May's past are real, and they're spectacularly spooky.

Cape May isn't just about sunbathing and quaint shops; it also has a history so colorful and deep that it's seeped into the after-hours of the present. Get ready to explore the twisty tale of Cape May's spectral residents on a guided historical walk that's both totally enthralling and just a tad chilling.

These ghost tours of Cape May don't just share ghost stories—they're a deep dive into the town's rich history. You'll wander past the same Cape May historical sites that daytime tourists see, but with a thrilling twist: tales of the spirits who may linger there. Guided historical walks under the night sky? Yes, please!

From the whaling days of yore to the sharp-dressed Victorian era, every corner of this town has a story that might just make you want to hold someone's hand—strictly for comfort, of course. The guides aren't just storytellers, they're historians, armed to the teeth with facts (and maybe a few legends) that bring the past so close, you'll feel like you could reach out and touch it. Or maybe... it could reach out and touch you?

This isn't your average historical yawn-fest. It's a blend of education, exercise, and adrenaline. And don't worry, it's not too scary—okay, just scary enough to be a blast for you and your friends. After all, what's a visit to Cape May without a little dance with the unknown?

Perhaps the best part? After an hour or so of exploring, you can still get back to your cozy bed and pretend you're not wondering if every creak in the night is a friendly ghost saying hello.

If you're bold enough, these tours might just be the highlight of your Cape May visit. Do you dare to experience the other side of this seaside haven? The spirits await—but not forever. Book your tour, if you've got the courage.

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Cycle through Scenic Biking Trails in Cape May

Picture yourself gliding along a coast-hugging trail, the sea breeze in your hair, the sun playing peek-a-boo through leafy green canopies. That's your day when you decide to jump onto those two-wheeled contraptions and cycle through Cape May's scenic biking trails.

Biking here isn't just about exercise; oh no, it's a full-blown sensory adventure. You're not just working those leg muscles; you're connecting with nature, spotting chirpy birds you can't find anywhere else but in these lush nature conservation areas. Imagine pedaling through a breathtaking tableau of coastal vistas, marshlands, and Victorian homes - it's like cycling through a living postcard.

Grab the fam because family activities in Cape May shine brightest when everyone’s rolling on bikes. It's not just fun; it's a bonding experience. Whether your squad is full of hardcore bikers or just occasional pedal-pushers, there's a path that's got everyone's name written on it. From breezy beginner routes that let you roll without breaking a sweat, to those adrenalin-pumping treks that’ll leave your calves singing – there's something for everyone.

And here's the kicker – you can make a day of it. Pack a picnic, find yourself a cozy spot by the water, and turn a morning of biking into an all-day adventure. Want to know where to find the best trails and rentals? Swing by this helpful guide on biking trails in Cape May, to get all the deets.

So, how long should you spend here? Honestly, as long as it takes to soak up all that natural beauty and to feel that unique blend of invigoration and relaxation that only cycling in Cape May can bring. This excursion is perfect for anyone - singles itching for adventure, families craving quality time, or couples seeking a shared thrill.

Alright, grab that helmet and get ready to pedal your heart out. Cape May's biking trails are calling, and trust me, you'll want to answer.

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Artistic Escapade at Cape May Art Galleries

Picture this: you're strolling down charming streets lined with Victorian-style homes, the salty sea breeze playing with your hair, and then, you spot it—the vibrant heart of Cape May's local culture, an art gallery that looks like a crate of rainbows exploded inside. Welcome to the artistic escapade you've been dreaming of at the Cape May art galleries!

What makes these galleries stand out isn't just the fine arts and crafts shows that they host; it's the pulse of creativity that vibrates off the walls from local masterpieces. It's where brushstrokes meet the sea's tones, each gallery a canvas of coastal inspiration.

Can't get enough of that creative spirit? Well, you're in luck! Cape May also offers local author book signings, where the written words of the town's storytellers come to life right before your eyes. Imagine sitting down and diving into a new book as the author shares insights and signs your copy. It's a bookworm's seaside paradise!

Oh, and when we talk about fine arts, we're not just talking pretty pictures. The craft shows here are a head-turning spectacle, with handmade treasures that range from sea glass jewelry to pottery that echoes the ocean's depth. You could spend an entire afternoon admiring and, let's be real, probably buying more than you should. But hey, can you really put a price on a piece of Cape May's soul?

And who should visit? If you’re someone who appreciates the brush of creativity or loves to immerse yourself in the local scene, art galleries in Cape May are your jam. Singles, families, toddlers in tote—all are welcome to bask in the collective glow of the town's artistic spirit.

Give yourself a couple of hours at least—more if you're an art aficionado or someone who tends to fall in love with every piece you see. And since you're already here, why not plan your visit around one of the shows? That’s when these galleries truly come alive, enveloping you in a warm, inviting ambience that's hard to leave behind.

Now, don't you feel like you're already there? Feet firmly planted on a creaky wooden floor, eyes dancing from one piece of art to the next, the distant sigh of the sea serenading your creative exploration—this is Cape May art galleries at its finest.

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Discover the WWII Lookout Tower in Cape May

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Picture this: you're standing on a windswept bluff, the Atlantic waves crashing below, and the imposing silhouette of a World War II lookout tower looms against the Cape May sky. You're not just seeing a slice of history; you're about to walk right into it!

The WWII Lookout Tower is one of those must-see Cape May historical sites that feels like a time machine. Now, first things first, when you visit this treasured landmark, you're not just checking out some old structure. You're stepping into the shoes of the watchmen who once kept a vigilant eye for enemy subs during a time that forever changed the world.

So, who's gonna love this? I'll tell ya - history buffs, architectural aficionados, and anyone who gets goosebumps thinking about being in the same spot where heroes once stood. You’ll want to set aside a good hour to really soak in the past here. And don’t worry, it’s not just for solo adventurers; this piece of Cape May's architectural heritage is surprisingly family-friendly.

Climb the tower steps and behold the same horizon scouts gazed upon decades ago. Let the kiddos see firsthand what a day in the life of a World War II sentinel might have been like. It's interactive, it's real, and it somehow makes you appreciate the freedoms you enjoy today just a little bit more.

Make a day of it and pack yourself some snacks. You're surrounded by sights to see, after all! And if you're lucky, catch a reenactment or a living history display and watch the past come to life right in front of your eyes. Just don't forget to take that mandatory tower-top selfie; after all, you’ll want to remember the day you walked on the historic side in Cape May.

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Celebrate Literature and History at the Harriet Tubman Museum

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You've just got to check out the Harriet Tubman Museum in Cape May. It's not just some regular museum, it's a special nod to an American hero smack in the heart of Cape May. This place doesn't just honor Harriet Tubman, the fearless Underground Railroad conductor; it deep dives into her life and the lives of other local African American citizens who have shaped the community.

Why is the Harriet Tubman Museum significant? It's the very ground where you connect with history—like, really connect. Standing where Tubman once worked during the 1850s, this exhibit unpacks the courage and leadership of an extraordinary woman and it's an eye-opener into the African American cultural heritage in Cape May County.

Whipping out eye-catching art, dishing out inspiring historical tales, the Harriet Tubman Museum is not your run-of-the-mill cultural center. It's a place you can taste the richness of African American culture and actually feel like you've stepped into a powerfully narrated history book. Whether you're a solo explorer or trekking with your fam, the museum is an inspiring stop for everyone. And if you're into getting the real cultural scoop, here's where you step in.

Swing by for a couple of hours and revel in both literature and history. It's tucked away just enough for you to feel like you've found a hidden gem. But it's the stories inside that'll keep you talking long after you've left. Tuck this one in your itinerary between beach time and café hopping. It's an unforgettable pit-stop that gives you layers of stories, courage, and Cape May heritage all rolled into one invigorating experience. Soak it up, folks; history's waiting to shake your hand here.

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FAQ

Q: What are some things to do in Cape May this weekend?

A: Hit the beach, shop on Washington Street, or tour the lighthouses. There's always something chill or thrilling around!

Q: What can you do in Cape May during the off season?

A: Explore local museums, enjoy cozy dining spots, or take a quiet beach walk. The off season means fewer crowds and more calm.

Q: What are some unusual things to do in Cape May, NJ?

A: Check out a ghost tour, visit the alpaca farm, or find the "S.S. Atlantus" sunken concrete ship for a quirky adventure.

Q: What activities are there to do in Cape May with kids?

A: Take them to the Cape May Zoo, hit up the arcades, or have a family beach day. Your kids won't be bored, promise!

Q: What's there to do in Cape May today?

A: There's always something popping! Hit a winery, catch some live music, or stroll through the historic district.

Q: What are the best things to do in Cape May in winter?

A: Embrace the chill with a winter trolley ride, visit holiday markets, or enjoy indoor attractions like the Model Trains Museum.

Q: How do people spend a day in Cape May?

A: They soak up sun on the beach, dine on fresh seafood, and explore Victorian history. A perfect blend of relaxation and culture!

Q: Is Cape May NJ worth visiting?

A: Absolutely! With its stunning beaches, historic charm, and loads of activities, Cape May's a gem you won't want to miss.

Q: What is special about Cape May?

A: It's a Victorian beauty with gorgeous beaches, rich history, and it's a bird-watching paradise. Special is just the start!

Q: Does Cape May have a boardwalk?

A: No boardwalk here, but who needs planks with picturesque promenades and beachfront awaiting your footsteps?

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Final Words

So you've just journeyed through the marvels of Cape May, uncovering everything from the chirp-filled birding tours to the tranquil sunset views at the Pavilion. You've tickled your taste buds with the freshest local flavors and let the calm of beach yoga seep into your soul. Whether you ventured out for some kayaking, ghostly encounters, or a peddle-pushing adventure on scenic biking trails, there's no denying Cape May's got charm by the bucketload.

And remember, the best explorations often end where they began, inviting you to relive the memories or even make new ones. So as you wrap up your virtual suitcase of experiences, keep in mind the best things to do in Cape May are waiting for you, just around the corner—with open skies, open arms, and endless adventure.

Meet the Author
Aria Ohlsson
Aria Ohlsson, the Instagram storyteller extraordinaire, takes you on adventures through her enchanting narratives. An avid hiker, she scales peaks and weaves tales of mountaintop triumphs. When she's not conquering trails, you'll find her immersed in classic novels, finding inspiration for her next tale.
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