Saturday, October 15, 2022 / by Teresa Dipeso
Far & Wide looked to U.S. News & World Report, Reader’s Digest, Architectural Digest, The Travel Channel and House Beautiful magazine to find the best small town in every U.S. state.
Not surprisingly, the winner for NJ was Cape May. Called out for its coolness by House Beautiful and U.S. News and World Report, this charming town at exit zero is known for its stunning beaches, its vibrant downtown, old Victorian homes and farm-to-table restaurants. For kids, there’s the Cape May Zoo and families will love a trip to Beach Plum Farm. Parents looking for an overnight getaway will love the restaurants and wineries plus local theater and museums.
“Found at the lower tip of the Shore, just across from Delaware, this Victorian seaside town oozes charm from every corner,” says Far & Wide. “You’ll feel as if you’ve stepped into fictional Mayberry — only this one set along the beaches of the Atlantic Ocean.”
We can’t argue with that spot-on description. In fact, Cape May, while a popular summer destination, is also worth a road trip in fall, winter and spring.
Not only is Cape May’s beach consistently voted once of the best in the country, the city is also dotted with quaint stores and restaurants and set in a neighborhood filled with colorful Victorian homes.
The beach in Cape May is unmatched anywhere else on the Jersey Shore. You can easily pass a day here in warm weather, and even in colder temps it’s fun to just walk along the shore or on the beautiful boardwalk. Spend an afternoon hanging with zebras, giraffes and pink flamingos at the Cape May County Zoo. This fantastic zoo is free and open year-round.
Another beautiful daytime destination with the family is Beach Plum Farm. Kids can have fun picking berries, feeding hens and checking out all of the fresh produce they grow. Explore the Washington Street pedestrian mall, which is filled with shops and restaurants. Snag an outdoor table at Cape May Fish Market for sandwiches, burgers and the raw bar.
Renting bikes for the afternoon is a fun and easy way to explore and get some exercise. Cape Island Bike Rental has three locations. Head to Sunset Beach to dig for “Cape May diamonds,” pure quartz crystals that sometimes wash up on the shore.
When it’s time for a sweet treat, visit Peace Pie for ice cream sandwiches in a variety of flavors. The Original Fudge Kitchen offers homemade fudge and saltwater taffy—no trip to the beach is complete without it.
For a truly terrific adventure, Cape May MAC trolleys offer guided tours of the historic district. On summer nights, check out free movies on the beach at Stockton Beach. Children’s activities begin at 8 pm and movies start at 8:30 pm.
Watching the sunset on Cape May from the lawn of the historic Congress Hall hotel is a must. Let the littles run around on the Grand Lawn while you sit back in a rocking chair with a cocktail in hand, marveling at all this amazing beach destination has to see and do.