"VICTORIAN CAPE MAY" Top 5 Page for this destination Cape May by VeronicaG

Cape May Travel Guide: 291 reviews and 535 photos

Cape May--A Victorian Town

We recently spent a lovely weekend in Cape May after a family wedding in Central Pennsylvania. Its just as charming as ever! Please see my new tips in Accommodations, Things to Do, Restaurants and Shopping.

Stately Victorian homes line the streets of Cape May. Bed and Breakfasts attract tourists to this beautiful place, while the sea shore beckons sun-worshippers and builders of sand castles. A trolley carries visitors throughout its streets and Washington Mall (open to pedestrians only) calls them to the shops and eateries.

Cape May offers horse and carriage rides, as well as whale/dolphin watching cruises. Special events such as Victorian Week, Wine tasting weekends and a Jazz Festival draw many people to the small town. House tours are offered often and are worth the price.

Here's a tip: If you can't stay the usual two or three days required during peak tourist season, you might be able to get a last minute reservation that will allow you a one night's stay. Don't expect to find a one night stay, but delight in it if you do! We've been fortunate a few times to find a B&B with a vacancy on the particular day we were there. If you live a distance away it's chancey to do this! See my TIPS for more info.

Cape May was featured in the book, 1000 Places To See Before You Die.


*The Lenni-Lenape Indians were early inhabitants of the area.

*Henry Hudson, on his search to discover the Northwest Passage to the Orient is purported to be the first European to sight the cape of New Jersey, apparently not setting foot on land, though.

*A Dutchman, Cornelius Mey--after whom Cape May is named--explored the land between 1616-24. Mey and fellow Dutchmen were looking into trade possibilities for their country's merchants.

*Around 1631, whalers entered the picture and so began Cape May's rich history of whaling. For more information see: www.usgennet.org/usa/nj/county/capemay/CMhistory.html

The Dr. Emlen Physick Estate tour

The Dr. Emlen Physick estate is open for tours daily (1048 Washington Street). It is in the Stick Style of Architecture built in 1879. Dr. Physick was from a wealthy Philadelphia family. Special tours like "The Doctor Is In" add a realistic flavor to your visit. We felt like we really knew the family after this tour! A small gift shop is on the premises.

Twinings Tearoom (located in a restored carriage house on the property) offers special teas.

For information on the tour or for reservations at the tearoom, call 800-275-4278.

Cape May Lighthouse

The 157 foot high lighthouse was established in 1823 and is still working. It is on the Delaware Bay at Cape May Point State Park and open daily from April to November. There are199 steps to the top and believe me, I was glad to reach the top! There are t-shirts available that assert this claim to fame--"I climbed 199 steps to the top".

Whalers made Cape May their home base, then eventually other settlers moved into the area. Hours of operation vary according to the season; costs are $5 for adults and $1 for children 3-12. For more information call, 800-275-4278.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Victorian homes; period tours; ocean views
  • Last visit to Cape May: Jul 2009
  • Intro Updated Aug 13, 2009
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Reviews (51)

Comments (32)

  • SONG's Profile Photo
    Jun 15, 2013 at 10:01 AM

    Hi. My Dad's family is from the Cape May area and so I have visited it many times. Last visit I stayed at The Angel of the Sea bed and breakfast.....fabulous place! I love Cape May and all it offers.

  • Gillybob's Profile Photo
    Aug 23, 2012 at 12:36 AM

    I'm looking forward to my visit here in October. Great photos! Gillybob greetings

  • deecat's Profile Photo
    Sep 19, 2009 at 10:41 AM

    Some great additions since my first visit. I'm sure I'd love it here.This is just marvelous. The prices seem quite "steep", but it's a seasonal thing, I guess. Detailed, informative, helpful, and so well written. Super photographs.

  • Pawtuxet's Profile Photo
    Aug 17, 2009 at 1:53 PM

    Great updates on a beautiful page. Still haven't seen Cape May, but one of these days.... I'll be riding in a carriage to that boat ride for a tour to see migrating birds. Looks wonderful.

  • iblatt's Profile Photo
    Jul 31, 2009 at 12:06 PM

    Seems like you had a good day in Cape May! Why are they called "laughing gulls"? Ilan

  • toonsarah's Profile Photo
    Apr 2, 2008 at 6:30 AM

    Great page - very helpful too as we're planning to visit in Sept. Seems like we're making a good choice here!

  • marcbrazil's Profile Photo
    Oct 21, 2007 at 11:55 PM

    It should be not so far from New York, am I right? What a lovely escape destination, Veronica, I simply love your tips!

  • Sue08080's Profile Photo
    Sep 3, 2007 at 9:50 AM

    A dear friend is building a house in Cape May... on Sunset Blvd! Looking forward to many visits.

  • Trekki's Profile Photo
    Jul 13, 2007 at 8:15 AM

    Wow, what beautiful area you lived in !!! I think I would go bancrupt if I would come - staying in these beautiful victorian B&Bs and shop, shop, shop :-))) And so beautiful travellogues you have !! Thanks for sharing :-)

  • jml65's Profile Photo
    Apr 11, 2007 at 4:48 PM

    How can you rate it three stars with experiencing the food and service? There is a good reason why it has a line!

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