An innkeeper's guide to Cape May

Nobody knows an area better than its innkeepers. They are passionate about their cities, and they are able to provide travelers with local knowledge that most guidebooks don’t even know about. We asked our innkeepers to share some of the best recommendations for guests who are coming to their Cape May bed and breakfast inns.

In addition to offering gorgeous beaches, delicious restaurants, and excellent shopping and dining, Cape May has incredible history. According to Cape May Magazine, it is America’s oldest seaside resort. In 1878, there was a major fire in which most of the city’s buildings were ruined. The reconstruction resulted in one of America’s largest collections of Victoria era buildings, and in 1976, Cape May was declared a National Historic Landmark City.

Top Things to Do

Top things to do in Cape Cod

The Dormer House recommends that guests go bird watching or relax and enjoy food service on the beach. If you enjoy wine, The Doctor’s Inn recommends visiting Natali Vineyards. They also suggest visiting Cold Spring Village, an early American living history museum, and the Aviation Museum at the Naval Air Station Wildwood.

The innkeepers of Angel of the Sea say that from late September to early October, you can’t miss the migration of the monarch butterflies, when the trees are covered in them. They also recommend visiting WW2 era battlements through the area, such as the restored Lookout Tower. Additionally, according to the innkeepers, “Very few people know this is one of the few locations on the East Coast where you can see the sun rise out of the water in the morning.” They recommend taking and bike ride to a beach where you will see the sun set into the water.

Many of our innkeepers recommend visiting the Cape May County Zoo, which is free and not far from the city. Several also recommend going dolphin watching, which is offered by several local tour companies. Rhythm of the Sea suggests walking to Higbee Beach at low tide, in addition to sitting on the bench atop the beach dune at Nature Conservancy. They also say it’s fun to ride bicycles to Brainard Avenue Beach in Cape May Point. When it gets dark, they recommend walking along the streets lit by gas lamps.

Luther Ogden Inn suggests taking trolley tours to explore Cape May, especially the new Winery Trolley Tour. They also recommend a visit to the Emlen Physick Estate Tearoom & Café.

Best Nightlife

Cape Cod night life

Many of our innkeepers recommend Cabanas Beach Bar and Grill. Several also recommend Carneys, The Boiler Room at Congress Hall, and SeaSalt.

Rhythm of the Sea adds that some fun nightlife spots are The Beach Shack around the firepit and open mic night at The Pilot House.

Luther Ogden Inn recommends The Brown Room at Congress Hall and The Ugly Mug (pictured is a live performance there by Cable Ten). The Doctor’s Inn and Angel of the Sea suggest heading to The Wildwoods, which are 12 miles away on a wooden boardwalk. There you’ll find amusement parks, shops, and restaurants.

Top Day Trips

Top Day Trips

Several of our innkeepers recommend taking a day trip to Atlantic City (pictured), which is only 45 minutes away (you can drive or take a bus/shuttle). The lively city offers casinos, golf courses, shopping, bars, live shows, restaurants, spas, and more. Be sure to stroll along the famous Atlantic City Boardwalk!

The Dormer House suggests going whale watching or taking another boat excursion. The Doctor’s Inn says an ideal day trip is visiting the two local lighthouses. Angel of the Sea recommends going north on Route 9 to Leamings Run Gardens, and then to Sea Isle City for a walk on their promenade and drink in the beach bar. They also suggest going to the Ocean City Boardwalk, which is just over 30 miles from Cape May. The boardwalk is two and a half miles long and features shopping, amusement parks with ferris wheels and bumper cars, movie theaters, shopping, live entertainment, and more.

Rhythm of the Sea adds that guests may enjoy going to Wheaton Arts and Cultural Center an arts and crafts village just over 40 miles away. It has a Museum of American Glass, studios where you can observe craftsmen, events, workshops, and shops where you can take home treasures.