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Are you cooped up at home in the snow? Need a change of scenery but don’t know if you feel like hopping on a plane? Do you want to visit Cape May in winter, but don’t know if it’s a good idea? Sure, the off-season prices sound lovely and gentle on the wallet, but what about the shorter days, as well as the potential for snow and cold rain?
I don’t blame you for your hesitation.
After all, we always think of Cape May as a true summer destination, a magical coastal gem with a large and expansive beach, and variety of wineries. Sure, winter is appealing since it’s less crowded in the colder months, but is there truly enough to see and do in Cape May in winter?
Never fear! I honestly feel like Cape May is one of those Jersey Shore destinations that’s understandably popular all year round rather than just the brief summer months that vanish in the blink of an eye.
Not to mention, as much as I love Cape May in July and August, the humidity and crowds are pretty overwhelming at times. Actually, the humidity and crowds are really overwhelming at times. You truly need to pack your patience and plan well in advance.
Cape May in winter, on the other hand, has a lot of benefits.
Cape May in Winter Tips
Okay, so, first the “bad news.”
Although I love Cape May in winter, you should still plan your trip ahead of time. You don’t want to just come down here on a whim.
Like I had already mentioned, summer has some challenges, sure, but at the same time, summer is the height of tourist season, meaning all the shops and restaurants are guaranteed to stay wide open every single day. You don’t need to worry about random closures.
The winter, on the other hand, well…
Here are some suggestions to make your trip to Cape May as smooth as possible.
Stay on Weekends
First and foremost, I understand the appeal of a super quiet and peaceful trip Cape May. However, mid-week winter trips to Cape May feel … pretty isolating and not always in a good way. (And honestly, if this isn’t for you, I think visiting Cape May in March is a fair compromise).
Unless you truly want to be alone, I don’t recommend vacationing to Cape May on a random Wednesday in January.
Instead you should travel to Cape May on the weekends. You’ll have a few day trippers, making the city feel lively and not lonely, and you’ll be able to enjoy restaurants that have weekend hours only.
You’ll also have more options for accommodation if you choose to stay Friday through Sunday.
Cape May Bed and Breakfasts Open in Winter
Check out some of these highly rated bed and breakfasts for your upcoming trip to Cape May in winter!
In my personal opinion, Cape May is a bed and breakfast paradise that you ought to take advantage of for a warm hospitality experience.
- Angel of the Sea Bed and Breakfast: This incredibly elegant bed and breakfast offers beachfront views in a quiet area of the city. See prices on TripAdvisor.com or Booking.com.
- Beauclaires Bed and Breakfast: This highly rated Victorian bed and breakfast is located right in the middle of everything, and is just a 14 minute walk from the famous Emlen Physick Estate. See prices on TripAdvisor.com or Booking.com.
- The Harrison Inn: This historic and boutique bed and breakfast is located very close to Washington Mall, which makes it the perfect place for avid shoppers. See prices on TripAdvisor.com or Booking.com.
- The Queen Victoria: This extra luxurious accommodation has been voted “Best of Cape May.” Perfect if you want to splurge this winter! See prices on TripAdvisor.com or Booking.com.
Check for Events
Believe it or not, Cape May has a lot of weekend events scheduled throughout the winter. It’s worth it to check the official Cape May Events Calendar to see what’s happening in town.
You won’t run out of things to do especially in December with the tree lightings and Christmas markets!
It always pays to check ahead of time.
Bundle Up and Get Outdoors
Cape May has relatively mild winters compared to the rest of the state. For example, while north New Jersey might experience heavy snowfall, Cape May’s more likely to have rain showers.
Sometimes when I visit Cape May in winter, there’s a ten degree difference between Cape May and my hometown only two hours away.
You don’t want to be caught without the proper clothing. Otherwise be prepared to spend money at a surf shop that relies on tourist income. Meaning you’ll pay a lot more for important essentials.
What to Do in Cape May in Winter
Whew! Now we’re done with the planning process (or at least the most important stages of it).
For the remainder of this post, I’ve compiled the best 8 things to do in Cape May in winter. Of course, you want to do your own homework and check opening times for specific locations.
While Cape May has a decent amount of restaurants and attractions open year round, it still never hurts to double check or call to confirm opening hours.
Drink a Coffee at Beach Plum Farm
Don’t forget to explore West Cape May too! One of my favorite places to go is Beach Plum Farm – which is open the entire year!
This 62 acre working farm is a lovely place to grab a coffee outside. The free roaming roosters will certainly entertain you. Just don’t feed them anything!
At Beach Plum Farm, you should also go to the market that sells a ton of local products. I always buy spices and peanut butter when I am in town!
You can find Beach Plum Farm at 140 Stevens Street.
Experience Some History at Congress Hall
Congress Hall has been a seaside resort for 200 years, and as a result, is one of the most popular historical landmarks in Cape May City.
Personally, I love exploring Congress Hall even if I’m not a guest at the resort. The dining and shopping options are all delightful, especially in December when the holidays are in full swing! One of my favorite places to stop is the Blue Pig Tavern which is a local favorite. I mean, who could say “no” to their branding? Haha.
You can find Congress Hall at 200 Congress Place.
Sip a Classy Cocktail at the Ebbitt Room
You will discover the award-winning Ebbitt Room at the Virginia Hotel.
The Ebbitt Room supports local farms – particularly Beach Plum Farm – and as a result, you will enjoy a fresh and delicious meal in a classy hotel. And their cocktails? Spectacular!
The best part is the Ebbitt Room is open the entire year for visitors to enjoy dinner and drinks!
You can find the Ebbitt Room at 25 Jackson Street.
See Boats and Eat Seafood at the Lobster House
Okay, you can’t really talk about Cape May without mentioning the Lobster House. You just can’t.
The Lobster House is right on the wharf where you will see fishermen actively at work. The restaurant doesn’t take reservations and the outside might be closed, but you can still walk along the docks on a sunny day.
Not to mention, the Lobster House has a wonderful market that stocks all the freshest seafood! Feel free to buy lunch and eat outside if the weather isn’t too terrible.
You can find the Lobster House on Fisherman’s Wharf. And (the best part) is the Lobster House is open daily!
Treat Yourself to a Gourmet Dinner
Cape May is home to tons of wonderful restaurants. I know I keep mentioning food in this post, but I think Cape May City has the best fine dining options in all of Cape May County.
In the winter, you come here to eat until your heart is content. Even if you’re on a budget, I still recommend setting aside some money for an exquisite diner at a restaurant such as Peter Shields Inn.
Read reviews and confirm hours, and then pick a special place on a magical winter’s night to enjoy a fantastic dinner.
Hang out at Cape May Brewery
Are you a fan of craft beer? Then look no further than Cape May Brewery! This brewery has been a Cape May classic since 2011, and is open year round to beer aficionados.
Enjoy sampling a lot of excellent beer in the Tasting Room and Brewtique. Even if these areas are closed, you can still go to the brewery’s small store to buy a couple of six packs. Their branding is super cute, and I absolutely love their clothing options, too.
You can find Cape May Brewery at 1288 Hornet Road.
Experience Cape May’s Beaches — in the Cold!
Okay, so I know I’ve been talking a lot about food, but main reason to come to Cape May in winter is the lovely seaside beauty that surrounds you.
So, even if you’re chilly, make sure to go to beach. I mean, I personally love the contrast between the cobalt ocean and brisk wintry air. So take a few walks on Cape May’s beaches when you visit in the off season!
The peaceful atmosphere that permeates the air on Cape May’s beaches in winter will relax even the most stressed out visitors. You won’t regret getting outside.
Do a Cape May County “Road Trip!”
What better way to wrap up your wintry adventure in Cape May than to do a road trip around the county.
Cape May County is home to plenty of gorgeous seaside towns, both big and small, and if you’re tired of pretty Victorian homes (hey, it happens), then you should hop in your car to explore the nearby region.
For example, if you want to see some cool seaside attractions even if they’re closed, go to the boardwalks in Ocean City and Wildwood to enjoy the vibes.
For more shopping options, hit up Stone Harbor’s adorable downtown, support local businesses, and go to the movies.
And do you want to gamble? Don’t miss out on Atlantic City’s casinos.
You will find a ton to do if you plan a little road trip throughout the surrounding areas!
I hope you all liked reading about my ideas for winter in Cape May. Have you ever visited Cape May in winter? What were your favorite things to see and do?