Family Friendly Things to Do in Cape May

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Often, the southern Jersey Shores become known for the busier options - rides at Wildwood, stores in Ocean City or Avalon - but if you know anything about Sole Cottage and who we are as a family, you know we are always seeking out the slower, creative and unplugged experiences. We've found so many outings in the area which cultivate wonder and connection. Here are just a few of our favorites!

Beach Plum Farm 

Beach Plum Farm is one of those places that delights adults and children alike. Beautiful grounds with hiking trails, delicious food, farm-to-table dinners and of course feeding the chickens are just some of the reasons this spot is a favorite.  We consider this a must-visit when you're in town.

Whale Watching in Cape May & Other Animal Encounters

The entire Cape May area, from the Bay to the Ocean, is rich with wildlife encounters of all kinds.

  • The Cape May County Zoo is wonderful and FREE! There are a variety of holiday themed events at the zoo year round.

  • From mid-May to mid-June, on our very beach less than a block away, witness the ancient horseshoe crabs spawning at dusk.  It is beautiful and humbling to see hundreds of them come ashore and do their dance in the sand as they lay eggs.  If you visit in late May you'll likely also see the arctic shorebirds that stop over on their long migration just to eat these eggs.

  • Within a 20 minute drive of the cottage is the Wetlands Institute, which offers hands-on aquarium teaching and feeding each weekend, as well as awesome ways to get kids outdoors connecting with nature.  Last summer our kids went crabbing for the first time on a quiet dock at the Institute! 

Hiking, Birding & Outdoor Activities in Cape May

Cape May offers the perfect hiking for families, as most hikes are flat and easy, and you get a chance to see an array of wildlife.

  • Cape May Point State Park is a great option for little ones and those in wheelchairs, as it has boardwalk with viewing platforms which are perfect for birding. If you choose, the Cape May Lighthouse is there at the start of the trail, offering a beautiful view at the top. If you visit during the Spring Festival you may also get to tag along with some professional birders who will help you identify what you're seeing! 
  • A must-see for birders with some easier boardwalk trails is the South Cape May Meadows, offering 200 acres of preserved land and an untouched stretch of beach which is nearly impossible to find anywhere else at the Jersey shore.
  • The Garrett Family Preserve not only offers diverse habitat such as beautiful wildflower meadows, but it also has family-friendly amenities such as a picnic pavilion, artists' easels and interactive Monarch statue. 

Kayaking and stand up paddleboarding is always a great option to witness the natural beauty of Cape May up close. We provide a kayak and all essentials at the cottage for your use on the Bay, and a few good outlets for additional exploration are the Nature Center of Cape May which offers guided tours in partnership with Aqua Trails, and Aqua Trails also has a wide assortment of other tours, including sunset and full moon tours, and ones where you can explore Belleplain State Forest. 

For finding Cape May diamonds and seeing the sunken ship, Sunset Beach is a good excursion, albeit crowded in the summer and a shorter trip. 

Look to the skies with courtyard stargazing through Cape May Point Science Center or streetside gazing with Cape May Astro. 

Museums and Art in Cape May 

A few months ago we visited the Sperlak Gallery and Sculpture Gardens for the first time. It's a treasure that is about 20 minutes from the cottage and within a direct route many of you will take going from other parts of NJ to/from Cape May/Villas. There is a small and beautiful indoor gallery overlooking the salt marsh, where concerts and other events are often held throughout the year.  Acres of land surround the gallery space and hold an outdoor sculpture garden with beautiful trails. As you meander around, the sculptures (many made from reclaimed materials) will surprise and delight you. We highly recommend this spot for families - pack a lunch and spend a few hours; see website for current visiting hours. 

If you want to do something hands-on, visit the Madd Potters' Studio for an assortment of family-friendly pottery classes where you get to mold and make pieces from scratch. Use code SoleCottageSun for $5 off the studio sampler class (ages 12+) from now through April 21st, or SoleCottageThurs for $5 off the Thursday evening classes (agest 18+) through 2024.  Visit Seashore Flower Farm to make a wreath, flower crown or centerpiece for your table, or to pick fresh flowers. Use code SOLECOTTAGE10 to get 10% off U Pick flowers and farm tours. 

Cape May Monarch Festival

In September and October, tens of thousands of Monarch butterflies stop in Cape May en route to Mexico. Strap on your wings and join some butterfly-loving friends as the Nature Center of Cape May holds its annual Monarch Festival, teaching about these beautiful insects and ways to protect them. It's a perfect family outing where kids can even see Monarchs being tagged.

What's your favorite family thing to do off the beaten path? Let us know and we'll add it to the list!