Fun travel fact: “America’s Oldest Seashore Resort” can be found on the southern tip of the Garden State. Yes, Cape May is technically on the Jersey Shore but it’s the antithesis of the Jersey Shore you see on MTV—in lieu of Snookie sightings, nightclubs and tanning parlors, you’ll find Victorian mansions, horse-drawn carriages, gas-lit cobblestone streets, blooming hydrangeas and a famous lighthouse.
So why should you visit Cape May? Most people will tell you the long stretches of beaches and colorful architecture alone are reason enough to come. But locals will opine it’s about the passionate community, walkability to everywhere, the parks peppered with grandiose trees, bangin’ local music scene, mom-and-pop shops, the Coast Guard base, well-manicured lawns, family-owned restaurants, impeccable homes and its charm. Cape May is also a gourmand’s dream where perfectly seasoned, fresh-caught seafood dots the menus of all the town’s best haunts.
Where to stay: If modern and minimalist are your vibe, look no further than La Mer Beachfront Resort. The family-owned property recently underwent a major renovation and the hotel offers the island’s most swanky accommodations, swathed in beige and white hues and replete with traditional-yet-contemporary furnishings.
Don’t miss it: The Lobster House is Cape May’s most popular restaurant and the dining experience here beside the Fisherman’s Wharf is a must. Order a cold beer with steamed Maryland crabs and fried clams dockside and soak in the sights of the wharf.
Nearest airport: Atlantic City International Airport (ACY)