The Cape May - Lewes Ferry
In 2013, the Cape May - Lewes Ferry is celebrating its 50th year of service. The ferry is important for the convenience it brings to people traveling north and south, but the ferry is also a treat in itself.
The ferry accommodates the passenger cars, or you can purchase a "foot passenger" ticket which includes shuttle service from downtown Cape May and two continuously looping shuttles at the other end from the Delaware ferry terminal to Lewes; another shuttle goes to the Tanger Outlets with a connection to Rehoboth Beach and to the ferry terminal. Shuttle service is somewhat curtailed in the Fall.
If you are staying in Cape May for more than just a couple of days, you might want to venture a little further afield by taking "Cape May - Lewes Ferry" to historic Lewes, Delaware. From there you can arrange a tour to Lewes or as many people do, go on to Rehoboth Beach or the Tanger Outlet Shops Center. Rehoboth Beach is a favorite among many New Jerseyans because it is a little less crowded and beach houses are available for rent.
Both Cape May and Lewes have very nice passenger terminals with each having a restaurant or food court, gift shop, facilities, outdoor seating with good water views, etc.
Below see updated prices; however, regularly checking the website is the best way to make sure prices are accurate. Also, special rates may be available via the website. Reservations are recommended during the Summer season as this ferry is very popular.
UPDATE: 2013 PRICES:
Passenger car and driver one-way fare is now $44 one-way/$88 roundtrip in Peak Season which is considered Memorial Day to Labor Day; foot passengers and vehicle passengers are now $10 one-way/$18 round trip in high season for those age 14 & over; $5 one-way/$9 roundtrip for those age 6 - 13. Under 6 are Free.
Cape May is, as I have said, not a typical New Jersey Shore resort – for that you have to drive (or take a tour) a few miles to its neighbour to the north, Wildwood. We spent a couple of hours here on one of our chillier afternoons, walking the famous Boardwalk and enjoying taking lots of photos of its attractions. It was quite late in the season so most of these were closed (I believe they do still open at weekends at that time of year but not on a weekday). However this didn’t matter to us as we were mainly here simply to see the sights and soak up the atmosphere.
Wildwood’s history in recent years is bound up with the history of rock and roll. Indeed it has some claim to be its birthplace, as Bill Haley & His Comets gave their first ever performance of Rock Around the Clock, often credited as the first rock and roll record, in a hotel here on Memorial Day weekend in 1954. And while there are many Boardwalks in the US, it is Wildwood’s particular one that is sometimes said to have inspired “Under the Boardwalk”:
” Under the boardwalk down by the sea
On a blanket with my baby ... is where I'll be
Under the boardwalk out of the sun
Under the boardwalk we'll be having some fun
Under the boardwalk people walking above
Under the boardwalk we'll be falling in love.”
Today’s Wildwood still has some vestiges of that era, most notably in the architecture of some of its motels and Boardwalk attractions. Cape May’s Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts (MAC) organises evening trolley tours in the summer to see some of these “Doo Wop” influenced buildings. We were content though simply to stroll around and discover a little of Wildwood for ourselves.
Directions:Take Garden State Parkway north to Exit 4 and follow Route 47 just over 2 miles to the sea, where there is plenty of parking just behind the Boardwalk
I confess that I hadn’t read about Higbee Beach in my pre-holiday research, but when the owner of the salt marsh boat, the Skimmer, told us about it, it sounded just the sort of place we would like, and it proved to be a great recommendation. If you love wilder beaches more suited to walking and exploring than to sunbathing and relaxing, this is a must-visit spot while in Cape May.
We arrived soon after lunch on a bright, windy day and parked in the small lot alongside just two other cars – it seems this isn’t a crowded beach, at least on a mid-week September afternoon. A soft sandy path leads between the trees and after a few hundred yards brings you out on to a long, but quite narrow, beach which stretches from the inlet that separates Cape May from the mainland at the north all the way to Sunset Beach in the south – we could make out the silhouette of the concrete ship in the distance though we didn’t make it quite that far on our walk.
We turned first to the north and headed for the inlet. Here there is a rough rocky (man-made) spit pushing out into the sea, which seems popular with local fishermen. We also had a good view of the Cape May to Lewes ferry leaving its dock and sailing out across Delaware Bay (photo 3). We then retraced our step and walked towards the south. On this stretch there are interesting driftwood shapes to see and photograph, and we also saw much more birdlife on this part of the beach. There were a lot of small crabs too, and quite a few horseshoe crabs which went a long way towards explaining the large numbers of gulls, since they are obviously a favourite treat. The birds were too intent on enjoying their feast to be bothered about us approaching them so we got some good photos.
Directions: The beach isn’t easy to find if it’s not marked on your map – we had to stop and ask for directions. The simplest route is to go west on Sunset Boulevard towards the State Park and turn right at the sign for Higbee (soon after the houses of West Cape May start to thin out). Follow this road for a couple of miles to a T-junction where you turn left (unsignposted). This road takes you through a new housing development and dead-ends at the parking lot.
A day trip to Atlantic City
It seemed to us that you can’t come to New Jersey and not visit Atlantic City! And while it may not be everybody’s idea of the best time to visit the seaside, we deliberately chose our one bad weather day to head north to the State’s most famous resort. This is the weather in which I most enjoy the English seaside, and it proved just right for our visit here as well. A blowy stroll along the boardwalk, taking photos of the waves crashing against the piers, a visit to an interesting little museum, lunch in a casino – what a good way to spend a day too dull for many other pursuits!
On arriving in Atlantic City our first challenge was parking. Most of the roads dead-ended at a casino, where parking was limited to hotel guests. Eventually we found a public parking lot but there was no one on duty to pay so we took a gamble and left the car without paying. (Later we grew worried about this as someone told us they were quick to tow cars in the area, so we returned and moved it to a meter, but I suspect we’d have been OK to leave it as the weather had deteriorated so much they weren’t bothering too much).
Walking north along the Boardwalk we found much to interest us and to photograph. Candid shots of other visitors, neglected end-of-season attractions, stray cats and beach scenes all caught our eyes. Reaching Garden Pier we visited the excellent Atlantic City Historical Museum (see my New Jersey page for more about this) and the less good (but still worth a visit) Art Center opposite.
Returning the way we had come we stopped at the Trump Taj Mahal Casino to have lunch at the Hard Rock Café. We then drove back to Cape May via Margate to see the apparently famous Lucy the Elephant, but by then the weather had turned so wet that we didn’t linger for photographs but instead headed back to our comfortable apartment for a cosy night in!
Cold Spring Presbyterian Church
Near Cold Spring Historic Village is this old brick church, so we took a quick walk along the road to check it out. Unfortunately it was closed (as seemed to be the case everywhere we went that day!) but we took a few photos and wandered around the graveyard a little.
The church is one of the most historic in the United States, as its cemetery testifies. More Mayflower descendants are buried in it than anywhere outside of Massachusetts, while the oldest marked grave is that of Sarah Eldridge Spicer who died in 1742. A marker there commemorates the final resting place of many local residents who died during the worldwide cholera epidemic in 1832 and were buried secretly at night in unmarked graves. If you like old graveyards and the stories they tell, this one is certainly worth a quick stop.
Directions:On Route 9 just south of Cold Spring Village
- Historical Travel
Much of the scenery around Cape May is dominated by large expanses of salt marshes. These are home to numerous bird species and the wide open spaces and big skies have a particular beauty, even in poor weather. We had hoped to take a boat tour here but halfway through the week, before we’d got round to doing this, a strong wind got up in the area, caused by a hurricane just off-shore, and the Skimmer was docked for the rest of the week. Nevertheless we enjoyed driving through the area and stopped a few times to look for birdlife and take some photos.
Keen bird watchers will find shorebirds, waterfowl, herons, and salt marsh nesting species here. We’re not experts, being more interested in taking photos than identifying species, but we did spot egrets, heron and various gulls. You might also spot osprey, falcons and other hawks, and kingfishers.
Directions;Leave Cape May by the bridge to the Garden State Parkway and turn right immediately after it towards Wildwood. There are several pullouts as well as the turning to Dolphin Cove (on the left) from where the Skimmer leaves.
Take a ride and look around
If you take a ride up lafayette St. heading out of Cape May toward Wildwood Crest you will find many very cool marina's. These are great places to just take a walk around and enjoy looking at the boats, birds, water and then go grab a bite to eat on the water. Bring you camera for those perfect shots you may come across.
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
Sunken concrete ship
If you take Sunset Blvd. heading South toward Cape May Point State Park and follow it all the way to the end to Sunset Beach you will find the ship. it's just off shore about 150 to 200 yards, not much left and not much to look at but the beach isn't bad and the sunsets are pretty nice too.I think you can dive the ship so that may be more exciting then viewing it from the shore.
- Diving and Snorkeling
- Family Travel
At the farthest western point...
At the farthest western point in Cape May is Sunset Beach. Here you can see the remains of the SS Atlantus. It was an experimental concrete ship that was built in WWI. It sank off Cape May in 1926 and remains there today. Sunset beach is true to its name. The su sets over the water here similarly to Key West.
Simply Unique Coffee Bar & General Store
This great little shop is located in West Cape May at 479 W. Perry Street. You might miss it if you blink, but it's a must stop. The shop has a fantastic array of specialty food items and coffee by the pound (whole bean or ground for you).
They sell my favorite rum cakes (Tortuga) for about the same price I would pay online, and cheaper than in Key West, and they also carry a full line of Kitchen Kettle Village products from Lancaster, PA (saved me a trip since I was already in Cape May).
The coffee bar sells pastries, breakfast sandwiches, and has a nice expresso drink menu that would rival any big chain.
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Family Travel
Walk or bike over to West Cape May
Great walk or bike ride - on Beach Drive go south to Broadway, then make a right go to first light, this is West Cape May. Great little shops and restaurants, nice park. At light go left to Cape May wicker, Birdhouse of Cape May and Sea Level. Cool colorful stores with candles, art, home stuff, etc. At light go right to Flying Fish - funky clothes and neat jewelry, Cape May Linen outlet and then follow Park to Seaside Cheese, antiques, etc. At light go straight down Broadway - to Taylor made gift shop, Flanegan art - local art by owners, Bridgetown Antiques, Cape Island Gardens. All peppered with nice, reasonably priced restaurants, great architecture, friendly people. Stroll over, bike over. Some great festivals on this end of town also, Strawberry Festival, Lima Bean, flea markets, Art Show in July, worth it.
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Gay and Lesbian
This quiet end of town is...
This quiet end of town is where my other brother Tony and his wife Donna lived the past few summers. It’s over by the Lobster house but in atmosphere, eons away and well worth a wander to see some of the quaint shore houses along the dock.
And you are never far from...
And you are never far from home what did I bump in to
a Swedish Gift Shoop where they played Swedish music and where selling Swedish cristall and they had the same sett of China for sail as my mother have.And of curse Dala Horses one of Swedens national symbols.
Enter the Mid-Atlantic 500 Fishing Tournament
One of the biggest fishing tournaments in the world!
August 20-25, 2006
South Jersey Marina
Cape May, NJ
HEAVIEST WHITE MARLIN $100,000
2ND HEAVIEST WHITE MARLIN $50,000
3RD HEAVIEST WHITE MARLIN $25,000
HEAVIEST BLUE MARLIN $100,000
2ND HEAVIEST BLUE MARLIN $50,000
3RD HEAVIEST BLUE MARLIN $25,000
HEAVIEST TUNA $75,000
2ND HEAVIEST TUNA $35,000
3RD HEAVIEST TUNA $20,000
HEAVIEST DOLPHIN $10,000
HEAVIEST WAHOO $10,000
TOTAL • $500,000
Calcuttas paid out even more than the tournament prizes.
Last Year'sPay out:
Base Prize $500,000.00
$1000 Calcutta $150,100.00
$1500 Calcutta $229,425.00
$2500 Calcutta $377,625.00
$5000 Calcutta $441,750.00
Total Payout $1,698,900.00
Total # of Boats 169
White Marlin 60 pounds
Blue Marlin 400 pounds
Tuna, Dolphin, Wahoo No minimum weight
South Jersey Tournaments
1231 Route 109
Cape May, New Jersey 08204
Fax: (609) 884-0039
- Beer Tasting
Camping in Cape May
Camping in Cape May gives you the proximity to the beach, but it saves you on accomodation costs. Renting a room for a night in one of those fabulous mansions can run at least $250 a night. Camping is about $15 a night. You decide. We rounded up about 20 people and had fun in our tent, eating fire roasted kielbasa and singing drunk songs around the fire.
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