12 Unforgettable Nature Activities to Experience in Cape May, NJ!

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Welcome to Cape May, NJ, a historic seaside town at the southern tip of the Jersey Shore. But don’t let the name fool you; this isn’t your typical Jersey Shore scene. Instead, Cape May offers a unique blend of Victorian elegance, pristine beaches, and captivating outdoor experiences, all nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and Delaware Bay.

Beyond its charming facade, Cape May County is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Traverse scenic hiking trails, marvel at the annual butterfly migrations, and embark on thrilling whale-watching tours. Whether you’re drawn to the allure of stunning sunsets or seeking family-friendly adventures, Cape May’s natural wonders promise an unforgettable experience for all who visit.

Bird Watching at Cape May Point State Park

Birders Cape May State Park Boardwalk Credit DownshiftingPRO
Birders Cape May State Park Boardwalk Credit_ DownshiftingPRO

Cape May Point State Park is a haven for birdwatchers, offering opportunities to observe migratory birds, including raptors, shorebirds, and songbirds, as they pass through the area.

Hiking at Cape May National Wildlife Refuge

Great Blue Heron Photo Credit graphicphotos via Depositphotos 1
Great Blue Heron Photo Credit graphicphotos via Depositphotos

Explore the trails of Cape May National Wildlife Refuge, immersing yourself in the diverse ecosystems of marshes, forests, and wetlands while enjoying sightings of native wildlife such as ospreys, herons, and egrets. Locate in Cape May Court House, NJ.

Mine for Cape May Diamonds

Sunset Beach Cape May Photo Credit DownshiftingPRO
Sunset Beach Lower Township, Cape May County Photo Credit DownshiftingPRO

Located in Lower Township (part of Cape May County), I suggest you head to Sunset Beach and try your hand at mining for Cape May diamonds, small quartz crystals that are naturally polished by the ocean. This unique and family-friendly activity allows you to collect these sparkling treasures as souvenirs of your time in Cape May.

Whale and Dolphin Watching Tours

Cape May Whale Watcher Credit DownshiftingPRO
Cape May Whale Watcher Credit_ DownshiftingPRO

Embark on a thrilling whale and dolphin watching tour with Cape May Whale Watcher, venturing into the open waters of the Atlantic Ocean to observe these majestic marine mammals in their natural habitat.

Visit Cape May County Park and Zoo

Cape May County Park and Zoo Credit DownshiftingPRO
Cape May County Park and Zoo Credit_ DownshiftingPRO

Spend a day at Cape May County Park and Zoo, exploring the beautifully landscaped grounds and encountering a variety of exotic and native wildlife, including big cats, primates, and birds of prey. Delight in the opportunity to see a diverse array of animals (including a capybara) in a well-maintained and naturalistic setting. The zoo is located in Cape May Court House off of the Garden State Parkway.

Explore Cape May Point Lighthouse

Cape May Lighthouse Credit DownshiftingPRO
Cape May Lighthouse Credit_ DownshiftingPRO

Climb to the top of Cape May Point Lighthouse for panoramic views of the surrounding coastline and Delaware Bay. Stop by the Nature Center and learn about the rich maritime history of the area through interactive exhibits and guided tours. Located in Cape May Point.

Kayaking and Canoeing in Cape May Harbor

Kayaking Photo Credit DownshiftingPRO
Kayaking Photo Credit DownshiftingPRO

Paddle through the tranquil waters of Cape May Harbor, enjoying scenic views of wetlands and marshes while observing local birdlife and marine creatures such as horseshoe crabs and diamondback terrapins.

Visit Nature Centers and Interpretive Trails

South Cape May Meadows Wetlands Photo Credit appalachianview via Depositphotos 1
South Cape May Meadows Wetlands Photo Credit appalachianview via Depositphotos

Discover the natural wonders of Cape May at local nature centers such as the Nature Center of Cape May and the Wetlands Institute, where you can explore interactive exhibits, nature trails, and educational programs focused on conservation and ecology. The Wetlands Institute is located in Stone Harbor, NJ.

Explore Cape May’s Garden Tour

Emlen Physick Estate Credit DownshiftingPRO
Emlen Physick Estate Credit_ DownshiftingPRO

Here is your invitation to explore Cape May’s unique natural areas and the private plants, blooms and landscape designs of area gardeners. See both public and private gardens and take home ideas for your own garden. Smell and see what’s blooming and flourishing in several different seashore locations dominated by sunlight, ocean breezes, and sand and salt, each uniquely situated. Cape May’s Emlen Physick Estate gardens are included.

Beachcombing on Cape May Beaches

Cape May Beach Photo Credit DownshiftingPRO 1

Take a leisurely stroll along the pristine beaches of Cape May, collecting seashells, driftwood, and other treasures washed ashore by the Atlantic Ocean while enjoying the soothing sound of waves crashing against the shore.

Join Guided Nature Walks and Eco-Tours

Walking on the Beach Photo Credit DenKostiukBO via Depositphotos 1
Walking on the Beach Photo Credit DenKostiukBO via Depositphotos

Participate in guided nature walks and eco-tours led by local naturalists and experts, exploring the diverse habitats of Cape May while learning about the region’s flora, fauna, and conservation efforts. There are also fun trolley tours you can take if you won’t to sit back and relax.

Cape May Bird Observatory

Seagulls on the Beach Photo Credit CheriAlguire via Depositphotos 1
Seagulls on the Beach Photo Credit CheriAlguire via Depositphotos

The Cape May Bird Observatory specializes in field trips and weekly walks.  Weekly Walks are regularly scheduled and led by Associate Naturalists and professional staff, that take place at all the best birding and natural history locations around Cape May. These walks change throughout the year, focusing on the best of each season, whether that is breeding hotspots, winter visitors, or the spectacle of migration. There are two locations one in Cape May Point and the other in Cape May Court House.

Learn More about Cape May, New Jersey

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Cape May Point Photo Credit: DownshiftingPRO

Welcome to Cape May, NJ, a charming seaside haven at the southern tip of the Jersey Shore. This historic town is nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and Delaware Bay and offers a perfect blend of Victorian elegance, pristine beaches, and outdoor adventures. There is plenty more to see in and around Cape May County.

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Margarita Ibbott is a travel and lifestyle blogger. She blogs about travel in Canada, the United States and Europe giving practical advice through restaurant, hotel and attraction reviews. She writes for DownshiftingPRO.com and other online media outlets.