What's New in Cape May, New Jersey

Lonely Planet / Getty Images

Restaurants, tours, and festivals to experience this summer along the Jersey Shore's swanky Cape May.

The Victorian jewel of southern New Jersey's coastal towns, Cape May is beloved for its antique architecture, beautiful beaches, and old-fashioned charm. This summer, try a new outpost of an old-timey general store, sip craft beers at the annual Craft Beer and Crab Festival, and celebrate the 200th birthday of America’s oldest seaside resort.

Where to Stay

Congress Hall
This Cape May landmark hotel turns 200 this summer, and it’s marking the occasion with a slew of events in celebration of the bicentennial—including a clambake every Tuesday until the end of August. Refurbished this April, guest rooms (soft blue walls, white linens, Americana-inspired furniture) give the stately, colonnaded property a fresh, contemporary feel. Rooms, from $300; 200 Congress Pl.; 888-944-1816; caperesorts.com.

The Reeds at Shelter Haven
A short 20-minute drive from Cape May in Stone Harbor, this nearly three-year-old hotel offers comfortable—though somewhat generic—accommodations (chevron pillows, white enameled side tables) and complimentary yoga classes on the roof. From $420; 9601 Third Ave.; 609-368-0100; reedsatshelterhaven.com

Where to Eat

Shamone Bites + Wines
Fresh off a grand opening on Memorial Day weekend, Cape May’s busy Washington Street Mall now has a tapas bar. With only one seating, at 7 p.m., and a 15-course menu that changes daily, seats fill up quickly. For now, it’s still BYOB, so come prepared—perhaps with a bottle from the local Willow Creek Winery (willowcreekwinerycapemay.com). 421 Washington St.; 609-600-1846; kararestaurantgroup.com.

The Little Store
The owners of the Red Store, the old-timey general store with a James Beard nominee–run restaurant and supper club, located in quieter Cape May Point, quietly opened a small outpost of their acclaimed venture closer to town in October. Tartines, banh mi, empanadas, multi-ingredient juices, baked goods, and a small market—all well suited to a beach picnic—are on offer. 1208 Route 109; 609-305-4582; littlestorecapemay.com.

Harry’s Ocean Bar & Grille
A relaxed family restaurant in the Montreal Beach Resort, Harry’s gets a new look this summer, with exposed brick walls, exposed bulbs hanging by rope, and additional lounge seating outside. The restaurant continues its beachside delivery service and live music from Thursday to Sunday all summer long. 1025 Beach Ave.; 800-525-7011; montrealbeachresort.com.

What to Do

Craft Beer and Crab Festival
The fifth annual beer and crab festival takes places this year on August 6 at the Emlen Physick Estate. Sample crab boil, pulled pork, and craft beers from local breweries alongside live music and an old-fashioned circus. Proceeds from the event go to support the Mid Atlantic Center for Arts and the Humanities’ programs in local schools. 1048 Washington St.; 609-884-5405; capemaymac.org.

Yoga on the Beach and Aerobics in the Vineyard
Local studio Balance Cape May hosts group yoga, tai chi, or pilates sessions every morning on the beach at 8 a.m., and can also arrange private sessions for those seeking more personalized attention (balancecapemay.com). Willow Creek Winery hosts a modern dance class, with post-workout sangria included, Thursday mornings at 10 a.m. (160-168 Stevens St.; 609-770-8782; willowcreekwinerycapemay.com.

Tours of Beach Plum Farm
The 62-acre farm two miles from town supplies many of Cape May’s top restaurants with herbs, eggs, vegetables, and fruit. Throughout the summer, visitors are welcome to tour the grounds Thursday through Tuesday and fill their own baskets with fresh strawberries, tomatoes, watermelon, and other seasonal produce. 140 Stevens St.; 609-884-6542.

For more on what’s new in classic American beach towns, see our complete slideshow »

Image Credit: © Robert Harding Picture Library Ltd / Alamy