What To Do in Cape May During the Winter

Cape May is one of my favorite places to be in New Jersey. Its Victorian charm is more than enough for anyone to fall in love with it! And in the winter, Cape May’s magic is all the more alluring!

So, if you’re looking for the right blend of relaxation and fun, consider a weekend at Cape May. Today, I’m going to guide you through this breathtaking seaside town so you can make the most of your visit there. Ready?

Why You Should Visit Cape May in the Winter

Cape May is mostly popular because of its pristine coastal beaches. After all, the Jersey Shore is a premier summer destination for many Jerseyans!

But just because bikini season is over doesn’t mean New Jersey has nothing else to offer its locals and tourists. Cape May guarantees opportunities to be forever captivated by its allure. Come see for yourself!

You’d think with all the snow, this shore town would be quiet this time of year, but nope! It’s bustling with other New Jersey natives and visitors checking out local shops downtown, trying new food spots, and enjoying all of the Holiday Decorations around the town.

Don’t forget to pack your gloves and bring some hand warmers along!

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Personally, I’ve grown a deep attachment to this destination over the years. I’ve always found something new each time I visited – no matter the season! And hey, I could be a little biased since my family and I spent our annual summer vacations there when I was young.

That doesn’t mean you won’t find it charming, too! Take the legendary Victorian Era community, for instance. There’s a stunning collection of Victorian-era buildings dotted all around Cape May.  

Many of these beautifully preserved homes are now Bed & Breakfasts, inns, or boutique shops that you can check out. Just strolling through the streets and taking in the charming architecture is a fun activity too!

Suggested read: Day Adventures Around Cape May

Keep in mind, though, that since it’s off-season, not all businesses, hotels, Bed & Breakfasts, and restaurants will be open. 

A lot of them will have closed their doors, or are closing earlier in the day, and will re-open in the spring. That’s usually right before Memorial Day, when the town is getting ready for travelers and summer residents.

Pro Tip: Check out the official Cape May website and other affiliates to double-check their business hours during your visit or when you’re staying overnight at a local accommodation.

Washington Street Mall
Washington Street Mall on a clear day

Where To Stay in Cape May During the Winter

Winter is one of the best times to snag a deal at any available hotel or Bed & Breakfast. The lower demand after the holidays have passed means they’ve reduced their rates. 

So, if you’re spending a winter weekend at Cape May, consider staying at one of my top recommendations below:

The Victorian Hotel

For me, the last time I visited, I stayed at the Victorian Motel. It’s a modest accommodation located in the historic district of Cape May adjacent to the Washington Street Mall

It’s also close to a pedestrian-only outdoor shopping & dining promenade. There, I found unique boutiques and one-of-a-kind dining experiences.

As for my room, it was on the third floor – which in my opinion, offered the best view of the mall and the surrounding area of nearby Congress Hall. 

Intrigued yet? I can understand that! But before you go booking with The Victorian, know that their rooms fill up rather quickly. While it won’t be that big a problem during the off-season, it’s always best to book your spot in advance.

Suggested read: Search For Hotels in Cape May, NJ

Stay at Congress Hall in Cape May

The classic hotel to stay in at Cape May, even during the winter!

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View of Congress Hall from the Victorian Motel

Congress Hall

Congress Hall is a historic landmark, known in Cape May for its elegant accommodations, rich history, and prime oceanfront location. To no one’s surprise, Congress Hall gets fully booked pretty fast – even in the off-season!

In addition to their resort-style amenities (including a full-service spa, a heated outdoor pool, and a fitness center), their restaurants also serve fresh, locally sourced cuisine daily. 

Blue Pig Tavern

The nearby Blue Pig Tavern is another must-visit in Congress Hall, Cape May. It’s where you go for a heavenly meal set in a Victorian Era atmospheric room. With its rustic decor and warm lighting, it’s the perfect place for a cozy family meal or a romantic anniversary dinner.

The place is known for its delicious farm-to-table cuisine as well. I loved that the menu featured a variety of classic American dishes, but with a modern twist. Make sure to check out their signature dishes! Those include the Blue Pig Burger and the Lobster Mac and Cheese – my personal favorite.

The Boiler Room

What do Jerseyans and New Yorkers have in common? Their mutual love for a good ol’ slice of pizza! And the Boiler Room pizzeria offers a unique underground experience where music and pizza come together in a perfect blend. 

Personally, I adored how vibrant and quaint this restaurant is. The ingredients were also fresh, which matters to me, and their drinks menu was just as great!

The Virginia Hotel

The Virginia Hotel is another beautiful accommodation between the beach and the Washington Street Mall. The hotel comprises three floors, each with Victorian-inspired rooms & suites in the standard of the 21st century.

Perhaps the best part of the Virginia Hotel is none other than the award-winning Ebbitt Room restaurant. You will absolutely adore their creative farm-to-table cuisine and seasonal menus – I know I did! Their intimate atmosphere and attentive service is also impeccable.

Cape May: Museums, Arts, and Culture

For the art enthusiasts and those who love to immerse themselves into a city’s culture, I’m happy to report tha Cape May has exactly what you’re looking for! There are tons of museums and tours you can visit in the off-season.

Check Cape May MAC for a list of Trolley, House, Ghost, and Mystery tours – one of my favorites is the Emlen Physick Estate tour so start there!

If you’d rather explore the outdoors instead of walking around a museum, then head down to Cape May Point. The natural beauty there will stun you for sure. 

From its lush dunes to picturesque landscapes, you’ll instantly fall for its walking trails and bird watching opportunities.

cape may during the winter, What To Do in Cape May During the Winter
View of the mall from the Victorian Motel

FAQs

Are Cape May shops open in winter? 

Yes, many Cape May shops remain open during the winter months. Their operating hours and availability of services will vary, however, compared to peak tourist season in the summer. For instance, some shops will reduce their operating hours or even close temporarily.

If there’s a particular shop you have in mind that you’d like to visit, check their website or social media pages for updated info on their winter hours. Make sure to look for off-season special events or promotions they could be offering as well!

Does Cape May close down in winter?

While Cape May does experience a significant decrease in tourism during the winter, it doesn’t completely shut down. Many establishments, restaurants, museums, hotels, and shops will remain open year-round to accommodate all visitors. So, don’t hesitate to go!

Is Cape May a walkable town?

Absolutely! It’s one of the reasons why the locals love spending getaway weekends and summer vacations there. The streets are pedestrian-friendly and easy to navigate on foot. A lot of the town’s main attractions are within walking distance of each other too. 

If anything, strolling down Cape May is a fun activity for many, mainly because the roads are dotted with charming Victorian buildings and quaint shops.

Before You Plan Your Trip…

Remember that winter in Cape May means much fewer crowds, amazing photo opportunities, and the feeling of having this lovely beach community all to yourself!

We’re lucky we don’t have brutal winters like NYC, and that there are many unique places around the state that you can visit during these cold months. Check out some of the quaint towns around New Jersey too, or visit local museums for indoor adventure.

Don’t want to go south? Visit Princeton This Winter Season

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