Photo Courtesy of Peter Shields
Why do I need an NJ shoreline survival guide?
U.S. Residents having been hitting Cape May beaches for vacation since the 1800’s. Abraham Lincoln vacationed here. The city of Cape May says the population swells from 95,000 to 820,000 during summer months. Including day trippers, the estimated summer month visits to the beaches are in the millions.
Of course, these millions of visitors have left plenty of commentary about the beaches. You can find this commentary (among many places) at the following websites:
- Cape May.com Beach tag rates and general overview
- Trip Advisor Reviews of each beach from locals and tourists alike.
- com More reviews of various Cape May NJ beaches.
- Travel Channel – A nicely written piece on Jersey shoreline beaches.
- Costal Living – Article rating “The Cove” as the 13th best beach in the country.
Included in these links are the hours and fee’s associated with each beach. Also reviews. Thousands of reviews. Too many reviews. What I have done is read through these reviews for you. I have come up with a handful of tips aimed at saving you time, money and getting the most from each beach visit!
5 Cape May Beach is going tips you’ll be happy to have.
Bike to the beach! – Tip #1
Many of the beaches have METERED parking with a single meter covering many spaces. It is extremely easy to miss the meter and collect a fairly sizable parking ticket. Nothing is worse than being on vacation and having to deal with “big city” irritations. Parking ranges from .25 cents an hour to $1.50 an hour. Often you are paying these fees for what amounts to a mile or two round trip.
For the same amount of money, it would cost to park you can bike to the beach. Most of Cape May also has nature trails and bike paths. You can travel further and ultimately pay less using two-wheeled transportation.
Always have “Sea Sandals” – Tip #2
Unlike beaches in California or Hawaii, many of the beaches in Cape May have rocks, shells or pebbles. Finding a store that carries sandals then purchasing them will be time-consuming and carry a significant “convenience tax.” Bring a pair of sandals meant to go into the water. You’ll thank me later.
Plan your beach tags and rentals in advance. Tip #3
Another difference with Cape May beaches is you are charged for admittance. Many families also chose to rent umbrellas. Beach tags are $6 for a day $12 for three days. The county WEBSITE sells tags. Our advice would be to buy and bring an umbrella. If you’re staying for four days, you cover the cost of renting one and have it available for future trips.
Drink before you beach! Tip #4
Much of Cape May is “Dry”. No Alcohol on the beaches for certain. That is a fast way to get a ticket and possibly bring a family outing to a sudden halt. If you do want to make some tasty Daiquiris do so in your hotel or Air BnB.
Plan your Dogs trip to Cape May with care– Tip #5
We love dogs and pets in general. They are not allowed on the beaches during the seasonal summer months. There are plenty of nature trails that you can take your four-legged bundles of trouble on, however. Here is a LINK to an amazing website called “Bring Fido.” It lists 11 or so trails in or around Cape May that you allow dogs. The website Cape May.com has been kind enough to provide exactly which beaches, what conditions and which times of year you can bring your dog with you. Here is that link.
What Beaches did we review to write this post?
- 7-mile beach – Also known as Avalon Beach, this stretch of shoreline, extends from Avalon to Stone Harbor. You can access free parking with a short walk. All of Cape Mays beaches are meticulously maintained thanks in great part to the “beach tags.” You can find numerous recommendations for times to visit and avoid the crowd. (Just click “7-mile beach). Here are the remaining details you need to visit.
- FEES – $6 daily; $12 weekly; $26 season
- Lifeguards: 10 a.m -5p.m. Swimming permitted on certain beaches from June 16th thru August 18th Certain beaches have limited lifeguards. Visit the Avalon’s CITY website for more information.
- PETS – NO.
- Alcohol – NO
- Handicapped access – Plentiful
- Cape May – Considered the “main beach” sometimes referred to as “Wildwood ”
- $5 3-day pass, $12; weekly $15; season.
- Lifeguards: 10am – 5:30pm
- Parking – Metered
- Dogs – NO
- Alcohol – NO
- Sunset Beach – This beach is “off the strip” in lower Cape May points as opposed to Cape May. There is a website, but info for beach details like cost and dog access are not listed.
- Poverty Beach – Located at the North end of Beach Ave. It is quite, and if you read the reviews, you’ll quickly discover it’s less crowded and more serene than other Cape May beaches. It’s considered a sand split or barrier split. It is also referred to as Sewell point. Like sunset beach, certain information wasn’t as east to find online. You might need to do additional research, but the reviews are fantastic.
- North Wildwood A free beach! Yup, no cost for this one. And the boardwalk has been recently repaired. Damaged by Hurricane Sandy in case you where Here are beach details:
- Lifeguard: 10 a.m. – 5:30 pm
- PETS – NO
- Handicapped – Partial – but some great free amenities for the disabled.
- Bike Path – Yes
Hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing it. Please leave comments or thoughts below. In particular, I would be interested if anyone had recommendations I didn’t think of.