Maybe your idea of a perfect summer morning is to laze in bed until late. We would like to suggest an alternative; an early morning hike with fresh, cool breezes. The earlier you set out, the less likely it is you will run into crowds. Plus, you may have the bonus of seeing a gorgeous sunrise over the ocean!
With that in mind, we have put together a quick list of the best hiking trails near Cape May, NJ. Keep in mind that our terrain is rather flat, making hiking or walking easier. To bump up the effort, walking in loose (versus packed) sand will always get your heart rate up!
It’s a quick walk to the beach from Carroll Villa Hotel; when you finish, stop back for a breakfast on the front porch or garden terrace room at the Mad Batter Restaurant. Haven’t booked your room yet? Don’t miss out!
Garrett Family Preserve
Rated: Easy | Location: 801 Wilson St, Cape May NJ
The Garrett Family Preserve is free and open year-round. It is 1.5 miles from us and is located on a saltwater tide marsh, with spaces carved out for migrating birds. You’ll also see butterflies fluttering about in a wildflower field. There are 4 miles of trails, with loops for pollinators, songbirds, meadow-to-marsh, and even a braille trail! Bring your camera, and come back every season for something interesting and fun to see!
Cape May Promenade
Rated: Easy | Location: Runs along Beach Ave from Madison to the water
The Cape May Promenade runs parallel to Beach Avenue and is nearly two miles long! Just three minutes from Carroll Villa, it was formerly known as the boardwalk, which would traditionally have been a wooden surface. A nor’easter in 1962 destroyed the boardwalk, so it was rebuilt with an asphalt surface, which makes it easier for biking or running. It has great views of the beach throughout the entire walk! From Carroll Villa walk towards the water and turn either right or left after crossing Beach Ave; it is about a mile in either direction. Nice to know – there are public restrooms about every half mile.
Cape May Loop
Rated: Easy | Location: 707 US-9N, Cape May NJ
The Cape May Loop starts at the Cape May County Park and Zoo, about 20 minutes from the Hotel. The Loop is in the Park, and extends for 2.6 miles, with a lake about halfway through. There are benches and a gazebo at the beginning (and end) of the loop.
Cape May Point State Park
Rated: Easy to Moderate | Location: Lighthouse Ave, Cape May NJ
Cape May Point State Park is located on the tip of the peninsula and has 244 acres of meadows, ponds, dunes, and a beach. It is particularly famous for the Cape May Lighthouse, whose iconic figure can be seen on many postcards and pictures. There are three easy trails: Duck Pond Trail (½ mile), Monarch Trail (1.2 miles), and Plover Trail (1.5 miles). Parts of the trail are wooden boardwalks.
Cape May Meadows
Rated: Easy | Location: 692 Sunset Blvd, Cape May NJ
The Cape May Meadows is known as a bird watcher’s paradise. The trail system is unique in that it allows wildlife viewing in a protected beach area, a rarity along the New Jersey coastline. The trails are flat and easy to complete. Plan to encounter varied ecosystems, including the beach, dunes, meadows, and freshwater wetlands.
Rated: Moderate | Location: 1 Higbee Beach Rd, Cape May NJ
The Higbee Beach Trail Loop is approximately 2.5 miles long, with a trailhead beginning in the parking lot of the Higbee Beach Wildlife Management Area. Be prepared for some thick woods as you walk around a swamp’s edge before the beach comes into view. There are some amazing tall dunes (almost 35 feet high) to be seen!
Whenever you are going out, make sure you not only have the proper footwear on (flip-flops are not advisable), but also have sunscreen, tick protection, and insect repellent for the most enjoyable time. Keep your eyes open for some amazing birds, butterflies, and other wildlife. Depending on the season, you’ll also see some eye-popping wildflowers. None of the best hiking trails in Cape May NJ we have selected are very strenuous, so take your time and enjoy the scenery!
Several of the hikes are within easy walking distance of Carroll Villa Hotel, removing any parking worries. We want your stay to be as relaxing and enjoyable as possible, so make sure you call us with any questions!