Although we consider Cape May a four-season destination, many folks think of us as a summer beach resort. That could not be further from the truth; to prove it, here are our top things to do in winter in Cape May, NJ. There is something for everyone, and we are conveniently located from NYC, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, DC.
1. Polar Bear Plunge
We admit that this activity is not for everyone and certainly not for the faint of heart. The ocean water in January is usually in the low 40s, but remember, it is for a good cause! There is a Polar Bear Plunge in Wildwood, NJ (just 15 minutes away) on January 13, 2024. The event is set up to raise money (participants raise pledges) for the Special Olympics. This year’s goal for this event in Wildwood is $310,000!
If you want to wait until March, you can participate in the St. Paddy’s Day Plunge and 5K in Cape May. Choose to run a 5K, walk one mile, and do a polar plunge with or without the race. The proceeds from this race benefit the Cape May Food Closet. Just a warning: if you think the ocean water will be warmer in March than January, think again.
2. Come to a Birding Event
Granted, this seems a bit more tame than running into freezing ocean water, but winter is an exciting time of year for birding. The NJ Audobon Society is offering a Winter Birding Camp in February, and there are numerous opportunities for classes and group birding expeditions at the Cape May Northwood Center.
3. Go Roller Skating with a View of the Ocean
Usually, you think of ice skating in the winter, but isn’t it warmer and more unusual to go roller skating—with an ocean view? The Cape May Convention Hall is set up for roller skating through March. The rink is open on weekends, and don’t worry, you can rent skates.
4. Stroll Through to a Crafts and Collectibles Show
The quarterly Crafts and Collectibles Show in Cape May features high-quality vendors with fantastic crafty creations. The winter season’s show is in February, just in time for either Valentine’s Weekend visit or President’s Day–take your pick.
5. Take a Trolley Tour (Pick your Interest)
There are numerous Trolley Tours available for every taste. Learn the history of the seaside mansions as you motor by, hear spooky ghost stories, and learn about the natural habitat. All of these while being protected from the elements.
6. Take a Doo Wop Walking or Driving Tour
Off-season is the perfect time to cruise around the Doo Wop Motel District of the Wildwoods. There are no crowds, and you can spend as much time as you want snapping pictures and exclaiming over the more than 50 remaining commercial motels from the Doo Wop period. You may wonder, what is Doo Wop?
The Doo Wop music is the style from the 50s and 60s classified as rhythm and blues and rock and roll. There is a lead singer with backup. Doo Wop architecture is recognizable as a space-age style with bright colors, boomerang shapes, big angles, and lots of neon lights. The motels in the area were all built after the completion of the Garden State Parkway, making access to the New Jersey beaches easy by car.
7. View the Eclipse from the Beach
There has been a lot of press about the solar eclipse happening on April 8, 2024. The path of totality for this rare eclipse spans much of the eastern seaboard of the United States. Cape May will be home to a partial viewing of the eclipse, 87%, which is still substantial. Can you imagine a more scenic place to don your special eclipse glasses than next to the Cape May lighthouse?
Plan Your Winter Cape May Getaway
Although we have listed our favorite things to do in winter in Cape May, NJ, there are many other activities we didn’t mention. There is plenty of shopping in the Washington Street Mall and other areas. And, although some restaurants close for the season, there are plenty of dining opportunities. We can help you plan the perfect winter getaway.