Yes, when you think of the Jersey Shore, you think of blue skies, sunshine and beach weather. But here in Cape May County, there are tons of things to do when you step off the beaches; and as the days get colder, you’ll discover that there are still plenty of ways to do the shore during the winter months.
1. Embrace nature.
Cape May County offers both indoor and outdoor facilities that allow interaction with wildlife and its habitats. The Wetlands Institute in Stone Harbor, surrounded by award winning gardens with hundreds of native plants, features Marshview Hall from which visitors can observe the surrounding marsh and sample wildlife art and carvings. The Cape May Bird Observatory in Cape May also proves to be a great lookout point when it’s chilly outside, and offers special educational programs on weekends throughout the winter. If the cold doesn’t bother you, bundle up and head over to the Cape May County Park & Zoo in Cape May Court House. Open year round and completely free, the zoo consists of around 550 animals representing 250 species.
2. Attend a wine or beer tasting.
In the mood for a tasting? Cape May Winery & Vineyard in Cape May offers enticing spots indoors to unwind, relax, linger and enjoy its quality wines. Step up to the wine bar at Hawk Haven Vineyard & Winery in Rio Grande for an educational tasting of a selection of wines. Willow Creek Winery in Cape May also offers a wine bar, where guests can take a seat for tastings of estate wines, signature sangrias and wine cocktails. Experience wine made from 14 different varieties of French, Italian and Spanish grapes at Natali Vineyards in Cape May Court House. Jessie Creek Winery in Cape May Court House gives visitors a unique view of the intimate side of boutique wine’s production with an in-depth look into the entire production process.
For those who prefer a different taste, Cape May Brewing Company in Cape May offers a fun and cozy spot to escape the winter chills and kick back with its brews. For beer brewed with all natural ingredients sourced locally whenever possible, check out Slack Tide Brewing Company in Clermont. Transport back in time at Cold Spring Brewery in Cold Spring, housed within a restored and reconstructed 1804 three bay English-style Cape May County barn from Upper Township. Ludlam Island Brewery in Ocean View brings a unique variety of craft beers to the Jersey Shore with flavors and names specific to its area. 7 Mile Brewery in Rio Grande experiments with all kinds of malts, grains, hops, sugars and other flavorings, creating interesting tastes for every palate.
Looking for something stronger? Check out Cape May Distillery in Cape May Court House, featuring Barrel and Beach Rums along with unique Honey Liquer, all made with locally grown raw ingredients sourced in-state.
3. Visit the theater.
When it’s chilly outside, check out the indoor stages of talented local theater companies. East Lynne Theater Company (ELTC) based out of Cape May is a proven destination for theater lovers who crave the adventure of discovery. The company holds various shows, lectures, workshops and other programs for all ages. For a unique theatrical production, visit Elaine’s Dinner Theater in Cape May for a full course dinner and a show put on within the walls of a restored Victorian Mansion.
4. Get a history lesson.
There is an abundance of history behind your favorite shore towns in Cape May County. Travel back in time by visiting the following historic sites, which are just a few of many in the area. The Naval Air Station Wildwood at the Cape May Airport has been restored and transformed into an Aviation Museum that houses a number of aircrafts, engines, special exhibits and educational interactive displays. The Cape May Lighthouse in Cape May Point offers one of the county’s best vantage points. On the way to the top, visitors can learn about the monument and its history over the past two centuries. The Hereford Inlet Lighthouse in North Wildwood is located on the beautiful AngleSea Walk, and is open for guided and self-guided tours through the lighthouse. The Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities hosts many events at the historic Emlen Physick Estate in Cape May, including house tours and seasonal tours that showcase the history behind this 18-room mansion and the homes that border it. Visit The Museum of Cape May County in Cape May Court House to see a showcase of county life from Native American times through the 21st century. Many local municipalities have their own history museums as well, so you can dig even deeper into Cape May County’s rich past.
5. Catch a movie.
Going to the movie theater is one of the most popular things to do in any town when the skies aren’t blue or there’s a chill in the air. Frank Theatres in Rio Grande is a full-service movie theater open year round, so grab a bucket of popcorn and your favorite candy and catch that new release you’ve been dying to see! Or, take dinner and movie to the next level at Harbor Square Theatre in Stone Harbor, where you can hit the Harbor Burger Bar pre-movie, or purchase food, beer and wine to take in and enjoy during the movie!
6. Go bowling.
Let out your pent-up energy with the classic indoor activity of bowling, which can be enjoyed by family members and friends of all ages. Both Island Bowl in Wildwood and Mouse Trap Lanes in Woodbine are great places for family entertainment, friends’ night out or date night. Both bowling alleys have an arcade and lounge for some post-match fun, and both offer multiple specials throughout the week.
For specific days and hours of operation, please visit the business’ websites or call.
For more ways to Do The Shore during the off-season, check out the Do The Shore section and DoTheShore.com!