Island Hopping

Bike Rides, Boat Parades, and Beautiful Views

Welcome back to Island Hopping! With Independence Day in the rearview mirror, we’re looking ahead to the hottest stretch of summer until September’s reprieve. Let us take you through a day in Cape May County. And don’t forget: It’s Christmas in July!
Our first stop is nestled deep in Wildwood Crest, the Cape May National Wildlife Refuge. This federally-protected nature reserve hosts marsh trails and perches for birders. It’s also a great place for a bike ride.
A wide entrance road, on your left just as you are about to leave Wildwood Crest going south on Pacific Avenue, is seldom trafficked by cars. This wide street was once the main entrance to the local Coast Guard Base. But the Coast Guard has long since moved, and in its place is a series of nature trails, bikeable paths, and scenic views of the surrounding wetlands.

A Piping Plover at the Cape May Wildlife Refuge.

The Wildlife Refuge hosts many free activities for those of any age or activity level. Saturday mornings at 9 a.m. bring family friendly nature walks, where a local expert guides a group through nearby trails and explains what makes our beach ecosystems so special (and delicate.) Bring your bike to the Refuge on Sundays between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. to complete a guided activity and receive a free sport pack with snacks and goodies.
Worked up an appetite? After you hit the Wildlife Refuge, the famous Crab House at Two Mile Landing is easily accessible by bike, just 0.7 miles away, south towards the bridge that connects Wildwood Crest and Cape May. We wrote a feature article on this restaurant this past April – Crab House attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors a year and can get slammed on a summer evening. But head here for lunch and you can order from a less expensive lunch menu and beat the summer crowds.
Crab House sits on a mighty piece of property overlooking the “Jarvis Sound” portion of the Wildwood Wetlands. The massive restaurant has weathered fearsome storm damage, a structural collapse, change of ownership, and multiple recessions. But the Crab House is a part of the shore’s DNA – it is still here after all these years, food just as good as ever.

Get ready for Christmas in July!

Don’t forget that this week is Christmas in July, a pseudo-holiday celebrated around the world but nowhere as intensely as on our peninsula. If you’re sticking around the Wildwoods, the North Wildwood Beach Patrol hauls Santa and his band of elves out from their summertime slumber to the hot, receding sands of the North Wildwood beaches.
Santa’s crew be on the beaches to pass out candy, take photos with visitors, and to bring Christmas cheer on Saturday, July 22. Check the Beach Patrol’s Facebook for a complete schedule.
There’s never a bad reason to have a parade*. More parades! They’re good for society – get out there and holler with your fellow man. The Wildwoods host two parades for Christmas in July, one on foot and one by boat. Both take place on Saturday, July 22 – check out our Christmas in July events list later in this issue for more details.
If parades stress you out, we recommend ending your day at one of Cape May County’s best picnic and kayaking spots – Carol Nicoletta Memorial Park, just a short drive east from Garden State Parkway Exit 9 in Middle Township.

Carol Nicoletta Memorial Park in Middle Township.

This park sits at the end of a small neighborhood and is a true “local’s spot.” The park is named in memory of Carol Nicoletta, Middle Township’s longtime zoning officer.This is one of a few picnic spots that offer truly panoramic views of the wetlands – you can see Wildwood Island and 7-Mile-Island from here. I like to fly my kite here on windy days. Check it out!
And that’s it for Island Hopping! Have a suggestion for next week’s issue? Email the editor at

*Editor’s note: I take it back, there are some bad reasons to have a parade. The 40s were full of bad parades.