Island Hopping: Cape May

Cape May County is a treasure trove of thrills, games, specialty seafood, happy hour specials, traditional family-style restaurants, beach gear, breakfast spots, sweet treats and relaxing rituals. Yet with its 620-square-mile span, this Jersey Shore county can be quite daunting. With all this ground to cover, where should you even begin? We’re here with our 10th edition of Island Hopping for the season, offering some of our favorite places to “do the shore.” This week we’re hopping to the island of Cape May, a historic seaside gem known for its charming Victorian architecture.

Young, old and even four-legged friends are invited to start your morning at the Rusty Nail! “The Nail,” as it’s known by the locals, is an iconic surfer bar and restaurant serving up all of your breakfast favorites alongside beachfront views and ocean breezes. Enjoy eggs, omelets, pancakes, French toast, smoothies and more, while Fido feasts on all-natural treats made from 100% whole grains, real eggs, real cheese, real bacon and fresh ground peanuts!

After breakfast, discover the waters of Cape May at Utsch’s Marina. Experience the island of Cape May from above with parasailing, or jet ski around the Cape May Harbor and areas close by. Charter boats offer various types of fishing trips to all, as well as the option to fish on your own. If fishing isn’t your thing but you still want to hit the water boat-style, party boats are available for some fun in the sun!

After working up an appetite on the water, relax and unwind during lunch at the Bare Foot Bar & Restaurant at the Marquis de Lafayette Hotel. Take in the waterfront views, grab a bite to eat and sip on a fruity crush, which go for just $5 during Happy Hour from 4 to 7 p.m. daily!

Another lunch option is Harry’s Ocean Bar & Grille, featuring panoramic views of Cape May’s beautiful sand and surf. Pull up a stool at Cape May’s largest indoor/outdoor bar, or grab a booth in the dining room or panoramic ocean patio. Wherever you take a seat, you’ll love the delicious lunch options and unique cool cocktails.

Who doesn’t love a little midday shopping? After everyone’s stomachs are satisfied, work off some of those calories as you stroll along the Washington Street Mall. Be sure to stop by the Great White Shark and pick up all of your souvenir T-shirts, caps, car decals, beach jewelry and more!

Next, visit the Bay Springs Farm Alpacas to get some quality alpaca apparel, accessories, yarn and fleece. Made from superior Peruvian and Chilean Huacaya alpacas in a wide range of colors, the farm store offers a one-of-a-kind selection. Dreaming about owning your own alpaca? Meet the members of the Herd and check out the sales list so your alpaca dreams can come true!

Your dinner options are endless in Cape May! Consider dining at the Lobster House, home to a restaurant, the Raw Bar, the Schooner American, the Take Out Shop and the Fish Market. Eat in for a great family meal with drinks and a beautiful harbor view, or take out to enjoy your meal in the comfort of your own home. Whatever Lobster House experience you choose, you’ll be sure to get flavorful and fresh locally caught seafood paired with delectable sides.

Another great choice is the Washington Inn, a fine dining experience featuring eclectic American dishes. Set in a circa 1840 plantation house, the Washington Inn has become synonymous with elegant dining in Cape May.

If you are looking for a more casual dining experience, head to H&H Seafood. Whether you’re looking for Blue Claw crabs, lobster, Cape May scallops, shrimp, clams, oysters or other local fish, you’ll find it all in this fresh seafood market. The dockside dining menu changes daily depending on the catch, so stop by to check out the catch of the day!

After dinner, catch East Lynne Theater Company’s production of “Ah, Wilderness!,” a comedy about teenage growing pains which takes place in Connecticut during July 4th weekend in 1906. The show features a large cast of 14 actors, with ages ranging from child to adult, and runs Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. until Sept. 2.

Want both dinner AND a show? Elaine’s Dinner Theater can give you just that with its current production of “Young Dracula,” its own spiritual sequel to the classic “Young Frankenstein.” While enjoying the show, indulge in local seafood, meat and produce crafted by Elaine’s own executive chefs.

For a different kind of show, head down Beach Avenue to Cape May Convention Hall to see Mary Wilson of The Supremes! Although The Supremes disbanded in 1977, Wilson still performs as a solo artist – she’ll keep you dancing and singing all night long! Performing in Cape May Wednesday, Aug. 23 at 8 p.m., Mary Wilson will conclude Cape May’s Summer Concert Series.

End your day of Island Hopping in Cape May with cold drinks at Cabanas Beach Bar and Grill. Here, you’ll find a “chill and relaxing” vibe and awesome live entertainment. If hunger strikes again, Cabanas offers tasty Caribbean food and a twist on your favorite bar bites!