This past weekend we lost our Cape May virginity. We had been wanting to check out the southern tip of New Jersey for some time now and with a heat wave raging in the east, it was the perfect excuse to take a trip to the beach. Cape May is an easy 2 hour drive from Philadelphia and 3 hours from New York.
We opted to stay at the Beach Shack. That’s the hotel’s famed Rusty Nail bar (above) and is the main draw of the property. During the summer, they have live music daily and a reggae all day on Sundays. The bar serves $3 Red Stripes and Coronas on Sunday funday, so there’s really no reason to go anywhere else.
The rooms at the hotel are nothing to write home about—it is called the Beach Shack, after all. But they are clean and quiet. The biggest downside is that on a 100 degree day the wall unit A.C. barely cooled our room.
Overall, Cape May has a very laid back vibe. The town caters to tourists, so you won’t get any attitude—all our servers were super-friendly, even when we sat down to eat at one restaurant 20 minutes before closing. Another plus is that there are numerous places to eat and drink so we never had to wait in line, even at the famous Uncle Bill’s Pancake House where we had the best blueberry pancakes of our life. (Admittedly it helped that we were only a party of 2.)
Another plus for the budget-conscious is that many of the restaurants are BYOB. There’s a liquor store conveniently located right off the Washington Street mall (an outdoor pedestrian shopping area), so you can pick up your booze before heading to dinner. We ate at Gecko’s, a Mexican place. Be sure to ask for the homemade habanero hot sauce.
There’s so much to do in the quaint Victorian-style town, we barely scratched the surface. Cape May does cater towards families and couples, but there were groups of guys and girls out—the Ugly Mug was the place to be the weekend we were there. Cycling and miniature golf are just a few of the activities that are popular in the town. A fancier place to stay is Congress Hall, which has the same owners as the Beach Shack. Check back next week for photos from our tour of the hotel.