Cape May, New Jersey

Best Places to Retire in New Jersey


Cape May (population 4,100) is located at the southern-most tip of the state, at the end of Cape May Peninsula, on the Atlantic Ocean. This location has an interesting history dating back to American Indians, the earliest explorers and English colonists. It initially developed as a fishing and whaling village. In the period following the Civil War, a rail line was completed connecting it to Philadelphia and it developed into a resort island with hundreds of summer cottages.Today this very quaint and charming village is among the oldest seaside resort communities on the East Coast and contains hundreds of Victorian houses known as “painted ladies.” There are more than 50 bed and breakfast inns, guest suites, and grand old wooden hotels. The entire community has been designated a National Historic District. It is virtually surrounded by water, with the Atlantic Ocean to the east and south, and the Delaware Bay to the west. On the northeast side is Cape May Harbor, which leads in from the Atlantic to its protected harbors, and to the entrance of the busy Cape May Canal. The canal slices through the peninsula to connect to Delaware Bay.

Cape May County, of which Cape May is a part, consists of 16 municipalities with a combined population of just over 100,000. A number of them are on the barrier lands stretching along the ocean up to Atlantic City and have populations of less than 5,000. The exception is Ocean City, just south of Atlantic City, which has a population of about 15,000. There are an equal number of towns inland, including Cape May Courthouse, which is the county seat.

The Cape May area offers a great number of amenities and activities. It is rich in history and natural beauty, including spectacular sunsets coming from across the Delaware Bay. You can also stroll the bay beaches and collect “Cape May Diamonds,” which are actually clear quartz. There are great ocean beaches, all types of saltwater fishing, boating, kayaking, hiking, birding, nature trails, golf, and more. There is a near continuous schedule of festivals, shows, and musical events. There are also many dining choices, plus live theater and evening entertainment. Cape May has its own acute care hospital. The nearest airport is a 45-mile trip to Atlantic City. And if Cape May doesn’t have all the shopping, nightlife, entertainment, or sporting events you would like, nearby Atlantic City and Philadelphia do.

Arts & Culture

Cape May Stage is a professional Equity theatre. Its performance season is from May through the Christmas season.

The East Lynne Theater Company is an Equity professional theater dedicated to American Stage Classics.

The Cape May NJ State Film Festival presents the best New Jersey films and filmmakers.

The Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts operates the Emlen Physick Victorian house museum. It also operates the 1859 Cape May Lighthouse.

Cape May Jazz Festival is held annually in the spring.

Cape May County Library –

The Colonial House Museum is a circa 1775 home that was at one time a tavern and family house of Revolutionary War patriot Memucan Hughes. It is managed by the Greater Cape May Historical Society. Exhibits depict the colonial era and there is a museum gift shop.

Historic Cold Spring Village is a 22-acre living history museum consisting of 25 restored historic buildings. Costumed interpreters inhabit the site, working their crafts and chores, and bringing to life the customs, events, and simple lifestyle of the times.


The Cape May Bird Observatory was founded by the New Jersey Audubon Society in 1975. It is active in research, education, conservation, and recreational birding activities.

Go whale watching aboard the 110-foot Cape May Whale Watcher, which has regularly scheduled trips throughout the season.

The Cape May area is known for its great offshore fishing and there is a regular schedule of tournaments, including shark, tuna, billfish, and bass.

Cape May County Park is a 234-acre site that includes a zoo, hiking trails, picnic areas, a playground, and fishing. Cape May County Historical Museum in Cape May Court House consists of the John Holmes House, built in 1755 and an 1800s barn. The museum contains extensive exhibits of furnishings, costumes, tools and objects from the 17th to the 20th centuries. It also exhibits the original Fresnel lens from the 1859 Cape May Point Lighthouse, as well as other maritime artifacts. The Native American Room contains a collection of arrowheads, tools and other items. The barn houses a stagecoach, peddler’s wagon and doctor’s sulky, and exhibits maritime history as well as Native American artifacts.


Atlantic Cape Community College, with nearly 6,000 students, is located in the New Jersey Pinelands, 15 miles west of Atlantic City. The college also operates an extension center in Cape May County.

Senior Programs

Elderhostel offers a program at Cape May offers an opportunity to both experience this area and learn a great deal about it.

Dennis Township Senior Citizen Center – 


Burdette Tomlin Memorial Hospital is a 242-bed acute care medical center located in Cape May Court House, which is the county seat of Cape May County.

Transportation: Airport, Ferry, Bus & Rail Service

Atlantic City International Airport is the nearest airport offering commercial service (approximately 40 miles away).

Philadelphia International Airport (approximately 84 miles) –

Cape May County Airport is four miles northwest of Wildwood. It accommodates private aircraft, including corporate jets. There is no commercial service.

Cape May-Lewes Ferry offers convenient travel from Cape May to Delaware.

New Jersey Transit System offers reduced rates for seniors to travel from Cape May to Atlantic City.

Cape May Seashore Lines operates rail service between Cape May Court House and Cape May City (a 13-mile route). The rail line runs 27 miles to Tuckahoe. (Amtrak service is available only as far south as Atlantic City.)


Average temperatures for January are a high temperature of 44 degrees and low of 28 degrees. The averages for July are a high of 88 degrees and a low of 65 degrees.


Cape May Times –
Press of Atlantic City –

Property Taxes

State Taxes

Chamber of Commerce

Chamber of Commerce of Greater Cape May –
Cape May County Chamber of Commerce –

State Aging Agency


Wildwood – 9 miles
Cape May Court House – 11.5 miles
Sea Isle City – 24 miles
Ocean City – 32 miles
Atlantic City – 47 miles
Philadelphia, PA – 84 miles
New York City, NY – 168 miles
Washington, DC – 186 miles

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