Cape May’s Best Beaches: A New Jersey Coastal Paradise

Nestled along the picturesque Jersey Shore, Cape May, New Jersey, stands out as a coastal paradise boasting some of the best beaches in New Jersey. Renowned for its historical charm and scenic beauty, Cape May NJ beach invites visitors to experience the allure of its sandy shores, and vibrant ocean life. Whether it’s the tranquility of sunset beach Cape May, the joy of sand sculpting, or the thrill of swimming in the clear Cape May beach NJ ocean, this destination offers many leisurely activities that make it a must-visit for beach lovers exploring the best beaches in Cape May New Jersey has to offer.

This article will guide you through Cape May’s finest beaches, each promising unique experiences, from serene morning walks and vibrant beachfront events to enchanting evenings watching the sun dip below the horizon. Alongside discovering the best beach in Cape May, readers will gain insights into essential services that enhance the beach-going experience, local tips to navigate the area like a seasoned visitor, and things to do Cape May that go beyond the surf and sand. Prepare to embark on a journey to the heart of New Jersey’s shoreline, where the blend of elegance, tradition, and natural beauty creates a family friendly holiday experience unlike any other.

Top Beaches in Cape May

The Cove and Broadway

The Cove, often hailed as the king of Cape May City beaches, offers a gentle slope and soft sand, making it a family-friendly destination. Known for its dynamic landscape that changes annually, The Cove features tide pools and buried jetties, creating a picturesque setting for both relaxation and surfing, which is permitted all day. Broadway Beach, adjacent to The Cove, is renowned for its wide sands even at high tide Delaware Bay, making it a favored spot among locals, especially the younger crowd. This beach is well-patrolled by lifeguards, ensuring safety for all beachgoers, though surfing is restricted to hours outside of lifeguard duty.

Poverty Beach and Steger Beach

Poverty Beach presents a rich history, once a gathering place for local servants and now equipped with modern amenities like showers and restrooms. It’s known for its expert-level surfing conditions and its proximity to free parking and local neighborhoods enhances its appeal. Steger Beach, slightly more secluded and north of The Cove, offers Victorian-style beach cabanas for rent, adding an element of luxury to the beach experience. Here, visitors can rent beach chairs, umbrellas, and surfboards, though, like Broadway, surfing is only allowed before and after lifeguard hours. This beach is ideal for those seeking a peaceful retreat from the more crowded shores.

Unique Experiences

Beach Volleyboard and Surfing

Cape May’s beaches offer a vibrant scene for both volleyball enthusiasts and surfers. Steger Beach and 2nd Avenue Beach are equipped with volleyball nets, inviting visitors to engage in spirited matches right on the sands. For those drawn to the waves, surfing is a celebrated activity at several spots including Poverty Beach, The Cove, and Surfing Beach at Gurney Street. These locations are known for their excellent surf conditions, making them a haven for both novice and experienced surfers alike. Check out the Cape May beaches map to locate these prime surfing spots.

Sand Sculpting and Skimboarding

The beaches of Cape May also host creative and family-friendly activities such as sand sculpting and skimboarding. The Annual Wildwood Crest Sand Sculpting Festival, held on the beach at Heather Road, is a highlight, featuring contests judged on creativity and execution. This festival, led by renowned sand sculptor Matt Long, offers a perfect opportunity for amateurs and semi-pros to showcase their skills. Additionally, skimboarding is permitted at designated areas with lifeguard approval, providing a thrilling experience for visitors looking to glide along the water’s edge. Don’t forget to snap some stunning Cape May beach photos to capture these memorable moments.

Essential Services

Lifeguards Patrol

Cape May ensures the safety of its visitors with a dedicated lifeguard service that has been operational since 1911. The Cape May Beach Patrol vigilantly oversees the beaches from The Cove to Poverty Beach, a span of approximately 2.5 miles. During the peak season, nearly 60 lifeguards are stationed across 25 stands, providing extensive coverage from 10:00 AM to 5:30 PM daily. Each lifeguard is trained to respond to a variety of emergencies, with many holding certifications as Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) from the NJ Department of Health. The patrol is complemented by an emergency response team available until dusk, ensuring that help is readily available for any water-related incidents or medical emergencies. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the beach policies to ensure a safe and enjoyable visit.

Availability of Beach Tags

To access the beaches of Cape May during the summer season, beach tags are mandatory for all visitors aged 12 and older, from Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day. The City of Cape May offers several options for beach tags, including daily, 3-day, weekly, and seasonal passes. Prices for these tags start at $10.00 per person for daily access, with significant savings available for longer durations. Tags can be purchased online at, with options for pickup at various kiosks located along the promenade Cape May at Madison Ave, Howard St, Gurney St, and Broadway. For added convenience, digital daily passes are also available, allowing visitors to display their tags on mobile devices for beach entry.

Local Tips

Visiting Cape May offers a blend of historical charm and modern convenience, making it a unique destination any time of the year. The Queen Victoria is a 15 winner of Best of Cape May, and perfect location for beach exploration. Here are some local tips to enhance your stay:

Best Time to Visit

Cape May’s allure spans all seasons, each offering its distinct charm. The summer months, particularly July and August, are peak tourist seasons where the beautiful beaches and vibrant community events are in full swing. Lifeguards are on duty from July 1st through Labor Day, ensuring a safe swimming environment. For those seeking a quieter visit, the spring offers blossoming flowers and comfortable weather, while fall delights with fewer crowds and stunning foliage. The winter season transforms the town into a festive wonderland, perfect for holiday getaways and romantic things to do in Cape May NJ. Regardless of when you visit, Cape May’s scenic beauty and welcoming atmosphere are constant.

What to Bring

To fully enjoy the diverse experiences Cape May offers, packing appropriately is crucial. For beach days, include multiple swimsuits, cover-ups, and a wide-brimmed sun hat to protect against the sun. Comfortable clothing such as t-shirts, shorts, and sundresses are ideal for daytime exploration, while jeans and light jackets are perfect for cooler evenings. Don’t forget dinner outfits for enjoying the local dining options in style. Essential items such as sunscreen, toiletries, beach towels, and a waterproof bag for electronics are also important. For those planning on enjoying the local activities like kayaking, fishing, or picnics, bring along a beach tote and snacks to keep energized throughout the day.

Navigating Cape May is a breeze with these local insights, ensuring every visitor can create unforgettable memories in this charming coastal town. Take advantage of convenient accommodations, bike rental services, and beach rentals to make the most of your stay. Don’t miss out on unusual things to do in Cape May NJ like visiting Willow Creek Winery, exploring Beach Plum Farm, or witnessing the evening flag ceremony at Sunset Beach Cape May.


Exploring the tranquil shores and vibrant culture of Cape May Point beach has, undoubtedly, highlighted the captivating allure of New Jersey’s coastline. From the family-friendly sands of The Cove to the historic ambiance of Poverty Beach, each beach promises a distinct experience, characterized by scenic beauty, engaging activities, and an array of amenities designed to enhance every visitor’s stay. This journey through Cape May’s beaches has not only showcased the best spots for relaxation, surfing, and volleyball but also illuminated the rich tapestry of experiences that beckon families, surfers, and adventurers alike to this picturesque coastal paradise.

As the narrative of Cape May’s beaches unfolds, it becomes clear that this destination embodies more than just its physical beauty; it represents a harmonious blend of nature, history, and community spirit. The provided local tips and insights further empower visitors to immerse themselves fully in what places in Cape May have to offer, making every moment spent on these shores both memorable and enriching. Whether seeking a serene retreat, an adventurous outing, or a glimpse into America’s coastal heritage, Cape May beach NJ stands as a testament to the enduring appeal of New Jersey’s beaches, inviting explorers to return time and again to its welcoming embrace.


Q: Which beach in Cape May is recommended for a visit?
A: The Cove is highly favored among Cape May City beaches. Other notable beaches include Congress Beach, Steger’s Beach, Decatur Beach, and Poverty Beach. Remember to purchase a beach tag before visiting any of these clean beaches.

Q: Where is the best area to explore in Cape May?
A: The town center of Cape May is the most charming area, celebrated for its rich historical sites. It boasts excellent shopping boutiques and top-notch restaurants along Beach Avenue. The area is also home to many beautiful historical residences and vacation rentals, all within easy walking distance, making it ideal for a lively and engaging visit.

Q: What is considered the top beach in New Jersey?
A: Cape May NJ beach is regarded as the number one beach in New Jersey. It is famous for its soft sand, ideal for relaxation, and offers picturesque views that provide perfect backdrops for photography. Don’t miss the chance to visit the iconic Cape May Point Lighthouse while you’re there.

Q: Is it safe to swim at the beaches in Cape May?
A: Yes, swimming is allowed at Cape May beach NJ, which stretches over two miles along the Atlantic Ocean. Lifeguards certified by the United States Lifesaving Association (USLA) are on duty daily from May through September, with extended hours from July to mid-September. For information on which beaches are guarded, you can refer to the city’s official website.