CAPE MAY COUNTY
Cape May Region Welcome Center
Ocean View Service Area, Garden State Parkway
This is a full-service Welcome Center operated by the New Jersey Office of Travel and Tourism. It is fully-accessible and includes the Cape May County Chamber of Commerce with information about regional lodging and points of interest.
New Jersey Coastal Heritage Trail Route exhibits include an audio-visual orientation program and exhibits that focus on the Trail's Relaxation & Inspiration interpretive theme. Brochures about the Trail are also available.
Directions: The welcome center is located at the Ocean View Service Area of the Garden State Parkway at milepost 18.3.
Hours: The information center operates daily from 8:30am to 4:30pm. It is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.
Telephone: (609) 624-0918.
Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge
Cape May is one of the prime birding areas on the East Coast. Due to its location and mile-long beach front, The Nature Conservancy’s William D. & Jane C. Blair Jr. Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge is one of Cape May’s “hot spots” for birding. During the fall migration, tens of thousands of raptors representing more than 15 species can be seen flying over the refuge. Over a million seabirds pass the refuge every autumn. In the spring, thousands of migrating shorebirds, songbirds, and waterfowl pass through this area. It also protects nesting habitat for the endangered least terns and piping plovers.
Directions: Take the Garden State Parkway south to the end where it joins county road 633 (Lafayette Street) in the City of Cape May. Turn right onto CR606 (West Perry Street.) This will turn into Sunset Blvd. Continue west on CR606 for one mile. The refuge and parking area are on the left just past Bayshore Rd.
Hours: This site is open daily from dawn to dusk.
Telephone: (609) 861-0600.
Cape May Point State Park
The park is a combination of an ever-changing shoreline, sand dunes, coastal freshwater marsh and ponds, wooded islands, and varied uplands. It is perhaps best known as a tranquil area where the visitor may find rest and enjoy the beauty of nature.
Cape May Point is a popular bird-watching site. It is not only a home for many species but also a feeding and resting area for birds migrating south along the Atlantic Flyway. Although both spring and fall migrations occur, the fall is the best time to observe songbirds, waterfowl, shorebirds, sea birds, and birds of prey. Join other bird-watchers on the hawk watch platform.
Cape May Lighthouse is listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places. It has been an important navigational aid to seagoing mariners since its construction in 1859.
Picnicing, beach walking, birding, a museum, and museum shop help round out a visit to this site. Free educational programs and guided nature walks are also available from April to November. WWII coastal defense gun emplacements, now battling the elements of erosion and the encroaching sea, can still be seen here.
Directions: Take county road 606 (Sunset Boulevard) west from Cape May, towards Cape May Point. Follow the signs, and turn south via CR629 (Lighthouse Avenue).
Hours: The park is open daily from dawn to dusk. Days and hours for the lighthouse vary, but it is generally open between President’s Day weekend and Thanksgiving weekend. A voice message concerning the hours of operation is available by calling (609) 884-5404. The museum is open from 8:00am to 4:00pm daily in the winter. Summer hours vary.
Fees: Admission charge for the lighthouse, which is operated by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts.
Telephone: (609) 884-2159 for the park; (609) 884-5404 for the lighthouse.
Corson’s Inlet State Park
Established in the late 1960s, Corson’s Inlet State Park is one of the few undisturbed stretches of Atlantic coastline left between Atlantic City and Cape May. Enjoy the beach and coastal dune trails. Look for remnants of marine life washed up on the beach, and watch for beach nesting birds in the spring and summer: piping plovers, black skimmers, and least terns. Migrations of dolphins, ducks, geese, and monarch butterflies also pass through this area every year.
Sport fishing, boating, sun bathing, photography, hiking, and biking are seasonal activities available here. Guided beach walks occur twice each week from the late spring to early fall.
Directions: From exit 25 of the Garden State Parkway, turn east onto county road 623 (Roosevelt Blvd), and follow it into Ocean City. Then turn south onto West Avenue and follow it to 55th St. Turn south (right) onto CR619 (Ocean Highway). The main parking area for Corson’s Inlet is on the left at the north end of Rush Chattin Bridge.
Hours: Open daily from dawn to dusk.
Telephone: (609) 861-2404 (Belleplain State Forest).
Hereford Inlet Lighthouse
This “Great Victorian” fourth-order lighthouse has guided local mariners along the Jersey Shore since its construction in 1874. This active lighthouse is the only one of its kind on the East Coast and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
The lighthouse is surrounded by cottage-style gardens with over 170 plant varieties.
Next door is the old Hereford Inlet Coast Guard Station now occupied by the NJ State Police, Marine Law Enforcement Bureau.
Directions: The lighthouse is located in North Wildwood on Central Avenue, between First and Chestnut Avenues. Southbound Garden State Parkway traffic can take state road 147 from exit 6 to North Wildwood.
Hours: The lighthouse is open daily from mid-May through mid-October, 9:00am to 5:00pm. From mid-October to mid-May, the lighthouse is closed Mondays and Tuesdays and open from 10:00am to 4:00pm Wednesday to Sunday. There is an admission fee.
Telephone: (609) 522-4520.
Higbee Beach Wildlife Management Area
This one and one-half mile stretch of beach contains the last remnant of coastal dune forest on the bayshore. The inland dunes are more than 20-feet high in some places. A forest of holly, red cedar, and beach plum stabilizes them. Several hundred acres of wooded upland with a dense understory, a freshwater marsh, two freshwater ponds, a hardwood swamp, old farm fields, and a coastal dune forest all provide cover for migratory songbirds, raptors, and butterflies. Higbee Beach is managed specifically to provide habitat for migratory wildlife. Hike the marked dune trail, and view the surrounding landscape and wildlife from three observation platforms.
Directions: Take the state road 109 west from the exit at the south end of the Garden State Parkway to the junction with US9. Turn left onto US9 (all turns from the right lane), and proceed to the first traffic light. Turn south (left) onto county road 162 (Seashore Rd.). Turn west (right) onto CR641 (New England Rd.). Follow CR641 for 2 miles to the end and the beach access parking area. Parking is restricted to the parking lots and may be limited during the summer. Call the number listed for parking information.
Hours: Open daily from 5:00am to 9:00pm.
Telephone: NJ Division of Fish & Wildlife (856) 785-0455.
The Wetlands Institute
Located near Stone Harbor, The Wetlands Institute is situated on 6,000 acres of coastal wetlands. The marsh, nearby upland, and barrier islands form a living laboratory where visitors can learn about this delicately-balanced ecosystem between land and sea.
The Wetlands Institute features saltwater aquariums, exhibits, an observation tower, nature trails, beautiful butterfly and bird gardens, and guided tours.
Directions: From exit 10B of the Garden State Parkway, take county road 657 east (Stone Harbor Boulevard) toward Stone Harbor. The Institute will be on your right in about 2.75 miles.
Hours: From May 15th until October 15th, the interpretive center and store are open from 9:30am to 4:30pm, Monday through Saturday, and from 10:00am to 4:00pm on Sunday. From October 16th to May 14th, they are open Tuesday through Saturday from 9:30am to 4:30pm. The trails are open daily 24 hours.
Fees: An admission fee supports the organization’s efforts.
Telephone: (609) 368-1211.
Tuckahoe Wildlife Management Area (MacNamara)
The scenic Tuckahoe River winds its way to the Great Egg Harbor River and Bay through an expanse of salt marsh and tidal creeks, that is excellent for bird watching. Six brackish water impoundments on the upland edges of the tract also provide good bird-watching opportunities. Located on the edge of the Pine Barrens, the woodlands bordering the salt marsh are a mixture of pine and oak trees. A hardwood swamp and small freshwater lake provide additional habitat for beaver, turtles, frogs, and fish.
An 8-mile loop drive provides opportunities for exploring these dynamic habitats.
Directions: From the junction of US9 and state road 50 in Seaville, take SR50 north for 4.8 miles to CR631. Turn right, and travel 0.3 miles to the entrance on the left. Turn left onto the sand and gravel road, and travel 0.5 mile to the office on the right. Stop at the office for information and maps.
Hours: Open daily from dawn to dusk. Office hours are 9:00am to 4:00pm on weekdays only.
Telephone: NJ Division of Fish & Wildlife (609) 628-2103.