I have the unpopular opinion in Philadelphia that North Carolina beaches are better than the Jersey Shore. There are TONS of beaches in North Carolina (I could name a dozen off the top of my head), and I grew up going to the empty beaches at Ocean Isle, Emerald Isle, and Sunset Beach. Plus, the Outer Banks is pretty amazing! From what I’ve experienced at the Jersey Shore so far, it’s more crowded, and I really don’t like that you have to pay for “beach tags” to go on the beach (and beach tags still make no sense to me since it’s a public area).
BUT I do love Cape May! I had heard about the beautiful Victorian houses in the area, and since Victorian houses are my favorite, I wanted to check it out (I also want to visit Asbury Park because the architecture there looks really pretty!). I did one day in Cape May with Matt the weekend before Memorial Day to avoid the crowds and avoid paying for beach tags, and it was really nice having the beach to ourselves! Cape May is also one of the most dog friendly beaches in New Jersey, so Annika tagged along! 🙂
We started our day on the main beach on Beach Avenue. We found parking in a neighborhood nearby (make sure you read the parking signs), but it will probably be a little harder to find parking in the middle of the summer. It was pretty windy the day we went, so I had the whole beach to myself to photograph! (Dogs weren’t allowed on this beach or the boardwalk during the time we were there, but we did take Annika to another beach later).
After getting some photos of the beach, we went off to explore downtown Cape May to see some Victorian stores and houses. It was a really pretty area, and I loved how colorful all the buildings were! (Colorful historical homes are my favorite!) I didn’t go inside any of the stores because I had Annika, but they looked nice from the outside!
There was a cute little park right near the stores!
Cape May Stage theater
This was one of my favorites!
I loved this building, and it had a great view of the beach!
After doing quite a bit of walking, we were ready for lunch. We went to The Rusty Nail for some sandwiches, and they have outdoor seating where you can bring your dog! There were a few other dogs there, and people there seemed to love all the dogs and would stop by to pet Annika. They do have a doggie menu (complete with doggie beer!) if you’re interested. The sandwiches we had were pretty good and they were affordable, so I would recommend The Rusty Nail if you’re looking for a lunch spot to bring your dog!
Cape May is pretty dog friendly, but there are still some restrictions (you can check out Cape May’s dog policies for information about all of the beaches). Since it was before Memorial Day, we took Annika to the beach in Lower Township, and dogs are allowed on the beach anytime during the off season. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, they are prohibited from being on the beach between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. (which is the hottest part of the day for your pup anyway!).
Annika LOVES the water and kept trying to go swimming like she did in New York!
I need to explore more of the Jersey Shore, but so far, Cape May is my favorite! 🙂 I loved the beautiful Victorian houses and how they have some of the most dog friendly the beaches in New Jersey (and some restaurants even had doggie menus!), so if you want to see a pretty beach town with your dog, Cape May is the place for you!
Super cute post! Cape May is one of my favorites too. Classic charm!
What a cute little town?! Your photos are wonderful… and your dog is too cute. I had no idea that Jersey beaches require tags! This looks like a great alternative for a more low key beach day. Thanks for sharing!
Thank you! I know, the beach tags are crazy!
Love visiting Cape May in September right after beach season! Your photos are amazing.
I have family that lives nearby so this was the first place they took me to when I visited them in 2004. Basically this was the very first place I visited on my first time in the States. That’s pretty important to me!! So when I saw that you had a post about Cape May I had to come over and check it out. And I keep being mesmerized b those beautiful houses just like the first time!
That’s such a great place to have as your first stop in the US! It’s such a cute little town!
The houses and stores looked gorgeous! 😀 I love their colors too. The beach looked so relaxing.
It really was such a colorful town!
The beach is beautiful, definitely, but wow those houses and shops! I love them. As I was looking at the photos they just reminded me of a film set – everything looks so gorgeous! It must have been so nice to walk around the area while avoiding the crowds – you went at the best time!
I’ll have to see if any movies have been filmed there because it would be a great spot for movies!
What a cute looking town! That beach looks lovely!!!
It really is the cutest beach town!
Can’t say that i’ve been but it looks like a lovely retreat away from the crowds. Definitely interested in visiting one day! Thank you for sharing! 🙂
You should definitely go if you get the chance!
Love, love, love those houses! Cape May is so charming.
The houses really are the cutest!
I am from NJ and agree with your opinion as far as beaches go! I’ve been going to the Outer Banks with my in-laws for about 10 yrs. We always stay in Duck. It used to be kind of boring because there were 2 areas of shops and one bar/restaurant in town, but now it is more built up and the beachfront is definitely less crowded and more family and doggie friendly. I like having a lot of things to do, so so that is one plus on the NJ shore side! I’ve heard Cape May is also slower paced than the popular NJ beaches of Seaside, Point Pleasant, and Wildwood.
Dewey & Rehoboth Beaches in Delaware are also really doggie friendly if you haven’t checked them out. Not a bad drive from Philly!
The one beach I still haven’t gotten to is Cape May since it is all the way at the south end. But, I have heard great things and have to get there soon!
PS – Beautiful doggie!! 🙂
I love going to Duck! 🙂 I haven’t been to the beaches in Delaware yet, so I’ll have to go there next!
I know I always comment this but you just have the most gorgeous pictures! The beach looks amazing but I just adore all of the buildings you photographed, they look like they’re out of a movie! There’s nothing like that near where I live (or even in the whole of the UK probably!)
Thank you! 🙂 You should make a trip out to the US!
I have beach fever bad!! Cape May sounds amazing and the buildings are beautiful!
It’s definitely one of the prettiest I’ve seen!
I love Cape May and the little store area, they have a great ice cream shop at one end of them. I am looking forward to going to Cape May this year to take some pictures.
I’ll have to get some ice cream the next time I go!!
Cape May is my favorite too! I grew up in NJ and my parents had a shore house in the neighboring town The Villas. We spent a lot of time in Wildwood and on the beaches of lower township. I love exploring the houses and have stayed in 3 or 4 of the B&Bs. You should go back and spend the weekend in a B&B. They all have such rich history and more than a few have ghost sightings. I’ve never experienced anything but with houses that old you figure it makes sense!
A B&B sounds awesome! I definitely want to go back and stay in one now!
Beautiful photos! What is the building in the photo beneath Seaboard Walk?
Thank you! I actually can’t remember! I think it was a garden that we passed by.