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!