Trying to plan your Cape May itinerary and looking for fun things to do that won’t break the bank? While there’s tons of great attractions in Cape May, many of them will, unfortunately, come with a cost. But with that being said, there are some things we know you’ll enjoy that are completely free of charge!
Below is the list we’ve compiled of some of our favorite free things to do in Cape May.
See the Animals at the Cape May County Park and Zoo
When you read “zoo,” you may have started questioning the title of this post, but the Cape May County Park and Zoo is in fact free! The zoo is able to operate with donations it receives, so we certainly hope you’ll support the zoo and donate while you’re there, but there is no cost for admission. The Cape May County Park and Zoo is comprised of two sections – the County Park, which is filled with various recreational activities, and the County Zoo which is home to around 550 animals that represent over 250 species.
The Cape May County Park offers tons of free things to do such as walking and biking trails, fishing ponds, a disc golf course, picnic pavilions, a playground, and more. Cape May County Zoo, on the other hand, offers a wide array of animals such as the Bald Eagle, the Cotton Top Tamarin, the Black Howler Monkey, the Dromedary Camel, and the Scimitar-Horned Oryx, among many others. And if that’s not enough, they also have a preserved area known as the Cameron Wildlife Sanctuary complete with more nature trails, gazebos, picnic areas, and other facilities where you can take in the wildlife and nature of Cape May.
Stroll the Cape May Boardwalk
The Promenade, the Red Buoy, the Cape May Boardwalk – whatever you want to call it, this location is probably the best place to truly capture the view of the Cape May beaches and scenery. The Cape May Boardwalk is the first boardwalk to have ever been established for a resort in New Jersey. While it has received its fair share of tragedies and storms in the past, the boardwalk stands strong to this day due to the reconstruction of the entire seawall after receiving sufficient funding from the local government.
But it’s not just the view people come to the boardwalk for. From arcades to dining establishments and snack bars, this place has everything you need for a fun afternoon or a night out with your friends or family.
Check out our Cape May boardwalk page for more info on this attraction.
Browse Around the Washington Street Mall
By choosing some of these free options over other pricey attractions, you’re leaving a little extra spending money in your pocket. If you’re looking to do some shopping and spend some of that extra money while you’re in Cape May, the Washington Street Mall is the place to do it.
This outdoor mall is one of the most popular attractions in Cape May and it’s not hard to see why. From antique shops to unique boutiques that highlight the culture of Cape May, there’s plenty to see walking around. So even if you don’t plan on spending any money, the mall is still a fun free experience and something we recommend checking out.
Learn About Local History at the Cape May County Historical Museum
Next up on our list of free things to do in Cape May, much like in any historical town, is the local museum full of exhibits, events, and galleries depicting the town’s rich history throughout the years.
The entire museum is distributed between three historic buildings – full of the treasures of the past and the collection of artifacts and relics showing the evolution of life in Cape May. From guided tours and lectures to featured exhibits and special events, the Cape May County Historical Museum is filled with fun activities that are sure to provide you with a unique experience every time you visit.
Birdwatch at South Cape May Meadows
It’s no surprise so many birders make their way to Cape May each year. This 200-acre preserve is filled to the brim with native and migratory birds that are a sight to behold for tourists and enthusiasts alike. Apart from being a sightseeing recreational facility, this reserve is also a protected habitat for these birds, supporting their migratory patterns for the entire year and making sure that they are protected whenever they do migrate.
On top of all of the bird species you’ll encounter here, the dunes, fields, freshwater wetlands, and beaches of the South Cape May Meadows make for an unforgettable view. Top that all off with such a vast collection of plant and animal species (land and shore species alike), and this is an environmental trip like no other.
Visit the Cape May Fire Department Museum
Another museum, you say? With the rich history of Cape May, it’s bound to have plenty of places that showcase the treasures of the past and the achievements of our forefathers.
The Cape May Fire Department Museum is an excellent addition to this and is certainly one that you will enjoy if you’re an enthusiast of the profession or are just curious about their antique fire engine and the history of the fire department. It’s not exactly the most diverse museum in Cape May, but if you’re looking for free things to do that will also bring a little color to your trip, then this museum is worth checking out.
Attend a Movie on the Beach or Free Summer Concert in Sea Isle City
Yes, you read that right. Sea Isle City is a popular beach location in Cape May County that offers a wide assortment of fun activities. You see everything in Sea Isle City from boot camps and yoga sessions on the beach to fitness classes, promenades, and skating rinks.
However, our favorite things they offer are performed at the Excursion Park – their free concerts and free family movies under the stars. From popular movies to live music performances such as an Elton John Tribute, you could get ahold of a full entertainment package for free in Sea Isle City. It might not be a VIP seat or an air-conditioned room with a surround sound speaker, but on the beach and under the stars? You can’t beat that.
You can check out their calendar of upcoming events here.
Visit the Jersey Shore Alpacas
This is definitely one of the more unique free things you can do while you’re in Cape May. If you’re looking for a more up close and personal animal experience than what you’re going to get at the Cape May County Zoo, the Jersey Shore Alpacas Farm is the place to go.
The farm has nearly twenty alpacas, each with their own personalities. You can learn more about each of the alpacas at the farm on their website (boy alpacas / girl alpacas). If you want to meet each of these alpacas for yourself, the farm owners offer both public and private tours completely free of charge. You can book your tour of the farm through their website and check out one of the fun, more hidden gems of Cape May.
Planning your visit to Cape May and still haven’t booked your place to stay yet. We offer over 200 Cape May vacation rentals ready to host your next getaway!