Cape May Promenade: All the Fun of a Boardwalk, But It’s Paved

Tourists walk on Washington Street Mall in Cape May

Cape May, New Jersey, is a beautiful seaside town with a lot to offer tourists, including its promenade. The Cape May promenade, or boardwalk, is a highlight for many who visit the area. Here, Ocean Club Hotel discusses the promenade and things to do in Cape May.

The Cape May Promenade’s History

Cape May’s promenade is often referred to as the Cape May boardwalk. The boardwalk was originally wooden, but that boardwalk was destroyed during a 1962 nor’easter storm. Today, the promenade is paved and stretches for nearly two miles, running parallel to Beach Avenue.

Walking along the boardwalk, take in breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean to the east, or check out one of the small businesses that are scattered across the two-mile boardwalk.

Features of the Cape May Promenade

The Cape May promenade is open to the public and is accessible to everyone because there are access ramps along the route. Other features of the promenade include:

  • Benches for sitting
  • Bathrooms located about every half-mile
  • Lighting for evening strolls

Sunset Pavilion is also a popular wedding location on the promenade. It overlooks Cove Beach and is covered for use in different weather conditions.

Promenade Policies

For those looking to explore the promenade, there are a few things you should be aware of:

  • From May 1 to October 1, bikes and skates of any kind are only allowed on the promenade from 4:00 to 10:00 a.m.
  • Dogs are allowed on the promenade (on a leash) during the off-season months, from November to March
  • Alcoholic beverages are not permitted on the promenade

Cape May’s History

Cape May is a popular tourist destination that is situated between Delaware Bay to the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. For those looking to experience Cape May, the area is rich in history and features Victorian architecture, remnants of the Underground Railroad, and more.

It is said that Henry Hudson documented visiting Cape May in 1609, but the town wasn’t officially discovered until 1620 by Dutch Captain Cornelius Jacobsen Mey. That is where Cape May got its name—from the captain who officially discovered it. The name was changed from Mey to May over the years.

In the 1700s, Cape May became the first resort area in the United States, where many high-class families flocked to vacation. Cape May also served as a destination on the Underground Railroad. Many homes in Cape May feature remnants of underground tunnels and secret rooms to this day. Harriet Tubman was said to have stayed and worked in the area for a time in the 1850s.

During the mid-to late-1800s, Cape May experienced multiple fires that destroyed some of the city’s hotels and their history. A fire in 1878 destroyed over 30 blocks of buildings. Cape May quickly bounced back to rebuild and remain a tourist destination, especially for presidents like Abraham Lincoln, Chester Arthur, and Benjamin Harrison.

In the 1900s, the Hotel Cape May was used as a hospital for injured soldiers during World War I. To this day, there are still remnants of bunkers and railroad tracks that were used during the war. Sand and water have overtaken some, but erosion and coastal storms reveal remnants from time to time.

Plan Your Next Vacation in Cape May at Ocean Club Hotel

Cape May, New Jersey, is visited by millions of tourists each year, so make sure you book your accommodation at Ocean Club Hotel in advance to get a room with the coveted oceanfront view. Don’t forget about our dining experience with SeaSalt Restaurant, where we offer fine dining without the fuss. For more information about planning a Cape May vacation, check out our packages and promotions or contact us today.