A 19th-century lighthouse at the southerly tip of New Jersey hosts a fascinating museum dedicated to the history of the area.
Climb to the top of the Cape May Lighthouse, an iconic landmark at the southernmost point of New Jersey. The historic monument today hosts a museum and shop, making it an ideal starting point to explore the surrounding Cape May Point State Park. Visit throughout the summer to take part in family-friendly events.
The lighthouse was built in 1859 to guide ships south around the Cape May peninsula. Explore a building that was last occupied by a keeper in the 1930s. In 1987, the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts and Humanities began restoration work on the lighthouse, which was completed 15 years later in 2002.
Make your way to the top of the 157-foot (48-meter) tower for views of the surrounding region. Tackle 199 steps to reach a viewing platform where the beacon still shines with an automatic mechanism. The watchtower faces Delaware Bay and the state of Delaware over the water. Watch boats traveling between the two states.
Visit the orientation center in the renovated Oil House, which contains informative displays on the history of the lighthouse. Stop in the shop for Cape May souvenirs.
Head back outside into Cape May Point State Park and take photos of the tower. The structure’s design is simple, with a bleached white exterior and a red beacon on top. Visit the nearby beaches or follow one of the trails to go bird-watching.
The lighthouse hosts child-friendly events throughout the year, including tower climbs during full moon periods. Come to a family fun day to enjoy performers, craft vendors and activities for all ages. In peak summer season, you can also hear stories from the lighthouse keepers of old or even try working here.
Driving to Cape May Lighthouse from the town center takes about 15 minutes. Ample parking is available. Alternatively, walk to the lighthouse in less than an hour from Cape May, on a route that runs alongside the wetlands.