Why You Should Explore Cape May On Foot or On a Bicycle

Apr 11, 2024 | Things To Do

Cape May, New Jersey, is the “Nation’s Oldest Seashore Resort” and the Historic District is a National Historic Landmark. This lovely gem of a town is best experienced by walking around or riding a bicycle. This is the best way to easily stop and explore the Victorian buildings, the quaint shops, the delicious restaurants, and the sandy shores. When one of you is driving, that person cannot be stopping in front of every interesting building and they will have a hard time looking at things while paying attention to the road. Instead, experience Cape May together as you cycle or walk hand in hand. Frankly, let’s be honest. We all tend to splurge on eating while on vacation. Getting in a few more steps or riding a bike will help keep those vacation pounds from sticking around. These frequently asked questions will help all of our visitors feel confident and excited to walk or bike around town.

Is it safe to walk around?

The Washington Street Mall is closed to vehicular traffic making it extremely safe for pedestrians. The Mall has gardens, benches, and shade trees along the way where you can rest and people watch or savor some ice cream. Be sure to check out our Things to Do page to see more about shopping. Sidewalks are also prevalent throughout Cape May, especially in the historic downtown area. You are sure to see lots of other walkers and may even make a few new friends while strolling. Strike up a conversation at a crosswalk and you could learn about a restaurant or a cute shop.

What about bicycle safety?

The Cape May “boardwalk” is actually a paved trail that runs for almost two miles parallel to Beach Avenue. Bicycles are allowed on this promenade until 10:00 am from May 1 until October 31. It is a great way to get a little exercise while enjoying beach views. Since there are not any vehicles on the boardwalk it is a very safe bicycle option for people who do not like riding alongside cars. Bicycles are such a popular way of getting around town that there are many bike racks especially at major attractions. Also, motorists are accustomed to watching out for cyclists while driving. Note that bicycles are not allowed on the pedestrian only Washington Street Mall. The Cape May Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee continues to advocate for the safest routes for walkers and cyclists. They work towards more visible crosswalks and bike lanes wherever possible.

Is it a long walk from place to place?

Two of the most popular places in Cape May are the Washington Street Mall and the beach; they are only 0.2 miles apart. For many people that is less than a five-minute walk. The Washington Street Mall spans three blocks and it includes 75 establishments along that street and a few adjoining blocks. The Wilbraham Mansion is less than half-a-mile from the Washington Street Mall. Be sure to see our Fun Ways to Get Around and See Cape May section on our Cape May FAQs page.

Can I rent a bicycle in Cape May?

Yes! The Wilbraham Mansion has complimentary bicycles for guests to borrow on a first-come, first served basis. There are also many shops that provide bike rentals by the day or by the week. Many will bring the bike to your chosen lodging location. If you are bringing your own bike, there is a free bicycle service station near Convention Hall. Adjust your brakes, change a flat tire, or just add a little air to the tires. The tools are all there and ready for you to keep your bike in tip top shape.

I love walking but sometimes I get tired. What should I do?

Cape May has you covered. There is a free shuttle that runs from 4:00 pm until 10:00 pm. The shuttle is available on the weekends from Memorial Day until mid-June and again for the month of September. The shuttle runs daily from mid-June until early-September. Information about the shuttle route will be available on the Cape May city website. Feel free to split up your walking and riding while venturing around town.

What about bathrooms?

We understand that many people do not want to be too far from a vehicle in case they have to quickly drive somewhere when nature calls. Not to worry, Cape May has many public restrooms available. The two along the Washington Street Mall are open year-round. There are another seven beachfront public restrooms that are open seasonally. The restrooms are open from 6:30 or 7:00 in the morning until 10:00 at night so you can be sure one is available whenever you need it. If you have been on the beach and want to get rid of that pesky sand, there are lots of open showers along the beachfront where you can rinse it all away before walking into shops or restaurants.

Cape May is a popular vacation town. Isn’t there a lot of parking?

Honestly, parking in the center of Cape May during the high season can be very difficult. All spots in the historic business district are metered. If you drive to West Cape May you will find free parking. If you are a guest of the Wilbraham Mansion you are welcome to a free first-come, first-served spot in our driveway parking lot. Guests are also able to find free parking along Myrtle Avenue. Park your car and forget about it for the rest of your vacation.

Are there any long bike ride options in the area?
Yes! The Cape May Shoreline Ride is a 46-mile route that is popular with bicycle enthusiasts. The ride is a loop that starts and ends at the Cape May Lighthouse. The route is mostly flat as it passes by lighthouses, Victorian-era homes, bays, beaches, and wetlands. It is a great way to combine bicycling and bird watching. There are a few toll bridges along the route but they are free for cyclists.

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