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9 Things To Do In Cape May During Coast Guard Graduation

Cape May is a small, beach town nestled on the coast of New Jersey and …

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Cape May is a small, beach town nestled on the coast of New Jersey and rich with history. Cape May, though, is also a Coast Guard base that you might be traveling to soon for graduation. To help you with your planning, here is a list of 9 things to do in Cape May during graduation weekend.

Dine at The Blue Pig Tavern

Is your Coast Guardsman dying for some real food after weeks of chow hall food? The Blue Pig Tavern is the perfect dining spot for your family and graduate to sit down and enjoy dinner.

Located just a few blocks from the beach, the tavern offers indoor and outdoor seating. The fare is traditional American and is served for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

The Blue Pig Tavern was the first tavern in Cape May and continues to be a favorite local spot for their delicious cuisine and moderate prices. They even offer a military discount of 15% off the entire table’s meal! Because it is so popular, make sure to get online and reserve a table ahead of time. 

Location:

Visit the Cape May Lighthouse

If the weather is warm and you’re willing to venture outside, visiting the Cape May lighthouse is a must by local standards. Constructed by the Army Corps of Engineers, the lighthouse has been standing on the shores of Cape May since 1859.

Since its original construction, the lighthouse has added a visitor center and museum gift shop which are both open to the public. After your visit, you can then trek down to the beaches or head back into downtown for a bite to eat.

Admission:

Free

Location:

Tour the Emlen Physick Estate

This Victorian-style mansion has been turned into a public museum and offers tours of the estate grounds. Built in 1879, the estate is one of many old mansions in Cape May.

The Emlen Physick Estate was home to Emlen Physick, whose grandfather Dr. Philip Syng Physick is considered to be the father of American surgery. The estate represents the family’s wealth and changing tastes as they and the estate evolved over time. 

Admission:

Adults: $12-15/ (price depends on tour type)

Active Duty: Free

Location:

Go to the Washington Street Mall

If you’re looking for shopping, dining and some outdoor space, the Washington Street Mall is the perfect place. Stretching for about a mile, the Washington Street Mall is a street of old Victorian homes turned into an outdoor mall.

With lots of different shops and restaurants, you’re sure to spend over half a day walking around and poking into unique stores. The end of the mall is only one block from the ocean, so spend the afternoon walking around, grab dinner and then head to the beach to watch the sunset. 

Admission:

Free

Location:

Stop at New Jersey’s Last Remaining WWII Lookout Tower

This unique attraction in Cape May is representative of the town’s historical value and presence in worldly events. Just near the shores of the Atlantic stands New Jersey’s last remaining WWII lookout tower.

The tower is part of the “Harbor Defense of the Delaware” system that is also commonly referenced as Fort Miles. Built in 1942, the tower is still standing today and is registered in the New Jersey list and National list of Historical Landmarks. 

Admission:

Free

Location:

Eat at Louisa’s Restaurant and Chocolate Bar

Ask anyone from Cape May, and they’ll tell you Louisa’s Restaurant and Chocolate Bar is the best restaurant in downtown. Family owned and operated, the restaurant was built in the 1980s in an old townhouse.

The restaurant is homey and compact, and only seats 20 people at one time. Louisa’s utilizes fresh and local ingredients to craft a new menu every day and serve one-of-a-kind dishes. They also have a chocolate bar in the back of the restaurant where they sell American made artisan flavored chocolate bars and caramels. Although some of the entrees are a bit pricey, there are many other options on the menu for you to enjoy while experiencing Louisa’s in full. 

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See a show at the Cape May Stage and Equity Theater

Looking for something indoors? The Cape May Stage and Equity Theater definitely has something for you. Located in downtown Cape May, the old-timey theater offers a variety of shows and plays.

In addition to attending a show, you can also eat dinner while enjoying the play. New productions and visitors cycle through the theater throughout the seasons, so make sure to check what is being showcased while you are in town. 

Admission:

View ticket prices here.

Location:

Go on a Whale Watch

With Cape May right on the water, what better way to experience the seaside nature of the town than to go on a whale watch? Whale Watches take place off the coast of the Cape May beaches and run almost all year round.

Cape May Whale Watch and Sea Watch center has been giving whale watching tours since 1987 and continues to be the forerunner in Whale Watch tours and sea education in New Jersey. With your new Coast Guardsmen by your side, you’re sure to have fun out at sea. 

Admission:

View tours and ticket costs here.

Location:

Cape May Trolley Tour

Maybe you’re looking to stay on land for the duration of your visit at Cape May. Not a problem — the Cape May trolley tours will bring you all around Cape May so you depart having seen it all.

Focusing mainly on the historic aspects of the town, the Cape May Trolley Tours run all different routes to give you the tour you want. Most tours start at the Washington Street Mall and run for only 30 minutes to an hour; so while you’ll see a lot, it will be brief. Additionally, four of the twelve offered trolley tours give a 20% off discount to active-duty military personnel and veterans. 

Admission:

View ticket prices here.

Location:

While there are many attractions in Cape May, visiting the beaches or any of the wildlife areas are great ways to spend time with your new Coast Guardsman as well. It is important to note that after graduation, your recruit will have 5 days where he/she is allowed to be off-base and spend time with friends or family.

For more information about the rules of off-base travel and post-graduation information, reference the Coast Guard Training Center Cape May website

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The editorial team at Sandboxx.