One of the best ways to explore Cape May is to take one of the many trolley tours offered by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts (MAC), Cape May's premier preservation organization (tel. 800/275-4278 or 609/884-5404; www.capemaymac.org). You can buy tickets at the booth at the entrance to the Washington Street Mall, at Ocean Street; tours generally run a half-hour to 45 minutes and concentrate on a specific area of town, so you may want to take more than one. They cost $10 for adults, $7 for children 3 to 12. MAC also offers walking tours, train tours, and self-guided audio tours.
Cape May's top attraction is the Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington St. (tel. 609/884-5404), a beautifully restored Victorian house museum. You can see the entire house on a great 45-minute living history tour, which can be combined with a trolley tour. In the carriage house on the estate is the Carriage House Cafe, serving lunch and elegant afternoon tea. Afternoon tea costs $19 per person. Call MAC for reservations.
The Cape May Carriage Co. (tel. 609/884-4466; www.capemaycarriage.com) offers half-hour guided tours ($10 adults, $5 kids 2-11) in old-fashioned horse-drawn carriages that leave from Ocean Street and Washington Mall.
At the heart of town is the Washington Street Mall, 401 Washington St. (tel. 609/884-0555; www.washingtonstreetmall.com), a 3-block-long pedestrian mall lined with clothing and gift boutiques. A block over from the mall is Caroline, 400 Carpenters Lane (tel. 609/884-5055), a first-rate clothing boutique for women with lines such as Three Dot and Michael Stars. Another top shopping stop is 39 Degrees, 251 Beach Ave. (tel. 609/884-6677), in the Congress Hall hotel, which offers great casual dresses by Lilly Pulitzer, plus hip clothes for men. For a list of local antiques dealers, go online to www.capemay.com, or stop by one of the visitor centers listed above and ask for the Antique Shops of Cape May map.
No visit to Cape May is complete without a round of minigolf. The best local course is Cape May Miniature Golf, between Jackson and Perry streets (tel. 609/884-2222).
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.