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Cape May, the farthest point south on the Jersey Shore, is a very popular summertime vacation destination. With its beautiful beaches, it is famous for its natural beauty and geographical treasures – as well as for its historical depth and abundance of Victorian-style houses. If you live anywhere in the tri-state area, it’s the perfect place to visit for a day or even a week of rest and relaxation.

One of the most incredible experiences you can take advantage of there is viewing dolphins and whales in their natural habitat. The Cape May Whale watcher boat, 10 ft. long, that takes you to the Delaware Bay and Atlantic Ocean to view the mammals in action – with full narration. With the abundance of dolphins in the area, sighting them while on tour, even 10 miles from shore, is practically guaranteed.

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On a recent trip we spotted between 35-50 dolphins. It was remarkable! After spending some time near the dolphins, the captain got a message from another boat that it had spotted a whale. In record time he turned the boat around and headed to where the whale was searching for food. One of the most enjoyable parts of the day was seeing it keep resurfacing near our boat.

The Cape May trolley tour is an excellent way to tour the historic district in a comfortable and relaxed fashion. The knowledgeable guides give a full historic rundown of America’s first seaside resort and point out the Victorian houses along the way. The trolley also stops at the Emlen Physick Estate, and combo tickets can be purchased for both.

The Emlen Physick Estate, set on a beautifully landscaped property, is a historical treasure. The 18-room home, apparently built by acclaimed American architect Frank Furness, was built in 1879 for Dr. Emlen Physick Jr. and provides an in depth glimpse of the Victorian lifestyle. The property consists of The Physick’s house, the Hill House, The Carriage House and the Carriage House Museum.

Another focal point is The Lighthouse located at Cape May Point State Park. It hosts nearly 80,000 visitors a year. The present tower is the third documented lighthouse to be built at Cape May Point. The first was built in 1823, the second in 1847 and the current one in 1859. It is 157 feet tall and there are 217 steps from the ground to the top. It actually has two separate walls. The outside wall is cone-shaped while the inside one is cylinder-shaped. The walls were designed to withstand severe winds and hurricanes.

Its light is visible 24 miles out to sea and flashes every 15 seconds.

The Cape May County Zoo was created in 1978 with just a few animals, but by the mid-‘80s there was a lion, a Bengal tiger, cougars, giraffes and camels. Today, the zoo consists of 550 animals, representing 250 species, and has a beautiful playground for children.

Entrance to the zoo is free but donations are appreciated.

With all that Cape May has to offer, it is not surprising that it’s population of 3,500 swells to close to 50,000 during the summer months!

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S. Y. Einhorn is a teacher and mother of four who lives in Monsey, NY. She does both writing and photography as a hobby. Her articles and photos of her extensive travels have been published in various magazines and newspapers.