The Cape May area has miles of scenic trails and byways that run through forests, farmland, state and county parks, wildlife-management areas, historic towns, and the dunes of preserved beaches.
Birds and other wildlife abound. In fact, the Cape May peninsula is one of the top birding spots in North America. Cape May Point State Park, for example, is a major migratory route, especially in the spring, when many sea and shore birds come through. At the end of the summer, dragonflies and monarch butterflies can be seen as they make their way to cross the Delaware Bay.
Three blazed trails will lead you through a variety of habitats in the Cape May Point State Park. On the wheelchair-accessible Red Trail, viewing platforms overlook ponds where wading birds, ducks, swans and, sometimes, osprey come to feed and breed. The Yellow Trail is 1.5 miles long with views of wetland marsh and coastal dunes. The Blue Trail is the longest of said trails.
In Cape May Point State Park, you’ll also find a 157-foot lighthouse, built in 1859, with 199 steps you can climb to take in a view of the cape. As a reminder of its days as a military base, the park also has a bunker. It now stands as a monument to the strategic defensive role the area played during World War II. At low tide, you can still see the gun turrets.
At the more-than-200-acre Cape May County Park, you’ll discover a zoo that’s home to more than 500 animals representing 250 species, and the admission is free! At Cape May National Wildlife Refuge, free family nature walks are available on Saturdays throughout the summer.
Birding is always excellent at Higbee Beach Wildlife Management Area, especially from spring through early fall. In spring, when they are heading north, birds will rest and feed there after crossing the Delaware Bay. In summer, a number of species come to breed. Because of this, pets are not permitted on the beach from April until September. This is also a good place to see dragonflies and butterflies, including monarchs. Higbee has more than two miles of nature trails with viewing platforms.
For fishing enthusiasts, Cape May Point State Park waters are home to weakfish, bluefish, flounder, tautog, and striped bass.
For more information and an interactive map of Cape May County greenways, visit www.gardenstategreenways.org.