America’s oldest beach resort, Cape May offers tourists an exceptional vacation and its residents an exceptional lifestyle. First explored in the early 1600s, the area is rich in history, emerging early as a resort community because of its location at the mouth of Delaware Bay. That location made it easy to transport tourists from Philadelphia via water on sloops. Early vacationers also came from New York, Washington and Baltimore. The community’s status as a vacation destination grew even more prominent with the introduction of steamboats on the Delaware River in the early 1800s. A number of large hotels, cottages and mansions were built over the next century, many of those still standing and preserved in the Cape May Historic District with 600 buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In addition to the historic district, other attractions in the community include the Cape May Lighthouse, the Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum, professional theater companies, the Nature Center of Cape May and cruises on ships like the Spirit of Cape May to watch dolphins. The community also holds a number of events each year, including the Craft Beer & Crab Festival each August and the Spring Festival each May. And, of course, just as they did a century ago, some of the best beaches on the East Coast continue to be a major draw for vacationers.
Cape May has a population of about 3,600 year-round residents, most of who hold down white-collar jobs. The United States Coast Guard Training Center is one of the major employers in the area. While single-family detached homes can be found under $100K, those are primarily manufactured housing units. Home prices top out at about $4 million, although more expense homes coming on the market is not uncommon. Prices on condos and town-homes typically begin in the $200s and rise to more than $1 million for luxury units. There is also a good inventory of vacant lots available. Median home price in the community is about $320K. Philadelphia is about a 90-minute drive away while the casinos, nightlife and many other attractions offered by Atlantic City are about 50 minutes away. The Wildwoods, home to seaside amusement and water parks and a variety of other entertainment options are about 15 minutes away.