Spared from Hurricane Sandy, the five main beaches in this historic town have 24 access points. You can't go wrong with any of the picks, but Sunset Beach, on the western side of the town, is a resident fave for its "Cape May diamonds," pretty pebbles that kids (and adults!) collect.
Don't miss one of the town's best-kept secrets, the Nature Center of Cape May, which offers drop-off and family programs that take kids to the beach across the street to explore. (Most programs cost $5 and up.)
Full of Victorian houses and charming shops, Cape May isn't Snooki's Jersey Shore. Hop on the trolley to get the lay of the land ($10 for adults, $7 for kids ages 3 to 12, free for younger kids) as guides point out cultural attractions, historic areas, and beaches.
For 45 minutes, look around the 15 rooms in the Emlen Physick Estate, a beautifully restored Stick Style mansion. Go on Fridays for a family-friendly interactive tour -- that's when one child is free with the purchase of each $10 adult ticket.
See more than 550 animals -- including flamingos and giraffes -- at the free Cape May County Zoo. Pack a lunch and take advantage of the picnic areas.
There are 199 steps to the top of 1859 lighthouse at Cape May Point State Park ($7 for adults, $3 for children ages 3 to 12).
Have fun strolling the Washington Street Mall. Don't miss Bath Time, where you can custom-blend your own lotions and the '50s-style soda counter at the Dellas 5 & 10.
It's so fresh! For dinner, try the Lobster House, where Taylor Swift ate during a recent visit. "You can sit in the dining room, go to the casual raw bar, or get take-out and find a table along the harbor to watch the boats go by," says Vivian Daly, a local and mom of four.
Just a block or so from the beach, Congress Hall offers free towels and lounge chairs oceanside for hotel guests. A jam-packed lineup of family activities, ranging from Monday-night carnivals with face painting and balloon fun to Zumba classes on the lawn, will keep your family busy and happy. (Rooms with two queen beds start at $179 per night; congresshall.com.)
If you want to cook some of your own meals, consider the Marquis de Lafayette Hotel, which offers apartment suites with a kitchen and balcony. (Apartment suites start at $257 per night; marquiscapemay.com.)
Copyright © 2013 Meredith Corporation.
This piece was accurate at publication time, but all prices, offerings and availabilities are subject to change. Please contact each hotel and attraction for up-to-date rates and information before taking your trip.