Cape May: A Historic Seaside Town with Diamonds and More

Cape May Has It All!

The historic seaside town of Cape May, NJ, has a little something for everyone! From diamonds to history and more, this National Historic Landmark has so much to offer.

Located on the coast of New Jersey, Diamond Beach is known for its ‘Cape May diamonds’; pebbles that resemble actual diamonds. These smooth rocks are actually quartz crystals and can be found at many of the area beaches.

Sunset Beach

For those who grew up on the Jersey Shore, a trip to Sunset Beach is one of those things that just needs to be done. It’s where the kids dig for “diamonds,” and it’s a memory that lasts a lifetime.

The “diamonds” here are actually quartz pebbles, and they’re a lot more common than you might think. These stones are sifted out of pockets in the Delaware River, which runs from the Catskill Mountains to the tip of New Jersey’s peninsula. After a long, 200-mile journey the rocks wash up on the coast.

Most of them are rounded from the rocky ride down the river, but they are still clear enough to look like real diamonds. They’re also often a bit dirty, with frosted surfaces and little inclusions of other minerals.

For that reason, a plastic sifter is helpful when searching for these gemstones. It will help you sift through a bunch of sandy pebbles and zero in on those that are shiny and worth keeping. First-time treasure hunters can get tips from the gift shop, which sells jewelry and other souvenirs made of these stones. And don’t forget to attend the evening flag ceremony, which takes place each night during season. This emotionally moving ceremony honors veterans and their families with the display of casket flags.

Higbee Beach

One of Cape May’s most serene beaches, Higbee Beach is a favorite spot for birders and sunbathers. It is also a great place to watch the fishing boats and the Cape May Lewes Ferry. It’s dog friendly, so bring your furry friends along but make sure to keep them leashed.

The tidal salt marsh, two fresh water ponds and old farm fields of the state-owned Higbee Wildlife Management Area are home to migratory songbirds and raptors. It is a perfect stage for some of the best birding in America.

On a fall migration day, Jason Kelsey took students from his Coastal Ecosystems class at Stockton University to Higbee Beach to explore the natural bayshore and learn about how nature reshapes coastlines.

The high dune called Signal Hill, where Kelsey took his students, was once a look-out for rumrunners. It’s easy to see why.

Seaside Heights

Located just down the street from Seaside Park Beach, this simple spot caters to a livelier crowd. The sand is soft, and the water often has a turquoise hue. It’s a great place to spend a day walking or laying in the sun. You can also find a few restaurants and shops at the boardwalk.

While it’s not the most pristine beach, Seaside Heights is a fun, family-friendly destination. It’s a bit crowded and can be noisy, but it’s a good choice for visitors who want to make friends or enjoy a variety of activities. The area also has plenty of metered parking.

If you want to avoid the crowds, you can find quieter pockets of sand at Sunset Beach or Higbee. Both beaches offer lifeguards and have plenty of amenities. You can even watch the nightly flag lowering ceremony at Sunset Beach.

One of the best things to do at Cape May is to take a nature walk through the dunes. This beautiful area is home to many species of plants and animals, and it’s a great way to relax. The beach is also a beautiful destination for picnics and swimming. The best time to visit the area is during the summer. You can also see many different birds and animals throughout the year.

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