Cape May Beach Walks: Along the Cove
One of our favorite beach walks begins where the promenade ends at the south end of Cape May City.
From the last jetty in Cape May (2nd Street) to the Bunker in Cape May Point State Park, is a beach walkers heaven: hard sand, wide beaches, and wonderful things to look at.
You can can cover, at least, 2.3 miles, round-trip, farther if you go all the way to the Cape May Point Lighthouse.
There are fewer sunbathers than along the Cape May Beachfront.
You are also more likely to see kayakers and surfers, mostly nearer to Cape May.
The shallow water gently curling waves offer a fine recreational opportunity. Some anglers also fish the Cove, especially in autumn.
The Cove beach is broad, perhaps 50 yards wide between the at low and high tide marks. The hard sand makes it ideal for rapid walking or simply strolling and taking in the scenery.
There are few dropoffs and the surf is generally calmer than the ocean front. Above the high tide line there is another 50-100 yards of sand that abuts the dunes. These conditions make the Cove a great place to look for shells and other artifacts that wash up on beaches.
Wildlife abounds in the Cove. Just beyond the surf dolphins often cavort. Among them are infant dolphins that are safe in the shallow waters near the beaches.
These dolphins feed on bunker (a small fish) and other goodies throughout the summer in Cape May. While walking the Cove, look seaward frequently and you may even see a dolphin jump clear of the water.
There are also more sandpipers that feed in the wash in the Cove than at other Cape May beaches. You’ll see them chasing the waves as the ocean offer up little goodies for them to eat. Try to walk around them to avoid disturbing the little darlings as they fatten up for their trips to South America. They are generally rather tame, but show them a little respect.
The roped in areas (in spring and summer) adjacent to the dunes protect nesting Piping Plovers (a federally endangered species) and Least Terns (a very rare species).
These small birds can sometimes be seen as they run along the beach or dive into the shallow ocean waters to catch fish. Without crossing the ropes (which is not allowed), walkers and birders can sometimes see these birds sitting on nests or leading their tiny young to find food. Again, show them respect and don’t cross the ropes. But, do enjoy them from a distance.
For a detour and a view of a bit more wildlife, walkers can simply take a right turn at one of the two trails that lead over the dune and into the Cape May Meadows.
This little detour can add more than ½ mile to your walk unless you simply walk to the top of the dune for a great view of the ponds, wetlands, and young forest that is growing.
This is a fairly large chunk of open space and one of the few remaining areas of its kind along the coast.
Allow slightly more than an hour or more if you wish to sit down or look for shells. There are no facilities nearby, although restrooms are available at the Cape May Point State Park.
Parking is available along Beach Drive and side streets in Cape May City (metered) or at the Cape May Point State Park (free).
Whether you enter from Cape May City or the State Park, you will have a great walk in any season of the year.