The Best Affordable Day Trip to Cape May, NJ

I wanted to do something really fun with our daughters before the end of the school year. They have been stuck inside for what VIRTUALLY seems like a year! So we decided to play hookie the day after Memorial Day and drive down to the southernmost point of NJ. I’m going to tell you all about our affordable day trip to Cape May that you can actually enjoy any time of the year! Plus, I’m sharing comfy chic beach outfit details that you won’t want to miss.

Picnic at Cape May Point State Park

This NJ state park is gorgeous! If has everything from bird-watching sites to fishing to hiking and beach walking. Plus, you can appreciate historic sights, such as the Cape May Lighthouse and World War II bunker.

cape may lighthouse
We didn’t take the climb to the top of the light house, but we definitely will when the girls are a year or two older. The view from the top is gorgeous!

Cape May Point is a 2-hour drive from our home, so we didn’t get to enjoy all of the activities I would have liked. But we had packed our lunches with the intention of simply picnicking at the state park upon our arrival into the area. I have to say it was one of the most perfect picnic experiences I have ever had! We settled in at a picnic table under the pavillion that had a view of many beautiful swans floating in the water.

It didn’t hurt that the weather was absolutely perfect (coming in at 70 and sunny) and that bugs and seagulls left us alone! My girls had such a good time watching the lone seagull who meandered around the (empty) pavillion as we ate. They got such a kick out of him, and named him Silly. For the rest of the day, they referred to any seagall they saw as Silly! Gosh, I wish I took more photos! It’s hard to balance family time with my desire to document all the happenings.

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After lunch, we bypassed the ice cream truck on the premises and decided to simply use the facilities and head to the next destination of our day trip: Higbee Beach to search for Cape May diamonds!

Family Fun at Higbee Beach, Cape May NJ

My family and I had never before been to Higbee Beach, and this occasion marked my girls’ first time ever in Cape May! Higbee Beach is a quiet beach on the bay, where you can find lots of treasures in the sand! Cape May is known for its “diamonds,” which are actually pebbles of quartz crystal that have been worn and washed down from the upper Delaware River. It was so fun to search for Cape May diamonds in the sand!! They are so pretty and make for great souvenirs.

Fun Fact: Native Americans used them for trading with other tribes and newly arriving European colonists!

cape may diamonds found at higbee beach
The clear pebbles are the Cape May diamonds (quartz crystal). You’ll know they are “diamonds” if they are translucent.

My girls also enjoyed frollicking in the shallow waters of the bay. But watch out! Lots of horseshoe crabs reside in the waters of Higbee Beach. It must have been mating season for them because we saw a few attached crabs. 😂 Also, I should note that there were no lifeguards watching the water. I am not sure if this is the case for the duration of the summer or simply because school was still in session.

And the beach is dog-friendly! We are animal-lovers, so we enjoyed seeing all the furry cuties walking along the shore. With that being said, this beach was very uncrowded and pleasant. We were able to park for free in the small lot beyond the walking path that leads through lush greenery to the beach. However, I could imagine that on a weekend, the lot might have the potential to fill up quickly! Just FYI.

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delaware bay at higbee beach
My girls did not want to leave! We can’t wait to visit again.

My kids love outdoorsy trips! If you’re local to the area, we also loved this relaxed weekend trip to the Poconos!

Casual Beach Outfit Details

Because of the moderate early summer temperature, I was able skip my swimsuit (Let’s be honest… Does anyone want to be in a swimsuit for an entire day?). I layered a sheer button-down blouse over a neutral matching set, added all-weather bangles (HIGHLY recommending adding a stack to your wardrobe!), sunglasses, and a lace crochet hair scrunchie. I topped off the look with a white shoulder bag.

This outfit took me from a picnic to the beach without skipping a beat! Plus, it’s really comfortable!

Find more button-down shirt outfit ideas here.

casual beach outfit for sight-seeing

In Conclusion

This day trip was perfect for our family because no area was crowded, the atmosphere was friendly, the scenery was beautiful, and it was FREE! Aside from gas and our packed lunches, we didn’t spend a cent! We cannot wait to go back and relive this trip to Cape May, NJ!


A fashion, beauty, and lifestyle blog written by Jackie Mikkelson, Instinctively en Vogue is a source of inspiration for busy girls, especially moms like her, who want to be chic while staying comfortable.



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