Natural Sites on the Jersey Cape
1. Ocean City Guided Beach Walk July and August at two locations on the island: South End location 59th Street & Central Ave. Tuesdays at 9:00am and Wednesdays at 6:30pm. North End location Ocean City/Longport Bridge parking lot Tuesdays 6:30pm and Wednesdays At 9:00 Am. Guides identify marine life and vegetation found along the beach front and discuss the importance of the ocean. Visit Corson's Inlet State Park, adjacent to the Beach Walk area.
3. Lester G. MacNamara Wildlife Management Area The diversity of habitats found here attracts birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians. An eagle observation tower is on site to aid visitors. Most common spottings occur summer through fall.
4. Cameron Wildlife Sanctuary Part of the County Park system, this 25-acre parcel of land combines pinelands woods, salt marsh and freshwater ponds, all of which is hard to find in one location. Look for lily pads, wild cranberries, chicken grapes, blueberries, huckleberries and beach plums in addition to painted turtles, otters, opossums, rabbits, raccoons and fox.
7. Sara the Turtle Look for Sara the Turtle signs along the roadways in Sea Isle City. Sara, the town mascot, is a reminder to drivers to be careful of diamondback terrapins which cross the road to lay eggs.
9. Avalon Dunes The high dunes in Avalon are "time machines" which take us back to the New Jersey shore of the past. Beach access paths allow easy exploration of this unique habitat. The dune grass and other vegetation helps to hold the sand which serves as a natural barrier against tidal flooding.
10. Leaming's Run Gardens Leaming's Run Gardens is a world class garden divided into 26 theme gardens. This 30-acre site with its masses of flowers, ponds and lawns will appeal to a great variety of interests. Found here is the largest area of cinnamon fern, the only uncut forest in Cape May County, a solid holly forest and an underground lake. Readily visible fresh water frogs, turtles and fish. An excellent bird population especially in August when hummingbirds are abundant.
11. Belleplain State Forest Several thousand acres of natural wooded forest with deer, rabbit, fox, other mammals and reptiles. Open for camping, biking and hunting (check for restrictions). Freshwater lake for swimming and recreational use. (609) 861-2404.
12. Dennis Creek Wildlife Management Area Wintering hawks, eagles and owls are usually spotted in this area. The freshwater lake is open for fishing for perch and sunnies; boat ramp also available. Freshwater fishing license required.
13. Great Cedar Swamp Natural attraction for migratory birds and water fowl. Swamp named for its abundance of cedar trees. Known for its "Cedar Shingle Mining". Cedar shingles are cut from petrified cedar trees and used for roof coverings. Most recent use of cedar shingles mined from this lake was in 1986 for the roof of the Independence Hall in Philadelphia.
14. Cape May County Park & Zoo Nearly 200 acres of wonders of nature, the Cape May County Park system offers nature trails, a freshwater lake, picnic areas, playground and a zoo accredited by the American Association of Zoological Parks. In addition to it being a resting place for migratory birds, the Park is also a nesting place for Red-headed Woodpeckers and Eastern Bluebirds.
15. Reeds Beach Thousands of migrating shorebirds gather here from late May to early June when the horseshoe crabs come on shore to lay their eggs. Great photo opportunities of wildlife and sunsets. Observation platform, signs and tally provided by NJ Division of Fish, Game and Wildlife. Respect private property.
16. Wetlands Institute The Wetlands Institute allows visitors to explore New Jersey's wonderful coastal wetlands. It features a trail, observation tower, lecture hall, bookstore, children's discovery room and exhibit building with aquariums.
17. Stone Harbor Bird Sanctuary A 21-acre remnant of a barrier island forest, the bird sanctuary is one of the largest heronies on the coast. A Registered Natural Landmark. Viewing area at 114th Street & 3rd Avenue, Stone Harbor.
19. Beach Tram Service A unique way to enjoy the sand and view the surf, the tram travels along a 20 block route on the beach. Daily service from 10am to 4pm during the summer. Evening hours: 6pm to 1am.
20. Wyland Wall Full-color mural painted by world renowned environmental artist, Wyland. This mural measures 220 feet long and 30 feet high. It depicts marine life with two life-sized whales, a baby whale, dolphins, turtles and other sea life. Located on the Boardwalk at Garfield Avenue, it is the only Wyland mural in New Jersey.
21. Captain Oceans Environmental Program Instructors provide a unique opportunity for children and adults to inspect sea life caught that day. Learn about the ocean environment through a hands on demonstration from objects that was up to creatures that crawl on the sand. Free mini-seminar run from the first week in July to the last week in August. Monday 8-9am at Rambler Road; Thursday 8-9am between Spicer and Spencer Avenues.
22. Sunset Lake Situated along the bay between Rambler and Miami Avenues in Wildwood Crest, this saltwater lake is a stopover for many migratory birds and water fowl. Picturesque sunsets for the photo buff.
23. Fisherman's Wharf Discover how your seafood gets from dock to dish on this 45-minute guided tour of the Lobster House dock and fish packing plant. Relish the history of this great fishing port which was ranked eighth in the United States in 1993 for the value of seafood products landed.
24. The Nature Center of Cape May Operated by New Jersey Audubon Society, the Nature Center is an environmental education facility for all ages. Located in Cape May Harbor, the Nature Center provides access to beach and marsh habitats and offers workshops, classes, walking tours and exhibits. (609) 898-8848.
25. Ocean Walk Greet the ocean early in the morning on this unique Ocean Walk, an eye-opening stroll along Cape May's beautiful strand. Guides discuss marine life and the beaches' history as tourgoers enjoy shell hunting and beachcombing.
26. Cape May Point State Park & William D. & Jane C. Blair, Jr. Bird Refuge Cape May Point State Park and the South Cape May meadows is a 180-acre wildlife preserve complete with grazing cattle, sand dunes, ocean waters, a nature museum, historic lighthouse and bunker, nature trails, programs and restrooms. Its diverse habitat attracts migrant shorebirds in the spring and fall; hawks in the fall; loons, grebes and ducks offshore in the fall and winter; and, nesting piping plover and least tern. (609) 884-2159
27. Cape May Bird Observatory The Cape May Bird Observatory is located in Cape May Point and offers the best year-round bird watching programs, workshops and tours. The bookstore boasts a unique array of bird books, art and apparel. 701 East Lake Drive. The birding hotline number is (609) 898-BIRD (2473). Hawks, owls, sandpipers, loons & warblers.. Open daily from 9 AM to 4:30 PM.
28. Cape May Diamonds These quartz crystals are found along Sunset Beach in Lower Township. A milky-looking stone in its natural form, the Cape May Diamond can be polished and faceted to resemble a real diamond. Cape May Diamond jewelry can be purchased in many area shops. "Diamond" hunting along the edge of the Delaware Bay here has become as popular as shell collecting.
29. Concrete Ship "Atlantus" Half-submerged just off Sunset Beach lies the 3000 ton, 250 foot concrete ship "Atlantus." Because of the critical steel shortage during World War I, the Atlantus was one of 12 ships constructed of 5" thick concrete. The Atlantus broke loose while in tow during a 1926 storm and can now be seen off Sunset Blvd. In addition to being an historic site, she serves as a reef for many species of sea life.
30. Lily Lake Located across the street from the New Jersey Audubon Society's Cape May Bird Observatory, this freshwater lake is home to various fish, reptiles, ducks and geese. In spring and fall, look for songbirds and migrant waterfowl along the shore.
31. Higbee Beach Wildlife Management Area A unique beach area with dunes, woodlands, fields, meadows and ponds. view migrating hawks in the spring and fall. Many endangered and/or threatened birds and amphibians use area. "Cape May Diamonds" can be found on the beach. NJ Division of Fish, Game and Wildlife seasonal restrictions - check before visit.
32. Bennett Bogs This 27-acre site of unusual freshwater inland bogs is flooded winter through spring. View crayfish, butterflies and plants during the summer and fall. Many species of orchids grow wild in the bog area, which is administered by the NJ Audubon Society and The Nature Conservancy.
33. Fishing Creek Wildlife Refuge Part of the County Park system with over 1700 acres of marsh and wetlands that attracts migratory birds during the spring and fall. Tree-resting egrets, waterfowl, song birds and Canada geese can be seen throughout the year.
34. The Nature Trail at Bradner's Run Bradner's Run Nature Trail at Historic Cold Spring Village follows a freshwater stream which flows through the swamp forest at the Village boundary. Various specimens of plants, animals, insect life and migratory birds may be seen along the trail. tours conducted by The Nature Center. (609) 898-2300.
35. Cape May Bird Observatory Research and Education Center It's the information headquarters for the natural wonders of the Delaware Bayshore. The bookstore and center are open everyday, 10am - 5pm. Stop for a free may and events schedule (609) 861-0700. Birding Hotline (609) 861-0466.
36. Cape May National Wildlife Refuge Administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Cape May National Wildlife Refuge protects critical habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife along the Delaware Bay, in the Great Cedar Swamp, and beachfront at the Two Mile Beach Unit. The refuge is open from dawn to dusk. (609) 463-0994