Geography of Cape May County, New Jersey

By | March 14, 2024

Geography of Cape May County, New Jersey

Cape May County, located in the southernmost part of New Jersey, is renowned for its stunning coastline, diverse ecosystems, and vibrant communities. From its pristine beaches and bustling boardwalks to its lush wetlands and historic landmarks, Cape May County offers residents and visitors alike a unique blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and recreational opportunities. Check travelationary to learn more about the state of New Jersey.

Physical Features:

  • Atlantic Ocean Coastline: Cape May County boasts approximately 30 miles of Atlantic Ocean coastline, with sandy beaches, dunes, and barrier islands stretching from the Delaware Bay to the Atlantic City area. The county’s coastline is dotted with picturesque beach towns and resort communities, including Cape May, Wildwood, Ocean City, and Sea Isle City, which attract millions of visitors each year. The beaches offer opportunities for swimming, sunbathing, surfing, and beachcombing, as well as scenic views of the ocean and coastal landscapes.
  • Delaware Bayshore: To the west of Cape May County lies the Delaware Bayshore, a region characterized by tidal marshes, estuaries, and wildlife refuges. The bayshore is home to diverse ecosystems, including salt marshes, mudflats, and tidal creeks, which provide habitat for a variety of plant and animal species, including migratory birds, horseshoe crabs, and diamondback terrapins. The bayshore also offers opportunities for birdwatching, kayaking, and eco-tours, allowing visitors to explore the natural beauty and biodiversity of the region.
  • Cape May Peninsula: Cape May County occupies the southern tip of the Cape May Peninsula, a narrow strip of land bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Delaware Bay to the west. The peninsula is characterized by sandy beaches, rolling dunes, and maritime forests, which provide habitat for a variety of wildlife, including deer, foxes, and migratory birds. Cape May Point State Park, located at the southern tip of the peninsula, offers opportunities for hiking, birdwatching, and beachcombing, as well as panoramic views of the ocean and bay.
  • Inland Waterways: In addition to its coastal features, Cape May County is home to several inland waterways, including rivers, creeks, and lakes. The Great Egg Harbor River, the Maurice River, and the Tuckahoe River are among the major waterways in the county, providing opportunities for boating, fishing, and kayaking. The county also has several lakes and ponds, such as Lake Nummy and Lake Lenape, which offer recreational opportunities for swimming, picnicking, and wildlife viewing.


Cape May County experiences a humid subtropical climate, characterized by hot, humid summers and mild winters. The region’s climate is influenced by its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean and the Delaware Bay, which moderate temperatures and provide moisture for precipitation.

Summers in Cape May County are typically hot and humid, with daytime temperatures often reaching into the 80s and 90s Fahrenheit. Humidity levels can be high, especially during the summer months, making it feel even hotter. Thunderstorms are common during the summer afternoons and evenings, bringing heavy rain, lightning, and occasional hail.

Winters in Cape May County are generally mild, with daytime temperatures ranging from the 30s to the 50s Fahrenheit. Snowfall is rare but possible, especially in inland areas, where colder temperatures prevail. Cold air masses from the north and west can bring periods of freezing temperatures and strong winds, but overall, winters are relatively mild compared to other parts of the Northeast.

Human Impact:

  • Tourism: Tourism is a major industry in Cape May County, with millions of visitors flocking to the area each year to enjoy its beaches, boardwalks, and attractions. The county’s beach towns and resort communities offer a wide range of amenities and activities for visitors, including shopping, dining, entertainment, and nightlife. Popular attractions include the Cape May Lighthouse, the Wildwood Boardwalk, and the Ocean City Music Pier, which draw tourists from across the region and beyond.
  • Fishing and Maritime Industries: Fishing and maritime industries have long been important economic activities in Cape May County, with commercial fishing, charter fishing, and seafood processing playing a significant role in the local economy. The county’s coastal location provides access to abundant seafood resources, including fish, crabs, and shellfish, which are harvested and sold locally and exported to markets throughout the region. In addition to commercial fishing, recreational fishing is a popular pastime for residents and visitors alike, with opportunities for surf fishing, pier fishing, and deep-sea fishing along the coast.
  • Environmental Conservation: Efforts to conserve and protect Cape May County’s natural resources are ongoing, with a focus on preserving sensitive habitats, managing coastal development, and mitigating the impacts of climate change. Conservation organizations, such as the New Jersey Audubon Society and the Nature Conservancy, work to protect critical ecosystems, restore degraded habitats, and educate the public about the importance of environmental conservation. Efforts to address coastal erosion, sea level rise, and habitat loss are also underway, with initiatives to restore dunes, stabilize shorelines, and enhance resiliency to storms and flooding.


In conclusion, Cape May County, New Jersey, offers a diverse and dynamic landscape characterized by its coastline, wetlands, and maritime forests. From its sandy beaches and bustling boardwalks to its tranquil bays and estuaries, the county boasts a wealth of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and recreational opportunities for residents and visitors alike. While facing challenges such as coastal development, environmental degradation, and climate change, Cape May County remains a resilient and vibrant community with a deep connection to its natural heritage and coastal identity. Through collaboration, innovation, and conservation efforts, the county continues to balance economic development with the protection of its unique landscapes and ecosystems, ensuring a sustainable future for generations to come.