Department of Environmental Protection

New Jersey State Park Service

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Cape May Point State Park Overview

One of the most popular sites for bird watching in North America and a natural route for migratory birds.

Cape May Point State Park is 244 acres of freshwater meadows, ponds, forests, dunes and beach. Just a short bike ride from historic Cape May, the park is best known for the famous Cape May Lighthouse, a World War II gun battery and fire control tower, world renowned fall bird migration, monarch butterflies and Cape May diamonds. Thousands of visitors annually enjoy beach walking, hiking, birding and fishing. Nature programs are available. The lighthouse and fire control tower are open seasonally and are administered by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts and Humanities. (link is external)

The 157-foot lighthouse is still an aid to navigation. Visitors who climb the 199 steps to the top are rewarded with a spectacular panoramic view of the scenic Cape May peninsula. The first known lighthouse at Cape May was built in 1823. By 1847, a new lighthouse was erected on a high bluff however, due to the encroaching sea and poor building design it was eventually dismantled. Built in 1859, the current lighthouse used the original bricks of the 1847 lighthouse. For information on tours and hours of operations, please call The Mid Atlantic Center for the Arts and Humanities (link is external) at 609-884-5404.

Cape May Point State Park was once a military base. Battery 223 was built as part of the Harbor Defense Project of 1942. This gun emplacement was once 900 feet inland, surrounded by earth and covered by sod, making it look as if it were a hill when viewed from the sea or air. Periods of severe coastal erosion and storms have washed away much of the sand resulting in the gun emplacement now sitting on the beach close to the water. At low tide the gun turrets at the front are visible. Battery 223 was later converted to a Sound Surveillance System station during the early days of the Cold War (1955-1962) but storm damage forced it to be relocated to Fort Miles in Delaware. Visitors can approach the structure on foot if they proceed with caution as it has deteriorated. Climbing onto the structure is prohibited.

Trail Map

The Red Trail is a .5-mile wheelchair accessible trail. This trail provides hikers access to Lighthouse Pond West and East. Each pond has a blind or platform at the water's edge to view wading birds, ducks, swans as well as the occasional osprey, which come to rely on these freshwater ponds for food and habitat for breeding.

The Yellow Trail is a 1.5-mile long trail offering hikers the opportunity to see different habitats, including wetland marsh, costal dune and sandy beach.

The Blue Trail is a 2-mile long trail offering hikers a myriad of habitats in which to view flora and fauna. This trail offers a longer hike along the beach and coastal dune. Both the yellow and blue trails allow hikers the opportunity to view shore birds as well as other wildlife along the shore.

General Guide to the trails at Cape May Point State Park

Cape May Point is known as a major migratory route for several species of wildlife. Numerous birds migrate through this area in the spring and fall. At the end of summer, dragonflies and monarch butterflies stop here briefly to gain their strength before continuing on their journey across the Delaware Bay. Cape May also hosts the annual migration of horseshoe crabs along the Delaware Bay, where they come ashore to lay their eggs. These protein rich eggs are an important food source for ruddy turnstones and red knots. Cape May is viewed by many as the premier hawk migration route of North America. In the fall, hundreds of hawks are counted as they pass the narrow corridor of land along the Cape May peninsula heading south. This offers birdwatchers of all ages the opportunity to see these beautiful birds in flight as they soar across the fields and meadows, on their southward trek across the Delaware Bay.

The park staff offer a variety of historical and natural interpretive programs throughout the year. Contact the park office for a schedule of programs and to register. Program fees may apply.

Picnic areas with tables and shelters are provided. For larger groups, there is a reservable group picnic area that contains a shelter and restrooms. This area can accommodate up to 60 people and may be reserved for a fee.

Groups of 20 or more people shall reserve picnic facilities at least five days in advance. Such group use is not permitted on holidays except as authorized by the superintendent. Reservations for picnic areas are handled directly by the individual park area offices.

Reservations can be made over the telephone using a credit card or by mail using the Group Picnic Reservation form. Payment in full of the appropriate group picnicking fee must accompany the application.

Surf fishing along the shores rewards anglers with weakfish, bluefish, flounder, tautog and striped bass.

Most of the park has been designated as the Cape May Point Natural Area. It contains a variety of habitat types and a highly divergent population of plant and animal species. Among the most common inhabitants are ducks, herons, gulls, rabbits, raccoons, red fox and non-venomous snakes. This is a critical resting and feeding area for thousands of migrating birds and monarch butterflies.

A NJ State Park Service Special Use Permit is required for various types of short-duration, organized activities and/or events within a state park, forest and/or historic site. Examples of organized activities and/or special events include, but are not limited to press events, commercial photography and/or filming, corporate events, fundraisers, festivals, demonstrations, walkathons and races, concerts, Televised events and/or commercial use of or on State Park Service lands and/or waters. 

To learn more about Special use Permits click here.

Access for Persons with Disabilities
Cape May Point State Park recreational facilities are partially accessible to persons with disabilities. Please contact the park office at 609-884-2159 for further information regarding disability access needs. Text telephone (TTY) users, call the NJ Relay & CapTel Service at 711 or 1-800-852-7897 for English or 1-866-658-7714 for Spanish.

All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs)
Recreational use of ATVs is not permitted on NJ State Park Service property. This includes state parks, forests, recreation areas, golf courses, marinas, natural areas, historic sites, and preserves. Thank you for your help in protecting New Jersey’s natural and historic resources. [N.J.A.C. 7:2-3.4(d)]

State law prohibits the smoking of tobacco and use of electronic smoking (vaping) devices in all state parks, forests, historic sites, recreation areas, golf courses and marinas. [N.J.P.L.2005, c.383 (C.26:3D-56)]

Alcoholic beverages are not permitted in state parks, forests, recreation areas, golf courses, marinas, natural areas, historic sites, and preserves. [ N.J.A.C. 7:2-2.6 ]

Keep Your Park Clean and Green
Protect plants and animals and care for your parks by taking your trash with you. Whatever you carry into the park, plan on carrying it out too. It’s like crowdsourcing trash management! Bring a bag or two for trash, recycling and cleaning up after your pet. There are no trash receptacles in this park. Thank you!

No swimming.

Pets must always be on a leash no longer than six feet in length and under the control of the owner. Please clean up after your pets.

No pets are permitted on the beach from April 1st to September 15th.

There are no pets are allowed on our trails.

Tick Protection
Use insect repellent, wear light-colored clothing, tuck pants into socks, stay on trails, check yourself when you get home, shower and wash clothes immediately.

Photo Gallery


Related Links

Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts (MAC) (link is external)
Cape May Bird Observatory (link is external)
Cape May County Zoo (link is external)
Cape May - Lewes Ferry (link is external)

Park Map

Area Map


Phone Number

Physical Address
303 County Hwy 629
Cape May, NJ 08204

Mailing Address
P.O. Box 107
Cape May Point, NJ 08212

Email Address

Park Hours

Gate 8:00 am to 8:00 pm
Park Office 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Park Fees

Entrance Fee None

Other Related Fees
Map / Directions

GPS Coordinates
38.932982, -74.961144