May is the perfect time to test out the Delaware beaches and water attractions before the full summer blast of both heat and tourists hit the shores. A local tip for enjoying the best of Delaware Bay is to take a trip on the Cape May-Lewes Ferry, operating on reduced Spring Fare rates through June 30.
The ferry schedule bumps up to almost hourly departures from Lewes, Del., most days in May and June. It’s a great time for birders to spot gannets and spring migratory birds. Passengers are equally likely to spot returning seals, whales, and dolphins heading north.
Many people get on the boat mid-morning, take a ride over to Cape May, N.J., and drive for lunch and boutique shopping on Washington Street in the heart of town. They catch an early afternoon boat back for an evening back in Delaware. Favorite family day trips are to Naval Air Station Wildwood, the New Jersey Air and Space Museum, or the Cape May County Zoo (rated among the best in the U.S.).
Insider tip: Adults sometimes prefer the Cape May Brewery, or one of the three local wineries, all within a short drive of the Cape May terminal.
Many day-trippers never get off the boat or leave the terminal. These adventurers take a round-trip cruise as foot passengers just to get their first pre-summer whiffs of fresh bay breezes and sun. Some pick up a bite at the onboard galley, while many get off in New Jersey, watch their ferry depart, and happily wait for the next boat back while enjoying a burger at On The Rocks Dockside Grill, which opened May 1. Sunset cruises that bring people back on the last boat from Cape May are a fun way to end the day.
Reservations are recommended, and can be made at cmlf.com, or by calling 800-643-3779.