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Just about 45 miles south of Atlantic City is a much calmer stretch of Jersey shore – Cape May. Founded in 1620 by the Dutch, Cape May didn't reach its stride until the 1800s when it became a vacation spot for wealthy Southerners who reportedly didn't want to venture much farther into Yankee territory. Today, vacationers from all over – not just the South – flock to Cape May for its relaxing-bed and-breakfasts (many of them complete with rocking chairs and wraparound porches) and clean, family-friendly beaches. To enjoy Cape May's beaches – from Higbee to Poverty – you'll need to purchase a beach tag. Daily beach tags cost $6 and three-day passes cost $12. You can find beach tags at the beach entrance and adjacent City Hall.
Visiting families loved Cape May and its beaches because of their cleanliness and quiet atmosphere. Many travelers also appreciated the use of tags because it made the beaches less crowded.
Cape May's welcomes beachgoers between the hours of 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. (You'll need a vehicle to drive from Atlantic City to Cape May's shores.) Lifeguards are on staff until 5:30 p.m. in the summertime. For more information, visit Cape May's tourism website. You'll also find eateries along Beach Avenue, a cache of independent shops at Washington Street Mall and some art galleries in Cape May.