Shopping in Cape May
I honestly don’t know why it has taken me so long to write a post about shopping in Cape May. It was kind of a duh moment on my part. The topic is sprinkled into several of my earlier posts like Proposing in Cape May or What is Cape May Known For? However, I have not dedicated an entire post to it—so here goes.
Where do I start? Frankly, I would bet that any trip to Cape May, no matter how short, likely has at least a little shopping in the mix! It could be a cute t-shirt as a gift or for yourself. Or it could be an entire gift basket for your cat sitter (like we did). Shopping in Cape May can be overwhelming. So I will break it down by general location and then give some category info at a high level. There is way too much to cover in one post.
Major Shopping Areas
Washington Street Mall is (as most people know) the sort of shopping hub of Cape May. From Perry to Ocean Street there are an absolute ton of options. You can get anything from seashells to Christmas ornaments, to clothing and jewelry-way more that I can list here. Don’t forget to check the little side streets—there are some fun little shops there too!
Washington Commons at the end of the mall on Ocean has wonderful shops as well. We frequent them quite a bit for unique decorative items, clothing and of course dog toys for our black lab. Louella is a little gem of a store too!
Carpenter’s Lane that runs parallel to Washington Mall has several boutiques and our favorite peanut butter shop and more. I feel sometimes like it gets missed with all the hustle and bustle of the mall, but it should definitely be on your list!
Beach Ave also has a lot of shops. You can find everything from clothing and accessories to boogie boards and kites on the town side around the Jackson Street area. The promenade side near the Convention Center has gift shops, a surf shop, fudge and much more.
Perry Street toward West Cape May has a variety of antique and gift shops that are super fun to poke around. The West End Garage is awesome with a wide variety of little stalls that have the more unique offerings. Every time we go in there we seem to walk out with something (if not many things). It was our go-to place for stocking-stuffers this year.
Sunset beach is a little bit of a drive from town, but they have some great shopping there too. When the kids were little it was the hermit crab source, as well as the place to get kitschy souvenirs. There are several things in our house from the shops there; coffee mugs, sail boats, trinket boxes—I am sure I am forgetting a bunch of stuff. Always a fun time poking around.
There are also some one-off spots that I would be remiss to ignore. Cape May Wicker on Sunset is a perennial stop of many especially my mother-in-law, Leona. There are a few little shops by the marina off Rt 109 that are sure worth exploring. Elaine’s Boutique on Lafayette across and down from Rotary Park is a bit off the shopping circuit, but worth a spy for clothing and accessories. I am sure I have forgotten a few. I do apologize!
Categories of stuff to buy
Wow—it would probably be easier to say what you can’t buy in Cape May. There really is so much to offer at many budget levels. The last few years has seen a large increase in the variety of types of shops all over Cape May. It really has become a shopping destination.
Clothing and accessories
There are so many shops to choose from and most of them are in and around Washington Mall. There are higher end stores like Cash & Clive, Tommy’s Folly and Galvanic, as well as fun t-shirt shops and everything in-between. A few of my favorites are Willow & Stone, Cotton Company, It’s a Breeze and Beach Love, but I really have shopped almost all of them. There are also a few boutiques on Beach Avenue and other spots like Elaine’s on Lafayette Street and Uniquely Yours on Decatur Street.
You will find great stuff for all ages from the littlest of littles (check out The Happy Baby Boutique on Perry Street) on up. Forgot your sunglasses, flip flops, a bathing suit—you will absolutely find it!
Much like with clothing and accessories, there are several high-end stores such as Queen May, Henry’s Landmark and O’Neill’s Estate. They have some of the most distinctive and gorgeous pieces. If you are interested in jewelry that screams beach, Cape May, shore vacation, there are lots of options there too! Splash and Whales Tale always have sea inspired pieces. Trinket’s in another lovely shop that has very unique and modern offerings to treat yourself or as a gift. Many of the clothing and accessory shops have jewelry sprinkled into their cases as well. Frankly, this topic is worth its own post—so stay tuned for more!
Home Décor and Kitchen
One of favorite shops for years has been Love the Cook (I always want to call it Kiss the Cook for some reason). We love poking around and have gotten several gifts for our friends and neighbors in this spot. Swede Things has an eclectic collection and always seems to be buzzing. Quirk & Co really have some wonderful pieces and they’re so much fun to explore. Lots of places have little home décor items and don’t forget to check out the stalls at West End Garage. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Cape May Wicker on Sunset for so many things beyond wicker.
Souvenirs is a bit of a loose category because everyone kind of defines it differently. We think of them as little statues, mugs, shot glasses and such. Hands down, Sunset Beach shops were our go to for years. We still have a little lighthouse statue that our son got when he was about 5. Dellas is also a place to find that sort of stuff—and other things you didn’t even know you needed!
There are a few places that focus on Art in Cape May. D’may Home Gallery, Gallery D’May Fine Art and Cape May Art Gallery are right on Washington Mall. They each have a different vibe and it is super easy to check them all out, as they are so close to one another. West End Garage also have several stalls dedicated to artists and is definitely worth the walk over.
If you are traveling with littles, you will want to know where the toy stores are. There are two stores dedicated to toys on Washington Mall—Toy Shop of Cape May and Zoo Company of Cape May. Both are a must stop for toy shopping. However, Whales Tale is a great place (towards the back) to try out too. Like most other things, Dellas has a few toys in stock—we have bought several sets of sand toys there over the years.
There is some amazing food shops in Cape May. For candy, Fralinger’s and The Fudge Kitchen are great options. We would always stop at Fralinger’s for saltwater taffy at the beginning of any visit. There was never any left to take home, so we ended the trip there too. There is a little collection of food shops that we have fallen in love with over the years. They are all owned by the same family, Cape May Peanut Butter, Cape May Olive Oil Company, The Spice Cellar of Cape May, and the latest addition the Cheese Shop. (They also have Wingnutz out by the airport.) We are literally addicted to the peanut butter and buy several jars annually just for our son in Pittsburgh. Surprisingly (to me at least) there are two Jerky shops in town: House of Jerky and Beef Jerky Experience.
West End Garage has tons of different types of antiques in a variety of stalls. I think it is great fun to poke around and it seems to change from visit to visit. Additionally, right down the street on Perry are Antiques Emporia and around the corner is Out of the Past Antiques. Farther into West Cape May on Park Boulevard is the Antique Doorknob that have very unique things like stained glass windows. I often see their truck around town. One last one to mention is out by the marina if you come into town on Rt 109—Cape May Antique Center. You might drive by it in a rush to get into town—don’t.
I wrote an entire post about buying Christmas ornament in Cape May—one of my favorite things to do. Christmas Ornaments-Our Four Favorite Shops in Cape May covers it pretty well, but let me know if I missed anything.
I literally only scratched the surface of the shopping in Cape May and apologize again for those I didn’t mention. This post is over 1,500 words and I think I would need to write 10,000 to do it all justice. So, the best thing to do is walk around and discover it all for yourself. Feel free to comment below with your favorite “must stop” shops and why you love them so much.