Cape May’s seasonal beach tags — not just for locals

Beach tags are required at all Cape May beaches from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend for everyone over the age of 11 years old.  Beach tags are provided free of charge to both active members of the US military and veterans — United States Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps, as well as members of the United States Coast Guard and the New Jersey National Guard.

Our family would completely ignore any thoughts of buying “season” beach tags before we bought our beach house.  Why would you want to spend that kind of money when you are not going to be at the beach for the entire summer? However, when purchased early, they just might make financial sense. 

Seasonal beach tags are $30 per person when purchased from December 1st to April 30th. After May 1st, they are $40 a person. Non-seasonal beach tags, which are available only during the summer months, are priced as follows:

  • Weekly-$25 each
  • 3-Day – $20 each
  • 1 Day – $10 each

Example 1 – you are planning to be in Cape May for Memorial Day and Labor Day.  Each trip would cost $20 for a total of $40.

Example 2 – you are planning to be in Cape May for a week in July and then a quick overnight stay for a wedding in August.  You will still want to grab some beach time, right? Well, that’s $25 and $20 for a total of $45!

Our family can’t wait to get the new seasonal beach tags in the mail each year. The design is always new and of course beachy. (Last year the artwork used was interesting as you can see above.) Their arrival seems to bring the Memorial Day holiday weekend just a little bit closer. They are also fun to keep as a memento of the past summer.  My daughter has several of them collected over the years stashed in her jewelry box. 

Also, my husband Gerard created a fun shadowbox of beach tags over the years that we collected. Even more were gifted to us by our kind next door neighbors at Aunt Helen’s House (another beach rental). He also attached a few on the “Dad Hat” he wears to the beach.

Men's bucket hat with beach tags

How to purchase seasonal beach tags

How to purchase seasonal beach tags before Memorial Day weekend:

  • In person – The Beach Tag Office 704 Beach Avenue Mon-Fri 10AM-4PM; Sat&Sun 9AM-4PM or Cape May City Tax Office 643 Washington Street Mon-Fri 9AM-1PM
  • Via Mail (additional $5.50 postage) select here for link to access and print online form.  To acquire the form for active military beach tags select here and veterans here.
  • Mobile – Yes you can now purchase your beach tags on your mobile device. There is a small convenience fee and you will need to pick up your actual tags in person. Details are here for those that want this option.

As of Memorial Day weekend, all beach tags can be purchased at kiosks on the Promenade: Broadway, Gurney St., Howard St., Madison Ave. and beach entrances including Cove beach from the Mt. Vernon street entrance.

The beach tag requirement has often been a bit controversial, as some other shore towns do not utilize them. As of 1977, the City of Cape May has chosen to fund the maintenance, beach patrol and replenishment of the beaches from this source of income. 

Beach cape may with sun rays

Some great press on Cape May

I believe most people who have visited would agree that Cape May beaches are some of the loveliest in the county. US News and World Report calls the beaches pristine and ranks them in the top 10 beaches in the US and #1 in the state of New Jersey!  Town & Country magazine also ranked the beaches in their “Top 15 Beaches on the East Coast” list. They even made Prevention magazine’s list of “20 Breathtaking Beaches in the U.S. “– ranking #9.

Please note: some hotels, Bed & Breakfasts and rental properties provide their guests or tenants with beach tags, so it is a good idea to check with them in advance.

Many folks buy seasonal beach tags as early as possible for holiday gifts and stocking stuffers. They make a great gift!

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