Cape May in New Jersey is packed with historic sights and sounds. It’s also home to miles of beautiful coastline where dolphins, whales, seabirds and countless other sea life thrive.
The best way to experience Cape May’s marine life up close and personal is by boat tour. And few do it better than the Cape May Whale Watch and Research Center. Learn more about the center and everything it has to offer.
Cape May Whale Watch and Research Center History
The Cape May Whale Watch and Research Center was founded in 1987 by Captain Ron Robbins and Captain Jim Cicchitti. It’s one of the first eco-tourism operations in the country. In addition, the facility specializes in guided boat tours and works hard to protect the wildlife and waters through conservation efforts.
Guests are considered what the center calls “Citizen Scientists,” helping the staff fund research projects through ticket sales. As a result, projects have been funded like the Clean Ocean Initiative Program, Bottlenose Dolphin Catalogue and Humpback and Baleen whale identification.
Research Center Attractions
Around Cape May: Whale, Dolphin and Bird Watch Tour
This tour runs twice per day with morning and afternoon slots. The morning version is slightly shorter than the afternoon trip by 30 minutes, but both are equally exciting. You’ll start by traveling out Cape May’s Inlet and down the beach where you’ll see the Cape May Lighthouse and a number of other historic attractions.
As you skim the shore, you’ll also have the opportunity to spot whales, marine birds and animals, and dolphins. There’s also a touch tank on board so the whole family can get up close and personal with local marine wildlife.
If you happen to have no animal sightings during your tour, you’ll get a free return trip at no cost to you!
- Time: 10:00 a.m.
- Duration: 2 ½ hours
- Cost: Varies
Sunset Dolphin Cruise
The two-hour cruise heads out into the Atlantic Ocean just as the sun starts to set. The main attraction is to spot as many dolphins as possible, but you’ll see a variety of local marine wildlife during your trip.
Afterwards, head up the street to The Lobster House where you can indulge in the fresh catch of the day. The dock of this nautically-themed restaurant is a routine stop for fishermen bringing in millions of pounds of seafood each year. You may catch a glimpse of the action while enjoying your meal!
- Time: 6:00 p.m.
- Duration: 2 hours
- Cost: Varies
Offshore Marine Life & Pelagic Bird Trip
This is quite literally an early bird gets the worm situation with the tour starting at 6:30 a.m. sharp. It’s an all-day event that lasts 12 hours as you head out 40-60 miles offshore to spot pelagic birds, marine mammals, sea turtles, sunfish and even sharks.
For example, potential sightings include Humpback whales, Pilot whales, Bottlenose dolphins, Shearwaters, Jaegers, Hammerheads, Great Whites, Sea turtles, oceanic sunfish, jellyfish and much more.
- Time: 6:30 a.m.
- Duration: 12 hours
- Cost: $120
Charters & Special Events
If you want to experience something truly special, the Cape May Whale Watch & Research Center hosts private charters for special events from April through December. If you’re visiting Cape May for a birthday, retirement party, anniversary or another special event, consider booking the American Star for your event.
Where to Stay in Cape May
After a long day on the water, there’s nothing better than heading back to your own slice of a resort. Sun RV Resorts offers a variety of all-age destinations in the Cape May area with everything you need to recharge and relax.
Check out these nearby recommendations:
Enjoy family-friendly amenities, as well as a great selection of RV and tent sites, or cabins for rent if you’re looking for your own little oasis. Spots fill up fast so book your stay today.
If you’re visiting New Jersey this summer, the Whale Watch and Research Center is one of the best Cape May attractions around and a truly unforgettable experience. In either case, no matter which tour you choose, it’s guaranteed to be fun for the whole family. Happy whale watching!