If you are looking for nostalgic, magical holiday destinations that rival a Hallmark movie, look no further – Cape May and America’s oldest seaside resort put on one of the most dazzling displays and fun for the entire family.
Cape May, renowned for its award-winning beaches and charming Victorian architecture, is also known for being one of the most treasured holiday beach towns in the country.
This winter, travelers are heading to Exit 0 on the Garden State Parkway for the most charming displays of holiday merriment and the annual Winter Wonderland celebrations.
And no one does it grander than the Grand Dame of the northeast, America’s oldest seaside resort, Congress Hall, which has been making spirits bright since 1816.
Even the jolly big guy in the red suit spends the holiday season in Cape May.
Here’s where you can find the holiday fun this season:
Take a Walk in Congress Hall’s Winter Wonderland
Friday, November 25th kicks off Congress Hall’s magical Winter Wonderland! Welcome the yuletide season and watch the Big House By the Sea’s enchanted transformation.
Kids from 1 to 100 will love the festive holiday decorations, shopping for gifts at the vendor village, rides on the Congress Hall Express, ornament making, gingerbread house decorating, and so much more.
This year, the Vendor Village will also be home to an assortment of food tents, serving up a variety of sausages, soups in hearty bread bowls, and don’t forget to grab a hot cocoa or jumbo cookie at the sweets station.
The train will run every Thursday – Sunday at Congress Hall through December 31st, cruising around the perimeter of the Grand Lawn.
Train rides are available to Cape Resorts guests and visitors to the property. Returning to Winter Wonderland for the first time since 2019 is The Congress Hall Carousel.
Guests of Congress Hall will receive a letter from Santa upon arrival and one ticket per child under 12 yrs old for the Congress Hall Carousel.
Those staying Christmas Eve will be greeted with festive stockings adorning their rooms.
The Congress Hall Tree Lighting takes place Friday, December 2, 6pm
Head to Congress Hall’s Grand Lawn as the hotel ushers in the spirit of the holidays with its annual Tree Lighting Ceremony.
Enjoy live music while waiting for the resort’s 30-foot Tannenbaum tree to light and officially kick off the holiday season.
Holiday Cabaret with Darren McDonald – Saturdays in the Grand Ballroom
Get ready to be wowed with Darren McDonald’s holiday Cabaret featuring live piano performances and singing.
Two seatings will be available for those getting into the holiday cheer: an early, kid-friendly, seating with dinner and loveable characters like Blue the Pig, and a late seating featuring dinner and drinks for adults.
Additional Outdoor and Indoor Dining
At Veranda Bar, guests can warm-up at the Hot Cocoa Bar and enjoy themed a la carte cocktails; no reservations required. Blue Pig Tavern’s a la carte menu will be updated for the season while additional seating is available on the outdoor patio in heated tents overlooking a roaring fireplace.
Holiday Breakfast with Santa – Saturdays and Sundays, November 28-December 24
One of the most anticipated Cape May holiday events of the season is Congress Hall’s Breakfast with Santa!
Enjoy a delicious breakfast and get the chance to see Mr. Claus who will be greeting children (socially distanced) while walking through the Ballroom and dining rooms of the Blue Pig Tavern. Kids will delight in custom cups and festive menus that include a letter to Santa template so they may tell Father Christmas all their holiday wishes.
Storytime with Mrs. Claus – Saturdays and Sundays 10am, November 28-December 24
Kids of all ages can gather in Congress Hall’s Brown Room for Storytime with Mrs. Claus where she’ll read some of her favorite holiday children’s books. Stories, alongside milk and cookies, begins at 10am.
Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Dining
Staying for the holiday? Congress Hall is offering quite the festive culinary experience with special Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dining options in Blue Pig Tavern and the Grand Ballroom. Dining options include roasted duck, prime rib, and a buffet filled with seasonal acorn squash, beef consommé, king crab legs, honey-glazed heritage ham, baked Alaskan salmon, and a festive dessert display.
Christmas in Cape May includes Christmas candlelight house tours, Santa Trolley rides, the annual West Cape May Christmas Parade (12/4) and so much more.
Stay in Cape May for a holiday experience the entire family will cherish forever. Retreat to your plush guest room at Congress Hall after a day of Winter Wonderland whimsy, or unwrap gifts in the cozy living room of one of our Beach Plum Farm cottages.
With accommodations ranging from quaint and intimate boutique rooms to whole-house luxury rentals, a stay with Cape Resorts is a guarantee that your season will be merry and bright.
Congress Hall’s Breakfast with Santa offer is one of the most popular holiday getaways!