By Molly Fellin Spence
Planning a road trip to our favorite Southern New Jersey beaches for a week, our family decided to make the hours-long trip there even longer, and it was one of the best travel decisions we ever made.
Instead of taking the boring road-based route, with a quick trip over a bridge or two, we opted to board the Cape May-Lewes Ferry in Lewes, Del., with all of us, kids, parents, dog, baggage, gear and car, aboard. That’s right. This ferry allows you to drive your car onboard, to the delight of children everywhere.
Once your car is safely parked onboard, venture around the boat. There’s lots to explore on your 17-mile cruise across the Delaware Bay, including a well-stocked gift shop and extremely comfortable and plentiful indoor lounge seats and televisions.
A one-way journey to Cape May, N.J., takes about 85 minutes, and the ferry sails every day of the year in all kinds of weather conditions, including rain, snow and wind. Along the way, enjoy the sights of historic lighthouses, picturesque harbors, ocean-going vessels, unique seabirds and sometimes even a dolphin escort.
Onboard, you can enjoy the watery sights while grabbing a bite to eat or some drinks. A wide variety of snacks and full meals are offered onboard at a grab-and-go dining area, and at outdoor Lido Bars (weather permitting).
Or grab some refreshments before you board. In Cape May, the ferry has partnered with Exit Zero Hospitality to manage the On the Rocks restaurant, with a new menu and a schedule of live music on weekends. In Lewes, Grain On the Rocks, operated by Grain Craft Bar + Kitchen, serves lunch and dinner and drinks, with live music Thursday through Sunday nights.
Also on the Lewes side, the Lewes Coffee Company is open daily and has a menu of smoothies, coffee drinks, and snacks available to grab on your way to the ferry.
Reservations are required for any ferry travel, and well-behaved leashed pets are welcome onboard, too.