My boyfriend and I went to Sunset Beach first thing in the morning on our second day in Cape May. We parked in the lot and walked out onto the beach where we took in the view, snapped some pictures of the Alantus and combed the beach for Cape May Diamonds. We then headed into the Sunset Beach Gift Shop where we browsed, picking up a few souveniers, and then were on our way. Although there is not too much to do at Sunset Beach, it is definitely worth a visit while in Cape May. The small Beach has if nothing else to offer, interesting historic stories.
There is a free parking lot that provides ample parking for the small strip of beach, the Sunset Beach Gift Shop across the street and the Sunset Beach Grill.
Once you park, you can freely walk out onto the beach. While on the beach don't forget to take a look at the Atlantus. The Atlantus is a ship built of concrete due to a steel shortage during World War I. The Atlantus was the second prototype made, launched on 1918 and only serving for a year before steel ships were again available and the small fleet of concrete ships were sent to the "bone yeard" in Norfolk, Va. In 1926, the Atlantus was towed to Cape May, New Jersey by a firm that was attempting to start a ferry service from Cape May, New Jersey to Lewes, Delaware. While awaiting it's new job, the Atlantus broke loose during a storm in 1926 and went aground. Although several attempts were made to free the ship, none were successful and the ship still remains today, partially protruding from the water.
Another interesting peice of information about Sunset Beach is the presence of Cape May diamonds. Cape May Diamonds are pure quartz crystals that are found in a variety of sizes and colors. The actual source of the stones is in the upper reaches of the Delaware River. Pieces of quartz crystal erode and brake off by the running waters of streams. The stones then take a 200 mile journey down the Deleware River which takes thousands of years to complete. The strong tidal flow that hits against the hull of the sunken concrete ship, the Atlantus is the reason the stones wash ashore in such abundance. So while on the beach, don't hesitate to search for your own unpolished Cape May Diamonds. I combed the beach, searching for what I thought may qualify to take home as my natural treasures.
The Sunset Beach Grill is a small hut looking building with window service that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. There are picnic tables provided to enjoy your food on. Having just had breakfast, we didn't stop to eat.
The Gift Shop is a large store with a variety of souvenier type of items. They also carry a wide selection of jewlery made from the polished Cape May Diamonds.
I understand that there is also a Flag Ceremoney each night during the peak season, which has been an ongoing tradition for 40 years.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC