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When you reach mile marker zero on the Garden State Parkway, you know you've arrived. You're at the southern tip of New Jersey, and America's oldest seaside resort town. But there's no need to head straight to the beach. Though Cape May's sandy shores are legendary, there's far more to do than just spending time in the sand and surf.

Here are five non-beachy ways to take advantage of Cape May:

The Queen Victoria B&B (nhoulihan)

Explore the Victorians in a surrey: Fortunately when the original town of Cape May burned down in 1878, Victorian houses were in vogue, because that's what went up in the rebuilding process. Many of these colorful Victorians still stand, and you can spend hours going block by block to see them all. Make it easy on yourself and rent a surrey instead. These two- and four-seater old fashioned bike buggies look ridiculous (or adorable, depending on your point of view), but once you get past feeling like a tourist in a tourist town, you may just have fun. Rent one by the hour from Shields' Bike Rental or Village Bicycle Shop.

Cape May Lighthouse (Bogumil Kozera)

Cape May Lighthouse: New Jersey is famous for its lighthouses, and this 157-foot-tall one is no exception. You'll climb 199 stairs to the top of the lighthouse, which was built in 1859 (it's the third iteration, as the previous two didn't cut it). From there you'll have great views while catching your breath. Back at the bottom, walk the nature trails (wheelchair and stroller accessible) through the marshy areas to see the many birds and flowers that call Cape May Point State Park home. It's one of the top places to view fall and spring bird migration. At summer's end, the dragonflies and butterflies stop here as well. History buffs can explore the World War II bunker with its gun turrets.

Whale and dolphin watching: Take to the sea to look for whales and dolphins in a daytime or sunset cruise. If you don't spot any marine mammals, some companies give you a ticket to go back another time. If you're lucky, you'll also spot sea turtles and migrating birds.

Wine tasting: New Jersey's wineries don't have the same cache as California's, but the Garden State is the seventh largest wine producer in the country, with some 1.5 million gallons made yearly. Try some of their Merlots, Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays as you make your way to all six wineries, from the most northern, Natali Vineyards, to the most southern, Willow Creek Winery.

Cape May-Lewes Ferry (jimforsberg)

Cape May-Lewes Ferry: Take a day trip via ferry from Cape May to Lewes, Delaware. On the 17 mile, 85 minute trip, keep an eye out for dolphins while also exploring the boat. This ferry has been running for 50 years, and you'll find a ship with a dance floor, bars and periodical on-board entertainment like kids' activities and cheese tastings. If you plan to bring your car, be sure to reserve in advance as the boat is quite popular. Bring your bicycle (no extra fee) or rent one through the ferry company so you'll have wheels on the Delaware side. When you get to Lewes, you can ride on a six mile trail to Rehoboth Beach, to Cape Henlopen State Park (with the historic Fort Miles) and to the scenic, quaint town of Lewes. Shuttle service is also available to Lewes and to Tanger Outlets.

Deborah Abrams Kaplan writes adventure and family travel for the New York Daily News, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Shape, Family Fun, Continental and You can find her at Twitter @JerseyKids or Facebook