Congress Hall Hotel
251 Beach Ave., Cape May, N.J.; (609) 884-8421, congresshall.com
Cost: Rooms run $100-$465 a night, depending on the season.
Drive time: About two hours.
The scoop: Located in the heart of Cape May’s historic district just a few steps from the ocean, this haven of historical charm dates back to 1816. But extensive renovations didn’t skimp on 21st-century atmosphere, upgrades and luxuries.
Amenities: Along with spectacular in-room views of the Atlantic, guests can enjoy seaside food service while relaxing on comfy loungers, along with full-service pampering at the hotel’s spa. Private beach cabanas, towels, chairs and umbrellas are available. For drinks and dining, there’s the swanky Brown Room lounge, complete with zebra carpeting and cozy fireplaces, and the Blue Pig Tavern, serving signature American fare.
Don’t miss: The annual Fourth of July All-American Picnic. Spend the day poolside, by the ocean or on the lawn soaking up the sun, then feast on traditional barbecue fare before heading to the beach at nightfall for a spectacular fireworks display set against the crashing waves.