Visiting Lewes

By Betsy Reamer, Executive Director, Lewes Chamber of Commerce Photos by Kevin Fleming

Known as the “First Town in the First State,” Lewes is proud of its historic and nautical heritage. When you visit our town you’ll see why the Dutch seamen who landed here in 1631 established the first settlement.

Lewes is ideally situated for visitors who love the water, because we’re located where the Delaware Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean (Cape Henlopen). Our location provides both bay and ocean beaches for swimming. The Lewes–Rehoboth Canal, which winds past the commercial district, allows for easy access to either the bay or the ocean for anglers.

Docking facilities for pleasure boats are conveniently located within walking distance of the nearby restaurants, shops, and lodging facilities. Commercial “head boats,” charter boats, and a boat launching ramp are also available.

For visitors who prefer to get in touch with our natural resources, one of our greatest assets is the proximity to Cape Henlopen State Park.

The park area encompasses over 5,000 acres of natural beauty including spectacular bay and ocean vistas, a unique saltwater lagoon (Gordons Pond), and the Great Dune which rises 80 feet above sea level. A two-mile paved trail recently was added for walkers, runners, cyclists, and skaters.

In addition to the recreational opportunities for visitors and residents, Lewes has many homes and buildings of historical and architectural interest. Within a half-mile of the commercial district, you can see numerous restored homes dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries.

One 17th-century home is documented to be Delaware’s oldest standing building. The Historical Society established and maintains a complex of historic homes moved from their original locations and restored. Please refer to the map on this website.

In 2006, Lewes was the recipient of two prestigious national designations recognizing Lewes’ historic and cultural significance. The National Trust for Historic Preservation selected Lewes as one of its Dozen Distinctive Destinations and Mrs. Laura Bush, First Lady of the United States and Honorary Chair of Preserve America, named Lewes a Preserve America Community. Coastal Living magazine’s article “Discover Coastal Dream Towns,” referred to Lewes as “A Sleeper by the Bay.” In 2011, Delaware Today magazine ranked Lewes as the #1 Best Place to Live in Delaware.

a young girl running with her dog on a bridge people sitting on benches outside of a store