Proud of its label as "The First Town In the First State", historic Lewes Delaware is one of the state's top tourist destinations. Besides being the state's oldest town, it's also its oldest beach resort. Checking out the historic homes and buildings of Lewes is a fun thing to do when you're not enjoying the Lewes Beach. By the way, in case you are wondering how to pronounce Lewes, it basically sounds like Lewis. Of the renowned southern Delaware beach resorts, Lewes is the most northern, being situated where the Atlantic Ocean feed and Delaware Bay meet. Other Delaware beach destinations, like Rehoboth Beach and Fenwick Island, are certainly worth visiting, but you won't find another beach town in the state that feels so quaint and historic. It's really a lovely place to find yourself, even if you are just visiting on a day trip.
Delaware's rich history is exhibited throughout the state, and Lewes is no exception.
Founded by the Dutch in 1631, Lewes was originally a whaling
town and trading post known as Zwaanendael. Much
like the historic Delaware town of New
Castle, Lewes is an ideal town for walking.
You can find the majority of the city's attractions
to be found within a half-square mile of each other.
The Lewes Historical Society, which is found at
218 2nd Street, is a great place to learn a little bit
about Lewes Delaware history, and not far from it is the
Ryves-Holt House. Built sometime around the year
1665, the Ryves-Holt House is the oldest house in the
state, and it is where you will find the Lewes Historical
Society's visitor center. You can purchase
tickets here for some of the historical sites worth adding
to your Lewes vacation itinerary. While strolling
around Lewes on your own is certainly a fine way to enjoy
the town, you might consider arranging a guided walking
tour of the city. You can do this at the visitor's
center, and the prices are very reasonable.
Though Rehoboth Beach to the south is known for its
outlets and quaint shops, Lewes is arguably the best destination
on the Delaware coast if you want to buy antiques or items
of the arts and crafts variety. The peak season
for Lewes tourism is understandably the summer, and during
the summer months, the Lewes shops offer extended hours.
Since there is no sales tax in Delaware, shopping here can be a real joy, so you'll want to at least
keep your eye out for something special as you make your
way about town. At some point, you'll likely
find yourself wanting to exchange historical tours and shopping trips for a day or more at a Lewes beach.
That is unless you are visiting when the weather is not so warm. You can choose to relax at a Lewes
beach on the Delaware Bay, or round the corner for the
Atlantic Ocean beaches of nearby Cape Henlopen State Park.
If you are heading to the Lewes beach closest to downtown,
it's an easy walk to the sandy shore. All
you have to do is cross the Savannah Road Bridge.
If you are driving instead of walking, there is lot parking
available for a fee. The Lewes
hotels offer a nice variety, including a healthy array
of inns and motels. If you are interested in Delaware
beach vacation rentals, you'll find some nice houses
and town homes here for rent. Be sure to book your
accommodations in advance if you are taking your Lewes
vacation in the summer.
You can easily get to Lewes Delaware by car or plane, but perhaps you did not know that you can also
board a ferry should you be coming from southern New
Jersey. The Cape May Lewes Ferry is a key East
Coast transportation option, saving many north and south-bound
drivers considerable time. The Cape May Lewes Ferry
has been offering the 80-minute, Delaware Bay cruises
since 1964, and these days, five different vessels team
up to make up the fleet. You'll find that
ferry departures are scheduled year round, and they seem
to leave almost by the hour. Each vessel is capable
of holding up to around 100 cars and approximately 800
people. Rates for the Cape May Lewes Ferry go up
in the summer, though they are generally quite agreeable
regardless of the time of year. Of course,
you'll definitely pay a lot more if you have a car.
It's a good idea to make your reservations for the
trip in advance. Even if you aren't driving,
you can hop on the Cape May Lewes Ferry sans automobile
and simply enjoy the ride. A day trip to Cape May, New Jersey might just be right up your alley. Cape May has
award-winning beaches, and it's considered to be
among the top East Coast birding locations. It's
a splendid resort town in its own rite, and interestingly
enough, it has been designated by the U.S. government
as the oldest seaside resort in the entire country.