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Your guide to Lewes
Welcome to Lewes
Located at the confluence point of Delaware Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, Lewes is blessed with wildlife-rich wetlands and postcard-perfect coastal dunes. While the official population is just a few thousand residents, the quiet streets and namesake Lewes Beach swell with visitors from across the state in summer for surf-fishing, sunbathing, and disc golf. A melange of English and Dutch architecture memorializes the town’s history as a trading settlement in the 1630s. To learn more about this history, you can head to Zwaanendael Museum or the Lewes Historical Society Museum in the heart of town. While the streets are easily walkable, you can also make your way across the canal to board a Cape Water Taxi for a tour of the inland waterways. Further afield are some incredible state parks and preserves, home to endangered shorebirds like the piping plover as well as native Delaware flora.
The best time to stay in a vacation rental in Lewes
Lewes’ peak travel season is from Memorial Day through Labor Day, when the weather is reliably warm and sunny. July is the hottest month, and midsummer always brings throngs of beachgoers cooling themselves in the Atlantic’s salty wake. For milder weather that’s more ideal for extended outdoor activities like biking along the boardwalk, boating, canoeing, or kayaking, late spring offers a refreshing breeze and lots of colorful wildflowers. Fall is the perfect time for admiring the changing foliage while hiking the state park’s scenic trails, and the weather can remain pleasant well into October. Come winter, Lewes gets quite cold and quiet. The temperature drops in November and stays chilly through March, often dipping to freezing or below during January and February.
Top things to do in Lewes
Located on the southernmost curve of Delaware Bay, Lewes Beach is a relaxed seaside retreat. Its shallow water and golden sand make it a popular beach for families, and it’s also a launch point for water sports. Lifeguards are on duty from Memorial Day through Labor Day. It’s easy to rent kayaks or hop on a bike to cycle the length of the beach.
Cape Henlopen State Park
Not far from town, Cape Henlopen State Park was one of the first public lands to be established in the United States. It served as a World War II defense site, a trading port, and a safe harbor for ships braving the Atlantic’s rough seas. Nowadays, Cape Henlopen State Park offers swimming and watersports as well as easy cycling on Gordons Pond Trail. Hike to the Point Overlook to spot seals and dolphins playing in the mouth of Delaware Bay.
As you stroll in Zwaanendael Park, you might notice a striking building that was modeled on the old Hoorn town hall in the Netherlands. Built in 1931, the Zwaanendael Museum commemorates the first European colony on what is now called the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal. Behind the decorative facade, you’ll find artifacts from early European settlers and memorabilia from the town’s trading and military eras.