2 Lighthouse Way, Lewes, DE 19958, USA
Let’s start off at Cape Henlopen State Park. The sign is just up ahead. Follow the road to the right and go exploring while I tell you about this awesome park. Cape Henlopen is located at the meeting place of the Delaware Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, and is ripe with picturesque landscapes and topography. Small lakes, ponds, and streams make up much of the area and are built for the explorer in you. This area also has stories to tell about its role in one of the most pivotal times in American history. The World War II Artillery Fire Observation Tower was a spot where soldiers monitored the same coastlines as they searched for approaching enemy ships or stealthy submarines. On a clear day, visitors atop the Cape Henlopen tower can see 14-and-a-half miles of coastal scenery. Cape Henlopen Park offers visitors a chance to see the large guns used during the war and bunkers hidden in the dunes. A three-mile pathway encompasses the park and is dotted with plaques explaining the significance of Delaware’s participation during World War II. At Fort Miles, a short hike up the coastline, visitors walk through the Artillery Park displaying samples of the artillery guns positioned there. The feature display within the Artillery Park is a 16-inch gun like the ones located in Battery Smith at Fort Miles. The barrel of the 16-inch gun is an original barrel from the USS Missouri. History buffs will recall that the Japanese surrender ending the Paciﬁc War took place on the USS Missouri on September 2, 1945. Visitors can also check out the Wall of Honor dedicated to United States Army men and women stationed at Fort Miles as well as those who served their country in other wars and conﬂicts. If you’re looking to storm the beaches yourself, Cape Henlopen beach has you covered. Worried about parking? How about you just drive right down the slow rolling dunes to the shore. Now that’s ease of access! Cape Henlopen Beach is also less populated than the beaches just south in Rehoboth and Dewey. Ever see that movie with John Candy when he takes his family to the beach? Remember when he’s walking over everyone spilling beer and food and suntan lotion? That was hilarious, but that won’t happen here at Cape Henlopen beach. But I digress, where were we? Oh yes, the beauty of Cape Henlopen. Grasslands, marshlands and woodlands will all be a part of your hiking experience in Cape Henlopen. Most of the trails are bike friendly. Gordons Pond trail traverses this inner part of the coast and has 6 and a half miles of scenery and wildlife fun. Delaware Wild Lands has been protecting and restoring the region’s natural beauty since 1961. From dedicating land for traditional uses to encouraging biodiversity, their passion for land protection means this region can be enjoyed by generations to come. They have protected 31,600 acres and actively manage 21,600 of that for wildlife and waterfowl. The stunning beauty of the region owes a huge debt to Delaware Wild Lands and their staff who work tirelessly to protect nature. Go ahead and bring out your inner ornithologist and see hawks, eagles, falcons and even vultures! Don’t worry, they won’t view you as a meal because they have over 20 different critters they can feast on in the area. There is also a sign board where you can let other hikers know how many birds you saw and what species. Too scared now to take a walk in nature? Ok, let’s do this instead; who doesn’t enjoy sitting on the dock of a bay...? Watching the tide roll away...? The Fishing Pier in Cape Henlopen is the spot to cast off and see if anything will bite. Fish! Not vultures! You can catch bass, perch, grouper, an assortment of marlins and rays, plus barracudas and dolphin fish and probably more. There are various species of sharks in these waters but I’m guessing you’d rather skip that part for now and do your own research when you build up the courage. A short walk from the pier is the staffed Seaside Nature Center which offers year-round environmental education programs and recreational activities for all ages. Marine aquariums and displays introduce visitors to ocean creatures face-to-face. An auditorium for audio-visual programs and a gift shop complete the attractions at this popular facility. So, add some wrinkles to your brain and digest all you can at the nature center. Well, if you are done exploring Cape Henlopen Park for now, because I know you’ll wanna come back, it’s time to head to Lewes Beach. Just go back to the entrance to the park and head west. On your way, look for the Cape May Lewes Ferry on your right. Sailing daily, The Cape May- Lewes Ferry welcomes all methods of travel - vehicles, foot passengers and bicycles - and the indoor salon seating area of the vessels and terminals are open. Enjoy live music, community events, festivals, fireworks cruises, and more as events run year-round! The kids will love the ‘Pirates of Lewes’ expedition that sails daily all summer long. The expedition includes a pirate gun or sword, eye patch and earring for each child. There is also face painting, water cannon battles, dress up costumes, and a bag of pirate booty during the 70-minute journey.
100 E Savannah Rd, Lewes, DE 19958, USA
And here’s Lewes Beach. Beautiful, serene, peaceful. Take it in before we head down East Savannah Rd toward the historic town of Lewes. When you pass Cape Henlopen Drive, Look for 2 Dips Ice Cream on your left. They are going on 12 years of serving their hand dipped Hershey’s ice cream, offering a whopping 56 flavors. If you are in the mood for something rib sticking, the Harvest Tide Steakhouse will be a couple of blocks past 2 Dips, on your right. With 20% off your entrees every Wednesday, see if you can conquer the 14oz famous Harvest Tide Dry Aged Rib-eye. Can’t make it on a Wednesday? You can enjoy live music and comedy throughout the week. Alright you’ll want to head left down Route 9 and into the center of town in Lewes and be sure to check out The Junction and Breakwater Trailhead for scenic views of the inlet.
110 Anglers Rd, Lewes, DE 19958, USA
As we begin our exploration of the historic town of Lewes, let us see if we can find something that’s right in your wheelhouse. As it turns out this happens to be an easy one. ‘Wheelhouse’ in historic Lewes is located on your right in this quaint Delaware hamlet. They play Mingo here, not Bingo. Instead of boring old bingo numbers being called out, your Mingo numbers will be replaced with music song titles. Sound like something that could be in your wheelhouse? Find out! After crossing the bridge, I suggest you turn right on 2nd Street and just explore the streets while I talk. There seems to be a theme of exploration on this tour and that’s because there’s just so much to see and do! For you history buffs, here is a quick rundown of the origins of Lewes: First off, it is pronounced, “Loo-iss.” Let’s all say it together, “Loo-iss.” Ok cool. It was originally selected by the Dutch as an ideal site to establish a whaling station. In 1862, the land which now comprises the State of Delaware was conveyed to William Penn by the English Courts at which time the embattled settlement was named Lewes in honor of the town in Sussex County, England. Through all of its hectic history, Lewes has been essentially a seafaring town. Blessed with an excellent harbor, it still remains an East Coast port of call and is home to a large fleet of charter fishing boats stationed on the canal along Pilottown Road. Just drive up and down these quaint streets and check out all the shops! If you feel like stopping and walking around, go for it! Are you in town for a few days? Well, for those looking for accommodations other than the regular old hotel, Lewes has 4 vintage Bed & Breakfast Inn’s. If you have one of your furry friends with you, check out the Inn at Canal Square. Located on the waterfront in the heart of Historic Lewes, The Inn at Canal Square offers guests exceptional comfort coupled with seaside charm and coziness for you and your pets. If you want to get back to more history, the Lewes Maritime Museum at the Cannonball House on Front Street is a great stop. The Cannonball House was built in 1765 and the museum inside has maritime art and memorabilia that you are sure to enjoy. More history? Ok! Head on over to the Zwaanendael Museum on Kings Highway on your way out of town, to learn about Delaware’s first European settlement which was founded in 1631. The museum showcases the exciting history of Sussex County including wars, shipwrecks, lighthouses and more. Ok, we are going to head to Rehoboth now. Follow your navigation and keep an eye out for the library, the high school, and new housing developments. Remember, you are always free to veer off the route to explore!
18422 DE-1, Lewes, DE 19958, USA
37012 Country Club Rd, Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971, USA
414 Rehoboth Ave, Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971, USA
Check out Dogfish Head Brewery up ahead on your right. It all began when Sam Calagione experimented with overripe cherries and created beer. He opened the actual company in 1995. Dogfish Head makes over 260,000 barrels of beer every year. From overripe cherry experimentation to breweries all over the country, Dogfish Head clearly knows what they are doing. Drop in and try a few of their creations! Ok, we are now heading toward the largest beach resort in the state of Delaware. Known as the “Nation’s Summer Capital,” Rehoboth Beach was historically branded as the getaway of choice for beach-goers from the Washington, D.C. area. Now it has become not just a beach destination for tourists around the country, but a year-round vacation destination. Among the more famous people who visit and live in this beach community is President Joe Biden. He and his wife Jill enjoy unwinding at their getaway home which is located in the posh North Shores neighborhood near the beach and the Gordons Pond section of Cape Henlopen State Park. Here the Bidens have been spotted riding bikes on trails through the wetlands area of the park.
2 S 1st St, Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971, USA
Alrighty, we’re making our way down towards the famous Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk. It’s at the end of this street, and if your car window is down, you’ll probably start getting those phenomenal beach town smells again and sugar could be one of them. Is that ice cream that you smell? Could be, since there is no shortage of ice cream shops on the boardwalk. Look for Starkey’s and The Ice Cream Store. If frozen custard is your preferred confection, Kohr Brothers is where you’ll want to go. Rehoboth Beach has most of what you would expect from surf shops, to arcades to mini golf along their mile-long boardwalk. Cruise down Rehoboth Avenue and there will be a turn-around as you approach the boardwalk. If you’re like me, you want to know where the best pizza is, and Rehoboth Beach has 2 fantastic spots you gotta try. Afterwards you can decide if you're more of a Grotto’s or Nicalo person. Ok, this isn’t a pizza, but the Nico-boli at Nicola’s is to die for and deserves mention here. It’s ground beef with their special pizza sauce, and a blend of special cheeses in fat free dough baked to perfection. So, it’s still possible to be all about Grotto’s for the pizza, but the Nico-boli is to be savored as well. As you drive away from the shore down Rehoboth Beach Ave, you’ll see on either side of the street, shops and restaurants that have a little something for everyone. We’ve already shown you the turf spots, so now let us suggest a fun surf spot. Finn’s Fish House and Raw Bar has a great saloon type atmosphere with a raw bar where you can choose exactly the sea creatures you’d like to sample. Slurp those oysters! Mmmmm. For those who enjoyed learning about Cape Henlopen’s history, check out the Anna Hazzard Museum, right across the street from Finn’s. At the museum, you’ll find exhibits about early camp life and general history of the area, as well as photographs from the time period. The museum also hosts rotating exhibits and lectures throughout the year, so be sure to contact them and see what will be happening while you’re in town. Anna Hazzard, the namesake of the museum, was a woman’s pioneer. She was secretary of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, the first woman to receive a real estate broker’s license in Delaware, and president of the Rehoboth Art League. Enjoy your drive. The next stop is Dewey Beach.
2107 Coastal Hwy, Dewey Beach, DE 19971, USA
We are heading south and approaching Dewey Beach. One of the most popular spring break destinations in the mid-Atlantic, Dewey see’s the college crowd from DC, Maryland and Virginia schools roll in to unwind and enjoy the fun atmosphere. Ocean beaches on one side, a broad bay on the other, and restaurants and fun-filled spots that fill every inch in between. A good place to start is Bottle and Cork coming up on your right. Throughout the spring and summer, Bottle and Cork features the popular Saturday “Jam Sessions,” welcoming up and coming talent to showcase their skills and entertain guests with a variety of music genres. Check out their website for more information about concert schedules and photo galleries of bands and guests. Often while at the beach, you think of the ocean as your only place to enjoy activities in the water. Rehoboth Bay to your right has all kinds of water activities for visitors to enjoy including para-sailing, paddle-boarding and kayaking. Delmarva Paddle Board and Kayak rentals is where to go when you want to get out on the water. For those not looking to exert themselves too much, Dewey Beach Watersports is the spot for jet-skiing and there’s also banana boat rides for the kids. It’s located next to the Rusty Rudder which we will check out coming up. Coming up on your left is Sharkey’s Grill. When was the last time you had a Cuban sandwich? I can’t remember either, and we can’t get down to South Beach in Miami at the moment, so let’s get one in Dewey! Sharkey’s offers more than your typical beach grub, and their Cuban sandwich is a tasty alternative. Sharkey’s also specializes in funky breakfast food for the early risers or those who were out late enjoying spirits. It’s the most important meal of the day after all and the Belgian waffle deluxe or breakfast taco are good choices to start your day off right. Up next is the Rusty Rudder located on the Rehoboth Bay to your right. Featuring a beautiful view of the water with lounge deck, outdoor bar and music venue, Rusty Rudder has the best catches from the bay and the ocean and a large variety of cocktails and mixed drinks. It is also among the most popular places to host wedding’s, bar mitzvahs, and other private parties. Let’s keep heading south and make our way to Bethany Beach.
DE-1, Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971, USA
Surf’s up dude! No, I’m not talking about hanging ten, we’re talking about surf fishing. Delaware State Park beaches are multi-use, and anyone can surf fish anywhere. Guarded beaches have time restrictions however, and you can only fish when the lifeguards are not on duty. The same goes for most of the town beaches. Some of the locations where you can actually drive right on include Cape Henlopen Fishing Pier beach or “Head Boat Beach,” nicknamed after the first year the big blues showed up and blitzed the entire coast for six weeks. Any blue fish over 10 pounds is considered large and when word gets out they are in the water, it’s likely to draw a crowd. All of the jetties towards Rehoboth and the storm drains possess excellent structure and comfort to cast off from. Check out Gordons Pond beyond the no vehicles sign towards Rehoboth Beach. It’s a long walk, but great exercise and since we’ve been cooped up so long, you can think of it as a good way to get the blood pumping before you continue. You can park at the Henlopen Hotel in Rehoboth and walk right over to the beaches. If you fish the town of Fenwick Island, be careful of crossing into Ocean City as you would have crossed state lines and would need a Maryland fishing license at that point. Let’s keep heading south and get ready to cross the bridge into Bethany.
Coastal Hwy, Bethany Beach, DE 19930, USA
Perhaps you are asking yourself, “why is The Indian River Inlet Bridge green?” It’s not? It’s blue? Ok that’s the color it should be. However, at times it will light up green when there is a minor malfunction in the electrical equipment. Now officially named The Charles W. Cullen bridge, it is usually blue at night and the color is intended to not harm or interfere with wildlife, specifically bats. The bridge type is known as, ‘cable-stayed.’ This design is one in which the weight of the deck is supported by a number of cables running directly to one or more towers. By connecting the Indian River Bay and Rehoboth Bay with the Atlantic Ocean, the inlet itself provides an entry point (and the salinity) that crabs, oysters, horseshoe crabs, and many fish species need to survive in these waters. The inlet has also allowed shipping traffic in and out of the inland bays for much of its history. There are many inlets like this along the coast of the Delmarva peninsula, and over time these inlets have been subject to dramatic change. Many of the inlets slowly move in a natural process called littoral drift, where sand is carried by a current and deposited further along the current’s path. Across the Indian River Inlet we go, and into the laid-back atmosphere of family friendly Bethany Beach. We’re working with similar topography in Bethany that we had in Dewey, as we have water on both sides. The Indian River Bay to your right and the mighty Atlantic on your left. The Big Chill Beach Club is our first stop in Bethany Beach right over the inlet and on your left. This is Delaware’s newest beachfront venue and is quickly gaining attention from visitors for its all or nothing attitude. For example, while waiting for a table or just needing a little break, be sure to check out the Below Deck Lounge. There is a beach playground for the kids while you chill out in one of the shaded hammock chairs. On the cooler evenings pull up a chair next to the fire pit while feeling your toes in the sand. Just one deck lower than the umbrella deck, find their event tent that holds up to 300 people, and hosts events almost daily in the summer. Whether it is taking a yoga flow class, paint night with Delaware Seashore State Parks, or one of their rockin’ concerts, the event tent is always bustling with activity. At that same tent, they double as a scenic wedding venue! Phew, there is a lot going on there but we're just getting started in Bethany, so let's keep heading south and see what’s going on.
29593 Cove Way, Bethany Beach, DE 19930, USA
Bethany Beach, here we come! Fresh Pond trailhead to your right is a nice little trail just west of Bethany Beach. The trail is very well maintained and flat so it's a super easy walk. It’s about 2 miles in total to do the loop and there is lots of wildlife to see. Perhaps you’ll be lucky enough to spy a Bald Eagle while out there. Of course, you may need to put your eagle eyes to use to see this rare bird. Ok, that was corny, but you get the idea. Everybody ready? Yes? On we go! Time now to explore what’s popping out of the Atlantic Ocean. Dolphins anyone? Each morning and early evening, dolphins swim up and down the coast. Take a seat in the sand or on one of the white benches to catch a view. Look for those fins peeking out the water in unison with each group of dolphins. Like its neighbor two towns north, Bethany also has a boardwalk. Unlike Rehoboth, Bethany Beach’s boardwalk is only one mile long and does not have nearly the amount of shops and restaurants. But that’s what makes it unique and what captures the more laid back and family friendly atmosphere it boasts. So go for a stroll and keep those eagle eyes peeled for dolphins swimming near the shoreline. You can get to the boardwalk by turning left on 2nd street when you get into town. Ok, the last point of interest along the coast is coming up. Keep heading south to Fenwick Island.
34579 Coastal Hwy, South Bethany, DE 19930, USA
As we continue south on route 1, you’ll notice another tower on your left. This is a World War II observation tower that kept watch along the southern part of the Delaware coastline. It is open to visitors during the late spring and summer months. To your right is the Assawoman Bay, offering jet skiing, sailing, windsurfing, boating and fishing, to name a few possibilities. As you continue to look at the rolling dunes and water on both sides, let’s see what’s a good spot in Fenwick for cocktails and lobster tails. A few more minutes down the road and just past James Street you will see ‘Just Hooked,’ bringing farm to table cuisine for Delaware’s southernmost shore spot. Frequenters suggest the crab & corn bruschetta appetizer, swordfish, scallops, crab cakes, and salmon for entrees, and for dessert, the shortcake with berries. Continuing down Coastal Highway and just past Bayard Street you will find the Discoversea Shipwreck Museum whose goal is the recovering and preservation of our maritime heritage. One artifact of note is the treasure from the Nuestra Señora de Atocha. It is calculated to be worth more than $4 million and visitors to the museum can enjoy a 15-minute movie about the ship, search, and recovery of the treasure. Following the movie, visitors can see and touch actual artifacts from the shipwreck. Other items include a well-preserved Ornate Gold/Amethyst necklace from a 1795 wreck as well as a crystal bowl that has coral growing out of it, recovered from a wreck in the early 19th century off the Florida coast. The museum does not receive state or federal grants and is funded only by owner contributions and public donations so if you stop in, perhaps give them some of your jingly or foldable treasure! Now just before we reach the Maryland State line, we will be turning right on Lighthouse Road. I wonder when we will find? You guessed it - a lighthouse. You can easily see it to your left after you pass Gray’s Lane. Built in 1858, Fenwick Island Lighthouse has warned ships away from the Fenwick Shoal for over 140 years. The light originally burned whale oil before switching to kerosene. It was tended by two men who lived with their families in houses on either side of the lighthouse. An interesting nugget of information regarding this lighthouse concerns the lens that is used. It was imported from France and at the time the French were considered masters of light reflection and lens design. There is also the opportunity to be in two places at one time. Just outside the fence of the lighthouse, is the Trans peninsular Stone, which is on the Delaware and Maryland state line. It deserves considerable mention for its importance to the area. In the mid Nineteenth Century, an increasing number of shipwrecks near the Fenwick Shoals, about 6 miles off-shore of Fenwick Island, prompted the United States Lighthouse Board to recommend the construction of a lighthouse to help mariners avoid the shoals. Lasting until 1978, the lighthouse was decommissioned, but locals demanded it be relit, and with the help of Delaware senators, congressmen, visitors, friends, and neighbors, the Coast Guard passed ownership of the lighthouse to the State of Delaware. In 1982, a symbolic light was placed in the tower, and the lighthouse was relit, only this time with electricity.
38862 Old Lighthouse Rd, Selbyville, DE 19975, USA
As we wind our way back to where we started this tour, let us get our seafood on, one more time. Crabcake Factory is a place to hit up as we begin to wrap up our tour. Since we're off the ocean, the motto here is "It's Better on the Bay, Watchin' Sunsets Every Day." Hard to argue with that. Located in Selbyville as we cross the inlets, Crabcake Factory offers live music and daily food specials to cater to the surf and turf crowd. Check out the cheesesteak special on Tuesdays. It may not be Philly, but the ribeye, soft roll, and peppers feel like it is. As you drive, feel free to drive in and out of any neighborhoods that pique your interest. There are new developments popping up everywhere.
34887 Lighthouse Rd, Selbyville, DE 19975, USA
As we approach Williamsville, allow me to suggest another seafood joint. Hope we’re not beating a dead horse here, but technically speaking, we're still at the shore. Yellowfins’ Bar and Grill is certainly worth a stop for their Bavarian pretzel and Fried crab balls. These may just be apps, but they’re rib sticking and will keep your taste buds primed as we continue our tour.
37 DE-54, Selbyville, DE 19975, USA
As we continue on route 54 east towards Selbyville, you’ll notice roadside grove stands selling fresh fruit and vegetables. Delaware is known for their delectable watermelons, cantaloupes, sweet corn, tomatoes, pumpkins, peaches, apples, and strawberries. At these grove stands you’ll also find jams, jellies and fresh juices. Turn right onto S. Main Street and if you feel so inclined, hang a left onto Duke Street to check some antique stores in the town of Selbyville. No trip to the shore is complete without stopping in and finding a special trinket or two you could only find here.
34769 US-113, Frankford, DE 19945, USA
We are now heading into Frankford. If you’re running low on gas, now may be a good time to fill up and there are several stations on this road. Dave’s Treasure hunt is coming up and is known as Delaware Eastern Shores’ farmers' market, flea fair, garage sale, rummage sale, street market, swap meet, tag sale, yard sale, bazaar, and boutique all in one. This is a veteran owned business and their motto is “You name it and we carry it here at Dave’s Treasure Hunt.” Now, who doesn’t love a genuine greasy spoon? On your right is Frankford Family Diner. All day breakfast, open face sandwiches, Italian specialties and fresh seafood. Coming up is Dagsboro. Sometimes small towns leave a big historical footprint. Built in 1755 and named for Prince George (later King George III), Prince George's Chapel, located in Dagsboro is one of the oldest churches in the United States and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
28857 E Dupont Blvd, Millsboro, DE 19966, USA
As we continue north, we’ll pass into Millsboro which has plenty of national retail shops and dining options. If anything grabs your fancy please indulge and we’ll stick to suggesting unique local experiences. We’ll be turning right onto Washington Street and making our way through downtown and over the Millsboro Pond. Interesting tidbit about Millsboro - it is one of only three cities in the U.S to record its states’ hottest and coldest record temperatures. That would be 17 degrees and 110 degrees. Let’s head north on route 24.
26770 John J Williams Hwy, Millsboro, DE 19966, USA
The Nanticoke Indian Museum is coming up on your right. In Algonquian, the common Indian language of Northeastern tribes, the word Nanticoke is translated from the original Nantaquak meaning the tidewater people or people of the tidewaters. First contact with the Nanticoke Tribe was recorded by Captain John Smith in 1608. The complete history of the tribe and its experience are detailed at the museum, which is the only of its kind in the state of Delaware.
19084 John J Williams Hwy, Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971, USA
So how much fun did we have? I know I had a blast showing you around. Continue on this road to get back to Coastal Highway. If you didn’t hit up the outlet stores yet, they are located here, and who doesn't love a good deal when it comes to retail shopping? That’s what outlets are for, right? As we conclude, it’s important to note that Sussex County is the fastest-growing county in the State of Delaware. Lots of great stuff going on here, as you’ve surely seen on this tour. Tess Graham is waiting to answer all of your questions about this wonderful area. Give her a call at 302-362-0402. She’d love to talk. Thanks for letting me show you around. Have a great day!