The Lewes Gateway to the Nation Byway captures the remarkable 378-year history and its surviving legacy as the First Town in the First State of the United States of America. The stunning views by land and sea capture Lewes' natural beauty, maritime origins, and rich history from native
settlements and early European settlements to agricultural and marine industries to present day resorts and recreational facilities.
Establishing a settlement on the site of the Old Pilot Town now part of Lewes, played a pivotal role in the legal process that led to the formation of the State of Delaware. Located at the mouth of the Delaware Bay, Lewes was linked to the economic center of Wilmington by Kings Highway becoming the first County seat. The importance of a good harbor and lighthouses made Lewes the perfect spot as a major shipping channel, for rescuing passengers and crews of foundering ships, and for defending the Delaware Bay and adjacent communities.
Today, Lewes' National Register of Historic Places District offers quaint shops, restaurants and year-round activities. The 7,000-acre Cape Henlopen State Park where the "Great Dune" rises 80 feet above sea level is famous for its "walking dunes" that slowly move across the pine forests. Coupled with the five-square mile Great Marsh and Gordon's Pond Wildlife Area, this byway offers an abundance of wildlife and natural resources. Estimates of 300,000 - 1,000,000 shorebirds migrate along the Atlantic Flyway where the Delaware Bay is the 2nd largest stopover location.