Atlantic Coast

Sitting at the southern lip of Delaware Bay, Lewes is a vacation and sportfishing center that traces its roots back to 1631, when it was settled by the Dutch West India Company as a whaling port. Though this colony lasted only two years, Lewes calls itself the “First Town in the First State,” commemorating its history in the false-gabled brick Zwaanendael Museum (102 Kings Hwy., 302/645-1148, Tues.-Sun. Apr.-Oct., Wed.-Sat. Nov.-Mar., free) at the center of town. Lewes also harbors huge sand dunes, a fine stretch of beach, and a campground with showers in 3,000-acre Cape Henlopen State Park (302/645-8983), east of town at the mouth of Delaware Bay. Expect relative peace and quiet here, since many visitors, arriving off the Cape May ferry, simply rush through Lewes to the beach resorts farther south.