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Maritime History

There are so many historic maritime sites to visit in Southern Delaware. Enjoy lighthouse tours, shipwreck artifacts, a life saving station museum and more!

Historic Lewes Trolley and Walking Tours

From Captain Kidd and the eternal rhythms of the tides to the salty courage of the Delaware pilots and the nationally-recognized architecture of our historic district, Lewes's past is colorful, unique, and proud. The ancient beam of old Cape Henlopen Light still haunts the local seas and local imaginations in "Delaware's Saltiest Town." Just choose a tour and explore Lewes's rich local history and the town's wealth of intriguing historical sites, fascinating museums, distinctive boutiques, array of savory restaurants, and pristine beaches. Read more here...

History Happened Here Water Taxi Cruise

Join a knowledgeable Lewes Historical Society guide on board the Cape Water Taxi for a cruise along the Lewes Canal (once Lewes Creek). Journey back in time into Lewes’s maritime past through the centuries. Learn of the explorers who first put Cape Henlopen on the map. Recall the pirates that sailed the same local waters you'll travel upon. Come to understand the difficulties in navigating the Cape's sometime treacherously shallow waters. View lighthouses that for generations have assisted in guiding ships, visitors, cargo and stories through the area. Learn about the important role of the Delaware Bay River Pilots Association and the brave United States Life-Saving Servicemen who rescued victims from perilous shipwrecks during the 19th and 20th centuries. Tickets can be purchased by calling 302-644-7334 or visiting The History Happened Here Cruise departs from Fisherman's Pier located at 107 Angler's Road.

Woodland Ferry

Today, the Woodland Ferry peacefully transports motorists across the Nanticoke River between the western Sussex County towns of Woodland, just outside Seaford, and Laurel. But, the ferry’s past is not nearly as peaceful ― it is filled with colorful stories of dangerous men, infamous women and questionable business practices. The ferry’s recorded history dates back to as early as 1734, but evidence suggests that a ferry crossing may have existed at the site long before then. It is one of the oldest, if not the oldest, ferries in continuous operation in the United States and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.

The Lightship Overfalls

LV 118, known as the Lightship Overfalls, was the last lightship commissioned by the office of U.S. Lighthouse Services. Built before World War II, the lightship is open to the public for guided tours. The Lightship Overfalls is docked in the Lewes/Rehoboth Canal north of the Savannah Road bridge. For information call 302.644.8050 or visit

"Treasures of the Sea" Museum

Artifacts from the Spanish galleon, Nuestra Senora de Atocha, one of the richest treasure finds of all time, is located at the "Treasures of the Sea" museum at Delaware Technical & Community College in Georgetown. The Atocha went down off the Florida Keys in 1622, and the story behind the hunt for this elusive wreck is nothing short of fascinating. See the cliffhanger video of the find, then meander through the museum where you'll be able to put your hands on cannons and silver bars. Groups are welcome too! Call 302-856-5700 or visit for more information.

DiscoverSea Shipwreck Museum

This jewel of a museum represents a lifetime of diving off Delaware's coastline for Dale Clifton, who notes that there are literally hundreds of wrecks in the Atlantic, at least 300 between Cape May, N.J. and Ocean City, Md., where the sea still promises treasures from days gone by. Learn where to hunt for coins and artifacts washed ashore, or visit the museum, located at 708 Ocean Highway in Fenwick Island. Call 302-539-9366 or visit for more information.

Fenwick Island Lighthouse

This 87-foot tall light was authorized by the U.S. Government Lighthouse Board in 1858 as a navigational point for sailors who could see the light from 15 miles at sea. Its brick walls are 27 inches thick. The site includes early photos of Fenwick Island, artifacts and a souvenir shop. Located just off Route 54 in Fenwick Island. The Transpeninsular Line marker, which marks the southern boundary of Delaware, is also located at the site. Admission is free. Call 302-436-8100 or visit for more information.

Fisherman's Wharf

Venture into Lewes to Fisherman's Wharf, where you can go whale and dolphin watching along the Delaware Coast with the seafaring Parsons' family. This four-hour cruise provides a lighthearted educational cruise fun for the whole family. Evening sunset cruises exploring the historic Harbor of Lewes and the Delaware Breakwater areas are held nightly in season. Call 302-645-TUNA (8862) or visit for more information.

Indian River Lifesaving Station Museum

Originally constructed in 1879, this historic landmark has been restored by the Delaware Seashore Preservation Foundation, and is now open to the public as a state-of-the-art learning center and museum. Learn about the drama of heroes who risked their lives during rescues at sea. Located on Route 1 north of the Indian River Inlet between Dewey Beach and Bethany Beach. Open most days with admission fee. Call 302-227-6991 or visit for more information.