Lighthouses on the Delaware Bay
Oh, The Lighthouses You See from the Cape May-Lewes Ferry!
There are people who travel the country in an attempt to see all of the almost one thousand lighthouses still in existence in the U.S. Luckily, for them as well as the rest of us, there are three lighthouses not only in close proximity to the Ferry terminals, but in easy view during a regular crossing. Each of the three are distinctive from each other and clearly show the variety of lighthouse construction.
When leaving Lewes, the first lighthouse you’ll spot is called The Breakwater, a reddish lighthouse can be seen from the shore. Built in 1885, it separates the Delaware Bay on the breakwater rocks built to protect the Delaware coast from higher force waves. The lighthouse is formally known as the East End Lighthouse, but locals know it as The Breakwater likely because when having a swim in the calm waters of the Lewes beach, they know they have the breakwater platform for the lLighthouse to thank.
The white Harbor of Refuge Lighthouse is a bit farther out at the mouth of the Delaware Bay, named because it was built to protect the maritime area known as the National Harbor of Refuge. Built in 1926, it was constructed to withstand the harshest of Atlantic storms if need be, and it has already survived several fierce hurricanes.
Finally, when coming into Cape May, passengers can spot the lean and tall Cape May Lighthouse. Located in Cape May Point State Park, it is the oldest and tallest of the three, built in 1859. Visitors to the park can climb the 199 steps to the top to get a spectacular view of the area all the way from Wildwood back to Cape Henlopen, Delaware.
Fortunately, if you want to get even closer to the lighthouses, there are tours to two of them. In Lewes during the summer season, you can book a tour with the Cape Water Tours & Taxis. Tours leave from three different docks, with select tours departing directly from the finger pier behind the Lewes Ferry terminal. For more information, or to book, contact Cape Water Tours at 302-644-7334. On the Cape May side, MAC (Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts) runs trolley tours to the Cape May Lighthouse. These tours leave directly from the Cape May ferry terminal and are booked directly with the Ferry at 800-643-3779.