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Moving to & Living in Lewes, DE
Brian Tustin

What’s Living in Lewes Like? 🌊 | Complete Guide to Lewes Delaware [Cost of Living, Lewes Beach & More]

On Delaware Bay lives Lewes, a historic city with the motto “The First Town in The First State.” Lewes, Delaware, is most popular for its beautiful beaches, walkable downtown, and various nature trails; it’s best known for being the first town in the country’s first state.

Before it was officially incorporated on February 2, 1818, Lewes was first a European settlement, then a Dutch whaling and trade post, and eventually a tribal ground for the Lenape Indians. Today, the city is a popular tourist destination and a desirable place to live for many reasons. After moving to Lewes, you’ll find outdoor activities galore, beautiful beaches, delicious restaurants, and a reasonable cost of living, making it a great place to live! Southern Living says Lewes’ beauty and peacefulness make it a city worth visiting.

Where Is Lewes Delaware?

Lewes, Delaware, is located on the Delaware Bay in eastern Delaware; Lewes is one of the principal cities of Sussex County. It’s 11.2 miles from Milton, DE, to Lewes, DE, North Shores, and Jimtown borders the city.

Lewes are great transportation options:

  • Cape May-Lewes Ferry Trolley: The Cape May-Lewes Ferry Trolley offers water transportation for people traveling from the Lewes Transit Center, Outlets, Rehoboth Boardwalk, Long Neck, and Millsboro. It also goes south to Ocean City, MD.
  • Cape May-Lewes Ferry: Also known as the Lewes, Delaware, Ferry, this is an excellent option for people traveling to New Jersey. You can enjoy the 70-minute scenic ride as a walk-on passenger or in your vehicle. Some use the Cape May-Lewes Ferry as a travel necessity, while others utilize its dining options and tours as an activity.

Lewes DE Population & Demographics

Before moving to Lewes, let’s examine its demographics and whether the city is right for you! The population of Lewes, DE, is 3,303, spanning over 5.11 square miles; the population density is 787.93 per square mile. Lewes’s population contributes to the Salisbury, Maryland–Delaware Metropolitan Statistical Area’s population of 423,481.

Many people living in Lewes are older; the median age is 65.7 years old, and 77% of its residents are over the age of 50. The sex ratio is 51 males to 49 females, and the racial and ethnic makeup is not diverse. 96% are White, 1% are Black and African American, 1% are two or more, and 2% are Hispanic or Latino.

Additional Lewes, DE, demographics:

  • Median household income: $78,125
  • Persons below poverty: 7.1%
  • Mean commute to work: 32.7 minutes
  • Number of households: 1,546
  • Educational attainment: 92.1% have high school diplomas, and 58.5% have bachelor's degrees or higher
  • Foreign-born population: 2.8%
  • Veteran population: 13.5%

Lewes has an impressive median household income and veteran population. You will find that Lewes is growing rapidly, as 7.7% of its population has moved here in the past year. Most people own their homes—of the 2,713 housing units, 83% are owner-occupied, and 17% are rent-occupied.

Notable people from Lewes:

Is Lewes Delaware Safe?

With a crime rate that’s 53.0% lower than the state and 52.0% lower than the country, Lewes is a very safe place to live! According to the FBI, the Lewes, DE, crime rate is 1,125 per 100k people, which is well below Delaware’s crime rate of 2,393 per 100k people and the US crime rate of 2,346 per 100k people.

Additional Lewes, DE, crime rate statistics:

  • Lewes violent crime rate per 100k people: 59
  • Delaware violent crime rate per 100k people: 432
  • US violent crime rate per 100k people: 388

Lewes's violent crime rate is 86.3% lower than the state and 84.8% lower than the country.

  • Lewes property crime rate per 100k people: 1,066
  • Delaware property crime rate per 100k people: 1,961
  • US property crime rate per 100k people: 1,958

Lewes boasts a property crime rate of 45.7% lower than the state and 45.6% lower than the country.

You can thank the Lewes Police Department and its 11 dedicated officers for these ideal crime rate statistics and safe streets!

Cost of Living in Lewes Delaware

The cost of living in Lewes, Delaware, is somewhat affordable. The city’s Cost of Living Index (COLI) is 108.1, meaning it’s only 8.1% more expensive than the average US city. A reasonable cost of living is scarce for coastal towns with high tourism levels.

The most significant cost of living after moving to Lewes is housing—the cost of housing index here is 156.5, making houses 56.5% more expensive than the US average. The US median home price is  $413,504, whereas the median home price in Lewes is $605,000. Homes for sale in Lewes, Delaware, typically sell within 57 days, making the market only somewhat competitive; most homes only receive one offer. the average price per square foot in Lewes has increased 0.3%, putting it at $289.

You will find that homes for sale in Lewes, DE, are just as expensive as Lewes, Delaware, rentals; the average rent in Lewes is $1,700 per month. Overall, Lewes, Delaware, real estate is more expensive than the average US city, but it’s still quite affordable when compared to its attributes.

Typical Lewes* living expenses:

  • Inexpensive restaurant meal
  • Gallon of milk: $2.91
  • Loaf of white rice: $2.75
  • Gallon of Gasoline: $3.50
  • Pound of chicken filets: $2.69
  • Loaf of white bread: $1.00
  • Average Lewes utilities per month: $307 (per Doxo)

Source: Numbeo.

*The above figures are for Dove, DE; prices in Lewes may differ.

The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) suggests a household income of $86,325 for a family of four to live comfortably in Sussex County.

Best Neighborhoods in Lewes DE | Where to Live in Lewes

If you’re looking for neighborhoods in Lewes, DE, we have a few recommendations about the best places to live!

Fisher’s Cove

Fisher’s Cove is an inlet-front community in Lewes known for its waterfront homes and tight-knit community. Many lots have water access, and all homes are within walking distance of downtown Lewes.

You will find outdoor activities galore here, and your neighbor and neighborhood will likely have the same love for the outdoors as you! The average lot size is 11,795 square feet, and most homes are nearly built. All homes built in the community must be at least 2,000 square feet, and the Architectural Review Committee approves all. Lots start at $649,900, and lot/home packages start at $1,351,000.

Lewes Historic District

Lewes Historic District is a neighborhood located near the city's heart (downtown Lewes). It is known for preserving the old homes and structures Lewes, Delaware, is so famous for! The neighborhood has 122 buildings and six sites with historical relevance. Popular home styles in this neighborhood are Victorian, Queen Anna, and Second Empire.

This is certainly one of the best neighborhoods in Lewes, DE, hence the steep prices. Homes typically sell for over 1 million dollars and are rarely less than $600,000. Some homes for sale are up-to-code and wouldn’t require much work after purchasing, but many still require lots of TLC and are cash-only sales.

Middle Creek Preserve

Middle Creek Preserve is a new construction neighborhood in Lewes located off Delaware Route 24. It offers beautiful construction homes with modern, brand-new interiors. Middle Creek boasts a tight-knit community and plenty of amenities, including lakes, a community pool, and tennis courts.

Lewes DE Weather & Climate

The weather in Lewes, DE, is enjoyable for most of the year; you will experience all four seasons here. Lewes has a Koppen classification of a mild, humid subtropical climate (Cfa,) which is best characterized by warm, humid summers and cold, wet winters. You will see an increase in wind and precipitation in the winter, leading to heavy frosts and snow. Lewes, Delaware, sees an average annual snowfall of 12 inches. It rains the most in March, with a yearly average of 3.7 inches. The average annual rainfall here is 45.9 inches.

The temperature in Lewes varies drastically. The winters can see temps below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, and the summers typically stay in the high 80s to low 90s. Overall, Lewes weather provides a little bit of everything—you’ll have a chilly winter with some snow and a warm summer (ideal for beach days.) However, the best time of the year to visit Lewes is June and mid-August to early October. June sees barely any rain and has the most sunny days of the year, and from August through October, you can experience a Delaware fall.

Things to Do in Lewes Delaware

Delaware sees over 9 million tourists yearly, and many flock to the coastal towns, just like Lewes! You’ll find plenty of things to do in Lewes and places to shop! While exploring the downtown, you can stop by Lewes Mercantile Antique Gallery or Sand N Stones—if retail therapy isn’t needed, consider these other attractions in Lewes, DE!

Cape Henlopen State Park

Cape Henlopen State Park is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Lewes, DE. If you’re not sure what to do in Lewes, consider taking a dip in the fresh Atlantic water that Cape Henlopen offers! You’ll find sandy beaches, fishing piers, and picnic areas.

15099 Cape Henlopen Dr, Lewes, DE 19958, (302) 645-8983

Savannah Beach

Savannah Beach is part of the Lewes Beach arc, encompassing most of the city’s coast. Savannah Beach is a great family-friendly and pet-friendly activity in Lewes! You can swim, fish, and boat here, but alcohol is prohibited on all Lewes, DE, beaches. 

206 Bay Ave, Lewes, DE 19958, (302) 645-7777

Pirates of Lewes

Pirates of Lewes is a tour operator offering whole-some fun for the whole family. Your kiddo can experience Lewes from a pirate's point of view during this exciting excursion! Pirates of Lewes is one of the best things to do in Lewes, DE!

400 Anglers Rd, Lewes, DE 19958, (302) 249-3538

Additional Attractions in Lewes DE

The Lewes Parks and Recreation Department maintains the various parks and beaches in Lewes. The parks department also hosts all city events. You can find information on the parks and access their special events calendar online!

Restaurants in Lewes Delaware | Places to Eat

You can expect the freshest seafood galore when dining in Lewes, DE! The city is perfectly positioned off the Atlantic Coast, providing an abundance of crab, lobster, shrimp, clams, scallops, and fish. Lewes doesn’t just have seafood; you’ll find various options from many cultures—here are the tastiest restaurants in Lewes, DE!

On The Rocks Dockside Grill

Lewes, Delaware, restaurants are known for their seafood, and On The Rocks Dockside Grill dishes out some of the freshest, most delicious crab, fish, and lobster on the coast! This is a treasure trove for those commuting on the Lewes Ferry, as its route ends directly at On The Rocks.

43 Cape Henlopen Dr, Lewes, DE 19958, (302) 644-6028

Lewes Oyster House

Oyster House is another beloved Lewes eatery. While their freshly shucked oysters are a popular menu item, the lobster roll and calamari are close behind. If you’re looking for one of the best restaurants in Lewes, Delaware, try Oyster House.

108 2nd St STE 1, Lewes, DE 19958, (302) 644-7258

Irish Eyes Pub & Restaurant

Irish Eyes is one of the most popular downtown Lewes restaurants; it’s known for its delicious traditional Irish dishes like shepherd's pie, fantastic atmosphere, and live music!

213 Anglers Rd, Lewes, DE 19958, (302) 645-6888

Jobs in Lewes DE

Although Lewes is a popular retirement spot, the city boasts a blossoming economy. We can attribute its high tourism influx to its rich history, Atlantic Coast beaches, and various shopping options. Many businesses in Lewes are tourism and hospitality; there are various hotels and bed and breakfasts in Lewes. While the unemployment rate is 0.4% above the US average, Lewes has a projected job market increase of 37.5% by 2033.

The leading industries in Lewes are health care and social assistance, educational services, construction, and manufacturing. The city’s economy only employs 1,230 people, which is significantly less than its population, likely due to its high retirement age. However, many working-age people probably commute to nearby towns like Belltown and Milford. Beebo Healthcare, ALTEX, and Lewes District Council are the largest employers in Lewes.

The average hourly wage in Lewes is $19,30, and the average salary is $68,000. Payscale says family nurse practitioners earn an average salary of $113,274, and office managers earn $45,983 annually.

You will find over 400 jobs in Lewes, DE, listed on Indeed, but if you can’t find one to fit your needs, you can expand your search. If you can commute just 10 miles outside Lewes, you will have thousands of jobs to choose from. You can even consider applying to the city! City of Lewes, DE, jobs provide ideal benefits and competitive pay.

Lewes DE Schools

Lewes is part of the Cape Henlopen School District; the district has nine schools and 6,078 students and boasts a 13:1 student-to-teacher ratio. You will find a diverse student body: 67.5% White, 10.1% Black, 1.8% Asian or Asian/Pacific Islander, 15.9% Hispanic/Latino, 0.5% American Indian or Alaska Native, 0.1% Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, and 4.1% of two or more races.

Cape Henlopen has a high school graduation rate of 87% and received a 25.5 college readiness score by U.S. News. The district provides student resources such as school behavior management, homeless assistance, and suicide and self-harm prevention resources. The Lewes Library is also a great educational resource for Lewes residents. Cardholders get access to wifi, computers, and thousands of books and access to various Delaware museums. You can get a library card and a museum card online!

You will see Lewes has a strong school system and great schools! Cape Henlopen High School is one of the best schools in Lewes; it received an overall score of 72.57/100 by U.S. News and is considered an excellent choice for any high school student living in Lewes.

For anyone interested in furthering their education or students graduating from Lewes, DE, high schools, the University of Delaware and Franklin University are great options.

Lewes Statistics & Information

  • Lewes, DE County: Sussex County
  • Lewes area: 5.11 square miles
  • Lewes zip code: 19958
  • Lewes area code: 302
  • Lewes elevation: 13 feet
  • Lewes time zone: Easter Time Zone (GMT-5)
  • Closest airport to Lewes: Delaware Coastal Airport (GED) is 14.8 miles from Lewes, DE.

Map of Lewes Delaware

Explore more of your new city with this Lewes, DE, map!

If moving to Lewes is in your future, you’ll want the best movers in Lewes to handle your transition. Contact First Rate Movers at 302-703-9981 for a free moving estimate!

Brian Tustin
Brian Tustin is the owner of First-Rate Movers™. Brian has over 20 years of experience in the Hospitality Industry in addition to he and his teams combined 30+ years of experience in the moving and relocation services niche. Since 2016 First-Rate Movers™ has served 1000's of residents here in Delavere and is honored to continue serving our community with the absolute best experience for anyone moving in and around Delaware.
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