How Many Lighthouses Does America’s Second Smallest State Have?

Because of its small size, Delaware is sometimes forgotten as a vacation destination. However, there is so much to see and do, it’s a surprise that everything fits in the state! You’ll find anything you could imagine in Delaware, from gorgeous shorelines to delicious seafood, unique shopping to a rich history

One of Delaware’s most iconic features is its breathtaking lighthouses, which helped to guide sailors along the shores for centuries. But just how many Delaware lighthouses are there? Read on to discover the answer and learn about some of the most popular attractions in Rehoboth Beach.

General Information

The state of Delaware is home to 22 incredible lighthouses. Though some of them have been completely or mostly destroyed, they are still a reminder of the important job it was to guide sailors to shore. You can find lighthouses in the towns of New Castle, Smyrna, Dover, Wilmington, Fenwick Island, Milford, Port Penn, and Lewes.

This final city is closest to our Rehoboth Beach rentals, presenting the most accessible sites to your vacation home. In Lewes, you’ll find the lighthouses of Cape Henlopen and Cape Henlopen Beacon, Delaware Breakwater and Delaware Breakwater Rear Range, Harbor of Refuge, and Lightships Overalls LV 118. Delaware Breakwater is by far the most popular of these attractions.

Delaware Breakwater Lighthouse

One of the state’s oldest lighthouses, Delaware Breakwater, was established in 1885 and is a crucial piece of Southern Delaware history. Mariners started urgently requesting a breakwater on Cape Henlopen in the early 1800s, as the vastness of the bay and lack of natural safe harbors consistently put sailors’ lives in danger. President John Quincy Adams approved the project, which began in the summer of 1828.

The building of the breakwater was a huge endeavor, as it was the second-longest in the world at the time. The first lighthouse on the western side did not come into being until 1849, and the eastern lighthouse was officially used for the first time on October 2, 1885. Repairs have been made repeatedly over the years, and it now stands as a remarkable piece of Delaware’s landscape. 

Today, you’ll have a gorgeous view of Cape Henlopen State Park, as well as an overarching vision of the water. To get there, follow Highway 9 north toward Lewes, then head past the ferry terminal and into the park. Find the best view of the lighthouse at the park’s northeastern end.


During the summer and early fall, you can take a tour of the lighthouse for a more in-depth look into the incredible history of the area. For instance, Cape Water Tours and Taxi offers a great East End Lighthouse Tour that’s ideal for all ages. The whole tour lasts about 1.5 hours, including time to get to and from the lighthouse. You’ll enjoy narration on the way there and back to give you some historical information, as well as time to explore the lighthouse and the premises.

More Things to Explore

Once you’re done at Delaware Breakwater, take some time to explore the rest of Lewes and Rehoboth Beach. Like we’ve mentioned, there are several other lighthouses in the city, but there are tons of additional historical sites, like the Zwaanendael Museum, Lightship Overfalls, and Cannonball House.

Head into Rehoboth Beach for even more history at attractions such as the Rehoboth Beach Historical Society and Delaware Seashore State Park. You can also relax at Deauville Beach, Ryan’s Mini Golf, or The Grove Park. Sunbathe on some of America’s best beaches, grab some fresh seafood at any of the local restaurants, or simply stroll down the streets to mingle with the locals.

Staying in one of our Delaware vacation rentals is a great way to get away from it all and experience what makes this state special.

Plan Your Visit

The Rehoboth Beach area has something to offer for the whole family. Look into booking one of our amazing Seachange Vacation Rentals to plan your perfect getaway!