Best Things To Do In Delaware To Unfold This Small State
Outline of the Article
1. Introduction to Delaware
2. Exploring the Natural Beauty
– Beaches and Coastal Delights
– State Parks and Trails
– Wildlife Refuges
3. Embracing the Historical Charm
– Historic Sites and Landmarks
– Museums and Cultural Attractions
– Walking Tours
4. Indulging in Culinary Delights
– Local Cuisine and Food Festivals
– Craft Breweries and Wineries
– Farmers Markets and Farm-to-Table Experiences
5. Enjoying Outdoor Adventures
– Water Activities: Kayaking, Fishing, and Boating
– Golf Courses and Disc Golf
– Camping and Hiking
6. Experiencing Arts and Entertainment
– Performing Arts Centers
– Music Festivals and Concerts
– Art Galleries and Studios
7. Shopping and Retail Therapy
– Outlet Malls and Tax-Free Shopping
– Antique Shops and Boutiques
– Farmer’s Markets and Artisan Markets
8. Family-Friendly Attractions
– Amusement Parks and Water Parks
– Children’s Museums and Science Centers
– Zoo and Animal Parks
9. Exploring Quaint Towns and Coastal Communities
– Rehoboth Beach and Boardwalk
– Lewes: The First Town in the First State
– Historic New Castle
Delaware, known as the “First State,” may be small in size, but it offers an array of captivating experiences waiting to be explored. From picturesque coastal landscapes and historical landmarks to delightful culinary adventures and vibrant arts scenes, Delaware is a hidden gem for travelers seeking diverse experiences. In this article, we will uncover the best things to do in Delaware, showcasing the state’s natural beauty, rich history, delectable cuisine, outdoor adventures, cultural attractions, and much more. Whether you’re a nature lover, history enthusiast, foodie, or art aficionado, Delaware has something for everyone. Let’s dive in and discover the wonders of this charming state.
Exploring the Natural Beauty
1. Beaches and Coastal Delights
Delaware boasts some of the most beautiful beaches on the East Coast. Rehoboth Beach, known as the “Nation’s Summer Capital,” offers pristine sandy shores, a lively boardwalk, and a charming small-town atmosphere. Bethany Beach and Fenwick Island are perfect for those seeking a tranquil beach getaway. Cape Henlopen State Park is a hidden gem with breathtaking dunes, scenic trails, and a historic World War II watchtower.
2. State Parks and Trails
Nature enthusiasts will be delighted by Delaware’s state parks and trails. Brandywine Creek State Park, with its rolling hills and picturesque creek, provides a tranquil escape for hiking and picnicking. White Clay Creek State Park offers miles of scenic trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. Trap Pond State Park is a haven for kayaking and canoeing, with its stunning bald cypress trees and diverse wildlife.
3. Wildlife Refuges
Delaware is home to several wildlife refuges that offer unique opportunities to observe and appreciate nature. Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge attracts birdwatchers with its rich birdlife, including migratory species. Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge provides a haven for shorebirds, waterfowl, and endangered species. Visitors can explore these refuges through guided tours and educational programs.
Embracing the Historical Charm
Delaware’s historical charm is evident in its numerous historic sites and landmarks. Immerse yourself in the state’s captivating past by exploring these significant attractions.
1. Historic Sites and Landmarks
Delaware is home to an abundance of historic sites that have played pivotal roles in the nation’s history. One notable landmark is the Delaware State Capitol, located in Dover. This architectural marvel is not only the seat of Delaware’s government but also a place where history unfolds. Take a guided tour to learn about the state’s political heritage and view the impressive legislative chambers.
Another must-visit site is Fort Delaware, situated on Pea Patch Island. This Civil War-era fortress served as a Union prison during the conflict. Step back in time as you wander through the barracks, witness historical reenactments, and delve into the stories of prisoners and soldiers who once inhabited the fort.
2. Museums and Cultural Attractions
Delaware’s museums and cultural attractions offer a fascinating glimpse into the state’s diverse heritage. The Delaware Art Museum in Wilmington showcases an extensive collection of American art, including works by renowned artists such as Howard Pyle and Andrew Wyeth. Marvel at the masterpieces and explore the museum’s beautiful gardens.
For a deeper understanding of Delaware’s African American history, visit the Delaware Historical Society’s Mitchell Center for African American Heritage. This museum highlights the contributions and struggles of African Americans throughout the state’s history. Engage with interactive exhibits and learn about influential figures who have shaped Delaware’s cultural landscape.
3. Walking Tours
One of the best ways to experience Delaware’s historical charm is through walking tours. Stroll through the streets of New Castle, a quaint town known for its well-preserved colonial architecture. Take a guided tour and discover the rich history behind the historic buildings, including the Old Court House and the Amstel House.
In Wilmington, the Wilmington Riverfront offers a scenic setting for a leisurely walk. Admire the iconic Tubman-Garrett Riverfront Park, named after renowned abolitionists Harriet Tubman and Thomas Garrett. Learn about their courageous efforts in the Underground Railroad and appreciate the riverfront’s revitalization.
Delaware’s historical walking tours provide an immersive experience, allowing you to connect with the state’s past while exploring its charming streetscapes.
As you explore Delaware’s historical charm through its sites, museums, and walking tours, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation for the state’s rich heritage. Immerse yourself in the stories of the past and let the historical charm of Delaware unfold before your eyes.
Indulging in Culinary Delights
Delaware is a haven for food enthusiasts, offering a delectable array of culinary delights that showcase the state’s local flavors and diverse gastronomic scene. From savoring local cuisine and attending food festivals to exploring craft breweries and wineries, as well as experiencing farm-to-table delights at farmer’s markets, Delaware has something to satisfy every palate.
1. Local Cuisine and Food Festivals
Delaware’s local cuisine is a fusion of traditional recipes and innovative culinary creations. Sample the iconic dish known as “Delaware chicken and dumplings,” a comforting dish made with tender chicken, flavorful broth, and pillowy dumplings. Another must-try is the “Delaware crab cake,” featuring succulent crab meat delicately seasoned and pan-fried to perfection.
To fully immerse yourself in the local food scene, attend one of Delaware’s vibrant food festivals. The Rehoboth Beach Chocolate Festival tantalizes taste buds with an array of chocolatey treats, while the Delaware Wine and Beer Festival showcases the state’s finest beverages paired with delicious bites. These festivals provide the perfect opportunity to indulge in local flavors and mingle with fellow food enthusiasts.
2. Craft Breweries and Wineries
Delaware’s craft breweries and wineries offer a unique experience for beer and wine enthusiasts. Take a brewery tour and taste a variety of handcrafted beers, from hoppy IPAs to smooth stouts. Delaware is known for its brewing tradition, and you’ll find breweries like Dogfish Head Brewery and Iron Hill Brewery producing award-winning beers that cater to all preferences.
For wine lovers, Delaware’s wineries provide a serene setting to savor locally produced wines. Nassau Valley Vineyards, the state’s first and largest winery, offers guided tours and tastings. Discover the unique flavors of Delaware wines, from crisp whites to velvety reds, and learn about the winemaking process.
3. Farmers Markets and Farm-to-Table Experiences
Delaware’s commitment to farm-to-table dining is evident in its farmers’ markets and farm-to-table experiences. Visit the Historic Lewes Farmers Market, where local farmers and artisans come together to showcase fresh produce, homemade goods, and handcrafted products. Engage with the vendors, learn about sustainable farming practices, and bring home a taste of Delaware’s agricultural heritage.
For an immersive farm-to-table experience, visit restaurants that prioritize local ingredients and seasonal menus. These establishments work closely with local farmers to source the freshest produce, meat, and seafood, ensuring a truly authentic and flavorful dining experience.
Indulging in Delaware’s culinary delights is a feast for the senses. From savoring local cuisine and attending food festivals to exploring craft breweries and wineries, as well as experiencing the farm-to-table movement at farmer’s markets, Delaware offers a gastronomic adventure that will leave you craving more. Prepare your taste buds for a delectable journey through the flavors of the First State.
Enjoying Outdoor Adventures
Delaware’s natural landscapes provide the perfect backdrop for outdoor enthusiasts seeking thrilling adventures and recreational activities. Whether you’re drawn to water activities like kayaking, fishing, and boating, enjoy the challenge of golf or disc golf, or prefer the tranquility of camping and hiking, Delaware has something for everyone.
1. Water Activities: Kayaking, Fishing, and Boating
Delaware’s waterways offer endless opportunities for water-based adventures. Grab a kayak and explore the picturesque coastal areas, winding rivers, and serene lakes. The Delaware Bay, Atlantic Ocean, and inland water bodies provide a diverse range of experiences for paddlers of all skill levels.
Fishing enthusiasts will delight in Delaware’s bountiful waters, teeming with a variety of fish species. Cast your line from the shoreline, hop on a fishing charter, or venture out in a boat to experience the thrill of reeling in a prized catch. Whether you’re angling for striped bass, flounder, or bluefish, Delaware’s waters won’t disappoint.
Boating enthusiasts can set sail along Delaware Bay or take to the Atlantic Ocean for a day of cruising or fishing. Marinas and boat rental facilities are readily available, making it easy to embark on a nautical adventure and soak up the coastal beauty.
2. Golf Courses and Disc Golf
Delaware is a golfer’s paradise, boasting numerous golf courses that cater to players of all skill levels. Tee off amidst scenic landscapes, rolling greens, and challenging fairways. From public courses to private clubs, Delaware offers a diverse range of options for golf enthusiasts.
If you’re looking for a twist on traditional golf, try disc golf. This exciting sport combines elements of golf and frisbee, challenging players to navigate a course and complete each hole using specialized discs. Delaware’s disc golf courses provide a fun and unique outdoor activity for individuals and families alike.
3. Camping and Hiking
For those seeking a closer connection with nature, Delaware offers an array of camping and hiking opportunities. State parks like Cape Henlopen and Delaware Seashore provide campgrounds where you can pitch a tent or park an RV. Fall asleep under a starlit sky, wake up to the sound of birdsong, and immerse yourself in the tranquility of the great outdoors.
Delaware’s hiking trails cater to all fitness levels, from leisurely nature walks to challenging treks. Explore the trails of White Clay Creek State Park or embark on the scenic trails of Brandywine Creek State Park. Along the way, you’ll encounter diverse flora and fauna, picturesque vistas, and the soothing sounds of nature.
Delaware’s outdoor adventures offer a chance to embrace the beauty of the state while engaging in exhilarating activities. Whether you’re paddling through pristine waters, perfecting your swing on the golf course, or immersing yourself in the serenity of camping and hiking, the First State provides endless opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts to create unforgettable memories.
Experiencing Arts and Entertainment
Delaware’s vibrant arts and entertainment scene offers a rich tapestry of cultural experiences for enthusiasts of all kinds. From world-class performing arts centers and lively music festivals to captivating art galleries and studios, the state is a hub of creativity and expression.
1. Performing Arts Centers
Delaware’s performing arts centers showcase a diverse range of artistic disciplines, from theater and dance to music and comedy. The Grand Opera House in Wilmington, a historic landmark, hosts an array of performances, including Broadway shows, concerts, and comedy acts. The state-of-the-art Schwartz Center for the Arts in Dover is another prominent venue that offers a platform for local and international talent.
Be sure to check the schedules of these venues, as they often feature performances by renowned artists, emerging talents, and local theater troupes. Immerse yourself in the magic of live performances and witness the transformative power of the performing arts.
2. Music Festivals and Concerts
Delaware’s music festivals and concerts provide an electrifying atmosphere for music lovers. The Firefly Music Festival, held annually in Dover, attracts top-tier artists from various genres, making it a must-attend event for music enthusiasts. From rock and pop to indie and electronic music, the festival offers an unforgettable experience that brings people together through the power of music.
Throughout the year, Delaware’s music scene comes alive with concerts in various genres. From intimate performances at local venues to larger outdoor amphitheaters, there’s always a concert happening that caters to diverse musical tastes. Check local listings to catch your favorite bands or discover new artists in Delaware’s dynamic music scene.
3. Art Galleries and Studios
Delaware’s art galleries and studios provide a haven for art enthusiasts and a platform for local and international artists to showcase their works. The Delaware Art Museum in Wilmington houses an impressive collection of American art, ranging from classic to contemporary pieces. Explore the galleries and be captivated by the creativity and talent on display.
In addition to established art institutions, Delaware is also home to numerous independent art galleries and studios. Visit these spaces to discover emerging artists, attend art exhibitions, and perhaps even find a unique piece to add to your collection. Engage with the artists, learn about their creative process, and witness the diversity of artistic expression in Delaware.
Delaware’s arts and entertainment scene offers a plethora of opportunities to immerse yourself in culture, creativity, and entertainment. Whether you’re watching a spellbinding performance at a performing arts center, dancing the night away at a music festival, or exploring the captivating world of art in galleries and studios, Delaware’s arts and entertainment experiences will leave you inspired and enthralled.
Shopping and Retail Therapy
Delaware is a paradise for shoppers, offering a range of shopping experiences that cater to various tastes and preferences. From outlet malls and tax-free shopping to antique shops and boutiques, as well as farmer’s markets and artisan markets, retail therapy in the First State is a delight for all.
1. Outlet Malls and Tax-Free Shopping
Delaware is renowned for its outlet malls, where shoppers can find incredible deals on a wide range of brand-name items. Tanger Outlets in Rehoboth Beach and Christiana Mall in Newark are two popular destinations for bargain hunters. With a vast selection of stores offering discounted prices, you’ll find everything from fashion and accessories to home goods and electronics.
One of the major advantages of shopping in Delaware is its tax-free status. Enjoy the freedom of browsing and making purchases without the burden of sales tax. Take advantage of this savings opportunity and indulge in guilt-free shopping sprees.
2. Antique Shops and Boutiques
For those seeking unique and vintage treasures, Delaware’s antique shops are a haven of nostalgia and discovery. Explore the charming streets of towns like Odessa and New Castle, where you’ll find a collection of antique shops filled with one-of-a-kind pieces. Uncover hidden gems, from antique furniture and vintage clothing to collectibles and artwork, as you step back in time.
In addition to antique shops, Delaware is also home to boutique stores that offer curated selections of clothing, accessories, and home decor. These independently owned shops provide a personalized shopping experience, allowing you to find distinctive items that reflect your individual style.
3. Farmers Markets and Artisan Markets
Delaware’s farmer’s markets and artisan markets offer a different kind of shopping experience, focused on fresh produce, handcrafted goods, and local products. Explore the Historic Lewes Farmers Market, where local farmers and artisans gather to showcase their organic fruits and vegetables, baked goods, and homemade crafts. Engage with the vendors, support local businesses, and savor the flavors of Delaware’s agricultural bounty.
Artisan markets are also popular in Delaware, providing a platform for local artists and craftsmen to showcase their handmade creations. From jewelry and ceramics to artwork and textiles, these markets offer an opportunity to discover unique pieces and support the thriving artisan community.
Delaware’s shopping scene caters to every desire, whether you’re in search of brand-name bargains, vintage treasures, or locally crafted goods. From outlet malls and tax-free shopping to antique shops and boutiques, as well as farmer’s markets and artisan markets, the First State invites you to indulge in the joy of retail therapy and discover treasures that will bring you lasting satisfaction.
Delaware offers a wide array of family-friendly attractions that guarantee fun and excitement for visitors of all ages. From thrilling amusement parks and water parks to educational children’s museums and science centers, as well as captivating zoos and animal parks, the First State is a haven for families seeking memorable experiences together.
1. Amusement Parks and Water Parks
Delaware’s amusement parks and water parks provide endless entertainment for families looking for thrills and spills. Jungle Jim’s Adventure World in Rehoboth Beach features exciting rides, water slides, and a lazy river, ensuring a day of non-stop fun under the sun. For those seeking adrenaline-pumping roller coasters and exhilarating attractions, Funland in Rehoboth Beach is a must-visit destination.
When the temperatures rise, families can cool off at water parks like Killens Pond Water Park in Felton or the Thunder Lagoon Waterpark in Fenwick Island. These parks offer a range of water attractions, including slides, wave pools, and interactive play areas, providing hours of aquatic enjoyment for the whole family.
2. Children’s Museums and Science Centers
Delaware’s children’s museums and science centers are designed to engage young minds and foster a love for learning. The Delaware Children’s Museum in Wilmington offers hands-on exhibits and interactive displays that encourage children to explore, experiment, and discover through play. From the Dino Dig exhibit to the Power of Water display, children will be captivated by the educational and entertaining experiences.
The Delaware Museum of Natural History in Greenville is another fantastic destination for families. Explore the diverse ecosystems of Delaware and beyond, get up close with fossils and dinosaur exhibits, and learn about the wonders of the natural world. The museum offers a variety of educational programs and events that cater to different age groups.
3. Zoo and Animal Parks
Delaware’s zoos and animal parks provide an opportunity for families to connect with wildlife and learn about various animal species. The Brandywine Zoo in Wilmington is home to a wide range of animals, including red pandas, river otters, and pygmy goats. Take a leisurely stroll through the zoo and witness the wonders of the animal kingdom up close.
For a more immersive experience, visit the Delaware Wildlife Rescue Center in Clayton. This facility allows families to observe and learn about local wildlife, such as birds of prey and reptiles, in a natural environment. The center also focuses on rehabilitating and releasing injured animals back into the wild.
Delaware’s family-friendly attractions offer endless opportunities for shared experiences and lasting memories. Whether you’re soaring down water slides at amusement parks, exploring interactive exhibits at children’s museums and science centers, or encountering fascinating creatures at zoos and animal parks, Delaware invites families to embark on unforgettable adventures together.
Exploring Quaint Towns and Coastal Communities
Delaware is home to several charming towns and coastal communities that capture the essence of small-town living and offer a glimpse into the state’s rich history and coastal beauty. From the lively Rehoboth Beach and its iconic boardwalk to the historic town of Lewes, known as the “First Town in the First State,” and the picturesque enclave of Historic New Castle, these destinations beckon visitors with their unique character and inviting atmosphere.
1. Rehoboth Beach and Boardwalk
Rehoboth Beach is a beloved coastal town that attracts visitors with its sandy beaches, vibrant boardwalk, and lively atmosphere. Spend a day building sandcastles, basking in the sun, or frolicking in the waves along the pristine shoreline. The Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk is a must-visit destination, offering a delightful array of shops, restaurants, and entertainment options. Indulge in delicious treats like saltwater taffy and funnel cakes, browse the boutique stores, and take a thrilling ride at the amusement park. The town’s vibrant energy and scenic beauty make it a perfect destination for families and beach lovers.
2. Lewes: The First Town in the First State
Located at the mouth of the Delaware Bay, Lewes is a historic town that holds the distinction of being the “First Town in the First State.” Explore the well-preserved downtown area, where charming colonial-era buildings house unique shops, art galleries, and cozy cafes. Visit the Zwaanendael Museum, which showcases Delaware’s Dutch heritage and offers a glimpse into the town’s history. Take a leisurely stroll along the scenic Lewes Canalfront Park, enjoy a picnic with a view, or embark on a relaxing boat tour to soak in the town’s coastal charm. With its rich history and picturesque setting, Lewes is a gem waiting to be discovered.
3. Historic New Castle
Nestled on the banks of the Delaware River, Historic New Castle is a town steeped in history and brimming with colonial-era charm. Immerse yourself in the town’s architectural beauty as you explore the cobblestone streets, admire the well-preserved historic homes, and visit attractions like the Old Court House, the Amstel House, and the New Castle Historical Society. Take a guided tour to learn about the town’s role in American history and the significant events that unfolded within its borders. The town’s scenic riverfront area offers a tranquil setting for a leisurely walk or a picnic with a view. With its rich heritage and captivating ambiance, Historic New Castle invites visitors to step back in time and appreciate Delaware’s historical legacy.
Delaware’s quaint towns and coastal communities provide a welcome escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Whether you’re enjoying the lively atmosphere and sandy beaches of Rehoboth Beach, delving into history in the “First Town” of Lewes, or immersing yourself in the colonial charm of Historic New Castle, these destinations offer a glimpse into Delaware’s unique character and timeless allure.
The Bottom Line
In conclusion, Delaware offers a diverse range of attractions and experiences that make it an ideal destination for travelers seeking a mix of history, natural beauty, entertainment, and family-friendly activities. From embracing the historical charm of the state’s landmarks and museums to indulging in culinary delights and exploring outdoor adventures, Delaware has something for everyone.
The state’s rich history is evident in its historic sites and landmarks, allowing visitors to step back in time and appreciate the significance of Delaware’s past. Museums and cultural attractions offer a deeper understanding of the state’s heritage and provide a platform for artistic expression and appreciation.
Delaware’s culinary scene is a treat for food enthusiasts, with local cuisine, food festivals, craft breweries, and wineries offering a delightful gastronomic journey. The state’s commitment to farm-to-table experiences and farmers’ markets ensures fresh and locally sourced ingredients.
For outdoor enthusiasts, Delaware’s water activities, golf courses, disc golf, camping, and hiking options provide ample opportunities to explore and enjoy the natural beauty of the state. From kayaking on picturesque waterways to immersing oneself in the tranquility of camping amidst nature, Delaware’s outdoor adventures cater to a variety of interests.
The arts and entertainment scene in Delaware is vibrant and engaging, with performing arts centers, music festivals, and art galleries showcasing talent and creativity. Whether attending a live performance, enjoying a music festival, or immersing oneself in the world of art, Delaware offers a plethora of cultural experiences.
Additionally, shopping and retail therapy in Delaware are enhanced by outlet malls, tax-free shopping, antique shops, boutiques, farmers markets, and artisan markets. These options cater to diverse tastes and preferences, making shopping a pleasurable experience.
Families will find plenty of activities to enjoy in Delaware, with amusement parks, water parks, children’s museums, science centers, zoos, and animal parks providing entertainment and educational experiences for all ages.
Lastly, exploring the quaint towns and coastal communities of Delaware reveals the state’s unique charm and history. Rehoboth Beach and its iconic boardwalk, Lewes as the “First Town in the First State,” and the picturesque Historic New Castle offer distinct atmospheres and attractions that capture the essence of Delaware.
In summary, Delaware unfolds as a small state with a remarkable array of experiences for visitors. Its historical charm, culinary delights, outdoor adventures, arts and entertainment, shopping, family-friendly attractions, and quaint towns and coastal communities all contribute to making Delaware a captivating and fulfilling destination.