20 Best Places to Visit in Delaware, USA
The state of Delaware is a great option for a vacation, with plenty of history, culture, and nature and a beautiful coastline. Its beaches are sunny and perfect during the summertime, its parks are stunning all year round, and the towns and cities in the state of Delaware are unique and varied, with delicious food, fun nightlife, or a relaxing atmosphere, each with something different to offer. These locations in Delaware are wonderful options for day trips, weekend getaways, or a full-fledged holiday. Photo: jonbilous/Fotolia
» Rehoboth Beach
When the first English and Dutch settlers arrived sometime between 1650 and 1675, Rehoboth Beach began its history filled with farmers and countrymen, many of whom would go on to fight for freedom during the American War of Independence. Rehoboth Beach has always been a town that invited visitors to enjoy its beaches and ample sunshine during the summer, and modern Rehoboth Beach is no different: It gladly welcomes tourists to enjoy its many restaurants, shops, and sandy oceanfront beaches. Given its selection of delightful venues and outdoor photography opportunities, many weddings are held in this small town, as it provides a small town feel without all of the inconveniences of rural life.
From brewery and winery tours to historical train rides through the countryside to museums of natural and local history to casinos and opera houses; a visit to Wilmington almost certainly has something to offer to everyone, from the solo traveler on a business trip to the full family on vacation. The Wilmington Riverfront is a pleasant place to take a stroll while taking in the city, with different views and attractions to be seen and enjoyed depending on the season and time of day. The Delaware Children's Museum is the ideal spot for families to spend the day and give their kids a chance to learn and grow through a cultivated learning experience.
The small town of Bethany Beach is named for the beautiful wide beach that lines its coast. The beach is quieter and much more peaceful than some of the bigger beaches and resorts in the region, and it is well suited for families or groups of friends who want to sunbathe, go swimming, catch some waves on a surfboard, or just enjoy each others' company in a beautiful setting. The large boardwalk behind the beach has shops and food for visitors, and the town of Bethany Beach also has plenty of delicious dining options where guests can indulge in some excellent local seafood.
»Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge
One of the largest remaining collections of tidal salt marsh in the Atlantic region, the Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge draws many visitors throughout the year thanks to its unique attractions. Founded in 1937 as a small part of a larger collection of wildlife refuges stretching from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, Bombay Hook presents a breeding and resting ground for migrating birds along the Atlantic coast. Much of the refuge is open to the public, although some sections are cordoned off and only open to researchers and designated staff so as not to disrupt too much of the natural habitat of the wildlife.
On a journey that begins near the tip of South America and will end far north in the Arctic, Delaware Bay is one of few key stops on this 10,000-mile trip for migrating shorebirds. Arriving at Delaware Bay thin and exhausted, a seemingly endless number of shorebirds stop here to feast until they are full, oftentimes for ten days straight, on the spawning horseshoe crabs that are native to these Delaware beaches. Without this special meal, these birds would not be able to make it to their Arctic breeding grounds to continue their circle of life. Visitors to Delaware Bay can view this spectacle during the months of May and June every year.
Photo: Brian E Kushner/Fotolia
Filled with various attractions and local restaurants featuring regional cuisine, Delaware City is sure to keep guests entertained, especially if they pay a visit to Fort DuPont State Park. The park itself is located in the city, and Fort DuPont was used as a military base starting during the Civil War up until World War II, in conjunction with two other bases in the area. Modern day Fort DuPont has since been converted into a state park, featuring things like the Diamond State Baseball Club, a unique vintage baseball team that plays at various times throughout the year.
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»Delaware Seashore State Park
When it comes to beaches in Delaware, Seashore State Park offers some of the finest sands for recreational opportunities and the most accommodating waters for swimming and boating. Containing over 6 miles of waterfront beaches, this 2,825-acre park has ample space for camping, hiking, biking, and relaxing without having to deal with heavy congestion or traffic. The avid fisher will enjoy the select parts of the beach that have limited vehicle access, permitting drivers to bring their vehicles close to the water to partake in surf fishing, while swimmers will enjoy daily life guards and plenty of space to enjoy the water.
Dewey Beach is locally favored because of the chance to participate in wakeboarding, parasailing, and windsurfing here. These are not the only activities that guests are able to do at Dewey Beach, as the beach is also covered with sand that is great for beach volleyball, and the local restaurants and bars offer a break and a snack when needed. Depending on the time of year, visitors to Dewey Beach might even be able to catch a glimpse of dolphins in the waters, as they are known to frequent the area. After a fun day at the beach, guests can head to Hammerheads, Nalu Hawaiian Bar and Grille, or many other establishments for dinner and drinks.
A fine collection of diverse opportunities and entertainment, Dover is home to some drastically different sights, from its Amish community to NASCAR racing. Visitors to Dover will want to visit the Air Mobility Command Museum to learn about modern day and vintage aviation as well as see many aircraft and other artifacts with their own eyes. Other important museums in Dover include the Biggs Museum, which showcases approximately 200 years of local art and history, and the Delaware Agricultural Museum, which depicts the development of farming on the East Coast. From museums to casinos, nightclubs to quaint coffee shops, Dover often surprises its guests with a wide range of amenities often not expected from this smaller coastal city.
Situated on the southern border of Delaware, the town known as Fenwick Island is conveniently located near Ocean City, Maryland, and is often considered to be one of Delaware's finer beach destinations for family trips. Directly to the north of the town is Fenwick Island State Park, a large outdoor resource for anyone looking to hike, fish, windsurf, sunbathe, explore marine life, try their hand at body boarding, or much more. Guests who decide to stay in town will find family adventure opportunities galore, everything from miniature golf to go kart riding, water slides to ice cream parlors, and a plethora of family-friendly themed restaurants to help refuel and relax after all the excitement.
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»Fort Delaware State Park
Originally built to defend the ports of Wilmington and Philadelphia, Fort Delaware was erected during the time of the Civil War and has since been repurposed into a state park to showcase the history of the area as well as the natural features surrounding the fort. Visitors can take a short half-mile ferry ride from Delaware City to arrive on Pea Patch Island, and upon arrival they will be greeted by costumed interpreters to help them experience the history of this fort nearly first hand. Guests are encouraged to bring a picnic and make a day out of their trip, exploring Fort Delaware at their leisure and learning all the rich history it has to offer.
Photo: Relive Media/Fotolia
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Located in the south-central part of Delaware, Georgetown is the perfect stopover location for any trip through the state, given its proximity to major highways and its accessibility to the ocean. With a rich local history that stretches back hundreds of years, Georgetown will please any history buff with its local museums as well as the presence of many architecturally historic buildings. For structured learning, the Marvel Carriage Museum will paint a vivid timeline for guests, teaching them about the rise and fall of the carriage as well as giving visitors an opportunity to see many carriages from different time periods up close.
Photo: Town of Georgetown, Delaware
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Lewes is regionally known for being a peaceful and progressive town that features many beaches and puts an emphasis on oceanside attractions. Originally founded in 1631, Lewes has an extensive and intricate history that is cherished locally, and many of the locals are more than happy to share their heritage and stories. Located between the Delaware Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, Lewes is on Cape Henlopen and provides easy access to Cape Henlopen State Park, which is filled with miles of beaches, bike trails, and birdwatching opportunities. Given its small size, Lewes is primarily a walking town, and everything visitors will need can almost always be accessed on foot.
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A city proud of its ever-growing size, Milford focuses on and showcases its independent and successful spirit in many aspects important to visitors, particularly local culture and community. However, when it comes to specific attractions in Milford that visitors are certain to love, the Mispillion Riverwalk should be high on any itinerary. Set on a course that will take participants strolling through downtown Milford, the riverwalk is a specially designed path along the waterfront that showcases ample green space while preserving the town's waterfront. The riverwalk also passes by seven former shipyards that were crucial to Milford's original development.
Photo: Milford, DE
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Originally established primarily thanks to the shipbuilding economy that flourished during and after the Civil War, Milton has since found its niche even though the shipyards have long since shut down. As the founding place of nationally renowned Dogfish Head Brewery, visitors to the town are always encouraged to visit the brewery for a tour and tastings. Other adventurous things to do in Milton include kayaking along the Broadkill River, partaking in historic house tours, and visiting the local farmers market. Depending on the time of year, there are many exciting festivals that take place in the various seasons, so checking the calendar of events is always encouraged when planning a trip.
Photo: Milton Chamber of Commerce
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Extremely proud of its heritage and history, New Castle is one of the oldest perpetually lived-in towns in the Delaware Valley, and has maintained a majority of the original buildings and ways of life through heavy preservation efforts. Guests visiting this culturally rich location will find a plethora of entertainment and attractions to keep them busy, from the New Castle Courthouse Museum and the Historic New Castle Walking Tour to the well-founded shopping district and the ocean, all visitors are almost certain to find something of interest while spending time in New Castle. Specific information on the museums, state parks, and history of the town can be found at the local visitors center or by perusing the website and its many virtual tours and checking out the calendar of events.
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Newark, home to the University of Delaware, is the third largest city in the state and is located in the northern reaches, giving easy access to both Baltimore and Philadelphia. Within easy reach of Newark, visitors will find over 17 miles of hiking and biking trails and a total of 33 parks containing more than 650 acres in total. Newark often has many town events throughout the year, and referencing the calendar is always encouraged before planning a visit. Attractions available all year round include the Chapel Street Community Theater, over 60 restaurants, the Mid-Atlantic Ballet, and a number of other music venues open to the public.
Photo: Felix Mizioznikov/Fotolia
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Beginning as a small collection of farmers, watermen, and seamen surrounding a convenience store, Ocean View has since turned into a sought-after tourist destination when it comes to beach and oceanside enjoyment in Delaware. Having been entertaining tourists and beach visitors since the Civil War era, this small town has had ample time to curate the guest experience, and modern day visitors are likely to be pleased by the collection of small shops and restaurants as well as the pleasant community environment present in Ocean View. Although guests are always welcome in Ocean View, they are often encouraged to plan their visits for the warmer months as many of Ocean View's attractions are warm weather based.
Photo: Town of Ocean View
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Any visit to Odessa should begin by contacting the Historic Odessa Foundation, the primary resource for Odessa in terms of planning, events, and restaurant recommendations. The Historic Odessa Foundation is also responsible for providing tours to visitors, which include guiding the guests through the foundation's five primary properties including the accompanying gardens and grounds. Odessa is steeped in rich history, and visitors wishing to experience what life was like during colonial days, the Civil War, and many other time periods can learn many details and see many artifacts in the various maintained houses in the town.
Photo: Iakov Kalinin/Fotolia
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Once a settlement on the southern bank of Duck Creek, before the American Revolution, this tiny village was itself known as Duck Creek and relied primarily on shipping and shipbuilding. As the settlement attracted more settlers and more business, it eventually grew in size, and the name was changed to Smyrna in 1806. Modern day Smyrna is much larger than that original tiny settlement, and the primary income of the town is no longer based on shipping and shipbuilding; instead, it has become a highly sought-after place for families to settle down and raise their children. Smyrna presents the perfect opportunity for a peaceful and relaxing family getaway filled with novel history, local restaurants, and family-orientated entertainment.
Photo: Smyrna, Delaware
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20 Best Places to Visit in Delaware, USA
- Rehoboth Beach, Photo: Courtesy of gravescreative - Fotolia.com
- Wilmington, Photo: Courtesy of pabrady63 - Fotolia.com
- Bethany Beach, Photo: Courtesy of Mac - Fotolia.com
- Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge, Photo: Courtesy of Wilfred - Fotolia.com
- Delaware Bay, Photo: Courtesy of Brian E Kushner - Fotolia.com
- Delaware City, Photo: Courtesy of jonbilous - Fotolia.com
- Delaware Seashore State Park, Photo: Courtesy of balashark - Fotolia.com
- Dewey Beach, Photo: Courtesy of gravescreative - Fotolia.com
- Dover, Photo: Courtesy of jonbilous - Fotolia.com
- Fenwick Island, Photo: Courtesy of Ernest - Fotolia.com
- Fort Delaware State Park, Photo: Courtesy of Relive Media - Fotolia.com
- Georgetown, Photo: Town of Georgetown, Delaware
- Lewes, Photo: Courtesy of jonbilous - Fotolia.com
- Milford, Photo: Milford, DE
- Milton, Photo: Milton Chamber of Commerce
- New Castle, Photo: Courtesy of stevexzissou - Fotolia.com
- Newark, Photo: Courtesy of Felix Mizioznikov - Fotolia.com
- Ocean View, Photo: Town of Ocean View
- Odessa, Photo: Courtesy of Iakov Kalinin - Fotolia.com
- Smyrna, Photo: Smyrna, Delaware
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of jonbilous - Fotolia.com
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