Delaware offers a wide selection of museums, and visitors can take a step back into history by touring one of the estates or gardens of the illustrious industrial du Pont family or learn about "the penman of the Revolution" at the John Dickinson House. But it's the beautiful scenery of Delaware that truly shines. From the serenity and sculpted beauty of Longwood Gardens, the wildlife at Brandywine Creek State Park, and the gorgeous ocean views from Delaware's many beaches, the state has something to offer everyone.
1. Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library
© Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library
Located on a beautiful 1,000 acres of green meadows and lush woodlands, Winterthur is the former childhood home of collector Henry Francis du Pont. The massive 175-room house contains nearly 90,000 objects pertaining to the field of American decorative arts as they were utilized in between 1640 and 1860. The house, as well as its expansive grounds, is open for tours and exploration by visitors who will enjoy the permanent and temporary displays of objects within the house, as well as the 60-acre naturalistic garden with its rolling meadows, flowering plants, and shady wooded paths. Younger guests will love the Enchanted Woods. Guided tours are offered of the house, and there are also tram tours of the garden.
5105 Kennett Pike (Route 52), Winterthur, DE 19735, Phone: 800-448-3883
2.Bellevue State Park
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Bellevue State Park comprises 328 acres of land and is named after Bellevue Hall, a mansion formerly owned by William du Pont, Jr., which is also on the property. Visitors to Bellevue will find no shortage of things to do, as the park is home to a fitness track, hiking trails, tennis courts, and a fishing pond stocked with sunfish, bass, and catfish. Equestrians can take lessons in the modern horseback riding facilities, and those looking for a bike ride or a run will find a variety of paths both paved and unpaved. Bellevue State Park is also a great place for a picnic or event, with picnic tables, pavilions, and several indoor spaces available for rent, including Bellevue Hall.
800 Carr Rd, Wilmington, DE 19809, Phone: 302-761-6963
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Brandywine Creek State Park was once a dairy farm, and the low stone walls that once divided pastures in the 1800s can still be found on this 933 acre park. Brandywine Creek State Park contains two nature preserves, Tulip Tree Woods and Freshwater Marsh. Nature lovers will find a haven here, with local flora and fauna abundant. Those looking to fish may find trout, smallmouth bass, and more in the Brandywine Creek and Wilsons Run. Licenses are required. The park is also a great place for hikers, with over 14 miles of trails that give access to some of Brandywine Creek's beautiful scenery.
41 Adams Dam Road, Wilmington, DE 19807, Phone: 302-577-3534
4.Brandywine River Museum
© Brandywine River Museum
Just north of the border between Delaware and Pennsylvania, the Brandywine River Museum is located on the banks of the river from which it takes its name. The museum is well known for its collection of American art, particularly from artists focusing on the Brandywine Valley, as well as for its acquisition of the home and studio of artist N.C. Wyeth. Its temporary and permanent exhibits together create a vivid image of American life in the Brandywine Valley from both a historic and contemporary perspective. The museum offers group tours, studio tours, and digital tours, and is open daily from 9:30am until 5:00pm.
1 Hoffman's Mill Road, Chadds Ford, PA 19317, Phone: 610-388-2700
5. Brandywine Zoo
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Located in Wilmington, the Brandywine Zoo is an all-ages attraction for animal lovers. This small zoo contains a collection of mammals, reptiles, birds, and invertebrates from all over the world, and it works closely with the Delaware Kestrel Partnership for conservation of this local endangered species. The zoo regularly hosts special events like Family Fun Nights and "Breakfast with the Beasts;" the calendar of events is available on their website. The Brandywine Zoo is open daily from 10am until 4pm during the summer, and is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays during the winter season. Admission is free for members and children under the age of three.
1001 North Park Drive, Brandywine Park, Wilmington, DE 19802, Phone: 302-571-7747
6.Cape Henlopen State Park
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Cape Henlopen State Park offers countless opportunities for recreation and fun within its bounds. Visitors can spend their day enjoying the sunshine on one of its two sandy beaches, where lifeguards are posted daily from Memorial Day until Labor Day. Those looking to spend their day away from the water will find miles of hiking and biking trails, including a three-mile trail around the perimeter of the park where hikers can take a walk through history with the help of some informational placards along the way. Those with a more competitive spirit will enjoy the park's basketball courts, or the 18-hole disc golf course.
15099 Cape Henlopen Dr, Lewes, DE 19958, P302-645-8983
7.Delaware Agricultural Museum and Village
© Delaware Agricultural Museum and Village
The Delaware Agricultural Museum and Village works to preserve the spirit and the roots of agriculture by educating its visitors on the impact that agriculture has had and always will have on our society. The museum contains over 4,000 artifacts, from butter churns to tractors, and the property is also home to several historic buildings, including a schoolhouse, a barber shop, and a train station. Visitors can explore the historical village and the exhibits inside them to learn about life in the region for people who lived there centuries ago. The Delaware Agricultural Museum and Village is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10am until 3pm.
866 N. DuPont Highway, Dover, DE 19901, Phone: 302-734-1618
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8. Delaware Art Museum
© Delaware Art Museum
The Delaware Art Museum specializes in British Pre-Raphaelite art, urban landscapes, and pieces by American artists and Delaware native Howard Pyle. The permanent collections and temporary exhibits at this private museum are all designed to inspire creative energy in its visitors through enrichment and education. The museum offers a variety of talks, tours, art programs for adults and kids, and art camp for kids. Admission into the museum includes access to all the galleries and collections on display, with no additional fees. Public tours are available on weekends at 1pm and 2pm. Admission is free on Thursday evenings from 4pm to 8pm and Sundays from 10am until 4pm.
2301 Kentmere Pkwy, Wilmington, DE 19806, Phone: 302-571-9590
9.Delaware Children's Museum
© Delaware Children's Museum
At the Delaware Children's Museum, children of all ages are encouraged to discover and explore their own potential with a wide variety of interactive exhibits and experiences. Located in the Big Yellow Building in Riverfront Wilmington, the Children's Museum will teach kids about engineering, art, mathematics, and more through the power of play time. Exhibits like "The Power of Me" will teach children what their bodies are capable of, and "Structures" will allow visitors to explore the worlds of architecture and engineering. Kids will love the Tree Pavilion and the art studio, where they can express their creativity in a structured and fun environment. The Delaware Children's Museum is open daily except for Mondays.
550 Justison Street, Wilmington, DE 19801, Phone: 302-654-2340
10.Delaware Museum of Natural History
© Delaware Museum of Natural History
Visitors to the Delaware Museum of Natural History will get up close and personal with nature, from a giant squid to several outdoor habitats. The museum contains the only permanent collection of dinosaur fossils in the state of Delaware, a massive collection of birds' eggs, and an array of shells found around the world. Children will enjoy the Nature Nook, where they can take part in hands on activities to teach them about science and nature. Outdoors, visitors can explore the Nature Trail, which will take them through woodlands and wetlands, admire the Pollinator Garden, or enjoy the interactive Delaware Rocks! Mineral display. The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 9:30am until 4:30pm and on Sundays from 12pm until 4pm.
4840 Kennett Pike, Wilmington, DE 19807, Phone: 302-658-9111
11.Delaware Seashore State Park
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Delaware Seashore State Park is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, Rehoboth Bay, and Indian River Bay, which makes it the perfect destination for beachgoers. Swimming and sunbathing on the sandy beaches of this park are very popular pastimes, with lifeguards on patrol from 9am to 5pm daily during the summer. But beyond that, Delaware Seashore State Park is also a haven for visitors who want to go fishing or boating, as there are many different options for water access and even a special access pier designed so that the disabled or elderly can also go fishing. Visitors who want more than just a day at the beach will love Burton Island or Thompson Island, where there are hiking trails and salt marshes available for exploration.
9415 Inlet Road, Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971, Phone: 302-539-7202
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Delmarva Peninsula is comprised not only of Delaware but also of Maryland and Virginia. Even though it is connected to the mainland, Delmarva has a distinct island mentality that is evident from the moment you arrive. It's a region with delicious food from both land and sea and is famous for blue crabs. Along its many coasts are beaches and marinas, making it a great destination for water-lovers or beach-goers. Rehoboth Beach is incredibly appealing to visitors, with an eternal summer vibe and plenty of bars, restaurants, and nightlife for its guests to enjoy, not to mention the amazing sandy beaches.
13.Fenwick Island State Park
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The three miles of barrier island that make up Fenwick Island State Park are full of beaches, sun, and fun for everyone who steps foot within its bounds. Located right in between Assawoman Bay and the Atlantic Ocean just a short drive from Behtany Beach and Ocean City, Fenwick Island is a haven for swimmers and sunbathers, with lifeguards on duty from 9am until 5pm during the summer months and a bathhouse with showers and changing rooms as well as a small shop and a concession stand for snack food. Fenwick Island State Park is one of only a few beaches in the state that has an area specifically designated for surfing, and it also has three dune crossings for surf fishing for those with a vehicle permit.
DE-1, fenwick, DE 19971, Phone: 302-227-2800
14.First State National Historical Park
© NPS Photo
Named for Delaware's status as the First State to ratify the US Constitution, First State National Historic Park consists of seven sites throughout Delaware, each with specific historical significance for the state. From the rolling hills of Beaver Valley to the Swedish settlement of Fort Christina, First State National Historic Park contains various unique characteristics for visitors to enjoy. Some of the sites, like the Ryves Holt House and the Old Swedes Church, date back to the 17th century. Each of the seven sites has a visitor's center equipped with maps, directions, and information about the stories behind these fascinating pieces of history.
New Castle Court House Museum, 211 Delaware Street, New Castle, DE 19720, Phone: 302-544-6363
For over fifty years, Funland has been entertaining and delighting guests with its seashore location and fun activities for the whole family. With over twenty rides ranging from the classic carousel to the thrilling Superflip360, Funland has something for everyone. The midway is packed with games like skeepball, and you'll also find the duck pond where visitors can win prizes for showing off their skills. Funland's arcade features game machines that will fill a guest's arms with tickets to be exchanged for more prizes. Funland's opening and closing hours change based on the season and weather but can be found on their website. Entry to Funland is free, but tickets must be purchased to enjoy the rides and games.
6 Delaware Ave, Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971, Phone: 302-227-1921
16.Hagley Museum and Library
© Hagley Museum and Library
The Hagley Museum and Library is located on the site of a gunpowder works and includes many facets of American industry from the 19th century, including a mill, workers' quarters, and the home and gardens of the du Pont family, who founded the company and many others in the area. The Hagley Library is open weekdays from 8:30 to 4:30, with guided tours of the Eleutherian Mills offered every half hour from 10:30 to 3:30. The tour lasts about 50 minutes, and buses leave from the library to bring guests to the other sites. Visitors are invited to experience the Powder Yards at their own pace, with demonstrations offered throughout the day between 10:30 and 4:30.
200 Hagley Creek Road, Wilmington, DE 19807, 298 Buck Road, Wilmington, DE 19807, Phone: 302-658-2400
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17.Holts Landing State Park
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Holts Landing is a peaceful, beautiful, hidden gem of Delaware's park system. Within its bounds are beaches, grassy fields, and forests, with abundant wildlife. Holts Landing State Park is a perfect destination for those interested in surf fishing or crabbing, as it is home a pier built specifically for the purpose. Fishing, camping, hiking, cycling, and horseback riding are just some of the activities possible in Holts Landing State Park, among ponds, woods, and meadows. Photographers and bird watchers will delight in the variety of birds in the park, from songbirds to large birds of prey. Holts Landing State Park is open daily from 8am until sunset, with 24 hour boat ramp access for boaters.
39415 Inlet Road, Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971, Phone: 302-227-2800
18.John Dickinson House
© John Dickinson House
John Dickinson was one of the founding fathers of America and played an important role in creating the framework for the US government. He was a member of the First Continental Congress and later became an important influence for the creation of US Congress as we know it today. Dickinson's plantation in Dover is open today as a museum and a historical site where visitors can see the sharp contrast between the lives of different social classes in the Colonial era, from the wealthy Dickinson family to the poor tenants and enslaved individuals who were integral to the plantation's day to day operation. Guided tours of the house and its grounds are offered throughout the day.
340 Kitts Hummock Road, Dover, DE 19901, Phone: 302-739-3277
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© Jungle Jim's
Jungle Jim's is a family entertainment center located in Rehoboth Beach with both a dry park and a water park. At the water park, visitors can race down waterslides, brave the giant swells of the wave pool, or relax on the lazy river. Aboard the Bumper Boats, riders can use giant squirt guns to spray their opponents with water, while bumping them with their boats under a giant spraying fountain. Guests who wish to stay dry can check out the batting cages or the two mini golf courses complete with landscape inclines, water hazards, and bunkers. Jungle Jim's opens daily at 10am, and closing hours vary depending on the season.
36944 Country Club Rd., Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971, Phone: 302-227-8444
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20.Lums Pond State Park
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Lums Pond is the largest freshwater pond in the state of Delaware, which makes Lums Pond State Park one of the best destinations in the region for camping, fishing, and hiking. With boat rentals, hiking trails, and the Go Ape! Treetop Adventure Course, visitors will find their stay at Lums Pond State Park packed with activities that suit all ages and interests. Picnic areas and pavilions are located throughout the park and are available for reservation for large groups. Over ten miles of trails for hikers, bikers, and horseback riders wind their way through the park, and during the summer season, visitors can attend educational nature programs. The park is open daily from 8am until sunset.
1068 Howell School Road, Phone: 302-368-6989
21.Nemours Mansion and Gardens
© Nemours Mansion and Gardens
Nemours Mansion and Gardens is an ornate mansion comprised of 77 rooms, along with a formal French garden. The mansion and its 200-acre grounds are also home to a large collection of classic, vintage automobiles. Visitors can explore the property and the house on self-paced, self-guided tours. Informative guides and staff members are located around the house to answer questions and provide facts and information for those who wish to learn more. Nemours Mansion and Gardens is open to visitors on Tuesday through Saturday from 10am until 5pm and on Sundays from noon until 5pm. The last admission of the day is at 4pm.
850 Alapocas Drive, Wilmington, DE 19803, Phone: 800-651-6912
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22.Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge
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Situated on over 10,000 acres of marsh, wooded forest, and grasslands, the Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge serves as an important place for migratory birds to stop during their travels up and down the coast of the Atlantic Flyway. Located an easy 22 miles from the city of Dover, and 64 miles from Wilmington, Prime Hook is an excellent location for visitors looking to experience nature in several unique ecosystems that are home to hundreds of species of animals. The refuge is open to the public daily from half an hour before sunrise until half an hour after sunset, with miles of hiking trails and opportunities for kayaking and canoeing. Information about activities, such as bird walks and educational programs, can be found on Prime Hook's website.
11978 Turkle Pond Rd, Milton, DE 19968, Phone: 302-684-8419
23.The Delaware Contemporary
© The Delaware Contemporary
Visitors to The Delaware Contemporary will find much more than a contemporary art museum. This non-collecting museum is also a thriving gathering place for creative art in the fields of design, technology, and art. At the Delaware Contemporary, visitors will find exhibits, and also educational resources that will allow them to understand the artistic experience and process. With seven galleries and 26 studios for resident artists, The Delaware Contemporary is sure to inspire its guests. Admission to The Delaware Contemporary is free, with a suggested donation of $10 for adults and $5 for children, and is open every day of the week except Mondays.
200 South Madison Street, Wilmington, DE 19801, Phone: 302-656-6466
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Established by the Dutch in 1631, Swanendael was the first European colony in Delaware. The Zwaanendael Museum commemorates the history of the state, particularly of maritime, military, and social history as it is relevant to the Lewes region. Exhibits include wreckage from the sloop DeBraak, which was lost off the coast of Delaware in 1798 and is the only known recovered ship of its kind anywhere in the world, artifacts from sailors and ships in the Delaware area, and a second-floor art gallery. The museum is also home to the Zwaanendael merman, a mid-19th century piece of sailor's art made of hair, ivory, glass, and a shrunken monkey's head, among other things.
102 Kings Hwy, Lewes, DE 19958, Phone: 302-645-1148
25 Best Things to Do in Delaware
- Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library, Photo: Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library
- Bellevue State Park, Photo: Courtesy of jovannig - Fotolia.com
- Brandywine Creek, Photo: Courtesy of Gnther - Fotolia.com
- Brandywine River Museum, Photo: Brandywine River Museum
- Brandywine Zoo, Photo: Courtesy of Sjaak - Fotolia.com
- Cape Henlopen State Park, Photo: Courtesy of jonbilous - Fotolia.com
- Delaware Agricultural Museum and Village, Photo: Delaware Agricultural Museum and Village
- Delaware Art Museum, Photo: Delaware Art Museum
- Delaware Children's Museum, Photo: Delaware Children's Museum
- Delaware Museum of Natural History , Photo: Delaware Museum of Natural History
- Delaware Seashore State Park, Photo: Courtesy of Erin Cadigan - Fotolia.com
- Delmarva Peninsula, Photo: Courtesy of Wilfred - Fotolia.com
- Fenwick Island State Park, Photo: Courtesy of Jason - Fotolia.com
- First State National Historical Park, Photo: NPS Photo
- Funland, Photo: Funland
- Hagley Museum and Library, Photo: Hagley Museum and Library
- Holts Landing State Park, Photo: Courtesy of Wilfred - Fotolia.com
- John Dickinson House, Photo: John Dickinson House
- Jungle Jim's, Photo: Jungle Jim's
- Lums Pond State Park, Photo: Courtesy of Frank - Fotolia.com
- Nemours Mansion and Gardens, Photo: Nemours Mansion and Gardens
- Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge, Photo: Courtesy of xmasbaby - Fotolia.com
- The Delaware Contemporary, Photo: The Delaware Contemporary
- Zwaanendael Museum, Photo: Courtesy of mrslevite - Fotolia.com
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of jonbilous - Fotolia.com