15 Unique Places to Visit in Delaware You Need to See

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View of the long coastal beach, houses, trees, and a river in Delaware.
View of the long coastal beach, houses, trees, and a river in Delaware. Photo credit: Pixabay

Delaware might be the second smallest state in America, but it’s packed full of amazing places to visit, including some of the best beaches in the country, 17(!) state parks and grand historic estates, glorious gardens and interesting museums.

Use Rehoboth or one of the other charming beach towns as a home base for your Delaware vacation. Pencil in fun places to visit based on your interests. Like craft beers? Head to Dogfish Head Brewery for a tour and to check out the cool steampunk tree house. Enjoy nature’s solitude? Kayak through a cypress swamp at Trap Pond State Park. Prefer glitz and glam? A visit to the Winterthur estate is a must.

Use this list of fun places to visit to plan your Delaware vacation this year and use this list of the best Delaware hotels to find a great place to stay!

Find Fun in Delaware’s Cities

Wilmington

Wilmington is one of Delaware’s largest cities, and it’s packed with museums like the Delaware Children’s Museum, Delaware Art Museum, the Hagley Museum and Library, and other attractions like Fort Delaware State Park or the Nemours Estate.

Many of the Wilmington-area attractions are related to the du Pont family. They grew a gunpowder manufacturing business into the DuPont corporation, one of the world’s industrial powerhouses.

Head to the riverfront to enjoy the views and scenery of the area, or to Mt. Cuba Center to take a walk in its beautiful gardens.

Suggested hotel: Hotel DuPont 

The Old State House in Dover, one of the places to visit in Delaware.
The Old State House in Dover. Photo credit: Unsplash

Dover

Dover, Delaware’s capital, has many interesting historic and cultural sites and landmarks suitable for a vacation visit. You can visit the Golden Fleece Tavern (circa 1730) and museums like the Air Mobility Command Museum, The Old State House, the State Police Museum or the Biggs Museum of American Art.

Head over to St. Jones Reserve for its great hiking trails and a boardwalk. Dover also has a Christmas tree farm, brewery tours and of course the famous Dover International Speedway, a stop on the NASCAR circuit.

Suggested hotel: Dover Garden Suites

Newark

Newark boasts green areas and a main street filled with entertainment all year round. Enjoy the outdoors at White Clay Creek State Park or the Glasgow Regional Park. Then head indoors to check out Newark’s rich history at the Hale-Byrnes House or Aunt Margaret’s Antique Mall.

Traveling with your pet? Newark is dog-friendly, with places to stay, dine and walk. A good example is Military Park, where you can walk and play with your pet without issues if you follow the rules.

Suggested hotel: Hilton Wilmington/Christiana

Delaware’s Small but the Beaches are Mighty

Rehoboth Beach

Rehoboth Beach is the biggest beach town with the most tourist attractions, like Funland (an amusement park), the boardwalk and Jungle Jim’s (a water park with games), making it a great option for families on summer vacation.

Nearby Cape Henlopen State Park has a unique underground bunker system constructed during the site’s use as a military base during World War II. Explore the park on bike; there are more than 17 miles of trails. Then take a dip in the Atlantic Ocean and stretch out on the beach.

In addition to stunning seashore views and a busy boardwalk, Rehoboth has great shops and restaurants and, in season, a full calendar of events including live music, festivals and more.

There are so many great Rehoboth Beach hotels that it’s tough to choose just one.

People walking on the street during daytime in Bethany Beach, one of the places to visit in Delaware.
People walking on the street in Bethany Beach. Photo credit: Unsplash

Bethany Beach

Bethany Beach is a coastal town located in the southeast area of the state, characterized by its relaxing and charming atmosphere. It has scenic beaches, a boardwalk and water activities like swimming and surfing.

Known for its laid-back vibe, Bethany Beach is a must-see in Delaware if you don’t want the big resorts and crowded places. Prefer lots of action? Dewey Beach has more of a buzz.

Check out the scenic views from the Delaware Seashore State Park bridge.

Suggested hotel: Meris Gardens

Lewes

Lewes, located near Cape Henlopen State Park, is a small seaside city packed with attractions. It has one of the most visited beaches in Delaware, plus hiking trails and wildlife sanctuaries.

Beyond the beach, you’ll find museums, historic sites and fresh seafood at the local restaurants.

Suggested hotel: Inn at Canal Square

SheBuysTravel Tip: If you have the time, head to the town of Milton (one of the many charming small towns in Delaware). It’s the home of Dogfish Head Brewery and you can do a guided tour.

Cape Henlopen Lighthouse, one of the places to visit in Delaware.
Cape Henlopen Lighthouse. Photo credit: Pixabay

Delaware’s Great State Parks

Fenwick Island State Park

On the southeast side of the state, you will find three miles of coast in Fenwick Island State Park. One of the biggest draws is its location; it’s situated between Ocean City in Maryland and South Bethany in Delaware.

If you love water activities like kayaking and sunbathing, or just sunset-watching on a scenic coast, Fenwick State Park is your Delaware destination.

Suggested hotel: Meris Gardens

Stone house covered by trees near the Brandywine Valley, one of the places to visit in Delaware.
Stone house covered by trees near the Brandywine Valley. Photo credit: Unsplash

Brandywine Creek State Park

Brandywine Creek State Park is one of the most overlooked attractions of Delaware, but it’s incredibly beautiful. Located three miles north of Wilmington in the Delaware/Pennsylvania Brandywine Valley, the park has a ton of historical landmarks, museums, outdoor activities and scenic views.

Brandywine Creek State Park boasts arboretums and gardens.

Suggested hotel: Hotel DuPont 

Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge

If you are an outdoorsy person who enjoys the wilderness, then Bombay Hook is your go-to. It offers almost 16,000 acres of land, scenic views and a wide range of different habitats. It’s a great place for birdwatching, hiking or biking on a ton of different trails and nature photography.

Bombay Hook and its nature center are incredibly diverse. Find salt marshes, woodlands, freshwater pools and many open fields. It’s family-friendly and dog-friendly too!

Suggested hotel: Dover Garden Suites

Delaware Seashore State Park

If you are looking for a beach getaway, Delaware Seashore State Park is one of the major destinations, with 20 miles of shoreline for visitors to surf, swim and sunbathe.

An inlet connects Rehoboth Bay and the Indian River with the Atlantic Ocean, and you can find beaches on both sides.

There are so many great Delaware beach hotels that it’s tough to choose just one.

Planes, Estates and More: Delaware’s Many Museums

Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library (Wilmington)

North of Wilmington, you’ll find Winterthur Museum. The originally modest du Pont family home grew from 12 rooms in 1837 to a palatial mansion. The house and gardens are among the top places to visit in Delaware.

Buildings are filled with Americana and antique items including paintings, furniture and ceramics. Winterthur is particularly enchanting when decorated for the holidays.

Suggested hotel: Hotel DuPont 

Johnson Victrola Museum (Dover)

Before CDs, iPods and streaming music, there were record players.

In Dover, the Johnson Victrola Museum hosts an incredible number of items displaying the artistry and origin of the Victrola, one of the great inventions of the 20th century.

The museum has records and music memorabilia to explore.

Suggested hotel: Dover Garden Suites

Zwaanendael Museum (Lewes)

Have you ever seen a merman before? In Lewes at the Zwaanendael Museum, a mummified Fiji merman welcomes visitors to the museum.

The museum is housed in a Dutch-style structure built to commemorate the establishment of the first Dutch colony in Delaware in 1631.

Beyond the weird merman, exhibits focus on the maritime and social history of the Dutch in Delaware.

Suggested hotel: Inn at Canal Square

Air Mobility Command Museum (Dover)

Have you ever wondered where old planes go after they’re decommissioned? Some of the luckiest airplanes go to the Air Mobility Command Museum. Located at the Dover Air Force Base, it provides a walkthrough of an airplane’s history, air refueling and airlifting.

You can find more than 30 aircraft in a wide range of models, including presidential airplanes, cargo planes, fighters and bombers. Don’t skip this if you’re an aviation buff.

Suggested hotel: Dover Garden Suites

Delaware Art Museum (Wilmington)

The Delaware Art Museum in Wilmington was founded in 1912, home to more than 12,000 pre-Raphaelite and American art pieces, and one of the biggest art collections of its type outside the UK.

Suggested hotel: Hotel DuPont 

Hi! I’m Marina. I have never had a conventional job, nor will I ever and hope you don’t either. I have helped and inspired thousands to travel more, work less, move abroad, spend more time with their kids and invest in the most important thing of all – experiences and adventures. I’m a world traveler, creator, innovator, entrepreneur, podcaster, author, global speaker, day trader, educator, experience collector, mama and wife. The beauty of life is to create what works for you and to earn money while spending as much time doing what you love to do. I have traveled to over 40 countries. Lived in 8 countries, and 15 states (in the US). I speak 3 languages fluently and am raising my sons to be multicultural, trilingual global citizens. I’m a Soviet Union Refugee, raised in the United States, married to a Guatemalan who I met while backpacking around the world at a Mayan Ruin. Today my family and I live in Barcelona, Spain after living over 20 years in Central America (6 years in Costa Rica and 14 years in Guatemala).
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