According to growtheology, Delaware is regularly overlooked by Dutch tourists simply because the state is so small. And that’s a shame, because despite the size of the state, there is plenty to see and do! Sandwiched between other major states in the Northeast, including Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, the state’s location makes it a perfect location for a side trip on a larger East America tour .
15 Delaware Attractions
Delaware literally stood at the cradle of American history. The state was the first to sign the U.S. Constitution; hence the nickname: “The First State”. Now the state is best known as the home state of the current US president: Joe Biden. Where a small state can’t be big!
1. Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk
In the southeast of the state, on the coast, is the town of Rehoboth Beach. This cozy seaside town is a perfect getaway for the whole family! Right by the sea is Rehoboth Beach Beachwalk. On this promenade you will find all kinds of shops and restaurants. For the real American beach feeling you have to go to Funnel Cake Factory and Dolles Candyland, to taste real American snacks. Complete your trip with a ride on one of Funland’s rides; the amusement park of the city. Do you prefer to lie on the beach? You just have to cross the promenade and you are already on the beach. Ideal right?
2. Nemours Estate
Anyone who thought that America has no history is wrong. Visit Nemours Estate in Wilmington and be transported back to late eighteenth century France. This huge mansion was commissioned by Alfred I. duPont, who, as you might guess, has French roots. This is also reflected in the house, which has no fewer than 77 (!) rooms. The house also has a huge garage with a large collection of antique cars. Still not impressed? Then be sure to take a tour of the garden, where you will find a large fountain and a beautiful sculpture garden.
3. Dover International Speedway
Speed demons beware! In Dover you can visit Dover International Speedway. Opened in 1969, this track has been home to several NASCAR competitions several times. Completely in style, the track runs in the shape of an oval-like ‘D’. There is also a possibility to book a ‘race experience’ on the “Monster Mile”, but these are scarce. Not a racing fan? Dover International Speedway also hosts multiple music festivals, including Firefly Festival (usually in July) and other concerts. Artists who have already performed on the track include Tom Petty, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Imagine Dragons and Post Malone.
4. Indian River Inlet Bridge
If you’re staying along the coast, be sure to take a drive across Indian Inlet Bridge (also known as Charles W. Cullen Bridge). And preferably in the evening: the bridge, which due to its cables secretly resembles the Erasmus Bridge in Rotterdam, is then beautifully illuminated in blue. The construction of the bridge started in the 1940s, but because it was extremely complicated to build, it was not finished until 2011 as the locals know it now. So drive (or walk!) across it early in the morning or late in the afternoon for the best sunrise or sunset views.
5. John Dickinson Plantation
Although you might expect it less quickly, there were also plantations in the north. This is also the case in Delaware, near Dover to be precise. John Dickinson Plantation is a place with a complex history. John Dickinson played an important role in the United States’ struggle for independence, writing about ‘freedom and justice for all’, but at the same time he also had a plantation on which he had slaves worked. You will learn how that works during your visit. Please note that the museum is only open on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays (on Wednesdays on request). Booking in advance is recommended.
6. Fort Miles Historic Area at Cape Henlopen State Park
Are you interested in World War II? Then a visit to Fort Miles Historic Area at Cape Henlopen State Park should not be missed. This former fort, located in the Delaware Bay, was one of the most important defensive forts on the East Coast. At the height of the war, as many as 2,500 soldiers were stationed here. Today the area can be visited as a museum. You can still find trucks, cannons and a watchtower here. Take a guided tour, drive around in a truck or watch a cannon demonstration. The museum is open all week, but can only be visited in combination with a guided tour.
7. Hopkins Farm Creamery
With a holiday comes an ice cream (or two)! And what could be more fun than eating an ice cream at an authentic American dairy farm? Hopkins Farm Creamery is located in the town of Lewes. The farm has been run by the same family for four generations and since 2008 they have their own ice cream parlor. You can choose from all kinds of flavors, from more ‘normal’ flavors like vanilla and chocolate to ‘special’ flavors like ‘pretzel salad’ and coconut. All Hopkins Farm Creamery ice cream is produced on the farm itself, which is home to more than 1,000 cows. From 2021 they will also have cakes in their assortment, so who knows, you might be lucky…
8. Indian River Marina
On the coast is Indian River Marina, one of Delaware’s ports. This place is definitely worth a visit to experience the real coastal feeling. Board one of the shipping companies to take a tour of the bay. Do you like to cast your fishing rod? Then you should definitely take a trip with a so-called ‘charter boat’. The captain will then take you to the best fishing spots in the bay. Easily seasick? There is also plenty to do on land in the harbor. At Hammerheads Dockside Restaurant you can enjoy a snack while watching the boats come in. Various festivals are also organized in the port throughout the year. Can’t get enough of it at all? It is also possible to stay in one of the holiday homes near the harbor.
9. Santa Claus Lane
Are you in Delaware in the fall? Then you should definitely not miss Santa Claus Lane. Although it may sound like it, Santa Claus (unfortunately) does not live here. But it could! In the north of the state is the town of Bear, where the home of the Fauchner family is located. Every year they decorate their entire house with Christmas lights. They do this so exuberantly that they have already made the national news once. Every year they have a different theme and sometimes even Santa Claus comes to visit! Super fun to drive down the street with small children. Please note, it can be very busy!
10. St Edmond’s Catholic Church
Located in Rehoboth, St. Edmonds Catholic Church is near the beach. Unlike other American states, Delaware has a relatively large Catholic community. You can of course attend a service, but keep in mind that it can be very busy. If you’re not that religious, it’s definitely worth seeing the building from the outside; because it is beautiful.
11. Filasky’s Produce
A super fun trip is Filasky’s Produce. This family business has been growing their own fruit and vegetables since 1981, which they then sell fresh to the local community and tourists. They regularly organize markets and they also have their own strawberry garden, where you can pick your own strawberries. There are special tours for children, where they can learn something about life on the farm. Are you there in the fall? No worries! Activities are also organized in the fall months, including a Halloween Hay Ride and a Pumpkin Patch.
12. Old State House
When in Dover, don’t miss Old State House. This house, which was built in 1791, was used for the government of the state during the revolutionary years. So the building has been hugely important in the earlier years of the state of Delaware. In the end it was also used as a court. Guided tours are given on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays (on Wednesdays and Sundays on request). Entrance is free.
13. The Quillen Arena
Quillen Arena is located in the middle of the state, in the town of Harrington. This building regularly hosts events, including horse shows and motocross competitions. The Delaware State Fair is always held here in the summer, a huge fair. During the Fair you can enjoy exciting attractions, beautiful live performances and delicious food. Often there is also a part of the fair where you can view all kinds of livestock; may sound crazy, but often a typical part of an American fair!
14. Smyrna Rest Area
Do you want to rest during a long car ride? Then stop in Smyrna, in northern Delaware. Here you will find Smyrna Rest Area, to take a rest – the name says it all. If you only stop here to use the restroom, you’re really undermining the place! It is beautiful here; it’s not called a ‘mini state park’ by locals for nothing. In 1937 this oasis of tranquility consisted of only one picnic table, but today it is visited by two million people every year. Some locals even come there every day. Sounds like the perfect place to stretch your legs during a long car ride!
15. Fort Delaware State Park
Fort Delaware is located in the north of the state. Definitely a must-visit if you like history! This fort, located on Pea Patch Island, can only be reached by ferry. It was used as a camp for captured Confederate soldiers during the Civil War. Visit the fort and let yourself be taken back to that time. Employees are dressed in traditional costume and regularly conduct demonstrations with cannons. Not much into history? The island is rumored to be haunted, so ghost tours are often organized in the fall.
Frequently Asked Questions about Delaware
What Is the Best Time of Year to Visit Delaware?
In the past, Delaware beach was especially popular among Americans in the summer. This is still the case, but Delaware is now also visited more often in the fall. It is a bit quieter compared to the summer. For a warm temperature, it is best to go in the summer: it will then be around 30 °C. In winter it often freezes.
What can you do in Delaware?
Although the state only has one major city – Wilmington – the above tips are fun trips to fill an afternoon. If you like the American lifestyle, Delaware is definitely recommended to stop by.
How many days do you need in Delaware?
This of course depends entirely on your budget, but because the state is of course not large, you drove through the state in about two hours. The distances are therefore not great: after about one week you have seen everything.