Day Trip to Delaware
Sandy beaches, tax-free shopping, a rich heritage, scenic state parks, local wineries and breweries, and flavorful cuisine – the state of Delaware is full of exciting discoveries. Delaware has three distinct regions, each with its own appeal and character: New Castle, Kent and Sussex counties.
History fans will enjoy New Castle County, home to the picturesque Brandywine Valley, where Hagley Museum and Library’s 19th-century mills depict the DuPont Co.’s origins as manufacturers of gunpowder, and where Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library, and Nemours Mansion and Gardens showcase the family’s love of architecture, antiques and elaborate gardens. Visitors are whisked back in time, as they stroll through historic New Castle’s cobblestone streets or tour Fort Delaware, an island fortress that tells the story of Confederate prisoners awaiting the outcome of the Civil War. New Castle is also home to Wilmington, and Newark, site of the University of Delaware.
Kent County is home to the Delaware state capital, Dover, centered on rich history and heritage with attractions such as First State Heritage Park, John Dickinson Plantation and Air Mobility Command Museum. Explore the great outdoors, while cycling alongside scenic farmlands, glamping at Killens Pond State Park or searching for migratory shorebirds at Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge. Experience the thrill of high-banked turns at the Dover International Speedway’s racetrack, nicknamed “the Monster Mile,” located near Dover Downs Hotel and Casino and home to two NASCAR Sprint Cup races a year.
Sussex County offers miles of sandy Delaware beaches with small-town charm. The region is home to Lewes, Rehoboth Beach, Dewey Beach, Bethany Beach and Fenwick Island – coastal communities with iconic boardwalks, savory cuisine, charming boutiques and lively nightlife. Spend the day at Cape Henlopen State Park, a scenic getaway with invigorating trails and a historic twist, including World War II observation towers that offer 360-degree views of the beach. Travel a few miles north for an off-centered tour and tasting at Dogfish Head Craft Brewery. Paddle your way through southern Delaware by canoeing and kayaking scenic waterways and inland bays, or plan a visit to Trap Pond State Park, home to the northernmost stand of bald cypress trees in the United States.
Across the state, take advantage of buying more for less with tax-free shopping. From high-end stores at the Christiana Mall located just off I-95 to the mile of style at the Rehoboth Beach Tanger Outlets, Delaware is a shopper’s paradise. You’ll find everything from Apple products to Nordstrom to unique finds at boutique stores in quaint downtown communities.
Throughout the year, attend one of Delaware’s many festivals and events. Summer’s biggest hit besides relaxing at the beach is rocking out to the music industry’s biggest acts at the Firefly Music Festival. Fall is about birding, watching the foliage change as the weeks go by. During the height of fall festival season you’ll sample new flavors at the Delaware Wine and Beer Fesetival or enjoy the smooth sounds of the Rehoboth Beach Jazz Festival. Celebrate the holiday season with festive exhibits at historic du Pont estates and warm up your winter with visits to Delaware museums, art galleries and theaters. Finally, spring is prime time for outdoor recreation. Stroll the lush gardens of the du Pont mansions – Nemours, Hagley and Winterthur. Enjoy the annual Dover Days Festival, where Delaware history takes center stage. Or hit the trails at one the scenic Delaware State Parks or plan a fishing excursion on one of the state’s many waterways. No matter what the season, now is a great time to discover Delaware.