Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge
Delaware's Top 5 Fall Drives
For years, Delaware has been known as a great destination for fall foliage fans. Its location in the heart of the mid-Atlantic region puts it within easy reach for many travelers planning a day trip or a weekend jaunt. Delaware’s proximity to major waterways, including the Atlantic Ocean, ensures many scenic moments, especially in the coastal areas where migrating birds flock by the thousands, and in the wooded hills in the northern part of the state.
Prime season for turning leaves runs from October through November in Delaware, giving plenty of time to explore some of traveler's favorite scenic drives:
Brandywine Valley National Scenic Byway. This spectacular journey through the hilly back roads of Delaware’s “Chateau Country” winds its way by grand Du Pont family mansions and stately museums. Start in the heart of downtown Wilmington at Rodney Square, and you’ll soon find yourself passing the gorgeous landscapes of Nemours, Winterthur and Hagley. You’ll also ride through Brandywine Creek State Park where long stone walls lead to picture-perfect trees turning to red, orange and yellow.
Delaware Bayshore Byway. This unique coastal drive delivers soothing views of the lowlands and wetlands that make Delaware a world-class destination for bird-watchers. The two-lane road meanders along the Delaware River and Bay Estuary, passing through the largest tract of preserved coastal marshland on the East Coast. Look up, and you’ll see all the leaves changing colors. But you’ll also see millions of migrating birds pass through to rest and reinvigorate on their journey south for winter. Along the way, embrace the state’s history in spots like Colonial Old New Castle, Fort Delaware and the John Dickinson Plantation.
Nanticoke Heritage Byway. The rural landscapes of Western Sussex County have a way of soothing the soul and inspiring gentle thoughts as new vistas of farm fields and tidy tree lines emerge from around each bend in the road. Along the way, quaint towns with rich histories invite exploration. The natural beauty and easygoing terrain beckon to travelers to try their hand at biking or kayaking, especially at Trap Pond State Park, where the baldcypress trees changing colors is a sight to behold.
Coastal Highway Drive. Starting just north of Lewes, travelers can wind their way south along Delaware’s Atlantic Coast along Del. 1, enjoying the sea breeze through open windows as they explore the quaint nautical charms of Lewes and do some tax-free shopping in Rehoboth Beach. Then it’s time to fully immerse yourself in the scenic beauty of the ocean and bay, separated by just a thin stretch of land that carries the highway south toward Maryland. Discover the beaches in the fall, and uncover the shifting scene from season to season. Along the way, there’s plenty to explore in the seaside towns of Bethany Beach and Fenwick Island, and natural escapes abound in the major state parks: Cape Henlopen, Delaware Seashore, and Fenwick Island.
Wilmington & Western Railroad. While not technically a “drive,” this ride has all the appeal of one. A restored, vintage steam train pulls travelers on a relaxing and delightful journey through the changing shades and hues of the wooded hills of the Red Clay Valley with a pause for a picnic lunch. Keep an eye out for its special weekend fall excursions, featuring Full Moon, Halloween and Hay Ride runs.