A new year means new opportunities to explore and discover endless opportunities. When the time is right, here are 21 things to do in 2021, whether they’re brand new, new to you, or something you’ve been meaning to re-discover.
Explore the miles of trails in Delaware’s State Parks
With acres and acres of State Park there’s bound to be a trail you have yet to discover. Lace up those hiking boots and strike out along Brandywine Creek State Park’s gorgeous stone walls, the looping Boardwalk Trail at Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge, or Cape Henlopen State Park’s trails that wind in and out of dunes.
Take a pic stop on the brand new Delaware Discoveries Trail
Fill your Insta feed with photos of Delaware exclusive interactive artwork from local artists located throughout the state on the Delaware Discoveries Trail. You can find amazing art all throughout the state, from the bright rays at Big Chill Beach Club to the kaleidoscope of color in Delaware Art Museum’s peacock feathers.
Tap into your DE on Tap checklist
Visit a new-to-you brewery or check in on your favorite craft locale to see what’s pouring. Delaware’s constantly expanding craft beverage scene has something for everyone. Complete your checklist, whether you’re into wineries, like Harvest Ridge (who also has ciders), distilleries, The Painted Stave in Smyrna has you covered, or meaderies, Delaware has a few including Brimming Horn and Liquid Alchemy. Or if you’re a hop head, you’ll find no shortage of new and innovative breweries like Crooked Hammock, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, and Autumn Arch Beer Project.
Visit all of the DuPont estates
Take a tour of one (or all) of the beautiful DuPont estates found in Northern Delaware and wonder through grand gardens and amazing architecture. Hagley Museum and Library highlights the history of the DuPont family and the gunpowder works they established along the Brandywine River, while Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library, surrounded by it’s carefully orchestrated gardens, holds an amazing collection of Americana art. Mt. Cuba Center is an endless discovery, a botanical garden with lush natural gardens and spectacular displays of wildflowers, and Nemours Estate, with its French neoclassical inspirations, stands like a reminder of Old World European royalty complete with reflecting pool and a long garden walk leading to the mansion.
Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge is home to an impressive amount of migrating birds, so bring your binoculars or your camera with a telephoto lens to take in this wonderful winged display. Located just east of Milton you’ll find Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge, an important stopover site to migratory birds, providing safe habitats for many threatened and endangered species. Delaware is also home to the American Birding Association, so you’ll have no trouble finding birds of a feather to share your passion with.
Discover your roots
Stop and smell the flowers at Lavender Fields Farm at Warrington Manor, where you can stroll through rows and rows of fragrant flowering lavender. Be sure to stop at their store to bring home lavender soaps, sprays, and teas. And what trip through Delaware wouldn’t be complete without a stop in Camden-Wyoming for apple cider and apple cider donuts from Fifer Orchards’ Farm and Country Store.
Expand your palette
The Delaware dining scene is not only diverse but is beginning to be nationally recognized. Looking for fine dining? You’ll find James Beard nominated Bardea serving up neo-Italian dishes in Wilmington or elevated farm-to-table fare in the Lewes local favorite, Heirloom. Or maybe you’re after some BBQ? Maverick Texas BBQ and Bethany Blues will stoke your pit flames. WIth so many great options and styles, you’ll find yourself dining out and discovering something new for years to come.
Pick up a new hobby
For those looking to keep themselves busy over the past year with new hobbies, 2020 taught us the importance of communities. Whether it was knitting with The Yarn Maven, learning how to paint pour with Dirty Hands DIY, or making paper flowers with Cookie’s Paper Petals, LLC, these Delaware businesses not only supplied the tools but also helped teach us how to use them.
Start the year by focusing on you. Enjoy a soothing spa day at Inn at Montchanin Village and Spa or The Bellmoor Inn and Spa, commit to eating healthy with a juice from Nectar Cafe in Lewes, or go shopping to treat yourself at Tanger Outlets.
Travel the Broadkill or Trap Pond by kayak
First timer paddlers or experienced rowers will enjoy getting out on the water this year. And there’s quite a few aquatic options depending on your level of experience. Rent a kayak or canoe and get up close to the bald cypress trees at Trap Pond State Park or for the experienced paddlers, travel along the Broadkill from downtown Milton to Lewes with a boat from Quest Fitness and Kayak.
Uncover the lessons of history's past to better understand now. Learn about Delaware’s journey to statehood and what that meant for the United States by taking a tour of the state’s historic moments from New Castle to The Green in Dover.
Do something “touristy”
Read a book by the ocean
Find comfort in solitude and great beach read. Pick up a book from Browseabout in Rehoboth or Bethany Beach Books right off the boardwalk, grab your towel and chair, and set up for the day on the beach. Get lost in the pages with the waves crashing quietly in the background and the warm salt air gently blowing on the coast.
Bike trails are growing in Delaware making it possible to bike further than ever before. Take the Junction Breakwater Trail out of Lewes and up along Route 9 on this expanding rails to trails project or take in Riverfront Wilmington and pedal along the Jack A. Markell Trail all the way down into historic New Castle.
As if you needed an excuse to hit the links more this year, the PGA is set to make it’s Delaware debut in 2022. From Baywood Greens in Millsboro to Deerfield in Newark, you can work on your drive or practice your putting to compete with the best of them. And for those who can’t drive the ball down the fairway more than 40 feet, you’ll find plenty of putt putt to play, from the rooftop course at Ryan’s Mini Golf in Rehoboth Beach to Riverwalk Mini Golf along Riverfront Wilmington.
Eat crabs, like a lot of them, and oysters and fish too
Take advantage of Delaware’s location in the mid-Atlantic and eat the freshest seafood sourced from local waters. Watch your lunch come in fresh off the boat at JP’s Wharf in Frederica, enjoy Smoke in the Water oysters from Dogfish Head’s Chesapeake & Maine, or enjoy a whole bushel of steaming hot crabs at the seasonally run Sambo’s Tavern in Leipsic.
Discover (or rediscover) Wilmington
With the spotlight shining on the city of Wilmington thanks to President-elect and Delaware darling Joe Biden, it’s time you got to know the city better. Wilmington has all the makings of a major metropolis with museums, entertainment, and dining, but with all of the country and coastal comfort and charm of Central and Southern Delaware. You’ll spend your days in museums, like The Delaware Contemporary, Delaware Art Museum, and Delaware Children’s Museum, and your evenings enjoying fine dining, at restaurants like James Beard nominated Bardea and the recently renovated Green Room, now Le Cavelier, at Hotel DuPont.
The great ice cream debate
Ask any local or fellow traveler where the best ice cream can be found in Delaware and you’ll be left with a list longer than the menu at The Ice Cream Store in Rehoboth. Vanderwende Farm Creamery, UDairy Creamery, Blue Scoop, Kohr Brothers Frozen Custard, The Frozen Farmer, Hopkins Farm Creamery. Just to name a few. So, what’s the best way to end the debate of all debates then? It’s obvious, drive the state, taste them all, argue over who’s got the best.
Everyone knows to stop at Dolle’s and Candy Kitchen for a quick candy fix, but have you been to these surprisingly sweet spots in Delaware? You’ll find savory and sweet delights at My Sister’s Fault in Milford, German inspired baked goods at Bavarian Bakery & Deli in Dover, and caffeinated creations at Brew HaHa! in Greenville and Wilmington. And that’s just the tip of the sugar coated iceberg here in Delaware!
Wake up to the sound of crashing waves
There’s no better way to wake up then to the sound of the ocean in your backyard. Well, maybe waking up to the sound of crashing waves with all the comforts of home right at hand. Whether you’re at Bethany Beach Ocean Suites, Boardwalk Plaza Hotel, or Atlantic Sands Hotel, the sights, sounds, and ocean smells are brought right to your room as you enjoy your morning cup of coffee.
The best sunrises and sunsets
Being near the coast has its benefits. Learn to be an early bird to capture those spectacular sunrises from the boardwalk at Bethany Beach. Or watch the sunset from the riverwalk as you enjoy a meal on Riverfront Wilmington.
Please remember to plan ahead and maintain social distancing. Please wear a face covering, bring hand sanitizer, and only travel with those within your immediate family unit. Make sure to review guidelines before arriving at your destination. Some locations may be operating under different capacity or require reservations. Please remember to stay home if you are sick.