Visit Delaware City for a weekend, and there's a good chance you may not ever want to leave. This historic riverside town packs a lot of love into one accessible, affordable package: You'll enjoy Delaware City's small-town charm, but appreciate its dash of grown-up fun. Vacationers will marvel at the natural beauty of its wildlife sanctuaries, and be amazed how it's all within easy reach of such creature comforts as dining and shopping.

In Delaware City, travelers can take their pick of pleasurable pursuits:

Delaware City-- History: Just a half-mile ferry ride from the Delaware City docks stands the looming granite-and-brick fortress of Fort Delaware, located midstream in the Delaware River on Pea Patch Island. Known as the Alcatraz of the East Coast, Fort Delaware once housed Confederate prisoners during the Civil War, and costumed state park interpreters keep things lively with an ever-changing array of historical programs (you may even see a ghost or two!).

-- Nature: Take a quick hike to the north end of Pea Patch Island, and travelers will be in what the Audubon Society calls a bird sanctuary of "continental significance," complete with a nature trail and an observation tower. This oasis of natural beauty is home to the largest "heronry" on the East Coast north of Florida, hosting nine species of wading birds, including the Great Blue Heron, Snowy Egret, and Yellow-crowned Night-Heron. Immediately south of Delaware City, near the base of the Reedy Point Bridge, amateur dinosaur hunters can dig up fossils deposited 65 to 85 million years ago.

Delaware Steamed Crabs-- Fun and Food: When the explorations are through, savvy travelers head to such hangouts as Crabby Dicks seafood restaurant on Delaware City's lovely main street to enjoy such Delaware-style classics as crabcakes and even crab pasta. Take a short post-dinner stroll to enjoy some antique shopping, or maybe some ice-cream slurping, along a main street that's framed by views of a quiet park and the mighty river.

-- Water, water everywhere: As a riverside port town situated alongside the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal, Delaware City is all about the waterways and the bounty they bring. The Delaware City Marina offers slips, a ship's store, a gift shop and a full array of marine services. Visitors can get a true taste of that maritime charm at such restaurants as Kathy's Crab House or Wiso's, where the salty crustaceans are available tableside or for pickup.