John Dickinson Plantation
Delaware Winter Wonders to Add to Your Bucket List
Ready to make your winter bucket list and check it twice? Grab your coat, gloves, scarves, and mask, because here is a round-up of the top 15 things to do in Delaware this winter season. From socially distanced hikes to raising a glass around the fire, there’s always something to do during the colder months ahead.
1. Riverfront Wilmington
Restaurants, shopping, and miles of trail make Riverfront Wilmington a must visit during any time of the year. Take a stroll alongside the Christina River and make sure to stop for a photo in front of the Delaware Discoveries Trail interactive street art in front of the Delaware Children's Museum.
2. Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge
Explore the many trails around Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge in search of native birds from the warm comfort of your car. That’s right, Bombay Hook offers a 12-mile wildlife drive, showcasing the largest remaining expanses of tidal salt marsh in the mid-Atlantic region and all of its inhabitants.
3. Junction Breakwater Trail
Hike and bike across the Junction Breakwater Trail, skirting along the coast, to take in some truly scenic backdrops. Or grab your four-footed friend for a walk along the beach and boardwalk in Bethany or Rehoboth Beach.
4. Take a class and learn something new
The winter months are the perfect time to learn something new or pick up a new hobby. Get wrapped up in knitting or get your hands dirty with a little DIY work. The Yarn Maven will help you find the right supplies while hooking you up with all of the tips and tricks to tackle your first project.
Looking to DIY at H.O.M.E? Try your hand at acrylic paint pouring or candle making with Dirty Hands DIY’s at home kits. Perfect for those especially cold days when you just want to wrap in a blanket and get crafting.
5. Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library
Winterthur isn’t just the largest collection of Americana in the states, during the colder months the grounds become a winter playground with outdoor trails to walk and take in the invigorating air of Winter. And if you happen to visit during the holidays, Winterthur is decked out with decorations, fire pits, and s’mores.
6. Killens Pond State Park
Take a stroll through the 2.6 miles of pondside trail in Killens Pond State Park. This serene spot features a 66-acre pond and for a truly scenic view you can stand on the Pondside Bridge to take in the stillness of the season.
7. Raise your glass and your spirits
A warm cup of coffee isn’t the only way to warm up during the colder months. At Painted Stave Distilling in Smyrna you can enjoy one of their seasonally inspired cocktails while warming up next to the firepit in their courtyard.
Wood fired dishes and big beers will keep you warm when you’re dining outside at Dogfish Head’s downtown Rehoboth location, Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats. With a rotating lineup of beers brewed specifically for their brewpub and outdoor heaters to warm up to, you’ll find yourself coming back again and again this winter.
If you find yourself drawn to the city glow of Wilmington in the winter and you’re looking for a stop to warm yourself up with savory brews and tapas-style food, look no further than Stitch House Brewery.
8. Brandywine Creek State Park
Once a dairy farm, the Brandywine Creek State Park is now home to three nature preserves collected into one grand outdoor experience. While the park boasts over 1,100 acres and miles of hiking trails, in the winter it’s one of the best places to sled in Delaware.
9. Tax-free shopping in unique boutiques
With tax-free shopping year round and boutiques you won’t find anywhere else, shopping doesn’t stop in Delaware once the holidays are over. And with many of these locations providing curbside pick-up, delivery, and private shopping hours, it’s easy to shop and stay safe this winter.
Boutique shopping in Rehoboth Beach can’t be beat. Walk the avenue taking in the window displays, get lost down the small shop filled alleyways, and hit the boardwalk with your bags overflowing with all of your wondrous finds.
In Northern Delaware you’ll find upscale shopping that would feel at home in any major metropolis. Whether you’re in downtown Wilmington at Morgan’s of Delaware or in Greenville at ELLIE, you’ll find modern and chic women’s trends.
What’s old is new again. If you’re looking for that vintage style with throw-back looks and Sanuk sandals for the whole family, BLUvintage in Dover and Lewes has you covered. And as an extra bucket list bonus, be on the lookout for their internet famous guard cat, Larry..
10. Historic New Castle
When you step onto the streets of Historic New Castle, you’d feel right at home in a Dickinson novel complete with cobblestone streets and stately townhomes. Stroll through and shop in the quaint colonial charm of New Castle before checking out the history of the First State National Historical Park.
11. Warm up with these coffee shops
Nothing beats the pairing of a warm beverage and the crisp cold winter air. With several Brew Ha Ha locations, you can grab a delicious handcrafted coffee walk downtown Wilmington.
If you’re in Dover be sure to stop at House of Coffi. Located in a historic building in downtown Dover, you can grab a coffee and a pastry to start your morning or keep you warm throughout the chilly winter days.
Coffee inspired by travel to help fuel your travels this winter. 3BB Cafe located in Bethany Beach, is all about enjoying delicious coffee while enjoying your time on the coast, “You’re on vacation. Act like it.” And don’t forget to take some coffee beans and pastries back home with you.
12. Delaware History Trail
Delaware is full of history and winter is a great time to discover, or rediscover, all of its historical treasures. Visiting well worn paths from historic coastal communities to sprawling Du Pont estates in the winter allows you to see the history of the state and of the nation in a brand new perspective.
Historic Odessa brings the 18th-century to life with their historic homes and surrounding properties and gardens and during the colder months it becomes festively decorated, winter wreaths fastened to doors and fresh greens draped across arches.
Traveling through Dover? Stop by the Air Mobility Command Museum which is home to more than 30 historic, heavy-lifting US military aircraft. Most notably Air Force Two, the official plane of many U.S. Vice Presidents.
For breathtaking views of the coast and our nation’s history, visit Cape Henlopen State Park, home to Fort Miles. Originally constructed as one of our nation’s most important East Coast defensive fortifications, Fort Miles and it’s observation towers now stand as reminders of the nation’s WWII home front history.
13. Winter stays
Winter also offers a chance for solitude and reflection. And for those looking to get away and enjoy the tranquility of a quiet and quaint destination, The Inn at Montchanin Village and Spa provides just that. Nestled in Wilmington’s Greenville neighborhood, it’s the perfect blend of luxury and privacy perfect for a winter getaway.
Looking to do some shopping at the boutiques in Rehoboth Beach, stay at The Bellmoor Inn & Spa right off of Rehoboth Avenue. Just minutes from the boardwalk, you can stroll along the serene coast taking in the winter light and grab dinner to-go from Rehoboth’s vibrant restaurant scene on your way back to the inn.
If you’re on the trail of Delaware’s history, Causey Mansion Bed and Breakfast in historic Milford is a must stay. This Georgian style home turned Inn hosted many families throughout the years, influential to both Milford and Delaware’s history. The inn is also located right in downtown Milford, perfect for taking a stroll along the Mispillion Riverwalk.
14. Hagley Museum and Library
Nestled along the banks of the Brandywine you’ll find 235 acres of this gorgeous historic property. Tour the historic gunpowder yards, wooded trails, and take in the architecture of the original stone buildings set against the backdrop of a wintery wonderland.
15. Delaware Discoveries Trail
The great outdoors combined with one-of-a-kind artwork makes for the perfect way to explore Delaware this winter. Discover wintery backdropped Insta-worthy moments from the North to the South at nine different locations, featuring exclusive art only found in Delaware. In fact, some of those art pieces can be found in locations already on this list. And if you take an especially cool photo of at least four locations you’ll get a chance to receive a limited-edition prize.
Before visiting Delaware be sure to view our Go-To-Guide for tips on how to #ExploreSafelyDE. Please remember to plan ahead and maintain social distancing. Please wear a face covering and bring hand sanitizer. 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.