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DELAWARE TRAVEL GUIDE

Rehoboth Beach boardwalk, Delaware Futuro House, Milton, Delaware

Welcome to the bigroads.com travel guide to Delaware! Hopefully this page helps provide some inspiration and tips to help you plan your next trip to Delaware.

Take note that I build and maintain this website as both a hobby and public service. I take joy in performing travel research and sharing my experiences and adventures. I do not make any profit from this website, and you will see no ads on it. Your constructive feedback about this site and its content is encouraged. Please email me if you have any suggestions or ideas for improvement.

Author/Contributor: Greg Parsons


OVERVIEW



Most travelers to Delaware are headed straight to the southern half of the state, where you'll find several great coastal towns and their lively beaches. Family-friendly attractions abound there, making southern Delaware a great alternative to the beaches of Southern New Jersey or Ocean City in Maryland. The northern half of the state is noteworthy for its museums and green spaces.

5-STAR ATTRACTIONS IN DELAWARE



Here is my opinionated list of 5-star attractions in Delaware. I believe each of these attractions should be on your Delaware bucket list since they are all noteworthy from a national perspective:

Northern Delaware (including Dover, New Castle, and Wilmington)
Air Mobility Command Museum, Dover - more than 30 military aircraft on display (most of which are are outdoors)
Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge, Smyrna - one of the best bird-watching spots in the mid-Atlantic
Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington - good art museum with outdoor sculpture garden
Dover Downs Hotel & Casino, Dover - best casino in Delaware
Dover International Speedway, Dover - famous NASCAR speedway
Fort Delaware State Park, Delaware City - tour an 1859 Union fort; a 1/2 mile boat ferry is required
Go Ape Zip Line & Treetop Adventure, Bear - excellent aerial adventure / zip-line park
Grand Opera House, Wilmington - best performing arts theatre in Delaware
Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington - tour a 235-acre estate with historic buildings and gardens; holds many events throughout the year
John Dickinson Plantation, Dover - costumed re-enactors of colonial residents
Miles The Monster, Dover - giant roadside attraction of a monster mascot at Dover International Speedway
Nemours Estate / Nemours Mansion, Wilmington - tour a 300-acre estate with French-style gardens
Stainless Steel Mary, New Castle - shiny & impressive 34-foot tall Virgin Mary statue
White Clay Creek State Park, Newark - 37 miles of hiking and biking trails to historic sites and scenic views
Wilmington & Western Railroad, Wilmington - one of the East Coast's best railroad journeys
Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library, Winterthur - spectacular 175-room mansion famous for its furniture; small guided tours are offered

Southern Delaware (including Bethany Beach, Dewey Beach, Fenwick Island, Lewes Beach, and Rehoboth Beach)
Bethany Beach, Bethany Beach - arguably the best family-friendly beach in Delaware
Cape Henlopen State Park, Lewes - beaches & sand dunes; hiking & biking trails; historic military sites; campground and cabin rentals
Dewey Beach, Dewey Beach - one of Delaware's best beaches; just south of Rehoboth Beach; "a lively beach town with good nightlife"
DiscoverSea Shipwreck Museum, Fenwick Island - 10,000+ shipwreck and recovered maritime artifacts
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Milton - famous brewery with tours & a tasting room
Fenwick Island State Park, Fenwick Island - 3 miles of ocean beaches near the southern end of Delaware
Funland, Rehoboth Beach - boardwalk amusement park & arcade
Jungle Jim's & River Safari Water Park, Rehoboth Beach - Delaware's best amusement park
Lewes Beach - one of Delaware's best beaches; very close to Rehoboth Beach; you can take a nearby ferry to visit Cape May, NJ as well
Rehoboth Beach, Rehoboth Beach - most lively & famous summer resort in Delaware
Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk, Rehoboth Beach - famous boardwalk with lots of restaurants, shops, and amusements

Are you aware of any other 5-star attractions in Delaware? If so, please email me at gparsons66@hotmail.com.

TOP 10 ATTRACTIONS IN DELAWARE



Are you short on time or struggling to choose something to do or see in Delaware? Here are my selections for the top 10 attractions or experiences in Delaware, in no particular order:

Enjoy one Delaware's seaside resort towns and their beaches
Go kayaking on Fenwick Island
Take the kids to Funland, an family amusement center found on the beach boardwalk in Rehoboth Beach
Explore the coastal views and bike paths of Cape Henlopen State Park, arguably the best state park in the state
Go bird-watching at Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge
Catch a NASCAR race at Dover International Speedway
Hop on the Wilmington & Western Railroad for a scenic railroad journey
Visit the Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library in Winterthur
Drink up at the Dogfish Head Craft Brewery in Milton
Explore the Hagley Museum and Library in Wilmington

If I could pick only one place to visit in Delaware, I would choose the Delaware beaches.

BEST TOWNS & CITIES TO VISIT IN DELAWARE



These towns and cities in Delaware are generally regarded as the most interesting to travelers:

Bethany Beach - beaches; beach boardwalk; family-friendly atmosphere
Lewes - beaches; coastal views; historic district; gateway to Cape Henlopen State Park; surfing; fishing; biking
Rehoboth Beach - beaches; beach boardwalk; nightlife; tourist shops and small amusement parks
Wilmington - several excellent museums and green spaces

My favorite city in Delaware = Wilmington - I recommend that first-time visitors spend at least 1-2 nights here
My favorite small town in Delaware = Bethany Beach - I recommend that first-time visitors spend at least 2-3 nights here

Click here if you'd like to see a complete list of towns and cities that I find interesting across the entire U.S.

WHAT IS DELAWARE FAMOUS FOR?



Here are some things that Delaware is famous or well-known for:

beaches
beach boardwalks
chemical manufacturing
first state in the U.S.
incorporating a business
seaside amusements
tax-free shopping

Click here if you'd like to learn what other U.S. states are famous for.

NATIONAL PARKS IN DELAWARE



Delaware does not currently have any national parks, national monuments, or national forests. It does have a few other federally-managed parks and properties though, including:

National Wildlife Refuges
Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge
Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge

National Historical Parks / Other National Parks
Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail
First State National Historic Park
Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail

For more information on Delaware's national parks, visit the Delaware page of the National Park Service. For an overview of all U.S. national parks, click here.

STATE PARKS IN DELAWARE



Delaware has more than 15 state parks. Many would agree that these represent Delaware's finest state parks:

Flagship / Premier State Parks:
Cape Henlopen State Park, Lewes - beaches & sand dunes; hiking & biking trails; historic military sites; campground and cabin rentals
Fenwick Island State Park, Fenwick Island - beaches; surfing; hiking trails
Fort Delaware State Park, Delaware City - tour an 1859 Union fort; a 1/2 mile boat ferry is required

Other Notable State Parks:
Delaware Seashore State Park, Rehoboth Beach - great surfing and fishing
Trap Pond State Park, Laurel - extensive wetlands; great hiking, biking, and kayaking
White Clay Creek State Park, Newark - more than 37 miles of hiking and biking trails; 18-house disc golf course; good fly-fishing

My favorite state park in Delaware is Cape Henlopen State Park.

To see my list of the top 100 state parks in the country, click here.

BEST WATERFALLS IN DELAWARE



Delaware has only one known natural waterfall, and it's only a small cascade (Rockland Falls).

Take note that the Delaware Water Gap has several waterfalls, but that park is located in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and not Delaware.

BEST SCENIC DRIVES IN DELAWARE



The only scenic drive in Delaware that I feel is significant on a national scale is DE-1 from Dewey Beach south the Maryland border. This road directly passes by, or is very close to, nearly all of Delaware's famous Atlantic beaches.

BEST RAIL TRAILS IN DELAWARE



Delaware has several great rail trails (or paths that are similar to rail trails) for cycling and walking, including:

Georgetown-Lewes Trail - 10 miles one-way; 100% paved
Jack A. Markell Trail - 6 miles one-way; mostly paved, but some is on a boardwalk
Junction & Breakwater Trail - 7 miles one-way; mix of paved and unpaved
Michael N. Castle C&D Canal Trail - 12 miles one-way; 100% paved

For more information on rail trails in Delaware, visit the website of the Rails to Trails Conservancy.

BEST AMUSEMENT PARKS / THEME PARKS IN DELAWARE



There are only a few amusement parks in Delaware:

Funland, Rehoboth Beach
Jungle Jim's, Rehoboth Beach
Midway Speedway Park & White Water Mountain Water Park, Rehoboth Beach
Viking Amusements and Thunder Lagoon Waterpark, Fenwick Island

None of these amusement parks is really nationally significant, although having them so close to Delaware's beaches makes them fun and very popular tourist attractions. Many of them offer old-fashioned, relatively cheap fun.

BEST BEACHES IN DELAWARE



Delaware has several excellent beaches. The best beaches in Delaware include:

Bethany Beach
Cape Henlopen State Park
Delaware Seashore State Park
Dewey Beach
Fenwick Island State Park
Lewes Beach
Rehoboth Beach

BEST MUSEUMS IN DELAWARE



Delaware has several highly-rated museums. The best museums in Delaware include:

Air Mobility Command Museum, Dover - has more than 30 aircraft on display (most are outdoors)
Biggs Museum of American Art, Dover
Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington
Delaware Children's Museum, Wilmington
Delaware Museum of Nature & Science, Wilmington
DiscoverSea Shipwreck Museum, Fenwick Island - 10,000+ maritime artifacts
Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington - tour a 235-acre estate with historic buildings and gardens; holds many events throughout the year
Nemours Estate / Nemours Mansion, Wilmington - tour a 300-acre estate with French-style gardens
Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library, Winterthur - spectacular 175-room mansion famous for its furniture; small guided tours are offered

BEST DAY HIKES IN DELAWARE



Delaware offers a few good areas for hiking. Here are some of the best hiking areas in Delaware:

Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge trails - excellent bird-watching on pristine salt marshes
Cape Henlopen State Park trails - e.g. Gordons Pond
Delaware Seashore State Park trails
Trap Pond State Park trails - e.g. Boundary Trail
White Clay Creek State Park trails - there are over 37 miles of trails in this park

The highpoint of Delaware is Ebright Azimuth (448'). The highpoint is beside a paved road, and so no hiking is required to reach it. A sign marks the spot.

I am not aware of any backpacking opportunities in Delaware. Please email me if you know of any!

CLASSIC OUTDOOR ADVENTURES IN DELAWARE



Delaware offers several fun adventure opportunities, including these classic activities:

Bouldering in Rockford Park
Canoeing/kayaking the Broadkill River
Canoeing/kayaking the Mispillion River
Canoeing/kayaking in Trap Pond State Park -visit a bald cypress swamp on the Terrapin Branch Water Trail
Cycling the Junction & Breakwater Trail
Cycling the Michael Castle Trail
Fly-fishing in White Clay Creek State Park
Kayaking on Fenwick Island and Little Assawoman Bay
Jet skiing on Dewey Beach
Mountain biking in Brandywine Creek State Park
Mountain biking in White Clay Creek State Park
Para-sailing on Dewey Beach
Rock climbing in Alapocas Run State Park
Surfing on Dewey Beach
Surfing in Fenwick Island State Park

There are also some cycling opportunities near some of Delaware's famous beaches (including Bethany Beach, Lewes, and Rehoboth Beach). Each of those beaches have at least one company that offers bike rentals.

DELAWARE TRAVEL TIPS



For offbeat and unique Delaware attractions, visit one or both of these amazing websites: Atlas Obscura and Roadside America

The beaches and fun seaside amusements continue if you keep driving south from Delaware into Maryland along highway DE-1. For example, Ocean City, Maryland is only 15-20 minutes south of the Delaware border.

You can take a ferry from Lewes, Delaware to visit Cape May in New Jersey. Cape May is absolutely worth a day trip - it has lots of great shops, restaurants, and tons of interesting Victorian architecture.

UNIQUE / SPECIALTY FOODS TO TRY IN DELAWARE



Here are some unique / specialty foods to try while you are in Delaware:

broiled chicken and sour-milk biscuits
creamed-corn pudding
dilly crab dip
muddle fish stew
peach pie
scrapple
vinegar french fries

For a list of unique foods and mom-and-pop type eateries and restaurants in Delaware (or any other U.S. state), visit the Roadfood.com website.
For a list of unique foods to try in each of the 50 U.S. states, click here.
For a list of the top-rated beers to try in Delaware (or any other U.S. state), visit the Beer Advocate website.

OTHER KEY DELAWARE INFORMATION



Capital = Dover
Major airports = none; people will typically fly into Philadelphia and then drive into Delaware
Largest cities = Wilmington (70,908), Dover (40,075), Newark (30,431)
Primary U.S. interstates = I-95
State highpoint = Ebright Azimuth (448'); you can drive to the highpoint on a paved road and a sign marks the spot
Professional sports teams = none

Take note that in general this travel guide intentionally excluded restaurants, lodging/hotels, breweries, wineries/vineyards, and certain other types of attractions (like arcades, ax-throwing, bowling alleys, and escape rooms). These types of places tend to come and go, and keeping up with that would be too challenging. I encourage you to use Google Maps, Tripadvisor, Yelp, and other travel sites that have reader reviews to find the latest and greatest places that I haven't covered here.


Rehoboth Beach boardwalk, Delaware
Rehoboth Beach boardwalk, Delaware

Futuro House in Milton, Delaware
Futuro House in Milton, Delaware

MORE U.S. STATE TRAVEL GUIDES



Did you enjoy this travel guide? If so, here are links to more U.S. state travel guides:

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