America’s First State may be small in size, but it’s huge on highlights. Delaware is virtually unknown outside of America’s East Coast, and that’s good news for travelers looking for an inspiring blend of nature, beaches, and friendly towns within an hour of the bustle of Philadelphia and Baltimore.
Delaware is actually a popular holiday destination for regional folks in the know. Its five beach towns each have their own character and all are pretty places to enjoy the sea and sand in summer. Inland, the Brandywine Valley is home to the state’s top tourist attractions like the Winterthur estate and Longwood Gardens. As one of America’s earliest colonies, Delaware offers a number of charming, colonial-era towns to explore, such as Lewes and New Castle.
The gentle, rolling topography of Delaware makes it ideal for biking, hiking, and other casual outdoor activities. The terrain is also perfect for golfing, as any of its lush, rolling courses will attest. The rivers that flow to the sea, such as the Brandywine River, are popular for boating and fishing, and of course, the ocean provides some of the best deep sea fishing in the region.
The sea also provides the incredible seafood that is so popular in Delaware. With Chesapeake Bay just next door, fresh crab is often a highlight on menus. But Delaware likes to keep things on the down low, so expect a fun nightlife scene based around locally-crafted beers and live music on the beach rather than pulsating nightclubs. The residents of the First State are extremely friendly, but they’ve got plenty of reasons to feel good, based on their laid-back atmosphere and variety of outdoor scenery to enjoy. Visitors will enjoy all of this, too, especially when they realize how affordable lodging, dining out, and drinks are.
With major East Coast cities like Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, DC just an hour or two drive, Delaware is easy to add onto most travel itineraries on the Eastern seaboard. You can move between the beaches and river valleys in a day, but it helps greatly if you have your own car.
There is no airport in Delaware, so most travelers fly into the international airports at Philadelphia (a 30 minute drive from Wilmington) or Baltimore (1 hour, 30 minute drive from Wilmington). Shuttles provide convenient transport right to major tourist towns from these neighboring states, especially from Philadelphia International Airport. Otherwise, it’s easy to rent a car right and drive yourself to Delaware. The compact nature makes it a breeze to get around the major centers of attraction.
- Have fun at the popular beach towns of Rehoboth, Bethany, and Dewey
- Experience colonial America in the historic downtown of New Castle, Delaware’s first capital
- Tour the extraordinary and massive Longwood gardens in the Brandywine Valley
- Visit the DuPont legacy of Winterthur, a veritable palace estate right in the heart of Delaware
- Escape the crowds with a quiet stroll at Delaware Seashore State Park
- Catch one of the two major NASCAR races each year at Dover Speedway
- Rent a bike and cruise along the state’s wonderfully flat and easy scenic coastal bike route