Delaware might be small in stature, but tourists planning a trip to the Mid-Atlantic or Northeast shouldn’t let it speed by on the way up or down I-95. The First State has a fascinating bevy of attractions on offer — some historical, some cultural, some scenic and some just plain weird. Here’s a look at five top Delaware destinations that deserve a spot on your itinerary.
1. The (Almost) Big City Lights of Wilmington
Though traditionally known as a regional center of banking and finance, Wilmington is coming into its own as a cultural destination for families and fun-loving young adults alike. From locally supported organizations like OperaDelaware and the Delaware Symphony Orchestra to the myriad brewpubs and restaurants that line the Delaware Riverfront, there’s something for everyone here.
2. The Delaware History Trail
As the First State, Delaware is serious about its history. What better way to get the full measure than with the Delaware History Trail? This engaging string of historical attractions takes visitors from one end of the state to the other, stopping at some or all of the 36 recognized landmarks along the way. Trailgoers see such varied sights as museums filled with early American art, the shore that saw the first boatload of English explorers set foot on what would become the United States, and the hall where the Constitution was first ratified.
3. Rehoboth Beach
One of the most popular things to see in Delaware is Rehoboth Beach, a quirky seaside town with a laid-back atmosphere and a stunning range of seasonal businesses, including popular souvenir shops, pubs and art galleries. A word of warning: Rehoboth Beach’s population swells by nearly 20-fold in the summer, so plan your trip for the still-mild shoulder seasons if at all possible. (Lodging deals are generally better then, too.)
4. The Delaware Beer, Wine and Spirits Trail
With a name like that, it’s better not disappoint. Fortunately, Delaware’s Beer, Wine and Spirits Trail lives up to its promise, thanks largely to the enterprising craftspeople and favorable climate of the First State. The DBWST traverses nearly the entire length of Delaware, hitting craft beer favorites like Dogfish Head and sophisticated wineries like Harvest Ridge along the way. The catch: To make the most of the DBWST, you need to download a “passport” from Delaware’s official tourism website and visit at least eight of the destinations on it, making sure to get an employee’s signoff at each one. Once you amass eight, send your passport to the state tourism bureau and watch the mail for your prize — a shiny new wine glass or beer mug.
5. Dover International Speedway
NASCAR fans, take heart: Dover International Speedway sits in the heart of Delaware, near the center of the state’s government. It routinely hosts NASCAR events and other competitions throughout the year, but “the world’s fastest one-mile oval” is a great place to check out regardless of what’s on the schedule. Your car-loving kids will definitely appreciate a stop here.
Are you already planning your next trip to Delaware? What sights are you most looking forward to seeing?