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The great state of Delaware was the first state to ratify the U.S. Constitution and is known as an ideal place to start up a new business. But there are lots of fun things to do and places to visit in this tiny and underrated East Coast state too!
There are only three counties (New Castle, Kent, and Sussex) in this state, but each one has its own unique sights and attractions. From mansions to gardens, beaches, parks, and shopping centers, here are a few of the fun things you can do when you visit Delaware.
What Is It? Perhaps the most famous sightseeing attractions in Delaware are the mansions. The DuPont Mansions are northwest of Wilmington in a quiet and enchanting area.
Why Do It? The area is known as Chateau Country and has been home to the exclusive and wealthy DuPont family. Many of these homes are now open to tours and give visitors a glimpse at the elegance and splendor of the past.
Good to Know: The Nemours Mansion and Gardens feature rare 18th-century furnishings and a formal French garden. The Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library spans 60 acres and has 175 room displays with 85,000 objects. And the Hagley Museum and Library is full of history because this is where the DuPont story began and still stand along the banks of the Brandywine River today.
What Is It? Tuesdays in Rehoboth Beach mean a trip to the Rehoboth Beach Farmers’ Market, where local vendors sell outstanding products, from guacamole and exotic mushrooms to lambswool and jams.
Why Do It? If you’re planning your trip to Delaware for the fall to catch some of the Northeast’s famous fall foliage, make sure to check out the Sea Witch Festival. This is a Halloween-themed festival that kicks off in October between Rehoboth Beach and Dewey Beach.
Good to Know: If you’re visiting in the fall, you simply must check out the World Championship Punkin Chunkin event as well. This signature pumpkin-launching event has been a Delaware tradition since 1986 and attracts tens of thousands of spectators, and plenty of media attention too.
What Is It? People in Delaware love their state parks, and there are quite a few of them to choose from for hiking, water sports, history programs, and activities for the kids.
Why Do It? There are over 150 miles of hiking, biking, equestrian, and water trails in the state, and the state park website lists all the trails by type, mileage, and difficulty. Especially in the summer, you may be able to catch a free concert in one of the parks too.
Good to Know: You can rent a canoe, kayak, pedal boat, or rowboat at several of the parks for a fun day out on the water.
What Is It? Disc golf is a fairly niche game that’s been favored among college students, and some places are more into it than others.
Why Do It? Disc golf is fun, easy to try for beginners, great exercise, and a low-cost sport. Many of the state parks have full 18-hole disc golf courses, each with its own set of unique challenges. The Bellevue disc golf course, for example, is located on an old DuPont estate and is very beginner-friendly and family-friendly.
Good to Know: Other courses worth checking out are Canby West, Cape Henlopen, Iron Hill, and Brandywine Creek.
What Is It? Lots of travelers turn a trip to Delaware into a shopping vacation.
Why Do It? There’s no state sales tax here.
Good to Know: The Christiana Mall and Tanger Outlets have lots of popular name brands that you can save money on by buying here rather than back at home.
What Is It? If you enjoy jazz music, then this festival is a must-do for you. That’s because it’s the largest free jazz festival on the East Coast.
Why Do It? This festival typically takes place in June each year and is named after a Wilmington jazz trumpeter, Clifford Brown, who tragically died in a car accident in the 1950s. In past years, the festival stage has been packed with traditional jazz, Latin jazz, and neo-soul jazz artists.
Good to Know: Food, beer, and wine vendors can be found between 8th and 10th on Market Street.
What Is It? Satisfy your inner daredevil and need for speed at the Dover International Speedway with all the exciting car racing action you can handle.
Why Do It? The track is one mile of concrete all around, and the speedway’s website offers an online Monster Mile Crash Course to help you understand everything you need to know before visiting. For a more intense experience, you can buy a pre-race fan pass to get closer to the action.
Good to Know: For a more interactive day at the track, hop behind the wheel to experience driving an actual stock car yourself!
What Is It? Craft breweries in the U.S. are a dime a dozen these days, but one of the most experienced and beloved ones in the nation is located right here in Delaware.
Why Do It? This brewery has been on the beer-making scene since the mid-90s and puts out hundreds of thousands of barrels of beer annually. It specializes in unique and rare brews that you won’t find at just any average brewpub. Tours are offered pretty much every day and free. Oh and there’s also some great pub food served at the brewery.
Good to Know: Dogfish Head is such a big name around here that it even has its own inn. The Dogfish Inn has seven dog-friendly rooms, beer-centric amenities, and is just 11 miles away from the brewery in coastal Lewes.
What Is It? Nicely situated along the Atlantic Coast, the best beach destination in Delaware is Rehoboth Beach.
Why Do It? The waters here are clean and inviting, so feel free to hop in and go for a swim. This is a nice mid-sized beach area that’s not too overcrowded, yet it’s still cozy with lots of dining and entertainment options.
Good to Know: This East Coast destination enjoys excellent weather and has some of the best restaurants in the area. It’s also known to be very LGBT-friendly for travelers and locals.
What Is It? It would be nearly impossible to visit Delaware and not learn at least a thing or two about history.
Why Do It? This ultra-historic state is famous for New Castle, which is a riverside town that has a quaint colonial charm. It was originally settled in 1961 by the Dutch West India Company. Spend a day or a full weekend here to browse shops, sample the foods of local restaurants, and visit First State National Historic Park. The historic district is about four blocks by five blocks in size and has many historic buildings that date back to the early 1700s.
Good to Know: It’s a National Historic Landmark that includes Amstel House, Stonum, Read House and Gardens, Booth House, Gilpin House, and many more structures. If you visit at certain times of the year, you can check out special events, like A Day in Old New Castle in May and Separation Day in June.