Delaware is a relatively unknown and under-visited state despite being named The Diamond State by Thomas Jefferson. The president believed that the state was small yet magnificent and that its location and natural beauty made it a ‘jewel among the states’. With an important history (and the museums to prove it) as well as unspoilt beaches and lovely lighthouses, Delaware offers something magical that will allow you to enjoy a trip to remember.
Nemours Mansion, built by Alfred du Pont, is a pristine French-inspired mansion with manicured gardens and ornate rooms throughout. Both the house and gardens are open to the public (except Mondays) and guided tours to learn about the art, antiques, and artefacts within are offered daily.
Delaware Art Museum
Delaware's large art museum, located in Wilmington, is filled with centuries' worth of artwork by mainly American artists including Delaware native Howard Pyle. The exhibitions range from paintings and sculpture to metalwork, fabric, and jewellery. Not only does the museum give you an insight into the history of the United States through art, but they also offer plenty of fun, educational clubs, and programmes to help you feel inspired and creative.
Air Mobility Command Museum
The Air Mobility Command Museum is a favourite among history buffs and plane lovers who come here to see over 30 vintage aircrafts. The vehicles range from helicopters to fighter jets and even a presidential plane! Many of the planes were used during World War II when the site was a military base. The museum offers loads of information about the aircraft and the base so is a must if you're interested in World War history.
First State Heritage Park
First State Heritage Park is an area in Delaware that celebrates the state's position as the first to ratify the constitution in 1787. The park allows you to wander your way through the state's historical sites and cultural attractions such as the Ryves Holt House and the Old Swedes Church. Each site is open daily but if you are able to visit on the first Saturday of the month there is likely to be special visitor events on!
Fenwick Island Lighthouse
The 19th Century Fenwick Island Lighthouse lies on the Delaware coast and is one of the most popular sites in the state. The lighthouse features a museum that offers an insight into the maritime history of the region and there is a small gift shop. Not only is the lighthouse pretty and picturesque itself but the town is quaint and attractive too!
Perhaps the most famous beach in Delaware, Rehoboth Beach features plenty of bars, restaurants, shops, and nightlife to keep everyone entertained. The long boardwalk is a great place for a relaxing stroll and the nearby Dogfish Head Craft Brewery gives you a chance to taste some of the local amber nectar made on site. Rehoboth Beach is also a wonderful spot to catch a beautiful sunrise each morning before enjoying breakfast at one of the beachside cafés.
Dewey Beach has a smaller, younger beach town vibe, with rolling dunes, water sports and a quiet stretch of sand. There are a handful of shops and restaurants (some of which are open year-round) but it's best for those seeking a peaceful seafront location. Dewey Beach connects with the larger area of Rehoboth so you can easily access more restaurants and nightlife if you fancy it.
Cape Henlopen State Park
Cape Henlopen State Park offers visitors not one but two main beaches with unspoilt sand stretching for miles. The peaceful park also offers hiking and cycling trails for those days when it's a little chilly to lounge on the sand. Families and groups of friends may also enjoy the basketball courts and disc golf course which allow you to up the ante and do something a bit more competitive!
Delaware Seashore State Park
Another famous beach spot is Delaware Seashore State Park. The sandy beaches at this state park are popular among people of all ages who come here to stroll and relax on the warm sandy shores. Visitors may also enjoy boating of fishing within the park or exploring the neighbouring islands of Burton and Thompson.
Cape May - Lewes Ferry
If you want to admire Delaware’s shoreline without sunbathing or chilling on the beach itself, you might want to catch the ferry to/from Cape May – Lewes. This picturesque ferry journey allows you to witness birds, wildlife, lighthouses, and harbours along the way. Whether you’re staying in or visiting New Jersey or just want to enjoy the ride, the Cape May-Lewes Ferry is a great choice.
Holts Landing State Park
One of Delaware's best parks for wildlife, Holts Landing State Park is lush and abundant with flora, fauna, birds and marine life. The park gives you the best of both land and sea so whether you enjoy hiking, horse-riding, fishing, camping or crabbing, Holts Landing has you covered!
Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge
The sprawling landscape of Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge is a famous spot for migratory birds and is, therefore, a must for twitchers! Located on the Atlantic Flyway, hundreds of species pass through the park each year. Prime Hook boasts over 10,000 acres with varying eco-systems and wildlife and also offers guests a range of activities such as canoeing, kayaking, biking, and hiking.
For a day of family fun, head over to Brandywine Zoo in Wilmington. This friendly attraction is run by passionate staff who are more than happy to teach you all about wildlife, nutrition, and conservation during your visit. The zoo features all sorts of species from birds and reptiles to big cats and monkeys.
Sports and Shows
If you fancy catching a game of baseball during your trip to Delaware, head to the Frawley Stadium to watch the Blue Rocks. The stadium is situated in the Wilmington Riverfront zone which has been redeveloped into a stunning spot with restaurants, museums, bars, and cafés galore.
Grand Opera House
For an opulent evening out, why not visit the Grand Opera House to watch a symphony, ballet, opera or piece of musical theatre? The refurbished Victorian theatre features plush velvet and heavy red curtains - as you would expect - and offers plenty of seats in the stalls and balcony with a spectacular view of the stage.
World Café Live
An alternative night out in Delaware is the World Café Live at the Queen Theatre in Wilmington. This unique venue offers one-of-a-kind entertainment with musical dinner shows and concerts being performed each week.