Figure 1 Delaware has miles of stunning shoreline
When it comes to taking a trip out to the East Coast, most travellers will have a list of things to do and see in cities like New York, Boston, and Philadelphia. But there is an entire state that is within easy reach of all of those places – and boasts an Atlantic Ocean coastline of its own.
Delaware is the second-smallest and sixth least populous state in the country but has a long and interesting history that offers plenty to discover for tourists looking for something a little different from their vacation. There are plenty of festivals and events to check out throughout the year – and people from the First State certainly know how to look after visitors.
But for some specific sites and attractions, travelers have a wide choice of places to visit. Delaware covers just about all bases and you may end up being surprised by just how much this small wonder can offer.
Hit The Beaches
With 28 miles of Atlantic Ocean coast, it is perhaps unsurprising that the beach might be the first thing on the minds of any visitors to Delaware. If you are looking for white sand beaches not too far from some of the biggest cities on the eastern seaboard, then Rehoboth Beach should be on your to-do list.
This tiny town is fast becoming one of the biggest attractions in these parts and politicians and celebrities from DC are regularly seen around the place – and visiting their second homes. With boutiques and restaurants to go with the sandy beaches, this laid-back place will definitely help recharge the batteries.
Museums & Arts
Everywhere you go in this region will be able to offer a valuable history lesson of some sort and Delaware has the full range of museums to choose from. They may not be quite as big as the ones in some of the other cities we have mentioned, but for an insight into American life, they cannot be beaten.
You can find out how the grand families of Delaware lived by visiting the Hagley Museum and Library in Wilmington. Five generations of the du Pont family lived on the premises and there is an excellent collection of vintage cars to view. The Winterthur Museum and Gardens was also founded by Henry Francis du Pont and houses some of the finest decorative art in the country.
Eyes To The Skies
Aviation fans will probably have already heard of the Air Mobility Command Museum in the State capital, Dover. There are over 30 vintage aircraft to take in, with planes from WW2 some of the main attractions. Visitors can even get a pilot’s view by sitting in the cockpit of some of these classic planes.
Visitors can also find out all about the airlift operations during the Korean and Vietnam wars as they take in the huge hangars on site. Just wandering around this museum will offer a new appreciation for the men and women who fought for this country and helped with the aerial effort through the major wars of the 20th century.
Art Is Everywhere
Visitors to this great state will soon realize that art is everywhere – and one of the best places to inspect some of the finest examples from the 19th century up until the present day is the Delaware Art Museum in Wilmington. It is especially well known for housing works by Howard Pyle, who famously illustrated books for Mark Twain.
Pyle’s illustrations are breathtaking, as are the collection of murals he painted for his home in Wilmington itself. But one of the most eye-catching exhibits to be found at this museum is the arrangement of glass flowers by Dale Chihuly that can be viewed from a number of different vantage points to great effect.
One aspect of American history that has sometimes been cruelly overlooked in the past is the stories of the original inhabitants. To discover what life was like for the Native Americans who called Delaware home long before colonizers came upon its shores, the Nanticoke Indian Museum is well worth a visit.
Located in Millsboro, it is home to many Nanticoke artifacts, including arrowheads, pottery, and even a traditional wooden canoe. Some of the items on show date back to 8,000 BCE and a walk around the museum transports visitors to a Delaware that is not known by many. Make sure to visit in September to enjoy the Nanticoke Powwow festival.
Figure 2 History is everywhere in Delaware
Any of the cities in Delaware offer live music venues for fans of modern music. But for something a little more cultured and refined, a trip to the Grand Opera House in Wilmington should be on your list. It is not just opera and the classic arts on offer though. This place showcases comedy and light entertainment too.
With over 75 shows a year, this charming 1,140-seat venue is home to the Delaware Symphony, Opera Delaware, and the First State Ballet Theatre. But the four-story building is well worth a visit just for its incredible architecture. If you want the performing arts – this is the place to visit.
A trip to Delaware would not be complete if you didn’t take in some of the stunning natural scenery available. We have already mentioned the endless sandy beaches, but there are a number of beautiful state parks too. The Brandywine Creek State Park is well known for its hiking trails, as well as its popular fishing spots. It is also home to tulip poplar trees that are almost 200 years old.
If you have made the trip to Rehoboth Beach you should also head just a little more north to take in the Cape Henlopen State Park. Discover the area’s distinct ecosystems and wildlife along this coastal park – and then take a dip in the water with kayaking, paddleboarding, and windsurfing all available for visitors.