If you resolve to visit just one new place with the family this year, make it Southern Delaware. With beaches, picturesque lighthouses, watersports, festivals, breweries and vineyards, museums, gorgeous state parks, and a rich (and delicious!) culinary scene known far and wide as the Culinary Coast™, Southern Delaware checks off everybody’s vacation must-haves, a feat not many destinations can match.
Top 15 Things to Love about Southern Delaware
Southern Delaware is bordered by the Delaware Bay and 26 miles of pristine Atlantic beaches, and the welcoming small town charm of Southern Delaware’s coastal and river towns will make you feel instantly at home. You’ll find there are easily more than a month’s worth of activities and attractions to explore within easy driving distance throughout the county.
With so much to do, you’ll find yourself actually doing things rather than wasting time standing in lines – so live the adventure every minute of your vacation and experience each of these 12 reasons to visit Southern Delaware:
- Beaches & Watersports – Dewey Beach rates high among skimboarders and fans of water sports. Rehoboth Beach, with its lively mile-long boardwalk is a popular family destination, as are Bethany Beach and Fenwick Island, known as the Quiet Resorts. Whichever beach you choose, you’ll enjoy soft sand and sparkling water; Delaware beaches have consistently ranked first for water quality among the 30 coastal states in the U.S. Canoeing, kayaking, sailing, parasailing, stand-up paddleboarding – just to name a few - are favorite Southern Delaware to-dos.
- Lighthouse Exploration – History and architecture enthusiasts will love the Southern Delaware Lighthouse Trail. Explore 10 lighthouses over 3 days. Fenwick Island, Rehoboth Beach, historic Lewes, and the Delaware Breakwater are all featured along the Lighthouse Trail.
- Communing with Nature – Outdoor enthusiasts will love experiencing the trails and waterways of Southern Delaware and will delight in visits to the area’s nature centers. Don’t miss Cape Henlopen State Park, the crown jewel of Sussex County, which offers bay and ocean beaches, fishing, camping, trails (including the new scenic Gordons Pond Trail), and much more.
- Cycling Adventures – Rated 3rd Most Bike Friendly State in the U.S, Southern Delaware’s flat topography and abundance of nature trails make it a great place for families that travel together to roll together.
- Experience over 40 Annual Festivals – There’s much to celebrate in Southern Delaware, so it’s no wonder there are nearly 40 festivals held each year. The Rehoboth Beach Jazz Festival, Lewes Tulip Festival, Great Delaware Kite Festival, Sea Witch Halloween and Fiddlers Festival, Bethany Beach Boardwalk Arts Festival, Nanticoke Riverfest, and others are always entertaining, while food-forward fests like the Rehoboth Beach Chocolate Festival, the Rehoboth Beach/Dewey Beach Bacon Fest, and the Apple Scrapple Festival (to name a few) never cease to satisfy.
- Savor the Culinary Coast ™ – Southern Delaware’s Culinary Coast™ simply can’t be topped. Eating Rehoboth tours are the most savory (and popular!) tours around; meanwhile, fans of fresh cuisine will love both the local farmers markets and that fact that local chefs, including James Beard nominees and winners, are dedicated to using fresh local ingredients. Southern Delaware is also home to two wineries and several renowned breweries including the Dogfish Head Craft Brewery in Milton. Experience tastings, tours, and even cooking classes.
- Bring your Favorite Furkid - The beautiful beaches of Southern Delaware are not just for humans to enjoy. It's simple to include your four-legged family member in all the fun! Delaware beaches have it all from pet friendly events, hotels and restaurants to parks and beaches for your pup to run.
- Revel in History – It’s no surprise that southernmost county in The First State is packed with historical sites. Pick your pleasure…
- Explore Museums – Museum lovers will find these museum itineraries irresistible. They take visitors through 26 museums which highlight Maritime and Native American history, natural history, Americana, military history, railroads, aviation, and much more. The museums’ varied locales, including a train station, a caboose, a WWII bunker, a firehouse, a mansion, a barn, a renovated ice house, and historic homes are as fascinating as the exhibits they house.
- Discover the Arts – Southern Delaware has long been a mecca for artists and performers. From studios and galleries showcasing visual arts to theaters featuring performing arts, and venues welcoming regional and national acts, the Southern Delaware arts scene is as rich and vibrant as the county that inspires it.
- Tax Free Shopping – Southern Delaware is one of precious few places where you can shop tax-free, so go nuts in the local boutiques, antique stores, and outlets throughout the area – there are plenty of great shops to choose from!
- Stay like a Local – Finding accommodations that work for your family is easy in Southern Delaware. From campgrounds to B&Bs, budget to luxury hotels - even places that will welcome your four-legged friends – you’ll find it here.
- Lots of Fun Guided Tours - Southern Delaware businesses and organizations offer a varied slate of guided tours - on land and on the water and by boat, bus, and foot power!
- Spectator Sports - Check out this growing list of opportunities to spend some quality family time at an exciting sporting event while you're here in Southern Delaware.
- Make Unforgettable Memories with Family – Boardwalks, speedways, waterparks, paintball, parasailing, boat excursions and rentals, and mini golf rate high among any energetic family’s to-sees and to-dos while in Southern Delaware.
So bring the hikers, fishermen, and skimboarders; bring the foodies and cocktail enthusiasts; bring the history buffs and museum lovers; bring the shopping and antiquing addicts; bring the festival and event fanatics because the charming towns of Sussex County are calling.