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7 miles S of Wilmington; 40 miles SW of Philadelphia; 70 miles NE of Baltimore

New Castle, Delaware's original capital, was a major Colonial seaport. Peter Stuyvesant, who established a Dutch settlement named Fort Casimir, purchased the area from Native Americans in 1651. (It's said that Stuyvesant designed the town's central green by "pegging it off" with his wooden leg.) Later captured by the Swedes and then the English, who renamed it New Castle, this stretch of land along the west bank of the Delaware River remains much the way it was in the 17th and 18th centuries. Original houses and public buildings have been restored and preserved, along with brick sidewalks and cobblestone streets.

Park your car (no meters here) and stroll past old homes and churches, a few tiny shops, and restaurants. Everything is close by -- even the expansive Battery Park by the river. Cool breezes, green places, and playground equipment make it a nice break for both children and adults.