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Down the Ocean 

In Delaware, much smaller resorts, such as Bethany Beach and Dewey Beach, are located between long stretches of public beach and national seashore. Rehoboth, Delaware's premier beach, retains its small-town charm in spite of the crowds that can make Route 1 impassable on holidays or summer weekends. (An ever-popular district of outlet stores on Rte. 1 makes the traffic worse -- and the bargains more plentiful.) Just north of Rehoboth Beach is Lewes, a quaint Victorian town known as the terminus of the Cape May-Lewes Ferry. It's a nice diversion thanks to its shops, its Delaware Bay beaches, and its many charter fishing boats.

Central Delaware 

Kent County, which is primarily farmland, is Delaware's central county and home of Dover, the state capital. In striking contrast to Annapolis, Dover is a quiet capital town with charming museums and historic sites -- but twice a year on race weekends, it fills up with fans of the big NASCAR auto races. Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge on the Delaware Bay is a stop along the East Coast for migrating waterfowl and is less developed than Blackwater on Maryland's Eastern Shore.

The Brandywine Valley 

This is du Pont country. The American branch of the du Pont family has been in this region since E. I. du Pont opened his black-powder mill on the banks of the Brandywine River in 1802. Their legacy is everywhere, from Longwood Gardens to Winterthur. You could easily spend a week here and not see all the sights. It's not hard to see why the du Ponts, or anyone, would settle here: The rolling hills, the fertile land, and the river itself have served as inspiration for the region's other famous family, the Wyeths.

Wilmington lies at the edge of Brandywine Valley. It's a convenient spot for visiting the valley sites, but it's also got interesting restaurants and museums of its own. The city's Riverfront, now lined with office buildings, restaurants, museums, and tall condos, is worth a visit.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.