Tiny Delaware packs in a lot of fun, history, and culture. This is a 5-day itinerary, but it's easy to pick and choose a couple of days' worth of activity for a long weekend, or stretch out the fun for a whole week's vacation -- without getting bored.
Day 1: A Day at the Beach
Start slow. Unpack your bathing suit or fishing rod and head to Bethany Beach or Fenwick State Park for a quiet day. Doing nothing will make you hungry, so decide whether you want pizza at Grotto's or a heartier dinner at Frog House or Mango Mike's. Or send the kids to one of those and head to Sedona or Kingston Grille for fine dining.
Day 2: Let's Go Shopping
Sales-tax-free Delaware makes shopping even more fun. Head to the Tanger Outlet Centers in Rehoboth. Or visit the little shops in downtown Rehoboth Beach or Lewes.
Day 3: Dover
Delaware's capital city has a cluster of unusual museums, and the well-regarded Biggs Museum of American Art. The downtown sights, along with the Legislative Hall and state archives, are now known as the First State Heritage Park at Dover. You could easily see them all in a day. Or head to the slots or horse races at Dover Downs instead. Wildlife fans may prefer Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge for a little bird-watching. Plan to be there for about 2 hours or more, depending on how much hiking you can handle.
Day 4: Historic New Castle
The original capital of Delaware was the waterfront village of New Castle. Its historic sites are still lovingly maintained, including the Federal-style Read House, home of the son of a signer of the Declaration of Independence. A number of other Colonial-era homes are also open most days. Have lunch at a Colonial inn, such as Jessop's Tavern or the Arsenal.
Day 5: Wilmington & the Brandywine Valley
The castles of the Brandywine Valley beckon, but the exhibits at the Delaware Art Museum and the Delaware History Museum are hard to pass by, too. If you've got only a day, you're going to want to see one of the du Pont properties: Winterthur, if you love furnishings; Nemours, if you love lavish style; Longwood Gardens, if flowers are your passion; or Hagley, for its bucolic setting. But Wilmington's charms are many, too. Try to stay a second day to see the art and history museums, or the changing exhibits of the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts. You'll want to have dinner at the Hotel du Pont or the trendy Domaine Hudson, or perhaps head into the valley for a fabulous meal at Krazy Kat's, at the Inn at Montchanin Village. You can also opt for one of the Riverfront's restaurants.
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