- For other places with the same name, see Delaware (disambiguation).
Delaware is one of the smallest states in the United States and was the first to ratify the nation's constitution. It is part of the Delmarva Peninsula, which is shared with Maryland's and Virginia's Eastern Shore regions. To the north, Delaware and Delmarva as a whole are bordered by the states of Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
North of the C&D Canal
South of the C&D Canal
- Dover, the capital, with much to see and do. Located in the middle of the state.
- Bethany Beach, is popular with families. Bethany Beach is part of what is referred to as "The Quiet Resorts".
- Dewey Beach, popular beach with college students.
- Fenwick Island
- Lewes, known for its historic district
- Rehoboth Beach, its beach is known for being gay friendly.
Delaware also has a very extensive and well maintained park system. Most parks are free or low-cost.
Despite being only a hundred miles long and less than thirty miles across at its widest point and covering just 2,489 square miles, Delaware is a surprisingly complex and diverse state. The C&D Canal, which bisects the state two-thirds of the way up, serves as a sort of internal Mason-Dixon Line, separating the more urban and industrialized northern portion of Delaware, closely associated with the Northern metropolis of Philadelphia, from the more rural "slower, lower" southern part, which is more part of the Delmarva Peninsula and synchronized with the Southern rhythm of Maryland and Virginia.
Fittingly for a surprisingly diverse state, Delaware has a diverse economy, affecting the kinds of things available to visitors. The largest city, Wilmington, is a very business-oriented city; on account of Delaware's General Corporation Law, which is very favorable to managers of corporations, the majority of large US corporations are incorporated in the State of Delaware, and maintain a nominal presence in the state. Generally, this presence is in Wilmington, on account of its links to Philadelphia. This is especially true of banks, which also benefit from Delaware's laws respecting lending, and therefore maintain large workforces in Wilmington. Wilmington is therefore a very businesslike environment; most restaurants and bars downtown cater to those who work in Wilmington but live elsewhere ("elsewhere" often being Pennsylvania or even New Jersey).
In contrast to Wilmington, much of the state is essentially rural, and much of non-agricultural economy is tourism-based. The Delaware coastline is a relatively popular destination for people from the region to go for vacations during the summer. Moreover, Delaware has developed a strong tradition of craft brewing, with seven significant breweries in the state.
You might be from Delaware if you once thought that you might have a White Christmas... and then it rained.
The weather in Delaware varies greatly from season to season. Summers are almost always hot, very humid, and unpleasant. The air quality is accordingly poor, but no more so than surrounding counties. Winters can get bitterly cold, although it rarely snows heavily. Spring and fall are generally the nicest seasons, although snow storms can arrive in April, and heat waves can hit in late November. Delaware weather is unpredictable, the only real way to prepare would be to carry an umbrella and pray for sunshine. Average monthly temperatures range from a high of 85.6 degrees to a low of 23.2 degrees.
Due to its location as a border state lying between the North and South, people from Delaware have American English accents which vary accordingly based upon location and environment. Southern accents begin to be encountered below the C&D Canal, and increase in strength the further south you go.
Commercial airline service into the state of Delaware is limited, but areas of the state are reasonably close to major international airports in either Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, or the District of Columbia.
- Philadelphia International Airport (IATA: PHL) is 20 miles or about a half hour to the northeast of downtown Wilmington and serves as the main commercial aviation gateway for most visitors to Delaware. PHL is accessible to northern Delaware via SEPTA Regional Rail; passengers seeking to take SEPTA rail from PHL to Delaware should take the Airport Line to a Central Philadelphia station and purchase a ticket to Wilmington from there.
- Baltimore-Washington International (IATA: BWI), is less than 90 minutes away, and has many national and international flights. It is currently accessible via Amtrak from Delaware, but no commuter/regional rail line in Delaware connects to it.
- Salisbury-Ocean City Wicomico Regional Airport (IATA: SBY) serves many visitors to southern Delaware's beaches and is located about an hour south and west of Rehoboth Beach.
The Amtrak station in Wilmington is a major stop on the system's Northeast Corridor, with frequent high-speed connections throughout the day to NYC, Boston, and D.C. The station is located on Front Street between French and Walnut Streets in downtown Wilmington. It has one inside level which has stores, a cafe, Amtrak and SEPTA ticket offices, a car rental office, and a post office; passengers board their trains on the second story train platforms. It is served by Amtrak trains along the Northeast Corridor going south to Baltimore and Washington, D.C., and going north to Philadelphia and New York. It is also served by SEPTA's R2 Regional Rail Line with service to Philadelphia and Newark, Delaware. Like all stations in Delaware, SEPTA service is provided under contract and funded through DART First State, which also provides extensive local bus service.
Greyhound has a limited number of bus terminals throughout the state. There is also "Chinatown" bus service from Dover, Smyrna, and Wilmington to New York City, Albany, Baltimore, and VA which operates throughout most of the day.
- The American Discovery Trail crosses the entire country from coast to coast, connecting Delaware, ultimately, to California.
Cars are the main mode of transportation, except in the city of Wilmington, where ample mass transit is available. DART First State is the primary public transportation system that operates throughout Delaware. Although most of its routes run in and around Wilmington and Newark in New Castle County, DART also serves Dover (in Kent County) and Georgetown in Sussex County. In the summer months, DART provides Resort Transit bus service to the Delaware Beaches.
DART provides connecting service with the Wilmington/Newark line of SEPTA Regional Rail, which travels between Philadelphia and Wilmington; within Delaware, the Wilmington/Newark Line always stops in Claymont, and in any given day, a few trains will continue on to Newark. The Delaware Department of Transportation subsidizes Regional Rail operations into Delaware.
Delaware is well known for having no sales tax. Most Delawareans shop at malls or strip malls with big box stores, including the Christiana Mall in Newark, the Dover Mall, and Tanger Outlets in Rehoboth Beach.
Delaware has many excellent restaurants and a surprising number of brewpubs for a small state, including Dogfish Head in Rehoboth Beach and Iron Hill (in Newark and along the Riverfront in Wilmington).
As the location of the University of Delaware, Newark is the home of a number of bars and restaurants popular with college students and locals. One such restaurant is Klondike Kate's (on Main Street). Ask for a tour of the jail cells in the basement, dating from the late 1700s. The Deer Park (also on Main Street) is a long standing Newark institution with a rich history. Although the current building dates from 1847, there has been a tavern on the site since colonial times. Edgar Allan Poe once stayed at the St. Patrick's Inn, which formerly stood on the same site. Legend has it that he put a curse on the building and the city after falling in the mud outside the hotel. Due to the site's association with Poe, the symbol of the Deer Park is a raven, and there is a wooden raven on display in the main dining room.
In the city of Wilmington, Trolley Square, about one mile from downtown along Delaware Avenue, is widely popular with locals in their 20s-30s. Among the bars in Trolley Square, The Logan House is arguably the most popular drinking location. Just outside of the city on Route 52 in Greenville is Cromwell's, which has quality pub style food and a comfortable ambience.
Some brewpubs include:
Do not drink and drive in Delaware, the penalties are very harsh.
Staying safe in Delaware is a matter of staying smart. In Wilmington, city officials and downtown merchants have formed (armed with two-way radios but not guns) private security patrols that wander the restaurant and entertainment districts in the downtown area to supplement the city police. Most restaurants will summon a security person to escort you to your car if requested. In the city of Wilmington it is best to apply common sense and pay attention to your surroundings; listen to your inner voice. If it's telling you that you've wandered into a bad area, you probably have. In general, it's best to avoid walking alone after dark in the downtown area. Interestingly enough, Wilmington has one of the highest concentrations of remote security cameras of any city its size. Of course, these cameras are best at identifying criminals after the fact, so don't take much comfort in their presence.
Like everywhere else, common sense needs to be used. Outside of Wilmington, there is little to worry about outside of leaving your windows down when it starts to unexpectedly rain.
- New Jersey — Delaware's neighbor to the north, the Garden State offers a surprising amount of natural beauty in the southern and western parts of the state.
- Pennsylvania — The city of Philadelphia makes an easy day trip from Delaware and offers a glimpse into America's Revolutionary War-era history.
- Maryland — Located to the west and south of Delaware, Maryland offers "America in Miniature" with everything from history to nature to modern cities.