20 Top Delaware Bucket List Ideas

Updated

Delaware is small but mighty when it comes to bucket list offerings. You might be surprised to find that this state is filled with opportunities for adventure, fun activities for the whole family, and foodie finds that leave your mouth watering. 

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From beaches to snow-dusted hiking trails, rock climbing to southern swamp-like kayaking destinations, there is more to discover in Delaware than you’ll probably have time for. We love this state and think it’s worthy of anyone’s bucket list. Here are our top picks for Delaware bucket list ideas whether you travel solo or with your whole family.

Unique Delaware Bucket List Destinations

Delaware may be small, but it has some of the most unique bucket list activities around. Here are a few we know you’ll enjoy.

1. Go kayaking at Trap Pond State Park

Delaware is not part of “The South” with states like Georgia and Alabama. However, when you put your kayak into the waters at Trap Pond State Park, you might just feel like you’ve been transported there.

This unique location allows you to kayak through groves of bald cypress trees and swampland reminiscent of what you’d find in Louisiana. This bald cypress grove is the northernmost grove found in the United States and it’s well worth a trip to see it.

Pro tip: Don’t have a kayak? No problem. You can rent kayaks and life jackets at the boat dock on site.

2. Get your adventure on at Lums Pond State Park

Lums Pond State Park is a destination all of its own with more activities than you can complete in a week. Take advantage of the many options and go kayak, take a zip line adventure, mountain bike miles of trails, hike, horseback ride, camp, fish, boat, and visit the family-friendly nature center.

Pro tip: Only want to choose one or two destinations for your travel bucket list trip? Pick Lums Pond State Park for an all-in-one location that has something fun for every member of the family.

3. Take in a NASCAR race at the Dover International Speedway

If you thought NASCAR races only happened at Charlotte Motor Speedway or the Nashville Superspeedway, you’re in for a surprise. The Dover International Speedway has been hosting NASCAR races for more than 50 years and is one of the best places to take in a race. They offer a wide range of tickets from single-day grandstand seating to pit passes for an entire weekend.

Spring and Summer Delaware Bucket List Ideas

If you’re planning on creating a travel bucket list, be sure to include activities tailored for the season when you’ll be in the area. Here are the best activities Delaware has to offer during spring and summer.

4. Catch sunrise and sunset at Dewey Beach

There’s nothing quite as stunning as watching the sunrise over the Atlantic ocean, then, later in the day, watching it set over inland bays. Head to Dewey Beach where you can watch both sunrise and sunset or take a walk over Indian River Bridge for a particularly stunning view.

5. Jam out at the Firefly Music Festival

This summer music festival draws over 100 artists and thousands of attendees who enjoy the multi-stage, multi-day event. Go for four packed days of music, foodie-focused vendors, and activities.

6. Explore Delaware’s waterways with a water taxi

Enjoy stunning views of shorelines, grassy marshlands, wildlife, birds, and more as you learn about Delaware’s rich history and the importance of its waterways.

Water taxi rides are available seven days a week from May through October. You can choose from several options including an evening cruise, lighthouse tour, birding tours, and more.

Fall and Winter Delaware Bucket List Ideas

Fall and winter in Delaware are seasons that have a charm all their own. Here are our favorite activities for this time of the year.

7. Visit the 18th Century Market Fair

Step back in time with the 18th Century Market Fair put on each year in November. Enjoy a day of historic presentations, interpreters in period dress, performers, vendors, and activities geared to all ages.

Pro tip: Dress your whole family in period costume to add an extra bit of fun and whimsy to your trip.

8. Take in the fall foliage 

New England states are known for the stunning displays of fall foliage during late September through early November. This is a time when trees turn spectacular shades of red, yellow, and orange, before being coated in white for the winter. 

You can go just about anywhere in the state and see spectacular scenery, but Killens Pond, Lums Pond, and Trap Pond state parks are particularly known for their display of fall colors.

Pro tip: Take your camera! Even if you’re not a pro, you’ll be able to get gorgeous, postcard-worthy pictures just by using the old point-and-shoot method.

9. Enjoy the holidays at Hagley Museum and Library

This historic mansion gets decked out for the holidays with each room decorated and accessible to tourists. There are family-friendly holiday activities and guided tours that help you learn what the holidays would have looked like for the DuPont family that lived there in the 1920s and ‘30s.

Family-Friendly Delaware Bucket List Ideas

There are plenty of things to do for the whole family in Delaware. Here are some of our absolute favorites.

10. Try your hand at rock climbing at Alapocas Run State Park

Experienced climbers can free climb on their own while inexperienced, and newbies can take a class offered at the state park. While this may not be for the faint of heart, it’s a memory you’re sure to look back on for years to come.

Pro tip: Free rock climbing permits are required. Fill out the form and sign it in front of a state park employee to validate it.

11. Fly a kite at the Great Delaware Kite Festival

What began as a two-man kite duel has grown into a festival that draws thousands of kite-flying contestants from all over. There are flying contests for kids, teens, and adults. Hundreds come to enjoy the show, some compete, and others come to see how high their kite will fly.

Pro tip: Since this event occurs annually on the Friday before Easter, there are also egg hunts for kids to enjoy.

12. Drive a real NASCAR race car

Kids and adults can spend anywhere from five to 48 minutes driving around the Dover International Speedway solo or with other amateur drivers. After a course in driving and safety, you can hit the track. Depending on the package, you might be allowed to pass others and experience a pit stop or two. If you don’t feel like driving, there are ride-along options, as well.

Each experience has height and weight requirements, so check with the specific organization for their requirements before purchasing tickets.

Pro tip: Driving the course is offered by several organizations including the Richard Petty Driving Experience and the Rusty Wallace Driving Experience

Bucket List Foods and Restaurants in Delaware

No bucket list would be complete without a food bucket list. Here are the top places to stop for mouth-watering creations in the great state of Delaware.

13. Try Thanksgiving Dinner on a roll at Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop

Capriotti’s is famous for their mouthwatering sandwiches made fresh and to-order. Their most famous sandwich is called The Bobbie, and it’s basically Thanksgiving dinner on a roll. It comes with slow-roasted turkey, cranberry sauce, and handmade stuffing.

14. Savor Dolles’ salt water taffy

Dolles is Delaware’s oldest candy maker, and they’ve been churning out delicious saltwater taffy on-site since 1927. Today, you can get an assortment of salt water taffy, fudge, caramel corn, and chocolates to take with you as you stroll along the boardwalk in Rehoboth. 

15. Snack on boardwalk french fries from Thrasher’s

Thrasher’s is a Delaware staple that was started in 1929 as a food stand that sold one item:  crispy, hot, delicious french fries. They are some of the best fries you’ll ever eat, and any line outside is well worth the wait.

16. Try a slice of Nic-o-boli

Never heard of this Delaware creation? You’ll be glad we told you about it once you sink your teeth into the calzone-esque offering of house-made dough stuffed with beef, cheese, sauce, and toppings of choice.

17. Enjoy fresh blue crab at Sambo’s Tavern

When you visit a state on the ocean, you can’t leave without trying the fresh-caught seafood. In this case, it’s blue crab that Delaware is famous for. Saunter into Sambo’s Tavern and choose from fresh hot crab cakes or crab in the shell that you crack and pick out yourself.

Wilmington, Delaware Bucket List Ideas

Headed to Wilmington during your Delaware trip? Be sure to add these Wilmington-area items to your list.

18. Stay at The Inn at Montchanin Village and Spa

A historic inn, it once belonged to the estate named for Alexandrine de Montchanin, grandmother of the founder of DuPont Gunpowder. There are 28 rooms appointed with period furniture, lush gardens to explore, and an onsite restaurant that once housed a blacksmith shop.

19. Ride the Wilmington and Western Railroad

Enjoy a ride through the scenic Red Clay Valley on a steam-powered or diesel-powered train. The train gives rides year-round, but if you want a holiday-oriented adventure, go during the end of November or December for the Santa Claus Express.

Pro Tip: Santa Claus Express tickets sell out fast, so get your tickets well in advance of arrival if you plan on incorporating this fun event into your trip.

20. Tour the Nemours Estate

Built for Alfred DuPont as a gift to his second wife, the Nemours Estate is one of the grandest locations in all of Delaware. Tours are self-guided, and there is plenty to see and do on the sprawling 200-acre grounds and gardens.

Discover the Wonders of Delaware

Delaware is often referred to as “The Diamond State” because it is such a “jewel.” We certainly agree, and we’re pretty sure you will, too, once you’ve spent some time in this stunning location that has so much to offer. From beaches and boardwalks to hikes and adventure-filled activities, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

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