Delaware. The first state and my home for the past 19 years has a completely unearned reputation as a small, boring state.
More famous for its place in history as the first state to ratify the constitution, its storied connection to the Underground Railroad and its Fightin’ Blue Hens, Delaware isn’t really considered rich with “hot spots” or must-see attractions.
Growing up here, I often associated my state with skate parks, small schools and local shops that have been around for decades. My friends and I were well-versed in our local mall or traveling to the tip-top end of the state over the weekends.
As the self-appointed “student ambassador of Delaware,” I am writing this piece to share my Delaware love with you. My hope is after giving this piece a read, you’ll be able to truly appreciate the beauty of Delaware.
The “302,” a homage to the statewide area code, as my friends and I like to call it, is filled with hidden gems that really only Delaware natives are familiar with. Knowing and frequenting these spots will allow you to explore, making memories as you partake in the ambiance of a “small wonder.”
For the adventurer
Fort Delaware: A former harbor-defense facility that is located on Pea Patch Island in the Delaware River, Fort Delaware is a location that fellow historians will love. Check it out to learn more about Delaware’s history and explore the battle grounds.
Lums Pond State Park: A place here you can Go Ape (literally). Lums Pond State Park is home to Go Ape, a ziplining attraction that allows you to explore the park and take in the scenery. It also has a camping area and horseback riding, allowing you to explore the Little Jersey Trail.
Rehobeth Beach: The best beach in the 302. Hang with friends on the boardwalk and pick up some beach fries at Thrasher’s French Fries. (It’s an absolute must.) Hanging out at the local shops and the arcade while smelling the salt air will instantly take your mind off of your worries.
Dewey Beach: Dewey Beach offers a more laid back beach that allows for surfing, crabbing and barbecuing. It’s also a great location to shop locally and enjoy a bonfire with your friends and family.
For the foodie
Mod Pizza: This popular pizza place allows you to create your own pizza with an unlimited amount of toppings and has vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free options. It’s urban atmosphere and rustic interior allows for a chill hangout spot with your friends and great study environment.
Five Guys Burgers: Although I have converted to vegetarianism, during my meat-eating days this was a popular hangout spot for my mom and me. Five Guys is the best place to go when you want a burger or french fries while enjoying its vintage decor.
The Cheesecake Factory: This place is known for their world famous cheesecake, but their four-cheese pasta and cheese pizza is to die for. The best thing about this place’s location is it’s connected to the Christiana Mall. So, after filling yourself up with food you can partake in retail therapy.
honeygrow: A healthier food chain that specializes in stir-fry and salads. If you have a sweet tooth check out their honeybar, which allows you to create a dessert using fresh fruit, honey, caramel, to name a few.
For the shoppers
Hockessin, Del.: Hockessin is known for its thrift stores and consignment shops. Designer Consigner, Spaceboy Clothing and Lola’s are just a few of the hot spots to check out when you want to shop around for some vintage treasures.
Tanger Outlets: This outlet mall is located a few blocks away from the beach and is perfect when you want to shop ‘til you drop! It is home to various stores such as Forever 21, Nike, Converse and more.
Christiana Mall: Delaware’s famous and most loved mall has over 130 stores and a 17-screen Cinemark movie theater! This mall has stores for everyone whether you are a makeup lover, techie or book connoisseur.
For the music lover
The Queen: The Queen is a great weekend hangout spot where you can chill with friends while enjoying a good show. Whether it’s a rock, blues, country or pop show, this venue appeals to the heart of every music lover.
Firefly Music Festival: Firefly Music Festival is held right in Delaware’s capital and is truly the highlight of summer. The festival begins on June 21 and ends on June 23. Spending four days with your friends while enjoying top performing acts really sets the tone for Delaware.
These are just a few hot spots to shine a spotlight on all Delaware has to offer.