Delaware boasts unparalleled natural beauty, beaches, festivals, food, shopping opportunities, and basically everything that you’d want in a summer vacation. Whether you want to take a stroll on the boardwalk of Rehoboth Beach or immerse yourself in the history of Wilmington, there are plenty of family-friendly activities and attractions within proximity of numerous Delaware vacation rentals. That said, spend your summer break at one of these cities and towns in Delaware.

1. Rehoboth Beach

Source: Flickr / Ted Eytan

Rehoboth Beach is a beach town that lies where the Atlantic Ocean and the Delaware Bay intersect. Get a vacation rental on Silver Lake. Not only does the lake offer a space where you can kayak and swim, but it’s also right next to the beach. One of Rehoboth Beach’s biggest draws is its boardwalk along the beach with sand and ocean on one side and restaurants and shops on the other. Stop by at the bandstand, a venue with free summer concerts. For more nature, head a few minutes north to Cape Henlopen State Park where you can hike, climb the observation tower, and play disc golf with the kids.

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2. Dewey Beach

Source: Flickr / NOAA Photo Library

Another great summer beach vacation is Dewey Beach, nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and Rehoboth Bay with Rehoboth Beach to the north and the Delaware Seashore State Park to the south. Dewey Beach offers a thriving nightlife at Woody’s Dewey Beach, Bottle & Cork, and Mama Maria Dewey Beach Bar. It also caters to families with free Monday night movies on the beach during the summer, free bonfires with roasted marshmallows, a Kid’s Beach Party in June, and free skimboarding clinics every Saturday. If that’s not enough, you can hike Delaware Seashore State Park and Burton Island Nature Preserve.

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3. Harrington

Source: Flickr / Leonora (Ellie) Enking

Harrington is located inland in central Delaware. This small rural town comes alive in July when it becomes the location of the Delaware State Fair, a 10-day event featuring a carnival, live music and entertainment (such a juggling), stunts and acrobats, animal exhibits, a dinosaur museum, baby chicks that the kids can hold, a parade, and fireworks. While the fair alone can easily take up your entire vacation with fun and food, you can take a break from the crowds at the Selbyville Recreation Park or head a few miles up the road to Killens Pond State Park where you can kayak, boat, hike, and fish.

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4. Lewes

Source: Flickr / Lee Cannon

Lewes is located on Delaware Beach, just to the west of Cape Henlopen State Park. Not only is this a beach town, but it’s also steeped in history. The Fort Miles Historic Area, a World War II military fort surrounded by nature trails, boasts a museum and interpretive programs. Next, take the Pinelands Nature Trail to Tower 7, an observation point. Finish with a tour of the Seaside Nature Center where the kids can learn all about the local wildlife. Relax in the sand at beach Plum Island State Park or take a kayaking trip through the waterways fo the Great Marsh Preserve. If you have time, hop a ferry over to Cape May Point.

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5. Wilmington

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Speaking of historical cities, Wilmington is one of the most historic cities in the state. Located in north Delaware, it lies on the Delaware River just short of the Pennsylvania border. Start your historical tour at the Wilmington and Western Railroad where you can take a steam-powered train ride through the Brandywine Valley and enjoy the natural beauty. You can also hop on board for one of the railroad’s many annual events such as the Fireworks Express, Civil War Skirmish Weekend, and Piedmont Prospector. Then go to the First State National Historical Park for some historical sites and plenty of green space to explore. Take the kids to the Brandywine Zoo and hike one of the many state parks including Brandywine Creek State Park and Bellevue State Park.

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6. Dover

Source: Flickr / Ken Lund

Dover, the capital of the state, lies north of Harrington in central Delaware. The Firefly Music Festival, a four-day event, takes place in mid-June with over 100 bands and musicians performing. Along with the major stages, there are artists playing at The Coffee House, DJs and a dance party at The Thicket, hammocks for hanging out at The Nook, nighttime light displays at The Pathway, and plenty of good food the entire time. After enjoying all the fun, relax at your vacation rental around Silver Lake. The Silver Lake Park offers water access for swimming and kayaking.

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7. Odessa

Source: Flickr / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region

Odessa is a minuscule rural town that’s within a few minutes of several awesome wildlife areas such as the Bombay Hook, Cedar Swamp, and Augustine. Plus, it’s just 30-minute jaunt south to Dover if you want some more urban fun. Make visiting Bombay Hook a top priority; it boasts beautiful greenery and flowers, bird and wildlife watching, observation towers, and hiking trails. The Cedar Swamp Wildlife Area is a little closer and is inundated with waterways, great for kayaking.

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8. Newark

Source: Flickr / likeaduck

In north Delaware not far from the Pennsylvania and Maryland borders, is Newark, a city that lies on White Clay Creek State Park and Middle Run Valley Natural Area, both of which are superb choices for hiking and kayaking. The former has a nature center where the kids can learn about the local flora and fauna, fishing streams, and plenty of biking trails. In fact, you can go biking from White Clay Creek State Park all the way to the bigger Middle Run Valley Natural Area. Middle Run has both trails and streams as well historic sites in which to visit. Plus, the nearby Henry’s Bicycle Shop makes it easy to rent some bikes for your excursion.

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9. Hockessin

Source: Facebook / Mt. Cuba Center

Hockessin lies in northern Delaware along the Pennsylvania border. One of its biggest draws is Mount Cuba Center, a 500-acre botanical gardens preserving the natural plant-life of Delaware. Enjoy the flowers while walking the nature trails. Afterwards, head over to the Mount Cuba Astronomical Observatory where you can get a lesson about the stars and teach the kids a little about space. The observatory is located right by the Hoopes Reservoir, so finish off with some swimming and boating.

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10. Delaware City

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Delaware City lies on the Delaware River just north of the Augustine Wildlife Area. This quaint, historic city has a marina if you want to rent a boat for water fun, plenty of parks, and a haunted history. Go on one of the haunted town tours. In fact, Fort Delaware is a historic site, and once a Civil War prison, and the alleged resting place of many ghosts. Afterwards, eat up at Crabby Dick’s, Kathy’s Crab House and Family Restaurant, and Ches Del. If the kids get restless, head to the Go Ape Treetop Adventure Course boasting climbing nets, ziplines, and treehouses.

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