With autumn around the corner, Labor Day weekend may be your last chance this year to enjoy a summer vacation. Whether you’re looking forward to exploring a big city or visiting the beach, there’s plenty to do and see in Delaware. Book a stay at a Delaware vacation rental for an unforgettable Labor Day weekend getaway experience. Check out the most noteworthy cities and towns in this extraordinary state.

1. Lewes

Source: Flickr/Lee Cannon

Settled by the Dutch in the 1600s, Lewes is a charming coastal town with plenty of outdoor activities. Take the family to the Cape Henlopen State Park for a day on the beach or hiking around the salt marshes. The Lewes Farmers Market is a great place to pick up fresh fruit, cheese, baked goods, and freshly baked bread to snack on at your vacation rental. The best ice cream in town is actually sold from a window at a working farm, the Hopkins Farm Creamery.

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2. Smyrna

Source: Flickr/Patrick Nouhailler

Relax and enjoy small-town life in the charming town of Smyrna. The Beers, Rims and Notes is an exciting car show that displays cars from the 1940s, 50s, 60s, and many more. In addition, enjoy the live music and dine at the various food trucks. Walk around Duck Creek Village, the historic district, to admire the old buildings. Go hiking in Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge, where you might see green-winged teal, snow geese, unlin, dowitchers, and yellowlegs as you walk through this salt marsh ecosystem. See a peacock preening at the 3 Palms Zoo and Education Center along with a host of other animals including llamas. This small zoo offers educational information to teach your family more about the care of these critters.

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3. New Castle

Source: Flickr/Ron Cogswell

Located on the Delaware River, New Castle was the first capital city for the state and offers a rich history for visitors to explore. Learn more at the museum in the New Castle Court House. Tour the Old Library Museum and wander around the Amstel House Gardens to enjoy the beautiful early fall weather. On Pea Patch Island, Fort Delaware once served as harbor defense and offers frequent reenactments to learn more about what life was like here in the past.

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4. Rehoboth Beach

Source: Flickr/Lee Cannon

Soak up the sun on the final week of summer in the fun beach town of Rehoboth Beach and attend the Bethany Beach Jazz Funeral. Arrive in a somber costume but be ready for some family fun, including live music, vendors, and plenty of good food. Spend your day on the beach while the kids swim in the ocean and stretch your legs on the boardwalk that borders the sand with a host of shops and eateries, such as Go Fish! and Gus and Gus Place. Rent bikes from Atlantic Cycles and go riding out at the Junction and Breakwater Trail where the towering trees help to keep you cool.

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5. Odessa

Source: Flickr/Lee Cannon

Feel like your stepping back in time in the town of Odessa with its historic homes with most of them dating back more than 200 years. Take a tour of the Corbit-Sharp House that is a National Landmark. Bring kayaks or a canoe from home to explore the Appoquinimink River or hike along the banks. Dating back to the late 1800s, the Reedy Point Range Light is a unique lighthouse that ran for only a short time.

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6. Newark

Source: Flickr/Michele Dorsey Walfred

Home to the University of Delaware, Newark is a great place for walking. Meander around Main Street and do a little shopping before exploring the campus with its stately buildings and green spaces. See the trees changing color and hike along trails that follow bubbling creeks in the White Clay Creek State Park, or opt to explore the Carpenter State Park. The second park also has a disc golf course to see who has the best aim in your family.

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7. Wilmington

Source: Flickr/likeaduck

Located on the Christina and Delaware rivers, Wilmington offers a thriving art scene and wonderful cultural opportunities. The Delaware Art Museum is small but has a lovely permanent collection. Stroll along the Riverwalk area of town. Do a little window shopping at the area’s boutiques and art galleries, then pick up the kids to enjoy all the hands-on activities and play areas in the Delaware Children’s Museum. Learn more about animal conservation at the small, 12-acre Brandywine Zoo with its varied selection of animals. There is a petting zoo and a beehive encased in plastic, where kids can get a good look at a honey bee colony.

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8. Bethany Beach

Source: Flickr/Lee Cannon

Unwind in the less frequented beach town of Bethany Beach. Walk along the pristine sand and wade in the water, or just watch the sunset from the balcony of your vacation rental. The Bethany Beach Boardwalk is a great place for walking or watching the surf roll in. Pick up fresh fruits and locally-made jams and preserves at the Bethany Beach Farmer’s Market. Make your way around town on the Bethany Beach Trolley with stops in many locations to save yourself the stress of a drive.

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9. Dover

Source: Flickr/Ken Lund

Tour the Delaware Capitol Building and the Old State Building with a visit to Dover, the capital city. NASCAR fans love visiting this city and taking a tour of the Dover International Speedway. During your tour, make sure to see the Miles the Monster sculpture that clutches a racecar in its hand. Looking for something a little different? Tour the Johnson Victrola Museum and explain to your kids that these were early record players, and then explain those. Learn more about the state’s farming history at the Delaware Agricultural Museum and Village.

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10. Milton

Source: Flickr/Michele Dorsey Walfred

Check out the beautiful Victorian homes as your roam around the historic district of Milton. For older family members, the Dogfish Head Brewing Company offers tours to learn more about the art of making craft beer, and a sampling room to find a new favorite at the end. On the banks of Delaware Bay, Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge was created as a sanctuary for migratory birds, and early fall is a great time to see visiting feathered friends.

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