Aerial view of Lewes, Delaware. Editorial credit: Khairil Azhar Junos /

6 Most Vibrant Towns In Delaware

Delaware shines as one of the most soothing and lively states along the East Coast of the United States of America. Since the 1600s, when Swedish and Finnish immigrants made the first log cabins to settle down and call the land their new home, there have been a number of vibrant small towns that travelers have continuously enjoyed. Visitors will love the beaches of Bethany Beach and Lewes, as well as the living histories located in Odessa and New Castle. Even the horseshoe crabs in Delaware Bay have reveled in the vibrancy and warmth that Delaware has to offer. Give yourself a much-needed vacation by experiencing the most vibrant towns in Delaware.


Dogfish Head Craft Brewery at Milton, Delaware.
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery at Milton, Delaware. Image credit: Daveynin via

Only seven miles from Delaware Bay—a breeding ground for the largest population of horseshoe crabs—Milton is an opulent town that earned its name from English poet John Milton. Called “the Head of the Broadkill” due to its location on the Broadkill River, Milton retained much of its shipping and shipbuilding heritage since the 18th century, particularly at the Town Dock, Town Park, and Marina. The town was also dubbed the “Holly Capital of the World” it produced more Christmas and holiday holly wreaths and decorations than anywhere else. For visitors who enjoy vibrant walks and trails, the Edward H. McCabe Preserve have plenty of riverside treks for you to enjoy the local wildlife. Consider staying a while at the Charleston of Milton Inn LLC or the Governor’s Bed & Breakfast.


 Historic buildings on Main Street, Odessa, Delaware.
Historic buildings on Main Street, Odessa, Delaware. Editorial credit: Khairil Azhar Junos /

About 18 minutes from Delaware City, Odessa is one of the oldest towns in Delaware, having been founded by Dutch settlers in 1660 on the Appoquinimink River. Among the many 18th- and 19th-century architecture lovingly preserved by the townsfolk, visitors can admire Cantwell's Tavern, the Fieldstone Stable, and the Corbit-Sharp House. The latter has been deemed a National Historic Landmark, as it is one of the many Network to Freedom sites on the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad that helped American Civil War slaves escape injustice. While you are staying in Odessa, do find accommodations at Miller-Dunham House Bed & Breakfast. Most importantly, stay during August for the Middletown Old Thyme Peach Festival where you can sample excellent peach pies.


A scenic view of downtown Lewes, Deleware. 
A scenic view of downtown Lewes, Deleware. 

Lewes, located where the Delaware Bay and Atlantic Ocean converges, is a perfect seaside retreat from the monotony and staleness of city life. One can find adventure at the expansive Cape Henlopen State Park; there, you can marvel at Delaware’s famous "walking" sand dunes. As a beachside town, Lewes is not short of having many fine shores for people to soak in the sun and the fun. The Beach Plum Island Nature Preserve and Savannah Beach are especially good places to luxuriate. When it comes to history, the Fort Miles Historic Area serves as a testament to America’s readiness during World War II. So wade through those beaches and find more beautiful delights while staying at the Red Mill Inn, Hotel Rodney, or The Inn at Canal Square.

Bethany Beach

A group of dolphins swimming near Indian River Inlet by Bethany Beach, Delaware,
A group of dolphins swimming near Indian River Inlet by Bethany Beach, Delaware.

Aside from Lewes, there are many more beaches in Delaware that many will absolutely adore. Bethany Beach, for example, has miles of elegant and sublime sandy stretches. Approximately 30 minutes from Lewes, visitors can revel at the James Farm Ecological Preserve, Fenwick Island State Park, and the Delaware Seashore State Park, each with unique biomes and biodiversity. In the town itself, one can be treated to live performances at the Bandstand. These musical and cultural displays occur every Thursday nights in the summer and Fridays and Saturday nights on September and October. Remember to find good lodgings at the Addy Sea Historic Oceanfront Inn, Bethany Beach Ocean Suites Residence Inn, and Hotel Bethany Beach.

New Castle

Immanuel Episcopal Church in New Castle, Delaware
Immanuel Episcopal Church in New Castle, Delaware.

The historic town of New Castle is the oldest town in the Delaware Valley since 1651. With its prime proximity along the Delaware River, New Castle has prospered as a hub of commerce and communication between many early settlements in the region. Although its name has changed continuously throughout the centuries—from Santhoeck or Fort Casimir in 1651 to New Amstel and finally New Castle—the town has remained an unchanging location for tourists to explore. Many of its original structures and houses still remain standing, such as the Immanuel Episcopal Church, the Amstel House Museum, the Old Dutch House, and the New Castle Court House. If these historic sites do not suffice, then Battery Park offers many colonial-era dwellings and picture-perfect waterfronts that have barely changed since the 1600s. Should you wish to spend more time there, you can find excellent rooms at the Terry House Bed & Breakfast.


 Foxwood Drive in Clayton, Kent County, Delaware
Foxwood Drive in Clayton, Delaware. Image credit: Famartin via Wikimedia Commons.

The town of Clayton is not only vibrant, but has been one of the most invaluable towns in the Delmarva Peninsula. Since the 1850’s and up to the 1950’s, Clayton was a major epicenter of rail transportation. Clayton Station, once known as Smyrna Station, is a historic testament of the town’s role in connecting faraway places like Dover, Newark, and Wilmington together. In addition, the Smyrna Museum elaborates more about Clayton’s pivotal location and how the town contributed to Delaware’s economy. Should history lessons not suffice, you can always relish the town’s beautiful surroundings at the Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge, Blackbird State Forest, and Blackiston Wildlife Area.

Now most people journey either through Maryland or Virginia on the Eastern Shore to embrace Delaware’s bracing coastline and its simplistic atmosphere. But mainly it is the most vibrant towns in the Delmarva Peninsula that people feel truly excited to fill their vacationing days, especially for the promise of being far away from New York City. There are simplicity and unique adventures to be created when immersing yourself in Bethany Beach’s shores, Odessa’s charm, Clayton’s quaintness, and many more. Pretty soon, you will feel like the horseshoe crabs in Delaware Bay who have enjoyed the splendor of Delaware since prehistoric times.

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