It is nice to visit a town for its theme parks, its malls, and its walkable cobblestoned streets. However, all these attractions may not mean much if all you are met with are cold stares; the kind that tells you that you are unwanted. However, the feeling is flipped when you stroll through the streets and feel like you are returning to a place you once called home. Striking up conversations with complete strangers, the palpable desire to connect and be of help — elicits a reaction that no sparkling waterfall can equal. Friendliness is even more critical when considering living in a place; not merely visiting, and if the place is Delaware, here are some of the state's friendliest towns.
Boasting a population of about 4,300, Laurel is a Delaware charmer that will effortlessly put a smile on your face. Considered by many as the friendliest town in Delaware, Laurel is where you will experience interactions that are often authentic and well-meaning— and such as will make you lower your guard. This in part, can be attributed to the town’s small population. As many will agree, small towns tend to be close-knit and intimate. Aside from its warm-heartedness, Laurel is a foodie’s paradise worth exploring. Whether you are looking for some fresh-baked goods or fresh local meat, Dutch County Farmers Market, for instance, will come in handy. But if craving Mexican cuisine, Tacos Chabelia and Tacos La Placita are your best bets.
Curled up at the mouth of Delaware Bay just west of Cape Henlopen State Park, Lewes is another heart-warming town and hands-down among Delaware’s friendliest. While the town is small — and home to just about 3,600 residents, it is big on charm and charisma. If you are looking for a peaceful town where you can enjoy strolling through cobblestoned streets lined with eclectic boutiques, Lewes should be on your to-do list. A good pastime here is to sit down to a meal at a casual but classy waterfront restaurant, and enjoy the flavors of some finely-prepared food — while the ocean breeze whips across your face. While it is not located on the water, the appropriately-named Touch of Italy Restaurant, will put to severe test your notions of temperance and culinary self-control.
Among the most visited venues in the country, Rehoboth Beach is anything but a secret. There is a reason it is referred to as the “Nation’s Summer Capital.” A smiling beach town that hugs the waters of the Mid-Atlantic region, this Delaware charmer instinctively makes first-time visitors feel at home. And it could just be because of the beach. Rehoboth Beach has often been named the cleanest beach in the United States. It has also been named among the most family-friendly. No one can be close to this beach and not loosen up. A stroll through the town's mile-long boardwalk will make any first-time visitor appreciate why this stunner allures visitors from practically every corner of the country.
Tucked away in Kent and New Castle counties, just about 38 miles south of Wilmington, Clayton will easily warm its way to a first-time visitor's heart. For starters, Clayton is among the safest towns in the state. According to Safewise, for instance, a leading authority on security matters, among the safest cities in Delaware, Clayton is the only one to report 0 motor vehicle thefts. As many might agree, friendly people do not mug, do not pickpocket, and do not rob. A good way to prove Clayton’s friendliness is to find a seat at Sheridan’s Irish Pub, located about a mile from downtown Clayton. Irish pubs are world-famous—not only for their fine beer—but also for their friendly and casual atmosphere. For outdoor enthusiasts, however, Blackiston Wildlife Area and Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge will be worth every dime and second.
Smyrna is Delaware's sixth-largest city by population yet plays host to just about 13,500 residents. Located near the Smyrna River less than two miles from Clayton, Smyrna strikes the sweet spot between rustic charm and upscale elegance. If you want to enjoy some beef sirloin with a side of collard greens, the Smyrna Diner, conveniently located within easy access to Main Road, is where to take your appetite. After eating to your heart’s content, you will want to check out Smyrna Museum, a building which dates back to the late 18th century, and which today displays an impressive variety of artefacts and paintings. And for some fun on the water, the beautiful Lake Como, located where Route 13 and Smyrna’s Main Street meet, will have you covered.
Nestled between the Atlantic Ocean on one side — and Rehoboth Bay on the other — Dewey Beach is another Delaware stunner famous for its casual and friendly spirit. Home to just 397 residents, Dewey Beach is among the smallest Delaware beach towns. However, Dewey Beach plays on the big stage considering its lively vacation landscape. If anything, a town which many consider to be the best nightlife destination in Delaware is going to be friendly. You can relax and wind down during the day—and paint the town red by night. If looking for a beach experience, this vibrant town may just check every box. On the flip side, if looking for a place to sate your hunger pangs, Woody’s Dewey Beach Bar & Grill, located at the heart of Dewey Beach, has been serving the best crab cakes in the area since 2009.
Finally, no list of Delaware’s friendliest towns can be complete without a mention of Newark. Home to the University of Delaware, Newark is essentially a college town. That means it beams with energy, and with excitement, and with a spirit of discovery. Such is the vibrance that makes a town anything but dull or cold. Then again, this could be the reason many consider Newark the Hippie Capital of Delaware. For some of the best Buffalo cauliflowers, or any other mouthwatering vegetarian cuisine, enjoyed on an outside patio, Home Grown Cafe, located at 126 E Main Street, is a consistent tongue-wetter. But the downtown features other inviting restaurants as well — and quite an array of bohemian boutiques. If seeking some solitude, lost in nature’s warm embrace, White Clay Creek State Park, located just outside of town, will do the trick.
The smallest state in the country— after Rhode Island — may not be as friendly as Minnesota or Texas, but it acquits itself well. Dotted with cute, little towns that are mostly authentic and intimate, Delaware is full of charm and character. If you want to experience the friendliest side of the state, towns such as Laurel, Newark, and Lewes, should be on your to-do list. Then again, Clayton, the safest town in Delaware—as well as Rehoboth Beach — the “Nation’s Summer Capital,” should not stay for long on your bucket list.