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Charming Towns Near the Delaware Beaches

Charming Towns Near the Delaware Beaches

By Julie Matthews

When Delaware Beaches are mentioned, Rehoboth Beach, Bethany Beach, Dewey Beach and Lewes are typically the first towns that come to mind. While this is not a surprise, knowing their popularity with vacationers, the beach resort’s surrounding areas also have noteworthy attractions not to be overlooked. 

Sussex County, the home of the Delaware Beaches, and Kent County, to the north, are full of interesting places to visit. An afternoon to one or a handful of their towns can be a fun, mini getaway in and of itself where visitors can unplug and set off on a road trip on the backroads through the state. Some of these towns are just several miles outside of the shores, where there are completely different landscapes and architecture. 

From terrific restaurants and breweries to local shops and museums, the greater area has much to offer visitors exploring the region. Let’s get to know some of the neighboring towns of the Delaware Beaches.


Centrally located in Sussex County, this town takes great pride in its well-rounded community. It hosts Return Day, a unique holiday for the state of Delaware held on the Thursday after Election Day in November, at the town center’s “The Circle.” This is a beautiful area including a park and fountain and is listed in the National Historic Record. For a unique cultural experience, check out the Marvel Carriage Museum’s collection of antique carriages and the restored buildings on its property.


Located along the Broadkill River, this is a quaint historic town with Victorian homes in a mostly rural setting. Beer enthusiasts will want to check out Dogfish Head Brewery, one of the town’s hotspots, which was the first craft brewery in the state of Delaware. Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge and Edward H. McCabe Nature Preserve provide opportunities to get out into nature, as does taking a tour of a local lavender farm. History buffs will enjoy viewing the exhibits at Milton Historical Society Museum.


On the Delaware-Maryland border, Delmar is known as “The Little Town Too Big for One State.” Along Route 54 stop by the Middle Point – Mason Dixon Marker, a roadside attraction marking where surveyors Mason and Dixon started their historic survey resulting in the dividing line between the northern and southern states of our country. Delmar’s proximity to Salisbury, Maryland also provides the area many “big city” attractions close by. 


This small town, whose motto is “A Beautiful Way of Life,” is just several miles outside of Bethany Beach but feels many miles from the beach crowds. Some of its family-friendly activities in town include a theatre with magic and live entertainment, and a new facility with mini golf and arcade.


Located in Kent and Sussex counties, this quaint town is all about local. Head downtown and stroll around Riverwalk and enjoy its views of the Mispillion River. Grabbing a great meal and checking out the art scene are also among the many things to do here. Another highlight is Abbotts Mill Nature Center, on Milford Millponds Nature Preserve, with scenic trails, a historic working gristmill and a handicap-accessible boardwalk.


While still a small town, Millsboro’s population has grown quickly in recent years. With its proximity to the Indian River and freshwater ponds, water recreation such as fishing, boating and paddling is prevalent here. Natural beauty adorns the area, including Cupola Park, which hosts many of the town’s events. Furthermore, Millsboro has a delightful downtown area filled with shops, including antiques and boutiques, and restaurants. Millsboro has strong rural roots, as still seen with its sprawling farmlands, and is rich in history with a number of its sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Be sure to check out the Nanticoke Indian Museum.


Take a road trip north to Harrington, located in Kent County, and discover Harrington Raceway & Casino. Try one of Harrington’s excellent dining options or learn about the area’s history at one of its interesting museums. And did you know Harrington plays host to Delaware’s State Fair? 

If you’re looking for different scenery and to learn something new, carve out some time for exploring more of Delaware!


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