Visitors seeking to have a laid-back vacation in a quiet, sparsely-populated area only a short drive away from major cities and attractions find the perfect base for their travels in Elsmere, Delaware.
Situated in New Castle County, the town has a population of about 6,000 people and is actually a suburb of Philadelphia. The fairly large city of Wilmington is right next door, and the beautiful sandy beaches of the Delaware and New Jersey Atlantic Coast are only about an hour away.
Elsmere is home to a number of parks and green spaces, including Maple Avenue Park, Brian Martin Park, Junction Street Park, and Fairgrounds Park. The downtown area is where you will find most of the historic buildings, restaurants, cafes, and boutique shops.
Most of the shopping in the area can be found in nearby Wilmington, at places such as Prices Corner Shopping Center and Boxwood Shopping Center. Wilmington is only a short drive away from Elsmere, and also where many of the area’s top museums and attractions can be found.
Below are 15 of the best things to do in and around Elsmere, Delaware.
1. Get Pampered at Harmony Spa
Upon arrival to Elsmere, visitors can relax after their travels with a rejuvenating and relaxing spa session at Harmony Spa in nearby Newark. Professional, licensed staff enforce a calm and positive atmosphere where you can indulge in a variety of treatments, including massages, facials, aromatherapy, and various bodywork services.
Within the calming walls of the spa, you will find waterfalls, tropical plants, and a meditation room. You can spend as much time as you like, indulge in as many treatments as you want, and you will leave refreshed, relaxed, and ready to explore Elsmere and surrounding areas.
2. Explore The Delaware History Museum
It’s a good idea to learn as much as possible about the areas you are visiting; a great place to start is with the local museums. Delaware has a long and interesting past, and a visit to The Delaware History Museum in nearby Wilmington will allow you to learn about the history and culture of the area.
There are exhibits dedicated to the Lenape people who once prospered in the region, the Colonial days, The Civil and World Wars, and the industrial era.
3. Spend Some Time Outdoors at the Ashland Nature Center
The Ashland Nature Center is a 130-acre park set among woodland areas, meadows, marshes, and the Red Clay Creek. Visitors can spend a day taking in the serene, natural area, and stunning scenery that makes for a relaxing atmosphere away from the hustle and bustle.
On-site, there are four miles of hiking trails. Along the way, you’ll stumble upon the Red Clay Valley Important Bird Area, where you can watch for hawks, hummingbirds, and various other bird species. Also on-site are washrooms, a picnic area, and a visitor center.
4. The Delaware Children’s Museum
For an unforgettable learning experience, kids of all ages can spend an afternoon learning new things through various interpretive exhibits at the Delaware Children’s Museum.
The museum aims to encourage kids to embrace life-long learning. While exploring the museum, they will learn about math, science, modern technology, culture, and art.
5. Enjoy Some Brews at the Twin Lakes Brewery
If craft beer is something you like to indulge in while traveling, look no further than Twin Lakes Brewery for tasty, fresh, and locally-made quality brews. Staff work hard to preserve traditional methods of brewing, and only the finest ingredients are used.
A full bar is available in the laid-back tasting room, where friendly servers offer up a variety of options, including Blue Water Pilsner and Tweeds Tavern Stout. Homemade root beer and an array of snacks and light meals are available from the Sugarfoot Restaurant.
Brewery tours not only take guests on a tour of the building but also on a journey through all the steps involved in creating their product. Of course, tastings are also offered, and visitors have the option to purchase the products on-site.
6. Immerse Yourself in Nature at the Russell W. Peterson Wildlife Refuge
Near the river in the downtown area of Wilmington, there’s a unique green space in the form of a wildlife refuge. Russell W. Petersen Wildlife Refuge is a one-of-kind urban sanctuary devoted to preserving the fragile wetland ecosystem where a variety of species thrive.
Visitors can walk along the raised walkways and footpaths and stop at the viewing platforms to get a better look at the landscape and wildlife.
7. Indulge with a Unique Meal at The Mayne Dish
For a unique and tasty meal, visitors stop by The Mayne Dish in Wilmington to enjoy a variety of Caribbean and American dishes. There’s something for every taste on the extensive menu, which includes dishes such as jerk chicken, curry shrimp, coco bread, an assortment of rice-based dishes and various desserts such as Jamaican rum cake.
8. White Clay Creek State Park
Visitors wanting to spend a day in nature can find a variety of things to do at White Clay Creek State Park. There are two ponds on-site – Millstone and Cattail – that are perfect for freshwater fishing. You can expect to catch various species, including trout and bluegill.
There are also 37 miles of hiking and biking trails for all levels of fitness. As you make your way through the park, you will see several historic sites and scenic views.
9. Cruise the Brandywine Valley Scenic Byway
One of the best ways to see and experience some of the beautiful scenery around Elsmere is by going for a drive around the area, and you can’t miss the Brandywine Valley Scenic Byway. This popular route takes you from downtown Wilmington all the way to the border of Pennsylvania.
As you drive along the winding road, you will see lush forest areas and large fields. There are food and drink options along the way.
10. The Delaware Art Museum
There are an astounding 12,000 works of art on display at The Delaware Art Museum in Wilmington. Visitors who are interested in all sorts of vintage and modern American art will not be disappointed at this impressive collection, which is the largest in the state. Also on-site is an outdoor sculpture park.
11. Relax on the Wilmington Riverfront
The best way to spend a relaxing afternoon or evening is with a stroll along the Wilmington Riverfront. After a long day, you can simply find a nice place to sit down and enjoy the scenery and laid back atmosphere, or you can explore this mile-long stretch on the banks of the Christina River.
Several restaurants, a beer garden, mini-golf, and ice cream shops can be found along the way.
12. Visit the Read House and Gardens
Nearby New Castle is home to the Read House and Gardens, which is a historic property featuring a grand mansion and beautiful gardens. Constructed in the early 1800s for George Read II, the site is now on the list of National Historic Landmarks and has since been restored and turned into a historic attraction.
You can tour the 14,000 square-foot house and experience what it must have been like for the Read family when they lived there.
13. Visit the Delaware Museum of Natural History
Visitors of all ages enjoy browsing the many interactive displays at the Delaware Museum of Natural History in Wilmington. This unique museum experience offers visitors the chance to experience the natural world through exhibits about mammals, the works of Charles Darwin, and prehistoric creatures. A variety of temporary exhibits and events are also featured throughout the year.
14. Kalbi Asian Bistro
Visitors seeking quality Asian cuisine with a focus on Korean dishes will find a variety of options on the menu at the family-owned Kalbi Asian Bistro. Lunch and dinner are served each day in a casual atmosphere. A wide variety of barbecue options and, of course, sushi are just some of the tasty options available.
15. First State National Historical Park
A self-guided tour of the First State Historical Park is likened to a history lesson of the region’s past. Significant historical buildings are located on the site, including The Green Dover and the New Castle Court House. The various exhibits highlight a number of past events, such as colonization and the Declaration of Independence.