When it comes to unique towns with an interesting combination of long history and cultural diversity, none are quite as charming as Georgetown, Delaware. This small town of about 6,500 people is situated in an attractive location in Sussex County, only a short drive away from major attractions and the beach resorts of the Atlantic coast.
Although Georgetown is part of the Salisbury Metropolitan Area, it has a laid-back, suburban feel that makes it the perfect vacation destination for travelers wishing to relax in a quiet area without the crowds while still being close to major city centers. Beautiful scenery surrounds the town, and outdoor recreation is plentiful.
A unique characteristic of Georgetown is the fact that the town was built around a circle, which today is the town center, where you will find many of the shops, restaurants, and services.
Every two years, Return Day – a much-anticipated Colonial festival – takes place. Other yearly events include Wings and Wheels, which takes place in October, Festival Hispano in September, and Georgetown Art Crawl & Farmer and the Foodie, which also takes place in September.
Below are 15 of the best things to do in and around Georgetown, Delaware.
1. Treasures of the Sea Exhibit
In the 17th century, the waters of the nearby Atlantic coast were an exciting place to be. Explorers from Spain, along with their Old-World Treasures, sailed in those waters in search of New Worlds and exciting things to report back. Sometimes, ships were lost.
This was the case with the Nuestra Senora de Atocha, which foundered in a fierce storm in 1622. For a period after that, those same waters were busy with treasure hunters searching for fabled treasure. It turns out the treasure was real after all, and some of it was recovered by renowned treasure hunter Mel Fisher.
In a one-of-kind display, visitors to Georgetown can view and touch items from this four-million-dollar Spanish treasure loot at the Treasures of the Sea Exhibit. You can also watch a short video about the history of the ship and its demise.
2. JD Shuckers Georgetown
For a delicious and affordable meal made with fresh, locally-sourced ingredients, visitors to the area head to JD Shuckers Georgetown.
Whether it be lunch, dinner, happy hour, or late into the night, you can choose from a varied menu that includes options such as steak, seafood, chicken, various crab dishes, burgers, and sandwiches.
3. Jungle Jims Adventure World
For a day filled with both water and land-based activities, families head to Jungle Jims Adventure World in nearby Rehoboth Beach.
As the state’s biggest waterpark, all the fun water amusements you would expect are there, including giant waterslides, a variety of pools, waterfalls to splash in, a spray ground, bumper boats, and a lazy river. On land, there’s a rope swing course, Go-Karts, and The River Safari café, which serves a variety of options, including burgers, fries, pizza, sandwiches, wraps, and salads.
4. Cape Henlopen State Park
There is enough fun and adventure to be had for the whole family at Cape Henlopen State Park in Lewes that an entire day can be spent there. There are several beaches that are perfect for swimming during the warmer months, and showers and changing rooms are on-site.
After you cool off in the refreshing water, enjoy a competitive round of disc golf at the 18-hole course, or practice shooting some hoops at the basketball court. There is a three-mile-long hiking trail that circles the park; this is where you can view the scenic landscape of the area. Indulge in some local history and take in the stunning views when you climb to the top of the World War II Observation Tower or the former military bunker.
A number of events occur in the park throughout the year, including the Kite Festival and the Halloween Fantasy Trail.
More family fun is enjoyed at Funland. Adults love the fact that this classic amusement park features nostalgic rides from their childhood and is situated right on the boardwalk in Rehoboth Beach. Kids are more interested in the variety of midway games, 20 different rides available for both younger and older kids, the electronic shooting gallery, an arcade, and the haunted mansion.
6. DiscoverSea Shipwreck Museum
Visitors of all ages can spend an interesting day learning about history and checking out authentic shipwreck artifacts at the DiscoverSea Shipwreck Museum in Fenwick Island.
The more than 10,000 artifacts come directly from the ocean floor. They are on display in interactive exhibits that add up to one of the largest collections in the region. The objects are from all over the world and the exhibits rotate frequently, so there’s always something new to see.
7. Marvel Carriage Museum
Visitors can view a unique collection of carriages and browse many items related to Georgetown’s history at the Marvel Carriage Museum. This Antique Carriage Museum is home to two spacious barns that hold Nutter Marvel’s collection of carriages, which include the Queen’s carriage, the Disney Carriage, and a peddler’s wagon.
Also on-site are several historic buildings, such as the Ellis School, which was built in 1833. Visitors can also browse the exhibits that feature many items, including photos, old telephones, and antique furniture.
8. Holts Landing State Park
Situated on 203 acres of land along the coast in nearby Dagsboro, Holts Landing State Park is the perfect place to spend a day getting fresh air and enjoying nature. Some of the activities you can enjoy in this park include fishing, boating, horseback riding, and hiking.
Along the way, your outdoor adventure will take you along beautiful beaches, through lush forest areas, and over grassy fields. You may even spot deer, foxes, raccoons, and a variety of bird species.
9. Hike the Junction & Breakwater Trail
If you like hiking but prefer an easier trail, the Junction & Breakwater Trail in Rehoboth Beach is only six miles long and can be accessed at Wolfe Glade and Holland Glade. This rail-trail takes you through pristine natural areas with beautiful scenery along the southwestern side of Cape Henlopen State Park.
10. Biggs Museum of American Art
At the Biggs Museum of American Art in Dover, the main goal is to educate visitors about art, and captivate imaginations with the beauty of it.
Art-lovers of all ages – or anyone simply interested in learning more about American art – can spend an afternoon admiring various exhibits showcasing works of art from Delaware and all over the country. Some pieces date back to the 18th century, and the displays feature a wide range of styles and genres from many different artists.
11. Play a Round of Golf at Mulligan’s Pointe Golf Course
Mulligan’s Pointe is more than just a championship 18-hole golf course; it’s a place to go and indulge in your favorite game while having fun with friends. This affordable course in Georgetown is open to the public every day, all year round.
After a long day of teeing off, guests enjoy great food and drink at the on-site bar and grill. On weekends, there’s plenty of entertainment in the form of live music, trivia, karaoke, and various bar games.
12. Abbotts Mill Nature Center
For a day filled with learning experiences and various activities in a natural setting, visitors of all ages head to Abbotts Mill Nature Center in Milford. This scenic, rural area on the Atlantic coast features a variety of history programs for visitors of all ages, live amphibian and reptile exhibits, and animal taxidermy displays.
There’s also a historic grist and roller mill on-site, and guided tours are offered. For active visitors, several hiking trails for all levels are located in the park. The supervised ocean beach area is perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and surf fishing.
13. 3 Palms Zoo
3 Palms Zoo is a combination of zoo, animal rescue center, and educational center in nearby Townsend. In fact, it’s the only zoo in the state that allows visitors to view a variety of animal species in secure habitats, much like the ones they are used to. Not only can you see the animals, but you get to learn about them, their habitats, and how they came to be at the center.
You can visit wild animals, including turtles, groundhogs, foxes, and the state’s only Alligator, Tick Tock. A variety of birds are also on-site, such as turkey vultures, geese, owls, and pheasants. You have the opportunity to feed and pet domestic animals as well, like emus, llamas, sheep, pigs, and donkeys.
14. Midway Speedway Park
Excitement for all ages awaits at the Midway Speedway in Rehoboth Beach. The main attraction is the opportunity to get behind the wheel of a go-kart and race down five unique tracks, including a super-8 track and high-banked oval.
After all that racing excitement, you can try some mini-golf at the 18-hole mini-golf course, take to the water on the bumper boats, or try out your skills on the climbing wall. White Water Mountain Water Park is also on-site and features two swimming pools and several water slides.
15. Edward H. McCabe Nature Preserve
Photo (C) Sev Smith/TNC.We love spring at the McCabe Preserve!
At the Edward H. McCabe Nature Preserve in Milton, visitors can explore 143 acres of beautiful, pristine natural area along the Broadkill River. While traveling along the hiking trails that run through the preserve area, you will experience a variety of habitats, including tidal marsh, upland forest, and swamps.
Along the way, you will also see many rare plants and more than 100 bird species of birds and other wildlife. While you can drive to the park entrance, if you feel like being a little more adventurous, you can rent a canoe and arrive from Milton via the river.