Wilmington Manor is a municipality of about 10,000 residents that’s located in north-central Delaware’s New Castle County.
Like most of the state’s cities and towns, there is an abundance of historical sites nearby, as well as museums, galleries, shopping destinations, and a number of large state parks just to the north.
Day trips to the beach are popular too, and gaming and auto racing are big draws in Dover.
Below are 15 things to do in and around Wilmington Manor, Delaware.
1. Kalmar Nyckel
The Kalmar Nyckel is one of The First State’s most iconic symbols; the historic replica of the sailing ship that played such an important role in Delaware’s history is now a popular tourist attraction.
The ship is staffed with trained seamen and women and knowledgeable local guides. Though the winds don’t always cooperate during tours, time spent on the Kalmar Nyckel is often the most memorable activity of vacationer’s trips.
Tours generally last a few hours and include portions in the Christina and Delaware Rivers and the Delaware Bay.
Prices are reasonable, and sunscreen, bottled water, and hats are highly recommended.
2. Rockwood Mansion and Museum
History-minded travelers visiting Delaware could spend days hitting all the state’s museums without running out of options. For those visiting the Wilmington Manor area, the Rockwood Mansion and Museum is one of the most popular.
The mansion features impressive gothic architecture and was originally built in the mid-1850s.
For much of its existence, it was the residence of a prominent local family and is filled with period art, furniture, and housewares that were quite swanky by the day’s standards.
The cost of admission won’t break the bank, and for those with flexible schedules, it’s possible to visit free on the first Sunday of each month.
3. Three Ddd’s Steaks & Hoagies
Though neighboring New Jersey and Philadelphia usually make all the headlines when it comes to having world-class pizza and subs, Delaware has quietly built a reputation for itself in recent years as well.
Three Ddd’s Steaks and Hoagies is located on Moores Lane in New Castle. It is a hot destination for lovers of Jersey and Philly-style cheesesteaks, traditional pizza, and Italian cold cut subs.
Rumor has it that they don’t skimp on the portions and that their bread, dough, sauces, and cheese are always fresh.
Their menu also features wraps, sandwiches, and salads. For those on the go, takeout orders are available as well.
4. Rogers Manor Park
For most travelers intent on hitting all the popular vacation hotspots, local parks often get kicked to the curb.
For savvy travelers looking to exercise and save a few bucks, however, they’re great community resources that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Rogers Manor Park is located just a few blocks from downtown Wilmington Manor and features tennis courts, baseball fields, lots of wide-open spaces, and paved paths that are perfect for a leisurely morning or afternoon stroll.
Some of Wilmington Manor’s best restaurants are nearby as well, and there are often little league baseball and softball games that are free to watch.
5. The Dove Diner
Though in much of the country, national restaurant chains are the new norm, for those who’d rather eat homemade food and support local businesses, there are still plenty of options.
The Dove Diner is located just a few minutes from Wilmington Manor off Interstate 95 and has been described as quaint, comfortable, and inviting.
Don’t expect tuxedoed waiters and white tablecloths, but do expect traditional food, reasonable prices, and a relaxed atmosphere.
Perennial menu favorites include club sandwiches, soup, salads, chicken croquettes, and hearty breakfast options like omelets, home fries, fresh juice, and piping hot coffee.
Fruit and oatmeal are available too for those counting calories.
6. Old New Castle
Though it’s definitely not as well-known as historical icons like colonial Williamsburg in Virginia, the city of New Castle is one of the most well-preserved towns of its kind in the mid-Atlantic region.
Its history dates all the way back to the time of the American Revolution, and it’s still full of cobblestone streets, historic pubs, and several preserved historic sites that are both fun to visit and entertaining as well.
Old New Castle is easily explored on foot, and for those who’d rather let a professional deal with all the pesky details, some guided tour options are available.
During much of the 19th and early 20th centuries, the immensely wealthy and influential DuPont family had a number of palatial mansions spread across the state.
Historic Winterthur is located in Wilmington and was once the home of Henry Francis du Pont. Now, the home and museum are open to the public by both professionally and self-guided tours.
The home features nearly 200 rooms that resemble those of European royalty more so than American industrialist, and most visitors are astonished at the unfathomable wealth that made it all possible.
The grounds include stunning gardens connected by paved paths, and many guests spend between three and four hours on-site.
8. Iron Hill Science Center
In years past, families traveling with children had precious few opportunities to engage and educate young minds while keeping them entertained, but these days, that’s all changed.
The Iron Hill Science Center is located on Robert L. Melson Lane in Newark and is one of Delaware’s most prominent attractions.
Its interactive exhibits touch on a variety of topics, ranging from weather, technology, and animals, to art, history, and geology. Needless to say, getting bored won’t be an issue.
Though much of the center was designed with kids in mind, it’s usually a big hit with older children and their parents as well.
9. Fred Rust Ice Arena
Due to its coastal location, Delaware generally has much milder winters than its inland neighbors like Pennsylvania and Maryland.
That being said, it’s home to one of the region’s most celebrated ice-skating arenas and is conveniently located on the campus of The University of Delaware in Newark.
The Fred Rust Ice Arena is well-known as a training center for world-renowned figure skaters. Though its rinks are often reserved for hockey leagues and figure skating events, they’re frequently open for free skating as well.
Skates and helmets are available to rent, but check the calendar of events on their website before making a special trip.
10. Read House
New Castle’s Read House is located in the town’s historic downtown area and was built in the early years of the 1800s.
Its original owner was a prominent attorney and businessman whose father was a signer of both the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.
The home was built in the Federalist-style so common in the day and includes more than a dozen rooms and a total of nearly 15,000 square feet of indoor space.
Now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it is open to visitors and tour groups from Wednesday through Sunday, between April and December annually.
11. White Clay Creek State Park
White Clay Creek State Park is located in Delaware’s far northwest corner, near the point where Delaware, Maryland, and Pennsylvania meet.
It spread over more than 3,000 acres and links with a nature preserve of the same name in Pennsylvania.
The park’s creek is its centerpiece and winds its way for nearly 20 miles through a variety of natural environments that are home to many animals and birds, which are commonly seen from the multi-use trails.
There’s also a nature center located near the park’s entrance, so consider checking that out first before heading out into the wild.
12. Longwood Gardens
Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania is another of the most popular attractions, but unlike most others, it’s a unique blend of the natural and humanmade worlds that are nothing short of mesmerizing for many visitors.
The gardens tend to draw the biggest crowds during the annual spring bloom, but they’re beautiful year-round.
The ground on which the gardens now reside was once purchased by the DuPont family to preserve local trees that would have otherwise been cut down to make way for farmer’s fields.
Many garden aficionados consider Longwood Gardens to be among the most majestic in the country; they’re often a venue for special events, the most popular of which are the Christmas celebration and display of lights.
13. Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant
Located on East Main Street in Newark, the Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant had humble beginnings but has steadily grown in popularity in a relatively short time.
Iron’s Hills brews come in a wide range of colors, flavor profiles, and alcohol contents. Their offerings change seasonally, so it’s likely you’ll have different options each time you go.
Whereas many small-batch breweries let food trucks take care of hungry patrons, Iron Hill has its own restaurant that’s regionally famous for traditional, homemade grub like steaks, mac ‘n cheese, and roast chicken.
It’s a family-friendly establishment, and considering the quality of food and drink, prices are reasonable.
14. Russell W. Peterson Wildlife Refuge
Unlike nearly all its contemporaries, the Russell W. Peterson Wildlife Refuge is located in an urban area, making it a convenient option for city dwellers intent on experiencing the great outdoors without wasting hours traveling to far-flung corners of the state.
Most of the preserve is adjacent to Wilmington’s riverfront. The vast tracts of undeveloped natural areas have a unique knack for making visitors feel like they’re much farther away from civilization than they really are.
The refuge features an indoor learning center that’s worth checking out first; it’ll give you an overview of the park’s layout and the things you’re about to see and do.
15. DuPont Environmental Education Center
The DuPont Environmental Education Center is located on Delmarva Lane in Wilmington and is a free attraction that’s open to visitors year-round.
Though first-time visitors most associate Delaware with its Atlantic coast, the state is largely agricultural and includes a number of varied natural environments.
Much of the center’s grounds are situated along the Christina River. They are home to an impressive array of animal species, especially in the areas where land meets water, like marshes and wetlands.
The center’s staff offer regularly scheduled tours and activity options throughout the year, and most of them are appropriate for all ages.