Dover is the county seat of central Delaware’s Kent County and the second-largest city in the state. It’s also home to one of the country’s largest Air Force Bases and is one of the busiest military transportation hubs in the world.
Though the town of Dover is full of a variety of attractions, including a casino, race track, and abundant historic sites, there is also an array of activity options on the base itself.
Some of them are reserved for military personnel and their families, but many are open to the public.
Below are 15 things to do in and around Dover Air Force Base, Delaware.
1. Dover AFB Eagle Lanes Bowling Center
Bowling is a great indoor activity and is especially popular during periods of inclement weather when outdoor activities aren’t an option.
Dover AFB Eagle Lanes Bowling Center is located on Tuskegee Boulevard on the base. In addition to bowling, it features a café, playground, and arcade.
Previous guests have noted that the facility was clean and that they ended up spending more time on-site than they’d originally planned.
Lanes are inexpensive, and servicemen and women and their families are entitled to discounts. There’s even a barbershop for those who want to cross another item off their to-do list.
2. Eagles Nest Park
Local parks are great places to relax and get some exercise, and for those visiting the base, Eagles Nest Park is both free and convenient.
It’s located on Heritage Road, and since it’s in the flight path of the massive transport aircraft that fly in and out of the base daily, it’s a great place to watch the breathtaking spectacle.
The park’s amenities include a playground, bathrooms, and plenty of covered seating areas that are great places for picnics and family gatherings.
There are also paved walking paths and plenty of wide-open spaces for those interested in taking a leisurely morning or afternoon stroll.
3. Air Mobility Command Museum
If you’ve ever wondered where military aircraft go after they’ve outlived their service lives, you’ll find out after a visit to the Air Mobility Command Museum in Dover.
The area’s premier attraction for military aviation enthusiasts and lovers of history, its collection includes nearly three dozen airplanes, both vintage and contemporary.
Most of the aircraft on display did their tours in logistics and aerial refueling roles, but there are fighters and bombers included as well.
The old birds have been restored to near-original condition, and it’s possible to actually tour the insides of some of the larger ones.
4. Dover AFB Arts & Crafts Center
The Dover AFB Arts & Crafts Center is located on Chevron Street and offers visitors a unique mix of artsy and practical activities that draw a diverse crowd.
The center is spread over nearly 20,000 square feet and includes painting and pottery studios that offer materials and programs appropriate for those of most ages.
The center’s services also include framing, woodcraft, and a multi-bay auto shop that’s open to handy types who prefer to work on their own cars.
The facility is only open to military personnel and their families, but for those in the area visiting friends and relatives, guests are allowed if they’re accompanied by a member.
5. Dover Downs Hotel & Casino
For many military families who are stuck on base for long periods, getting out into the town is a well-deserved breath of fresh air.
Dover Downs Hotel & Casino features a huge variety of amenities and activity options. Though gaming is the big draw, there are lots of things to do for young guests as well.
Dover Downs’ features Vegas-style gaming and a harness racing horse track. It’s particularly well-known for its excellent dining options, including seafood, steaks, gourmet burgers, and lots of international cuisines.
During football and auto racing season, the casino’s sports bars are popular watering holes for locals and vacationers alike.
6. Eagle Creek Golf Course
Golf is a great stress reliever, and for much of the year, the weather in Delaware is perfect for hitting the links.
Eagle Creek Golf Course is considered one of the area’s best golf values, and that’s especially true for servicemen and women who get discounts on greens fees.
The course features a driving range and putting and chipping areas for those who need to warm-up before they tee-off. Clubs are available to rent as well.
The course also has a popular bar and grill that’s a favorite post-round attraction. Lessons are available for those in need of a little professional guidance.
7. Delaware Agricultural Museum and Village
Agriculture has always been a mainstay of the First State’s economy. Though it doesn’t rank very highly on many travelers’ itineraries, the Delaware Agricultural Museum and Village often ends up being one of the most memorable stops of many vacationer’s trips.
Admission is dirt cheap by vacation standards, and the museum is conveniently located on North DuPont Highway near the downtown area.
The museum’s exhibits include vintage farm equipment, artifacts, and related memorabilia. During the summer months, there are often special events and interactive activities for children.
Most guests stick around for an hour or two before heading off to other adventures.
8. Biggs Museum of American Art
The Biggs Museum of American Art is a free attraction that houses one of the area’s most complete collections of historic photojournalism items.
It’s located downtown near other popular tourist hotspots, making it convenient to visit for those who’ve already got busy schedules and want to utilize their time wisely.
The museum’s impressive collection is spread over multiple floors and includes state and regional works of traditional art, antiques, and historical memorabilia.
If you plan on visiting with a large group, you may want to call ahead and let them know when you’ll be arriving, so they can make the necessary arrangements.
9. House of Coffi
Though it’s only been around since 2018, House of Coffi has already established itself as one of Dover’s premier coffee shops.
Located amidst historic buildings, brick streets, and popular attractions in the downtown area, it opens early daily, making it a great place to fuel-up for a long day.
Their beans are ground fresh daily, and guests appreciate the shop’s laid-back atmosphere, fast Wi-Fi, and attentive staff.
House of Coffi’s walls are adorned with local art. In addition to hot and cold coffee, they offer light breakfast and lunch fare, and other drinks like juice and tea.
10. Dover International Speedway
Each year during the racing season, Dover International Speedway is a magnet for race fans from all over the country.
The Speedway has been a racing icon for more than 50 years. Throughout the year, it hosts a variety of races in different classes, the most popular of which are the NASCAR events that are held annually in the summer and fall.
Even for non-race fans it’s a fun experience. In addition to world-class auto racing, events include live entertainment, lots of food and drink, and family-friendly activities for family attendees.
Campsites and RV spaces fill quickly during peak times, so plan accordingly.
11. Mission BBQ
Though Delaware isn’t the first place that comes to mind when most hungry eaters think of barbecue, for savvy visitors who know where to look, there are more than a few options.
Mission BBQ is located on North DuPont Highway in Dover and has all the classic Q options you’d expect, like baby back ribs, pulled pork, and brisket.
Rumor has it that during peak times, their most popular menu items often sell out before closing, so if that’s when you’ll be stopping by, consider dining early to beat the rush.
They’re also known for their homemade sides like classic mac ‘n cheese and beans.
12. The Green and Delaware State Capital
Downtown Dover is a particularly walkable part of the city, and for history-minded visitors who’d rather stretch their legs than waste time in a car, it’s a great place to explore on foot.
Delaware’s history stretches back to the time before the Revolutionary War and the founding of the country, and many restored historic buildings are now open to visitors on a regular basis.
The Green is a central park of sorts that is surrounded by popular attractions like the Golden Fleece Tavern and original State Capital. Especially during the afternoon and evening, it tends to come alive as restaurants and bars fill-up with weary tourists and thirsty locals.
13. Fifer Orchards
Due to its coastal location and moderate climate, Delaware has a relatively long growing season; its yearly produce haul includes a variety of fruits and vegetables, like strawberries, apples, tomatoes, and corn.
Fifer Orchards is a family-run farm that’s popular with the u-pick-’em crowd. They also host a number of festivals annually to celebrate different harvests and the holidays.
Their peach and fall festivals are among the favorite and include lots of staff-led activities that are perfect for those traveling with energetic little ones.
Their on-site farm stand sells everything from cider and donuts to nuts, honey, and baked goods.
14. Delaware Seashore State Park
Dover’s position in the middle of the state means that visitors have easy access to attractions at both ends of the state.
The northern portion is most known for its cities and historic sites, but the south is definitely all about the beaches.
Delaware Seashore State Park is the perfect spot for beach lovers who prefer to distance themselves from the crowds at more commercial resorts like Rehoboth Beach.
Its location where the bay and ocean meet makes it popular with anglers, surfers, and campers as well.
There are plenty of dining and lodging options just a few miles from the state park.
15. Beach Time Distilling
Nothing hits the spot quite like a cold drink after a long day in the sun. For those who prefer adult beverages to coffee and fruit shakes, Beach Time Distilling in Lewes would be a great place to get the evening started.
Beach Time has been around since 2015 and is particularly well-known for its gin, vodka, and rum that are tasty sipped over ice or mixed into a craft cocktail.
They’re only open from noon until 6 PM from Monday to Thursday but are open later on Fridays and Saturdays.
By beach standards, they close early, so plan on visiting earlier rather than later.