10 Most Beautiful Small Towns in Delaware You Must Explore

Last Updated on January 07, 2023 by Nikki Jain

Whether it's heroically crossing the river or the gentle lap of Atlantic Ocean waves on the shore that comes to mind at the thought of Delaware, there's no denying there's beauty in these borders.

Delaware is a small state filled with some big names. While the exciting rush of a big city is perfect for accessibility, Delaware's small towns are perfect in a different kind of way.

Delaware is home to some of the most beautiful, charming small towns in the country. To narrow down the usual state list, here are the top ten small towns in Delaware.

Best Small Towns in Delaware

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1: Rehoboth Beach

Rehoboth Beach
Flickr/Patrick Nouhailler

Charming the coastline of the Atlantic Ocean lies this beautiful Delaware small town. Here the boardwalk is the talk of the city. With seasonal festivals, mom and pop shops, and all the tasty restaurants of any good beach town, Rehoboth has it all!

This town is a great place to take the whole family, as most activities here are for all ages. Check out the gentle waves on the beach, where the kids can splash and play all day. Or spend the day in wonder at the Rehoboth Beach Museum, where history comes alive.

And for anybody out there who takes the road less traveled, be sure to check out the Cape Henlopen State Park. With dunes for miles, this is a view best seen from the renowned observatory tower, dating all the way back to 1941.

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For that “home sweet, home away from home” feel, Milford is the place to be! This Delaware small town is filled to the brim of northeast comforts just waiting to be explored.

There are hole-in-the-wall restaurants with some of the best meals ever to grace a plate and little cornerstone parks that welcome a lovely sunrise. Milford has a wide variety of activities to keep all travelers entertained.

All ages can let loose on the Downtown Riverwalk that is perfect for biking or strolling or check out one of the many nature centers in the area.

And for the adult crowd, get a taste of this: Milford's very own craft beer sampling. Mispillion Brewing Company has been a must-visit creation since its opening and is just one of the many businesses that make Milford great.

3: Hockessin

Flickr/Chris Foster

Let your adventurous side blossom in Hockessin! There are numerous charming things to say about this small Delaware town, but no conversation is complete without mentioning Mother Nature.

In Hockessin, nature is not just appreciated, it’s beloved, and it's embraced in every little corner. There are multiple places here to get a breath of fresh air, but there are some can’t miss attractions you’ll have to see to believe.

First, Longwood Gardens is a near-ethereal landmark for this beautiful Delaware town. With lush, vivid greens dotted with the kind of vibrancy only blooming flowers could bring, you’ll want to come to this location with an empty camera roll. The Mt. Cuba Center is another star attraction, wherein flowers of all sorts blossom in a rainbow of color and fun.

For a bit more of an interactive approach, check out the Ashland Nature Center in Hockessin. Here all ages can explore the natural landscape of beautiful Delaware. As a state of the art nature center, Ashland is also a great resource to learn about the land, the flowers, and all the little critters and birds that call greenery home. To stretch your legs, check out the White Clay Creek State Park, where hiking and biking are just the starts. Hockessin is a true natural beauty.

Nestled on the Delaware Bay, this beautiful small town is an oasis of fun. Generally tracking at just under 3,000 residents, Lewes is the perfect small town that still moves. Meaning you can enjoy all the fun of popular attractions without the big wait times.

Here, some of the best things to do settle on the water. The Cape Henlopen State Park and the Junction and Breakwater Trail are two landmarks by the water jewels.

For a bit more of a structured exploration, check out the Zwaanendael Museum. This is a local history museum that is the enchanting expression of Dutch impression. A true marvel, Lewes is chock full of things to do for everyone.

5: Bethany Beach

Bethany Beach
Flickr/Patrick Nouhailler

Everybody needs a little seaside therapy! Long sandy stretches of sunny Delaware coastland awaits at Bethany Beach. This beautiful small town is the little beach city of your dreams. With plenty of space to spread a few towels out, you won’t have to worry about dizzying crowds or packed parking lots.

Bethany Beach is only a small drive away from Fenwick Island State Park, which is known for some of Delaware's best surfing among numerous outdoor activities.

Both related and unrelated, South Bethany Beach is well-deserving of its getaway. South Bethany Beach is often lauded as one of Delaware's best-kept secrets.

Although it is well-loved by locals, it is more than welcoming to tourists and is the perfect spot for anybody looking for a relaxing day spent under the sun. Put your umbrella up, crank those tunes up and let the uplifting Delaware sun do the rest.

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Small only size, Laurel has a wealth of activities to explore. This beautiful Delaware town is a metropolitan area that embraces its natural beauty. Here the trees stand tall, and life moves along at a steady but welcoming pace.

Laurel is predominantly known for its unique Heritage Museum at the heart of the city, where maritime history sets sail yet again. And in the summertime, Bethel Heritage Museum often does family-oriented events such as family movie night to really bring the community together.

Besides the treasure chest of knowledge in its museums, Laurel is also a hotspot for outdoor fanatics. Hiking, biking, boating, swimming, camping --- all of these things and more are available at one of Laurel’s beloved outdoor recreation areas.

Smyrna is a beloved Delaware town from locals and tourists alike. Here in Smyrna, the small town is both an accurate description and a general, comforting feeling. This is the kind of city where all the best places come from local recommendations. Where the best items on the menu are the house specials, and local stores are relatively common.

Along with the genuine feeling of a town so loved, Smyrna also offers a variety of attractions that call to visitors far and wide. Check out the Smyrna Museum for history best told through visuals and the Old Brick Store for an authentic historical landmark.

Also, check out the Blackbird Forest just a few miles from the town. Not only is this a state of the art park, but it is miles of hiking, running, strolling paths that take you throughout the breathtaking Delaware forestry. You’ll love it so much you'll want to stay, and with the option for camping, you can!

There is also the 3 Palms Zoo and Education Center that provides an effective way to check out some of the Delaware wildlife. Bring the whole family for a day they’ll never forget exploring all that natural Delaware has to offer in Smyrna.

8: New Castle

New Castle
Flickr/Ken Lund

Sometimes, the best small towns are found in the extents of the biggest. New Castle is the perfect example, situated miles from Wilmington, making the drive both accessible and away from any stressful hustle and bustle.

New Castle is known for being a city rich in history and proudly displays it through world-class museums. Here, the First State National Historical Park is a true landmark proud to call New Castle home. And the New Castle Court House Museum is a 1732 antique well maintained to bring the 18th century straight to the 21st.

9: Dewey Beach

Dewey Beach
Flickr/Lee Cannon

Everybody loves a good beach! But the best beaches are the ones you can really sprawl out on. We’re talking front row seats if you like the feel of water between your toes or any spot your beach bag lands on.

Dewey Beach is one of the best-loved secrets of Delaware. Both are known for their beauty and unknown by massive beach-going crowds. While any beach is subject to seasonality, Dewey Beaches' small town is the perfect welcome to travelers.

Check out oceanside hotels, or maybe enjoy the ride through the inlet, and you’ll quickly see why everybody loves Dewey Beach.

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Also Read: The Best Beaches in Delaware

Small but a big Delaware name! Odessa has a couple of different claims to fame, depending on who you ask. History buffs might mention the incredible Historic Odessa Foundation or the Corbit Sharp House that beautifully preserve history at its best.

Outdoorsy people might say the Augustine Wildlife Area or the Blackbird Creek Reserve as some of their favorite spots in nature. And those who like a good scare might mention Frightland.

Odessa is the proud home to one of the most unique seasonally spooky attractions in the North. With rides, attractions, and all the haunted fun of the holiday, Frightland makes a name in an already fascinating town.

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