If Delaware were a school student, it would be an overachiever, perhaps even the teacher’s pet. Known as the “corporate capital” of the United States, Delaware’s friendly business laws and policies are such that more than 60% of companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange are headquartered in Delaware. But this is only one example of the ingenuity and strategies employed by this diminutive state to play a larger role in the U.S. than it would otherwise deserve. Indeed, Delaware is a scrappy, underdog “David” surrounded by nearby Goliaths like New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington, DC. In its less than 2,000 square miles of land, Delaware somehow manages to produce more than $170 million worth of crops, ranging from poultry, dairy, and livestock, to soybeans, tomatoes, corn, and strawberries. Its northern region is also a manufacturing machine, producing chemicals, paper products, rubber, plastic, and processed foods. The state is also a financial center, packing more than 40 major U.S. banks in its small area. Ranking 9th among the states in per capita income, Delaware’s economy almost always outperforms the country’s national economy.
As a vacation destination, Delaware is no different. Unlike other states, Delaware has not been blessed with any national parks, national historic sites, national memorials, or national battlefields. But Delaware still manages to attract its fair share of tourists. It does so by emphasizing what it does have – beautiful natural features, such as romantic waterfronts along its Chesapeake Bay, rolling and forested hills in the north, white sand dunes in the south colonized by seabird nests, breezy ocean beaches along its Atlantic Coast, and marshlands and wildlife refuges like the Bombay Hook and Prime Hook. These enchanting landscapes attract visitors year-round to come and fish, hunt, camp, hike, bike, boat, bird-watch, dolphin-watch, and whale-watch.
Delaware is also rich with history – from historic seaside towns like Lewes once frequented by pirates, to old colonial and cobblestoned digs like Old New Castle, to the historic rivers of Nanticoke and Broad Creek along which Captain John Smith sailed through during his 1609 journey to Virginia, to the famed Coin Beach below Rehoboth where coins often float ashore supposedly from the lost vessel of the 18th century Faithful Steward.
And what Delaware doesn’t have, it creates. This state of “Small Wonder” is famous for its tax-free shopping, a successful ploy that has lured myriad travelers to its antiques, boutiques, and outlet stores. Delaware has also created a thriving cultural arts scene in its largest city Wilmington, which hosts opera, theatre, dance, and music performances, as well as art galleries and museums. Its capital, Dover, also has a symphony and ballet scene, in addition to hosting cultural festivals like the Old Dover Days and the African-American Festival. Perhaps more exciting are the two NASCAR races held at Dover every year and the slots and horse races at the Dover Downs complex. And if you’re looking for a leisure escape, try Rehoboth in the south and its spa centers and golf courses.
Certainly, Delaware is not known as the state of “Small Wonder” for nothing. It is so small, yet it gives and contributes so much. So, don’t be fooled by Delaware’s diminutive size for it offers tourists a rich vacation experience.