Delaware might not be one of the first states you think of when listing off all the locations in the United States. The state has fewer than one million residents and isn’t much larger in size than the city of Anchorage, Alaska, which might be why it is such an underrated state. That’s kind of amazing since it is one of the original 13 colonies and also considered the very first state that ever existed.
That doesn’t mean that Delaware isn’t a jewel on the East Coast, because it is. Sure, you may not hear much about it in the news on a regular basis, but it is very close to places like Philadelphia, New York City, and other large cities. But it is also filled with its own cities and towns that are charming and historic. Delaware is a state with tons of jobs, and it has a business-friendly atmosphere for entrepreneurs.
Delaware is located in the northeastern region of the United States and it attained statehood on December 7, 1787, when it became the first state in the union. This state is bordered by Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. The state has three different counties, with Dover acting as the capital of the state.
For those who like to peruse blogs about dogs and coffee, you probably want to know if there is good espresso in the state and whether there are parks and restaurants that allow dogs access with their owners. The answer to both of these things is a resounding yes, but we won’t make you take our simple word for it.
Today, we’re going to be looking at what you need to know to take a trip to Delaware with the whole family, pooches included. We’re also going to delve into some of the top spots to grab a latte, espresso shot, or macchiato while you are spending time in the state. You may find out some pretty exciting things you didn’t know about the state and locate some attractions that you want to visit while you’re in the Diamond State.
Basic Things You Should Know About Delaware Before Visiting
Delaware is the 49th largest state of the 50 in the United States and is also 45th in terms of population. The largest city in the state is Wilmington and the three counties of Delaware include Kent, Sussex, and Castle. The largest of those is Sussex while New Castle is the smallest.
This state was first settled in 1631 by the Dutch and the first town was Lewes. In 1638, the first log cabin was built in the state near the mouth of the Delaware River. In 1787, the state was the first to ratify the United State constitution, which is why it is nicknamed the First State. A man named Henry Hudson, sailing under the Dutch flag, is believed to have discovered Delaware in 1609.
There’s a lot to think about when it comes to Delaware if you are going on vacation or taking a business trip there. We’re going to break down many of those things so you can be sure to have a successful and enjoyable time visiting this underrated state. Some of the most important things to know are below:
Huge Tax Advantages Are Available
Are you someone who loves to go shopping? Delaware is the place you should be. Unlike 45 of the other states in the union, Delaware doesn’t have any sales tax. That can be a huge thing when you compare it to states like Louisiana, which has a 10% sales tax. When you make some purchases while in Delaware, you can end up having a large discount compared to purchasing them in other states.
That isn’t the only way that tax breaks are clear for residents and visitors to Delaware. Those who are interested in real estate are also going to be happy in Delaware. The property tax rate on a median level home is less than 0.5%. In addition, there are social security benefit tax exemptions available. Anyone who is over 60 years old is exempt from about $13,000 of their retirement income and pension. That is something that is constantly bringing seniors in from around the United States.
You Can Get Everywhere Fast
Are you interested in spending a day in New York City? You can get there in less than three hours by car from Delaware. Philadelphia is even closer, and Washington D.C. is less than two hours away. The fact that many of the largest cities and towns in Delaware have access to major destinations is one of the reasons so many people are choosing to move there during their golden years. The high-quality health facilities and low tax brackets are what make it so popular amount retirees.
Hitting the Beach is a Simple Proposition
Delaware is a spot where being outdoors is a true lifestyle. The beaches of the state are known around the world, due in part to being home to some of the cleanest and clearest coastlines across the United States. There is also plenty of that coastline to enjoy with 25 miles on the Atlantic and 25 miles by Delaware Bay. You have access to beaches from nearly anywhere and there are spots to take in the water across the entire state. This lets you enjoy having lunch by the sea, spending time out in the sun, or shopping on the waterfront.
The State Isn’t as Sleepy as You Think
If this is your first time visiting Delaware, you may not realize how much there is to do in this small state. The state is a cultural space with all sorts of historical sites, art galleries, museums, and music venues. If you are someone who appreciates live music, take time to visit Wilmington or Dewey Beach for the best tunes possible.
The Job Market is Happening
If you are looking for a place to find a job and relocate, Delaware is great on that front, too. The state has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the entire country at about 3.5%. This is about a half percent lower than the national average. Since the population of the state is about 900,000 and only 17,000 do not have a job, this is the lowest unemployment figure for the state since 2007.
Tons of Things to See and Do
We already mentioned this above, but it bears repeating that Delaware is an outdoor state. The way of life is leisurely and nice for those who like to slow down and smell the roses. However, many of the towns have a very cosmopolitan feel that you would expect from large cities instead. There is also a lot of charm in the towns and cities in Delaware, which is uncommon in other locations. It’s also a huge reason why people choose to move to the state. As an example, Dover is known for its historic district, museums, and children’s theater. With a commute time that is very low, it also counts as one of the safest areas in the eastern United States.
The Diversity of the Residents
When it comes to the actual people who live in the state, you will find it is an eclectic bunch. Farming areas can be found in the same areas as pharmaceutical workers. You’ll find crabbers and hunters alongside small shop owners, restaurant owners, and entrepreneurs in the state. The state is also very tolerant and diverse in that manner. It has a huge number of LGBTQ communities for the region. More than 200 LGBTQ-owned businesses can be found across the state.
The Economic Outlook for the State
The primary manufacturing product for the state is found in chemicals like industrial products, drugs, plastics, and synthetics. The state is the home of DuPont and is well known with this kind of industry to the point where it is sometimes referred to as the Chemical Capital of the World. However, the economy goes beyond pharmaceuticals and chemical manufacturing. There is a large food processing industry with fish products and canneries which are consistently hiring in the area.
In addition to that, finance and industry are major in the state as far as the economy goes. Many companies in these sectors come to Delaware due to its pro-business atmosphere and the low taxes. There is also a large concentration of IT careers in the state, which is a great thing for the residents of the state. The median income of the state is around $62,000 and the state has a poverty rate that is less than the national average.
Housing Forecast for the Future
Another thing that Delaware has going for it is a growing housing market. This is the perfect time to get involved in it with the median home value at about $238,000 right now. This is expected to grow by around 3% in the coming months. On the other hand, the median price of homes being sold is around $235,000. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t find real estate in the state that is a great investment. For instance, the home value in Dover is about $173,000, which is a rise of over 5% compared to the year before and that is expected to continue to climb. In Wilmington, on the other hand, the median home value is around $226,000. This is one of the top real estate markets in the state.
Where to Get the Best Possible Specialty Coffee in Delaware
When you go into a great coffee shop, you, of course, want to enjoy a caffeinated beverage that hits your taste buds in the right way. However, an outstanding coffee shop offers a whole more than just that. You want a great vibe and environment along with an ambiance that draws you in and makes you want to stick around. Delaware has a number of fantastic coffee shops to try whether you’re going for a drink with a friend, heading on a date, fulfilling a business meeting, or just caffeinating for the morning. We’ll share a few of our favorites, so you know where to go.
The Fractured Prune – Rehoboth Beach or Fenwick
If what you want is fresh hot coffee, some of the best donuts in America, and the feel of an ocean breeze, you can’t go wrong with the Fractured Prune. This little spot has been featured by the Food Network, the Sun, and the Washington Post, so you know that it is doing something very right. This maritime café is vibrant and full of light with great coffee and donuts that you absolutely need to try. If you ask the locals, the best option is to take a donut of your favorite flavor and have it topped with a scoop of ice cream with a hazelnut coffee on the side. While the ocean closes in around you, you can enjoy the amazing scenery that only Delaware has to offer.
Treehouse Café – Wilmington
If you have an appreciation for the past as well as the future, Treehouse Café offers a health-driven, vintage-inspired coffee bar that you will never want to leave. This spot is located in the Trinity Vicinity neighborhood and has quickly become a local favorite. The café has a focus on health but not just in terms of great coffee but also in dedication to the community outside. That makes this a standout shop in a city that seems to have a million versions of everything. It also acts as a hub for entrepreneurial advancements. You can expect the atmosphere and the staff attitudes to be just as warm as any coffee you order and sip.
Trader’s Cove Coffee Shop – New Castle
Those who are in Delaware in an attempt to see some history will not want to miss a sipped coffee found at Trader’s Cove. The building it is housed in was constructed back in 1682. Spending time in the First State is great for all the history and the present that collides, which may be one of the reasons that this shop has been named a Best of Delaware café. It has a classic setting with a museum and a vintage brick alley. Those who really want to settle in and enjoy the experience can take a cup of coffee out to the Secret Garden in back and spend some time relaxing and enjoying the peace and quiet.
Drip Café – Hockessin
Are you a coffee lover? Does that love go beyond dabbling in coffee to seeing it as an integral part of life? If so, you should stop in at Hockessin to enjoy a coffee at Drip Café. This is a company that cares about local products and sustainability. They also put a huge attention to detail while they constantly put out coffee that the community goes crazy for. If you are the sort of person who gets up with the sun, this is where you should go. You can get your favorite caffeinated beverage as early as 6:30 am each morning.
Barnes & Noble Starbucks – Many Locations
Sure, you know what Starbucks is. However, this is also the coffee shop that changed the entire way that people enjoy coffee, so it’s worth a short mention. The coffee here is classic and with a secret menu that seems to change on a dime, you can still try something new each time you stop in. The public seating area offers lounge chairs, or you can sit at a window seat and watch the world go by. It might take you back to the early 2000s through the prevalence of paperback novels and magazines everywhere your eyes go. One of these locations is even located right by Ulta Cosmetics and the Concord Mall so you can do some shopping with your extra energy.
The Artful Bean – Bethany Beach
If you can’t imagine anything better than perusing some art by the beach, the Artful Bean is the spot you want to visit. This is an art gallery right by the ocean where some of the best coffee in Delaware is served for the masses. The staff at the café showcase a large number of works from local artists while dishing up caffeine all day long for those who appreciate the beach atmosphere. The café is super laid back and chill, which reflects the feel of the sandy shores nearby. It does open a touch later than most cafes in the state– between 8 am and noon depending on the day.
Eefoc’s Café – Wilmington
This is a family-run café located in large Wilmington that acts as a mixture between Irish and Amish culture. It also happens to be a short walk away from the Wilmington River Walk. This café is a bit new and is located in a brownstone that can be hard to see if you aren’t sure what you’re looking for. However, once you step inside, the environment can only be described as delightful. It’s a major favorite for locals and a spot you should hit up at least once.
The Perfect Cup Café – Hockessin
One of the top spots for the people in Hockessin is this independent coffee shop, the Perfect Cup Café. The establishment offers a wide selection of coffee, but it doesn’t stop the amenities there. As an example, this place knows the early risers need somewhere to visit so you can stop in as early at 5:40 in the morning for a cup of coffee. It also stays open well into the afternoon for that after-work jolt of caffeine. There is also a prepaid service so customers can order over the phone and never have to wait in a line once they show up. If you are interested in an unexpected spot with an intimate environment where you will be waited on and treated well, the Perfect Cup is where you need to be.
Loma Coffee – Wilmington
Another spot not to miss in Wilmington is Loma Coffee. This is a space that combines efficiency with friendliness, ambiance, and a serious dedication to the art of roasting perfect coffee beans. You can expect nothing but the best when you stop in at this shop. This is a hotspot for the locals and offers a large number of amenities, including affordability and bike parking, wireless Internet on-site, and the ability to use Apple Pay. Most of the people come inside for the great taste of the coffee, which is sure to make an impact on you.
Brew HaHa – Multiple Locations
This strange café might be the combination of what would happen if you took steampunk and crossed it with the Great Gatsby. There are swaying chandeliers, crushed velvet, and seating next to a crackling fire that makes this one of the coolest spots to visit in Delaware. The savory beverages that are inspired by the countryside of Tuscany have made the café hit the Best of Delaware list for two decades in a row. The café has also expanded to have many locations across the state and is always on the cusp of the latest trends. This spot is dog-friendly and has free wireless Internet that really makes it stand out. If you want to grab a chair and order a meal, the Newark sandwich is a great option to try.
Activities to Enjoy with Your Dog in Delaware
After you have the caffeine you need in your system, there are plenty of options for activities that your dog can come along on. You don’t have to keep your pet stuck in your hotel room while the rest of the family has a good time. All of you can head out to a dog park or a state park and have a good time during the day. Let your canine work off some energy and they will be ready for a nap by the time you move on to your nighttime activities.
Cape Henlopen State Park – Lewes
Cape Henlopen State Park is a great spot that offers all sorts of opportunities for biking and hiking, and your pet can come along with you. Just make sure that you take your dog to the beach and that they are on a leash. Pets can hang out on the park and beach all day long, which gives you six miles of area to cover. However, dogs cannot spend time on the boardwalk, ocean beach, or the swimming areas from May 1 through September 30.
Delaware Seashore State Park – Rehoboth Beach
As long as you show up during the right time of year, your entire family, including your pooch can enjoy the surf and sand of Delaware Seashore State Park. The only time dogs are not allowed are through the dates of May 1 and September 30 and that only applies to sunbathing and swimming beaches with lifeguards. Dogs can still hang out on other parts of the beach. Keep in mind that all dogs must have a leash on while at the park, no matter what the time of year is.
Dewey Beach – Dewey Beach
If you happen to be spending time in Dewey Beach, dogs can come along with you on the beach as long as it is before 9:30 am or after 5:30 pm during the summer months. The rest of the year, the dogs can be on the beach with no time restrictions. Keep in mind that you are required to clean up after your dog and dogs need to have a Dewey Beach dog license. However, you can obtain that from 105 Rodney Avenue at Town Hall.
Tidbury Park – Dover
This little local park is a great spot with trails for hiking, fishing spots, birdwatching, and a sheltered barbecue and picnic area for families who want to grill outside. You can take a nice on-leash stroll with your pet before reaching the off-leash area where your dog can rip and run to their heart’s content. The park has two separate sections with one area for large dogs and one for smaller dogs. There is even a hand pump available for watering your pet.
Where to Get Grub in Delaware with Your Dog
Now that you know where to get caffeine and you have a few spots to take your dog for exercise, let’s talk about dog-friendly restaurants. There are plenty of them across the state to choose from, but some are better at what they do than others. The ones below are well worth spending time in and you can be sure your dog will be treated like a member of the family.
Grain Craft Bar + Kitchen – Newark
This casual and warm neighborhood gastropub has a total of 24 craft beers on tap for those who are thirsty for something besides a latte. The menu has options like street tacos, crab-stuffed shrimp, pork sliders, and tempura lobster sandwiches, among other things. There is patio seating where dogs are welcome to dine with you and it is climate controlled. This restaurant is open from 11:30 am to 1 am on weekdays, from 10 am to 1 am on Saturday, and 10 am to 11 pm on Sunday.
Grotto Pizza – Rehoboth Beach
Grotto Pizza in Rehoboth Beach offers a wide selection of Italian style meals in a warm neighborhood environment where there is a selection of dog-friendly patio tables. You can nosh on some of the innovative signature pizzas or enjoy dishes like jumbo chicken tenders, fried mozzarella, calzone, famous wings, hot and cold subs, baked ziti, and paninis.
Arena’s Deli – Rehoboth Beach
The sandwich shop has a small-town feel but makes tourists feel welcome as soon as they step inside. The menu has a number of items like meatball subs, shrimp nachos, burgers, buffalo chicken tenders, BLT sandwiches, crab cake Caesar salad, and fish tacos. The entire outdoor seating area is welcoming to any and all dogs.
Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats – Rehoboth Beach
This little spot is known for its great beer, spirits, and foods in a brewpub type of atmosphere that is casual and includes outdoor seating where your dog can join you. The menu is all scratch-made and includes items like beef on weck sandwiches, crab and corn chowder, fish and chips, wings, wood-fired pizza, chicken macaroni and cheese, and more. For dessert, make sure to try the apple caramel cheesecake. There are about a dozen craft beers on tap, as well. The restaurant is open from 11 am to 11 pm from Sunday through Thursday and 11 am to 1 am on the other days.
Off the Hook – Bethany Beach
This café is a spot with a focus on offering fresh and local ingredients in a farm-to-table atmosphere. Four different outdoor tables are available and pet-friendly, so you can hang out with your puppy and enjoy some of the casual fine dining menu together. The menu is large and has something for everyone, from salads to tacos and burgers. There are also some larger entrees on the menu like the roasted garlic gnocchi, grilled swordfish, and seared scallops. You can stop in for lunch from 11:30 am to 3:30 pm and dinner is open from 4:30 to closing time.
Crooked Hammock Brewery and Backyard Beer Garden – Lewes
If you want a laid back but lively spot that offers local brewery favorites, Crooked Hammock is a good spot to visit. There are seven tables outside that are canine-friendly in the outdoor section so you and pup can have some fun together. There are five brews served throughout the year, while seasonal beers are added to complete the menu. As far as the food goes, you can expect cookout favorites like sandwiches, burgers, and vegetarian options. If you happen to stop in on the weekend, there might even be some live music going on. The happening spot is open every day from 11 am to 1 am.
Baja Beach House Grill – Bethany Beach
This dining establishment is only a few steps from Bethany Beach and offers both casual American dishes and California-style Mexican fare. And don’t worry because Spot can enjoy dinner with you at any of the 10 tables located on the side patio. This restaurant serves coffee and breakfast along with staples and Mexican dishes like the Baja omelet. When it comes to lunch or dinner, there are wraps, burgers, quesadillas, burritos, and many different vegetarian options. Want to cool off before you head to the beach? Grab a bottle of beer or down a frozen margarita before you go. This restaurant is open from 8 am to 10 pm every day.
Crabby Dick’s – Rehoboth Beach
As you might guess from the name, Crabby Dick’s is a cheeky little spot that serves seafood and has room for more than 80 people on the dog-friendly patio. If you want to try a few of the signature dishes, make sure to order the crab balls along with the Pirate’s Snatch steam pot. There are crab entrees, sandwiches, meat dishes, and more on the large menu. There are also daily specials available depending on what day of the week you come in.
Easy Speak Spirits – Milford
This casual eatery and bar in Milford offers up a huge variety of great food. You can bring your dog along to sit at one of the outdoor tables while you nosh on some of the best food in town. We recommend starting with a cocktail and an order of wood-fired chicken wings in your favorite sauce. The Granny Smith Apple Pizza is another standout dish that comes with roasted garlic sauce, bacon, gouda cheese, and a drizzle of honey. If you want something a bit more East Coast, try the quesadilla with crab, smoked shrimp, lobster, clarified butter, and Old Bay.
Eden – Rehoboth Beach
If what you want is fine dining where the pooch can come along, Eden is the best spot in Delaware. There are six dog-friendly tables available, so there’s no lack of space for the entire family. The menu is seasonal, and you will find a selection of dishes that cater to special dietary preferences and needs. Entrees include decadent options like seared Ahi tuna, mushroom and brie tarts, and braised bison short ribs. This place offers a happy hour from 6 pm to 7 pm and has special prices on cocktails, martinis, and wine.
And there you have it, a guide to the most dog-friendly spots to spend with your family if you decide to head into Delaware. We’ve also provided a shortlist of the best coffee houses in town, so you never have to go without your caffeine in the morning, afternoon, or even late at night. Now that you have an idea of the best places to go and know what Delaware is like, you’re good to go when it comes to planning your trip. Have a great time and let us know how you like the coffee!
1. What is Delaware known for?
Delaware is known for being “the First State” since it was the first of the 13 colonies to ratify the constitution back in 1787. It’s also known as the home place for the Dover International Speedway, which hosts two different NASCAR races each and every year.
2. How wealthy is Delaware?
Among all of the U.S. states, Delaware has the fifth highest GDP per capita at $63,664. The others in the top ten include the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, Alaska, North Dakota, Wyoming, California, New Jersey, and Washington.
3. What is Delaware’s most famous food?
Some of the food that is most popular from Delaware includes: chicken and slippery dumplings, scrapple, blue claw crabs, fried chicken, fries with vinegar, summer peaches, and Grotto pizza.
4. Is Delaware good for retirees?
Delaware offers better living for senior citizens than many states when it comes to the wallet and bank account. Those who retire to Delaware will find that there is an exclusion of $12,500 from retirement incomes like 401K, IRAs, and pensions as far as the state income taxes go.
5. What is the safest city in Delaware?
There are many safe cities within the confines of Delaware, but some of the safest on the list include Bridgeville, Selbyville, Elsmere, Millsboro, Clayton, Middletown, Lewes, and Newark. This ranking comes from looking at the latest FBI crime data available.
6. What makes Delaware special?
There are a ton of things that set Delaware apart from other states. One of them is that the state was actually named for the first governor of Virginia, Lord de la Warr. The ear of corn, sheaf of wheat, and the ox on the state seal also offer a symbol of farming that happened in the early years in Delaware.
7. What fruit is Delaware known for?
The most common fruit to hear about from Delaware is the strawberry. This fruit is bred for taste in the state, not to be large or to last a long time on the store shelves. Another fruit associated with Delaware is the peach as the state dessert is peach pie and the state flower is the peach blossom.
8. Why is Delaware the Diamond State?
Delaware was given the nickname the Diamond State when, according to an old legend, Thomas Jefferson called the state a jewel among all other states based on its location strategically near the Eastern Seaboard.
9. Who are the famous people in Delaware?
There are many different famous people who hail from the state of Delaware. Some of them include Ryan Phillippe, Annie Jump Cannon, Elisabeth Shue, Sara Dylan, Valerie Bertinelli, Judge Reinhold, Beau Biden, and Teri Polo.
10. What are the benefits of living in Delaware?
Living in Delaware brings with it many tax benefits that not everyone is aware of. First and foremost is the lack of a sales tax, but the state also has no social security taxes, low property taxes, and no inheritance tax. There are no personal property taxes, there are school tax credits, and pension exclusions favor residents.