Jul 12, 2023

10 Affordable Summer Vacation Spots In Delaware

The second smallest state in the United States, Delaware is a serene destination filled with opportunities. Ingrained with a rich history and stunning beaches, tourists are drawn to Delaware for a fun summer. That said, not everyone is willing to flush out thousands of dollars to enjoy a summer vacation. Thankfully, not everyone has to! Home to many affordable summer vacation spots, Delaware is the perfect budget destination for an amazing summer trip.

Situated at the mouth of the Delaware Bay, Cape Henlopen State Park is full of waterside beauty. Embrace more than 5,000 acres of sandy beaches, recreational areas, and tranquil waves with endless activities. Start off with some time at the beach, which is always filled with tourists and a fun vibe. Whether you want to relax on a beach chair, cast a fishing line, or face the waves with a surfboard, there is something for everyone.

While the seaside beauty is mesmerizing, don’t miss out on the range of opportunities available inland. Fitness enthusiasts can head off on one of the scenic cycle and hiking trails for a positive experience surrounded by lush greenery. The Gordons Pond Trail is a fan favorite traversing through dunes, wetlands, and forests with abundant wildlife to keep you hooked. Cape Henlopen State Park also features the Fort Miles Historical Area to commemorate its time as a coastal defense site. With so much on offer, you might be wondering how this park is an affordable destination. Well, entry fees range from $5 to $10, and the park offers free bike loans so you can have loads of fun on a budget.

If Cape Henlopen State Park is too secluded, why not visit a town instead? The resort town of Rehoboth Beach in Sussex County is a wellspring of coastal enjoyment and activities. The local beach offers miles of white sand, a bustling boardwalk, crystal-clear water, and dozens of local businesses. So, whether you want to enjoy snacks and games at the boardwalk or head out for a swim in the water, the possibilities are limitless. With parking permits available at less than $15, you can spend a lot of time and only a little money here!

Once you’ve had a blast along the shore, head into town to take in the vibrant culture. If you’re here with family, Funland and Jungle Jim’s are two must-visit spots. Filled with mini-golf courses, water rides, rollercoasters, and arcade areas, you and your kids can spend countless hours here. The best part is, Funland offers free entry and multiticket booklets, so you can enjoy rides at a fraction of the cost. Speaking of fractional costs, budget travelers have to check out Tanger Outlets before leaving. With tax-free outlet prices, grab whatever you like from the 100+ retail stores, including Nike, Coach, and Old Navy. Use the money you save to book a budget room at the Econo Lodge Inn & Suites, and you’ll never want to leave this amazing town.

Back into the great outdoors, Fenwick Island State Park promises a budget-friendly summer escape within the allure of Delaware’s coast. Start off your trip on a positive note, as entry to the park only costs $10 for an entire day. Once you’re in, the picturesque beaches are a must-visit, with tranquil surroundings and a calming aura. Set up a beach chair and enjoy a cheap snack from the snack bar while you watch the Atlantic waves splash on the sand.

If you want to delve deeper into the mesmerizing waves, rent a kayak from the shore and enjoy an exciting outing into the water. The best time to head out is during sunset so you can witness the sun's hypnotic orange glow bouncing off the idyllic waters. If not kayaking, don’t miss out on the fishing, crabbing, and clamming opportunities along the coast. Whatever you plan on doing, be sure to finish up by sunset, as the park closes right after. To enhance the budget-friendly experience, stay at one of the affordable hotels nearby, such as Surf Villas, which offer rooms at less than $100 per night.

Any animal lover’s dream, Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge is a stunning retreat in Kent County, Delaware. Embrace a wellspring of tidal salt marsh filled with an endless array of wildlife habitats and species. In total, the park protects more than 300 animal species, including a large population of migratory birds. Some of the most popular species here are the red fox, white-tailed deer, and northern diamondback terrapin. That said, if you’re lucky, you might even spot the dignified bald eagle in all its glory.

The best part about wildlife watching is that you can enjoy all the fun without any of the expense. And, with annual entry passes available at just $11, there are few spots cheaper than Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge. Even if you get tired of watching the animals, the park has educational programs, hiking trails, and fishing spots for an unforgettable time. After you’re done, the nearby town of Dover provides a variety of lodging choices, from inexpensive motels to charming inns, guaranteeing a comfortable stay within your means.

The capital city of Delaware, Dover offers an array of enjoyable activities without the Atlantic coastline. If you’re here on a budget, the local historical sights will be a great way to start your trip. With more than three centuries of history behind them, sites like the Delaware Governor’s Mansion and Old State House offer an insight into the past. As both sites have free admission, you can learn all about Dover without spending a buck.

Take a step back into the present to admire some of the town’s unique spots. The Dover International Speedway is a popular racing track that motorsport enthusiasts will adore. Plan your dates accordingly, and you might be able to catch a NASCAR race here. Another interesting spot where you can make money instead of spending it is the Dover Downs Casino. Slots, betting, and table games abound; test your luck for some big bucks. Although, never spend more than you’re willing to lose. Lastly, choose from a variety of hotels, motels, and vacation homes with plenty of space to spread out and enjoy everything Dover has to offer.

Unbeknownst to most tourists, the Inn at Montchanin Village and Spa is a beautiful resort in Montchanin, Delaware. Engulf yourself into a world of luxury, natural allure, and exquisite ambiance at this amazing destination. As soon as you enter your room, you’ll be greeted with rustic furniture and fine attention to detail to make all your woes disappear. After taking a plunge into the cushioned bed, head over to the spa area to clear out all the knots your bones, joints, and muscles may have.

Once refreshed, head out to enjoy the nearby attractions, including Winterthur Museum, or Longwood Gardens and Brandywine Battlefield, across the border in Pennsylvania, for a historic outing. If all this walking gets you hungry, savor a delicious meal at the inn's outdoor restaurant area. From the room to dinner, all this luxury may sound like an expensive vacation, but that is not the case. With rooms starting at less than $200, you can split with friends and family for an elegant summer reprieve.

A short drive south of Montchanin, Smyrna is a small town jam-packed with an abundance of attractions. Once an important port and tourist destination, the town saw a major collapse in the 1850s. However, with much of its appeal still intact, Smyrna is now an amazing budget destination in Delaware. Strolling through the massive historic downtown is a great way to have a blast without spending money. Here, you can visit and learn about intriguing sites such as the Old Town Hall, the historic fire department, and hundreds of others.

If you’re not much of a history fan, why not attend one of the town’s Summer Concert Series? Blasting music, food, drink, and activities from May through August with free admission, you’re sure to have a memorable experience. End the day with an $8 draft of beer at the famous Blue Earl Brewing and you’ll never want to leave Smyrna.

Escape the hustle and bustle of urban life and engulf yourself in the coastal serenity of Bowers Beach. Nestled along Delaware Bay, this quaint town and beach offers affordable ways to de-stress and have fun this summer. The beach is a no-brainer offering clean sand, turquoise waters, and a lot of space to yourself. Without spending a buck, stroll along the sand and admire the colorful beach homes lining the docks.

Walk into town, and the Bowers Beach Maritime Museum is a slice of history showcasing everything from oyster harvesting to sea trade. With free admission, you can roam around the halls and learn about the stunning town’s culture. If all this walking makes you hungry, relish fresh seafood at JP’s Wharf.

If you’re more of an outdoor person, trade in the hotels in Dover for a camping trip at the Delaware Seashore State Park. Encompassed by Rehoboth Bay and Indian River Bay, this park is a 3,000 acres wellspring of Mother Nature’s features. Embrace the 6-mile (9.7 km) shoreline where you can relax, sunbathe, swim, and sail throughout the day.

If you want to save money, grab a fishing rod to catch yourself a delicious and cheap meal. Burn off the excess calories with a walk through the park encompassed with thick greenery and beautiful salt marshes. Once you’re done with the day, the park’s two campgrounds provide ideal amenities for a comfortable stay. With tent spots, RV hookups, and more, you can choose to stay however you like. So, all you need is a few bucks to pay the entry fee (starting as low as $45), and viola, you’ll have a memorable vacation in Delaware.

Lewes, situated at the southern end of Delaware Bay, provides visitors with a budget-friendly way to experience Delaware’s beauty and culture. While it is only home to 3,300 residents, there are always hundreds of tourists roaming through the quaint streets. Before taking in the awe-inspiring outdoor sights, most people tend to visit historical attractions. This is because Lewes is known as "The First Town in The First State," having been founded in 1631. So, the streets are lined with valuable structures such as Cannonball House, Lightship Overfalls, and the Zwaanendeal Museum. The 1700s Cannonball House is a local favorite as you can witness many interesting exhibits at just a few bucks for admission.

That said, as it is summer, you’ll surely want to spend time chilling out at the beach. Take a short walk to Lewes Beach, which offers swimming, fishing, and boating for family fun. If you have free time, book an $18 round-trip on the Cape May-Lewes Ferry for a serene experience with the waves. End the day with a room for less than $100 at the nearby Inn at Rehoboth.

Offering amazing food, sights, activities, and lodging at affordable rates, you don’t need to break the bank to enjoy Delaware. These summer vacation spots can be enjoyed by everyone, no matter what you’re into. For example, nature enthusiasts will adore Fenwick Island State Park, while history lovers can learn up in Lewes. Wherever you decide to go, be sure to book tickets early for the best prices.

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