Though summer doesn’t officially arrive until June 20, we like to think of Memorial Day Weekend as a little pre-party for one of our favorite seasons of the year.

In Greater Wilmington and the Brandywine Valley, it’s all about sun and outdoor fun this Memorial Day Weekend. Now that COVID-19 is (thankfully) mostly behind us and pandemic restrictions are a thing of the past (as of May 21), we have more reasons than ever to celebrate! How will you make Memorial Day 2021 one for the books? Here are 10 ways you can mark the occasion here in Northern Delaware:

1. Paddle, Paddle, Paddle!

Cool off and relax with a leisurely kayak trip down one of our area’s scenic waterways. Blue Rooster Co-op offers guided kayak tours of the Christina River seven days a week several times a day. Want to go it on your own? Wilderness Canoe Trips offers kayak rentals (and tubes and canoes as well) and transport to and from the put in and take out points on the Brandywine River. Lums Pond State Park (home of Delaware’s largest freshwater pond) also offers kayak and canoe rental.

Brandywine River Canoe Trip

2. Explore the Path Less Traveled

Delaware’s newest state park, Auburn Valley State Park, has several nice hiking paths to explore. The family-friendly Oversee Farm Trail is one of our favorites. The historic farmhouse and barn about midway through this loop route are perfect for Instagram snaps. Afterward, grab a pint at Dew Point Brewing Company right around the corner.

3. Dine Under the Stars

When the weather is warm, there’s nothing like enjoying a great meal and your favorite libation in the fresh air. When there’s a great view … well … that makes it even better. There are a number of great waterfront dining options on the Christina River in Wilmington’s Riverfront district. There’s also Grain H20 on the C&D Canal and Trolley Square Oyster House. While the latter does not offer a water view, it offers primo people watching from the patio and second story deck.


The culinary scene of Wilmington and the Brandywine Valley has its roots in the taverns and inns of Colonial times, where warm hospitality and…

Moonloop Photography

4. Watch A Movie – The Old-Fashioned Way

The Grand Opera House has brought back drive-in movies at Bellevue State Park for the spring and summer! On May 29, RocketMan starring Taron Egerton will be on the big (outdoor) screen. Get your tickets soon, because they go fast. Show sold out? No worries if you are local. The Grand is hosting outdoor movies at Bellevue through July 3. Click here for tickets. The Delaware Art Museum is also showing the cult classic Weekend at Bernie’s on May 28 outside with viewing from your car. Like the Bellevue movies, space here goes fast so grab tickets while you can.  

5. Go Sailing

And we mean this in the traditional sense … as in really traditional. As in taking sail on a replica of the colonial tall ship that brought Swedish settlers to Delaware’s shores in 1638. There are seven Kalmar Nyckel cruises set for Memorial Day weekend. But, like the drive-in movie tickets, slots aboard this ship go very fast. Click here to check availability. There are also plenty of alternative dates to choose from through October.

6. Take an Island Getaway

Yes. You can take an island getaway – of sorts – in Northern Delaware. Pea Patch Island is just off the coast of Delaware City and what awaits you there is way more exciting than beach bodies and suntan lotion. Try authentic Civil War history! Firing cannons. A ghost story or two. Fort Delaware State Park, on the island, was once a prison for Confederate prisoners of war. Now, it hits replay on its rich history daily, starting May 28, with riveting reenactments with costumed interpreters that will keep the whole family entertained.

Fort Delaware

7. Treat Yourself

Everybody can use a day of pampering … particularly after being cooped up at home for more than a year, juggling working from home and home schooling, and stressing out over the pandemic. Take the three-day weekend to spoil yourself. The Inn at Montchanin has a fabulous spa (we suggest staying over and making a weekend of it) and the famed industry veteran Randy Currie just opened a state-of-the-art day spa downtown. We hear it is fabulous and can’t wait to try it!

8. Pack a Picnic

There is an amazing amount of green space in and around Wilmington. Pack yourself a picnic (leave the work to us), and enjoy the bucolic scenery of Chateau Country with your S.O. or the fam. Some of our favorite spots to picnic are the grounds of Hagley Museum and Library, Mt. Cuba Center, Brandywine Park, and Valley Garden Park. For the victuals, our go-to spots are Purebread Deli (several locations), Brew Ha Ha! Greenville, Janssen’s Fine Foods, and Centreville Café.

9. Kick Back with Some BBQ

You could always spend hours making your own, but why? It’s a holiday after all! Plus, Greater Wilmington and the Brandywine Valley have some excellent BBQ options, whether you want to dine in or take out. Some of the region’s top rated spots include Locale BBQ Post, Limestone BBQ and Bourbon, Great Big Jerk (take out only), Russell’s Quality Food, and Fat Rick and Son’s BBQ and Catering.

Make Your Memorial Day Plans

10. Scream for Ice Cream

This sweet and frosty dessert is the perfect way to top off your Memorial Day celebration. Grab a cone (or a pint to take home) from a Northern Delaware creamery or one of our iconic ice cream joints. If you are an ice cream fan, Woodside Farm Creamery (family owned since 1796) and UDairy Creamery, run by University of Delaware students, should not be missed. There’s also the two Sweets – Sweet Nel’s and Sweet Lucy’s – as well as the iconic Dairy Palace in New Castle and Ice Cream Delight in North Wilmington.

In addition to all of these fun things to do, there are a number of events being held over the holiday weekend we hope you check out while you are here. And in terms of things to do, this is really only a taste. For more Memorial Day ideas and information on lodging, go to You should also consider our 3-2-1 Getaway Package. With a minimum two- night stay in participating hotels, you get into the big three – Hagley Museum and Library, Winterthur Museum Garden and Library, at Mt. Cuba Center – for free!

See you soon!