Looking for trip ideas? Check out these themed itineraries highlighting some of our favorite things to see and do in Wilmington & the Brandywine Valley. Use any of these mini-itineraries for help plan a perfect day trip or weekend getaway in Wilmington & the Brandywine Valley.
Located within a day's drive of the Mid-Atlantic region, Greater Wilmington, Delaware is in the ideal location for a weekend escape. Start planning your visit now.
Explore the rolling hills, forests and sparkling streams of Brandywine Creek State Park then check out the Jack A. Markell (JAM) Trail by bicycle or on foot. The trail connects Wilmington’s thriving riverfront with historic New Castle.
If wildlife viewing is your thing, head to Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge. Take your car along the Wildlife Drive to spot many species of shorebirds and waterfowl as well as deer, fox, turtles and more.
Head to White Clay Creek State Park to explore to hike some of its 37+ miles of trails. Wooden and steel truss bridges throughout the park provide beautiful views of the creek below. You might also pick up meals to go at nearby Caffe Gelato, and enjoy a delicious lunch while taking in the park’s scenic vistas.
There is nothing like cruising the backroads of New Castle County on a sunny day. Take to the road for an unforgettable adventure, picking up a picnic lunch from one of our great cafes to enjoy along the way.
Take the Brandywine National Scenic Byway to tour the verdant rural countryside known as Chateau Country. This region inspired three generations of Wyeths, America’s first family of art. Stop by the Brandywine Museum of Art to see some of their most famous works.
This region is also where the du Pont family built its empire. Hagley Museum is where it all started. The story continues at Winterthur, Nemours Estate, Mt. Cuba Center, and Longwood Gardens. All are along or just off the byway. Getting hungry? Check out BBC Tavern in Greenville, which offers excellent casual fare and outdoor dining. Greenville is also an excellent stop if you are looking to do a little shopping along the way.
Or, you can choose to ride along the Bayshore Byway, hugging the shores of the Delaware River and Bay. This coastal route offers rugged scenery, priceless water views and some of the best bird watching in the East. Stops of note along the route include historic New Castle, Fort Delaware, Historic Houses of Odessa, and Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge.
The great thing about our region is that we are small enough for you to cover it all in a matter of days. And the scenery is so varied you will feel like you packed several adventures into one.
Experience the view from above on Go Ape!, an exciting treetop adventure course in Lums Pond State Park. Then, take part in a youth-centric learning and adventure activity. Hagley Museum, the Delaware Museum of Nature and Science and Winterthur Museum & Gardens are a few of the area attractions that regularly host family-friendly special events and activities.
Next, take a scenic ride through the Red Clay Valley on a steam-powered locomotive with Wilmington & Western Railroad.
Round out the day with a bike ride along the flat, paved Michael N. Castle C & D Canal Trail that runs parallel to this lovely waterway. Or, take a hike in Alapocas Run State Park. Keep an eye out for the waterfall and the rock climbing wall.
Six of the 30 public gardens that comprise America’s Garden Capital are located within Wilmington and the Brandywine Valley, and all are within nine miles of each other. That is 3,054 acres of public gardens to explore!
Each has its own personality and special features. From Mt. Cuba Center, home to one of the most impressive collections of native and historic plants in the nation, to Winterthur’s wild flower fields and mystical Enchanted Woods, to the formal gardens of Nemours inspired by Versailles, the region will impress both amateur and professional horticulturists . . . as well as those that simply enjoy the peacefulness of being in beautiful, bucolic surroundings. There’s also the lovely verdant grounds of Hagley Museum including its pollinator garden, new in 2020, and the tranquil river trail and wildflower gardens of the Brandywine Conservatory and Museum of Art. And let’s not forget to mention the jewel of the Garden Capital . . . Longwood Gardens, which has pulled in numerous national “best of awards” over the last decade.
Northern Delaware's varied landscape – ranging from flat terrain to gently rolling hills – is excellent for road biking. And did we mention the views? The uncrowded rural roads that run through the heart of Chateau Country cannot be beat. Cycle all or part of the Brandywine Valley National Scenic Byway, taking time to enjoy some of the attractions and restaurants on this route.
The Jack A. Markell (JAM) Trail, perfect for all skill levels, is a great way to make a day of it. Rent a bike (or grab your own) and explore the Wilmington Riverfront at one end and historic New Castle at the other. Start at the Riverfront and grab lunch at the colonial-themed Jessop’s Tavern. Finish off the ride with an après cycle beer back at the Riverfront at Iron Hill Brewery.
Want to really get your heart pumping? As part of the Piedmont Plateau, we also offer a number of excellent mountain biking trails. White Clay Creek State Park and Brandywine Creek State Park are favorites among mountain bikers.