It’s the height of summer in Delaware, when tens of thousands flock to the towns along the coast. If you live in one of these lovely places you might yearn for a day trip to escape the crowds. If so, here are a few destinations to consider.
If nature is your thing, spend the day at Trap Pond
If you live along the coast from Milton to Bethany you can drive about an hour to Trap Pond State Park in Laurel. It’s well known for its towering Baldcypress Trees that hug its long meandering waterway and swamp and miles of trails suited for walking and biking.
Think about leaving early in the morning and spending a whole day there because there’s so much to do. One way to experience the area is via canoe, kayak or paddleboard, all of which are available to rent. And if you plan ahead and go on a weekend you can get a guided tour on a pontoon boat.
If you like to fish and go on a good weather day you have a good chance of catching largemouth bass, crappies or bluegills, or some nice-sized catfish if you park your bait in the muddy depths. Just make sure you get a permit, which also requires advance planning but is easy to do.
The park also has a 4.6 mile trail – known as the Bob Trail – offering beautiful view of the pond and marshes, and the Baldcypress Nature Center, where you can learn about the area’s history and crucial importance to the overall ecosystem of Delaware and Maryland’s inland marshes and waterways.
Or the Assawoman Bay . . .
Another natural spot, with 3100 acres of marshes, creeks and ponds, is the Assawoman Bay State Wildlife area just west of Fenwick Island. That makes it even closer to the beach communities that get so crowded during the summer and a great respite if you’re craving some quiet time amid the wildlife.
It’s a tremendous wildlife refuge where you can spot bald eagles, giant woodpeckers and otters during a long walk or other sights from the top of a watchtower. It’s easy to get to from Fenwick Island .
Or other spots along the Nanticoke Heritage Byway . . .
Encompassing the Trap Pond area and 40 miles northward, the Nanticoke Heritage Byway also features all kinds of beautiful scenery between the small towns of Seaford, Laurel, Concord, Woodland and Bethel.
If you enter it from the north at the Hearn & Rawlins Mill you’ll see a former grist mill at the head of the Nanticoke tributaries around Seaford, which powered other mills around the state and made Seaford an important shipping point.
From there you can find lots of ways to hike, cycle or boat along the Nanticoke River. The area is divided into five “discovery zones” that will help you plan your trip. You can learn more by watching this short video, which spotlights the Seaford Museum, the Woodland Ferry and other scenic spots along the way. Visit the Nanticoke Heritage Byway website to plan the trip.
But if you prefer air-conditioned boutique shopping, historic buildings and great restaurants . . .
You will love Berlin, Maryland, about an hour west of the coastline! I’m already thinking about a blog post at the beginning of December where I’ll spotlight some of the best places to experience Christmas and Hanukkah decorations, which will feature this quaint and historic town because its residents and merchants go big and beautiful with the lights and festivities.
It’s also a terrific day trip the rest of the year, thanks to its large downtown – which about three times the size of Historic Lewes and equally filled with gorgeous architecture. You can plan your day trip with a look at this list of upcoming events, which includes the Farmer’s Market every Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., where you’re guaranteed to get the freshest produce and other items from local Maryland and Delaware farms.
And here’s a list of all of the arts and entertainment venues, including wonderful locally-owned restaurants (some with live music), and special events. There’s even a Mermaid Museum, one of many, many places that are fun to visit with your grandkids and other family members. Trust me, you will love this place!