Yes, we are indeed “The First State” — the first of the thirteen original colonies to ratify the Constitution in 1787. This honor is still recognized today as Delaware is given the first position in congressional votes and national events, such as Presidential Inaugurations.
Not only are we the first official state, but our seaside town of Lewes was the first town in the first state. Originally settled by the Dutch in 1631, the townspeople take great pride in their historic and seafaring heritage on Cape Henlopen.
You probably already know there’s no sales tax in Delaware (so the price tag you see actually IS the price you’ll pay), but we are tax-friendly in other ways, too, like:
Delaware is not only famous for its miles of beautiful, family-friendly beaches along the Atlantic coast, but our coastline is also among the cleanest in the nation. Dewey Beach and Rehoboth Beach have consistently garnered five-star ratings for water quality. In all, Delawareans have access to 380 miles of shoreline throughout the state.
Whatever you head to the shore for — watersports, boardwalk fun, seafood, sunbathing or wildlife watching — there’s a beach for you here, and it’s under a two-hour drive no matter where you are in the state!
Delaware is host to a colorful array of events and festivals to entertain every personality.
Indie music lovers flock to the Firefly Music Festival held in Dover or its female-focused counterpart, the Ladybug Festival, the largest celebration of women in music in America. The more classically inclined head for OperaDelaware and the Clifford Brown Jazz Festival in Wilmington, and country music cravings are satisfied at the Delaware State Fair, along with carnival games and some ah-mazing fair food. And if it’s food you’re after, back to back Greek and Italian festivals are traditions that go back nearly 50 years. Oyster lovers are passionate about the Leipsic Oyster Festival, hosted by the tiny, historic town of Leipsic — population 196.
The sand is always a main attraction in Delaware, and you can join in a kite-flying or sand-castle building competition along the shore or take your chances at the Sea Witch Festival every October, a popular haunt for ghouls of all ages.
Another beachside fest is a little bit quirky but still a whole lot of fun. The annual Running of the Bull at Dewey Beach may not be as authentic as its namesake in Pamplona, Spain, but it’s just as thrilling. Instead of real bulls, people wear bull costumes while others wear red bandanas, and, of course, everyone wears their running shoes.
With over 10,000 acres of parkland comprising 16 state parks and more than 150 miles of trails, it’s pretty impossible not to get out and enjoy the beauty and nature of Delaware. There are endless ways to enjoy our great outdoors, from hiking and biking — did you know that Delaware has been ranked the Most Bicycle-Friendly State East of the Mississippi River? — to ziplining through forests and kayaking our many inlets and estuaries. We also love disc golf, so much so that six of our state parks have disc golf courses!
Delaware’s signature foods include scrapple (don’t miss the Apple Scrapple Festival each fall!) and blue crabs, but there’s a lot more to the culinary scene in the First State. Regional chains like Grottos Pizza and Capriotti’s Subs were started here, and boardwalk bites like Thrasher’s buckets of fries and Dolles Salt Water Taffy have been beachside favorites for generations. Leave the coastal delights and head for the abundant farmers’ markets, and you’ll see why we savor our fresh produce like heirloom tomatoes and the best corn on the cob on the east coast.
When you need to wash all this great food down, craft beer is our beverage of choice and Dogfish Head is the leader of the pack. It’s so popular here that there are tours, tastings and festivals centered around it, and there’s even a Dogfish Inn to host brew-lovers overnight.
There’s a huge variety of industry here — from finance to manufacturing, healthcare to agriculture, and pharma to tourism — and with the second-lowest business costs in the U.S., we attract a lot of corporations, start-ups and entrepreneurs to our state. That means the opportunity for employment, training and advancement is immense.
Take a look at some of Delaware’s creations:
No matter where you live in Delaware, you’re a short drive from regional hubs throughout the northeast. Getting to NYC, Philly, Baltimore and DC is a cinch, so you’re never far away from big-city action.
Our central location and size — we’re the second smallest state and the sixth least-populated state in America — means we’re also really close with each other. There’s a distinct small-town vibe that flows throughout Delaware. Where else can you run into the governor in the grocery store or find yourself sitting next to a congressional rep on the beach? We’re all neighbors here.
That’s right, and proud of it! We’re called the “Blue Hen State” because soldiers in the Continental Army became known for their fierce fighting and earned the nickname “Blue Hen Chicks” after the blue-feathered fighting gamecock. The Fighting Blue Hens continue the legacy as the mascot of University Delaware, and the blue hen is actually our official state bird.
The bird lore doesn’t stop there! True fact, for every person who lives here, there are more than 200 chickens. Delaware has always been a heavily agricultural state, and one of our signature products is, of course, poultry.