The National Scenic Byway program was established by the United States Department of Transportation to recognize drives with archeological, cultural, historic, natural and scenic values. Delaware is lucky to have 6 scenic byways recognized by the entire Country for their scenery and historic value. Next time you’re looking for a Delaware day trip idea, pack up the car and enjoy these beautiful drives.
1. Brandywine Valley National Scenic Byway
In just 12 miles from Rodney Square in Wilmington to the Delaware-PA state line, traveling on Routes 52 and 100 will take you on a trip you have to see to believe. You'll pass a ton of great places to stop and explore. You can't miss the Delaware History Museum, Delaware Art Museum and the Museum of Natural History. More impressive is the number of duPont Mansions and Gardens you'll drive by: Goodstay, Gibraltar, Nemours, Hagley, and our favorite, Winterthur.
2. Lewes, "Gateway to the Nation" Byway
Another 12 mile byway takes you along the Delaware Bay, from the "Gateways from the Land" on Kings Highway, Savannah Road and New Road; to the "Gateways from the Sea" on Pilottown Road, Neck Road and Cape Henlopen Drive. You'll drive past Cape Henlopen State Park, which is a wonder in its own. Absolutely stop in Lewes to explore the entire Canalfront, including the Lightship Overfalls. There's plenty to explore along this byway, and you can easily turn it into a great Spring or Fall day trip.
3. Nanticoke Heritage Byway
The Nanticoke Heritage Byway is about 35 miles long, from its start at US 13 to its end at Trap Pond State Park. You'll pass through the towns of Seaford, Bethel, and Laurel. The Nanticoke Heritage Byway is a great trip to take if you want to have the unique experience of taking the Woodland Ferry, which crosses the beautiful Nanticoke River, the old fashioned way.
4. Red Clay Valley Scenic Byway
27 miles on 28 different roads will take you through the incredibly scenic Red Clay Valley Creek and its watershed. You'll drive over the historic Ashland Covered Bridge, through New Castle County, and past the beautiful Auburn Heights Preserve. Take time to explore the Mt. Cuba Center, which is an exceptional part of any Delaware day trip in the Spring!
5. Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway
It's appropriate that this is the longest of the Delaware Byways - 95 miles will take you just over 3 hours to complete, including some time for sightseeing. Delaware was the last slave state on the way to freedom for those using the underground railroad, and there is a ton of history to take in along this route. Explore some of the historic Meetinghouses you'll pass along the way, and stop to have lunch in Tubman-Garrett riverfront park, which was dedicated in 1998.
6. Delaware's Bayshore Scenic Byway
50 miles of Delaware's Route 9 make up the Bayshore Byway. You'll drive through and past the largest preserved coastal marshland on the east coast while also seeing some impressive bird migration in the Spring and Fall. We recommend continuing this drive past the end in Dover, for another 35 miles to end at Cape Henlopen, to get the full Delaware Bayshore experience.
For more information, including detailed maps and links to the attractions along the Byways, check out the
Delaware DOT’s Byways page. Plan your next Delaware day trip along one of these gorgeous routes, and let us know how you like it!