Sometimes, it feels like Delaware only consists of small towns – and for the most part, that’s true. Only three cities (Dover, Newark and Wilmington) have populations over 30,000, and the vast majority of our towns having fewer than 5,000 residents. Small town life in Delaware is the norm for most of us, but there are still a few tiny Delaware towns that take that to the extreme. The 13 tiny Delaware towns have fewer than 500 year-round residents. Talk about a town where everybody knows your name!
1. Little Creek
Population: 233 Little Creek was founded in the early 1700s and has a lot of history to show for it. Many places in town are located on the National Register of Historic Places, like the Cherbourg Round Barn, Little Creek Hundred Rural Historic District, Little Creek Methodist Church, Old Stone Tavern, Port Mahon Lighthouse, Elizabeth Stubbs House, and Jonathan Woodley House. All of these are worth a visit.
Population: 358 Bowers Beach is the little town that time forgot. Life is still simple in this farming village, and the Bowers mariners bring in the best seafood the state's waters have to offer.
Population: 374 Historic Odessa always surprises me when I visit. Cantwell's Tavern is one of my favorite restaurants in the state, and the Historic Homes of Odessa events are always fun to attend.
4. Henlopen Acres
Population: 135 Henlopen Acres is a resort town located close to Rehoboth Beach. The residents here work together to keep the town running, and the sense of community is strong. If you're looking for a great place to enjoy the beaches without feeling overwhelmed by summer crowds, this might become your favorite beach town.
5. Slaughter Beach
Population: 230 Slaughter Beach wins the award for "least appealing town name in Delaware" for sure. There are a lot of theories as to where the town got its name, from There are at least three stories of where the town's name came from: a mid-19th century postmaster named William Slaughter, to the thousands of horseshoe crabs that wash up and die on the shore every year, to the more frightening account of man named Brabant who attached and slaughtered Native Americans in the area for fear of an impending attack.
Population: 196 Leipsic is another beautiful water town in Delaware, with mariners making up the majority of the population. The famous Sambo's Tavern is on the water here, and draws people from all over the state to try their legendary crabs during spring and summer.
Population: 234 Magnolia does not let anyone forget that small towns have big spirits, as the town sign proclaims that the universe revolves around it. The town itself is charming and historic, and worth driving through to see what rural Delaware life is really about.
Population: 71 Hartly might be the most spirited tiny Delaware town! With under 100 residents and constantly under the threat of becoming unincorporated, the town's few residents still hold events year round, and Hartly is particularly known for its wonderful Christmas celebration.
The Artist's village of Arden is perhaps the most unique town in Delaware. Over the years, the town has been home to some of the most interesting people to ever live in Delaware, like Upton Sinclair, Harry Kempt, and even Joe Biden.
You can read more about Arden here.
Population: 265 Walking through historic Kenton is like traveling back in time. You can still visit the corner store (and an amazing deli) and catch up on the local gossip downtown.
Population: 117 Farmington is one of the tiniest towns in Delaware, with about a hundred residents taking up less than a tenth of a square mile. The town was founded along a railroad station in 1855, and grew to a population of 300 people in the 1880s. It was a busy factory town, with canning and fruit-evaporating businesses along the main stretch of street.
Population: 415 Ellendale sits on USE 113 and DE-16, making it known as the "Gateway to Delaware's Resort Beaches". Despite being a tiny, tiny town Ellendale is home to the Philadelphia Bible College, the Harbor Christian Academy, and one of the best homestyle restaurants in Delaware - The Southern Grill.
Population: 187 Historic Bethel was one a thriving shipbuilding town, and though it has shrunk in size and population since its heyday, the town itself is still so charming. The entirety of the half-mile town is located on the National Registry of Historic places, and historic homes like the Ship-Carpenter House are mixed in with ordinary residences.
If you grew up in one of these (or any of the other tiny Delaware towns!), you certainly will understand our list of reasons why people from small town Delaware
are the best people on earth.