What Is Delaware Known For

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Bordered by the states of Maryland and Pennsylvania, the small state of Delaware is among the most storied destinations in the nation, as it was in Delaware where the US Constitution was originally ratified in 1787, propelling Delaware into the Union as the very first state of the United States. Since then, the “First State” has been constantly shaped by innovation and change, and is today renowned for its business-friendly tax structures and reputation as a hub for Fortune 500 companies.

Pioneers, innovators and dreamers have been produced in Delaware since the first European immigrants from Sweden and the Netherlands arrived along its shores during the 17th. Delaware has provided the world with everything from horseshoe crabs to a US president. It’s has an impressive track record of success, considering that Delaware is the second-smallest state in the United States. Here’s what Delaware is famous for.

What Is Delaware Known For

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1- Being The First State

State Of Delaware Flag
What is Delaware known for? It was the first state to join the union.

Originally settled by Swedish immigrants before being captured by the Dutch in 1655, Delaware is home to some of the oldest European settlements on the East Coast and is best known as being the first state to have joined the Union.

Nicknamed the “First State”, Delaware is one of the first East Coast states settled by European immigrants and became the first state to ratify the US Constitution, making Delaware by default the United States’ very first recognised state.

Steeped in history and forming the cornerstone of the modern-day United States, Delaware is a must-visit state among historians and avid urban explorers, providing them with a fascinating glimpse into 17th-century American life.

2- Being The Second Smallest State in the USA

US map with Delaware highlighted in yellow
What is Delaware known for?

Perhaps the feature which most people commonly associate with Delaware is the state’s small size which, at just 2,489 square miles (644,648 ha), is the second-smallest state by land area in the United States, with just Rhode Island beating Delaware for the title of the smallest US state.


Centrally located near major East Coast urban centres such as Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington D.C. and New York City, Delaware’s minute size has never hampered its economic prosperity, with the Delaware River responsible for the state’s early success as an influential maritime hub.

Bordered by Maryland to the south and west, and Pennsylvania to the north, Delaware remains a relatively quiet and overlooked East Coast destination.

However, visitors can expect to discover idyllic seaside communities as well as easy-to-explore urban centres like Wilmington and Dover.

3- Business and Tax-Friendliness Laws

Delaware Capital Building
Delaware Capital Building.

Despite its small size and relative lack of influence nationally in US politics or pop culture, Delaware is a major economic hub with international significance as it is a popular destination in the United States for incorporating businesses.

More than 60% of all Fortune 500 companies are registered and/or incorporated in Delaware, including names such as Amazon, Comcast, CVS and Alphabet, the parent company of Google.

The reason for this is Delaware’s business-friendly tax laws and pioneering court system specifically catering to corporate court cases, which makes the state an attractive spot for companies to be registered without the need to be headquartered in Delaware.

Multinational corporate entities aren’t the only ones who benefit from Delaware’s lenient tax laws.

Delaware is one of only a handful of US states not to levy a sales tax, making this a popular shopping destination for East Coast travellers looking to save a buck or two.

4- Dover and Wilmington

Although it may not be Delaware’s largest or most economically active city, Dover is the First State’s official state capital, making it one of the most influential cities in Delaware, as well as one of the nation’s most historic.

Historically rich and boasting a distinctly small-town feel, Dover is a major travel hub in Delaware and treats visitors to a varied mix of attractions and entertainment options, such as the Dover Motor Speedway and the annual Firefly Music Festival.

The largest city in the state of Delaware and its main economic and cultural hub, Wilmington is a modern city with a population of about 70,000 residents that is renowned as a major centre for the chemical manufacturing industry.

Delaware’s most populated city doesn’t let Dover steal all its thunder regarding entertainment options and world-class attractions, with Wilmington treating travellers to landmarks such as the Hagley Museum, Daniel S Frawley Stadium and the Delaware Art Museum.

5- Joe Biden, the 46th US President

Although not born in Delaware, Joseph Robinette Biden Jr., better known simply as Joe Biden, is the 46th President of the United States who served as a two-term vice president between 2009 and 2017 before becoming president in 2021.

Biden was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania on 20 November 1942, before moving to Delaware with his family in 1953, kickstarting his political career after obtaining a law degree and serving as Delaware senator from 1973 until 2009.

Notable for becoming the oldest US president to date and the first US president with a female vice president, Biden has been closely associated with the Democratic Party for his entire political career and is credited with overseeing the successful passing of acts such as the Violence Against Women Act and the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act.

Biden’s presidential inauguration saw him become arguably the most influential Delawarean to date, despite the 46th US president originally hailing from Pennsylvania up north.

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6- Swedish and Dutch Roots

First settled by Swedes during the early 1600s, Delaware stands out like a sore thumb among the rest of the predominantly British-settled states populating the East Coast and New England region.

Swedish and Finnish immigrants initially settled along the Delaware River and throughout the Delaware Valley, infusing the region with their unique culture and architectural styles.

The arrival of the Dutch during the mid-to-late 17th century saw the territory be annexed into New Netherland up north before the British took control of modern-day Delaware in 1664.

The region’s Scandinavian and Dutch settlers are responsible for bringing the art of wooden construction to the United States, with the Delaware Agricultural Museum exhibiting one of their original log cabins to the public.

7- A Hub For Chemical Manufacturing

Commonly referred to as the “Chemical Capital of the World” due to the state’s extensive list of Delaware-based chemical manufacturers, the First State serves as an administrative and/or research hub for some of the largest chemical manufacturers in the world.

ILC Dover, DuPont and BASF are just a few of the many global chemical giants calling Delaware home, no doubt thanks to the state’s generous tax laws and business-friendly approach.

The majority of Delaware’s chemical conglomerates are in or near Wilmington, with everything from pharmaceuticals and petrochemicals to synthetic materials and pigments produced within a short distance from Delaware’s largest metro.

8- The “Monster Mile”

Just outside downtown Dover is the Dover Motor Speedway, a relatively compact 1-mile-long (1.6 km) racetrack known throughout racing circles simply as the “Monster Mile”.

The Melvin Joseph-designed track was officially opened in 1969 and initially featured an asphalt surface before being resurfaced to concrete in 1995, with the track regularly hosting NASCAR and IndyCar-sanctioned racing events.

Nicknamed the Monster Mile due to the track’s narrow straightaways and banking turns, the track even has a mascot called “Miles the Monster”, which features prominently on the racetrack’s 46-foot-tall (14 m) Monster Monument.

9- Its State Flag

what delaware famous for flag
What is Delaware famous for?

Featuring the state of Delaware’s coat of arms on a buff-coloured diamond that’s surrounded by a field of colonial blue, the flag of Delaware is among the most eye-catching and unique state flags in the United States.

Officially adopted in 1913, the flag can trace its roots back to the American Civil War, when regiments from Delaware supposedly flew a similar design which also prominently featured the state’s coat of arms on a field of blue.

The Delaware state flag is topped off with the date December 7, 1787, written just below the coat of arms, which commemorates the day that Delaware officially ratified the Declaration of Independence and formally joined the Union.

10- Blue Hens

The blue hen is the official state bird of the First State and can be spotted throughout Delaware’s public parks, countryside farms and even at the University of Delaware in Newark, where the blue hen serves as the official mascot of the university’s varsity sports teams.

Chosen to be the animal representative of the state of Delaware due to its bravery and fierce competitiveness, the blue hen is said to perfectly embody Delaware’s independent spirit and has strong historical ties to the region stretching as far back as the 1700s.

11- Beaches

Seaweed On The Beach With Sand And Water
Beaches are what Delaware is known for.

With a coastline of roughly 380 miles (612 km), Delaware has lovely coastal towns and picture-perfect sandy beaches within two hour’s drive from busy Mid-Atlantic cities such as Baltimore, Washington D.C. and Philadelphia.

Perched near the mouth of Delaware Bay and just 20 miles (32 km) from the Maryland state border, Rehoboth Beach is a major summertime destination in southern Delaware and boasts a boardwalk, a large collection of eclectic restaurants and a popular amusement park.

Another very popular seaside town in Delaware is Bethany Beach, which offers travellers a more low-key seaside experience compared to busier Rehoboth Beach while not compromising on sheer natural beauty or entertainment options.

12- Peach Pie

Peach Pie
Peach pie is a what Delaware known for food.

Officially Delaware’s state dessert, peach pie is a delicious sweet treat that dates back to 19th-century Colonial-era Delaware.

The peach pie is typically prepared using a selection of fresh or frozen peaches cut into cubes, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla extract and a bit of grounded ginger for added flavour.

Served in restaurants and select eateries across Delaware, the classic peach pie is best experienced at a local farmer’s market or community gathering to experience a mouth-watering homemade peach pie in true Delaware fashion.

13- Horseshoe Crabs

Horseshoe Crabs In The Surf
Horseshoe crabs are what Delaware is most known for.

Horseshoe crabs are a common type of crustacean thriving in Delaware Bay that’s as much a culinary delicacy as it is a vital part of the bay’s ecosystem.

Delaware Bay is home to a large, possibly the largest population, of horseshoe crabs in the United States.

These crabs are a local tourist attraction in Delaware, especially during their annual spawning, when thousands of horseshoe crabs descend upon Delaware’s beaches between May and early June.

Whether you’re tucking into a serving of horseshoe crab roe at a high-end Delaware restaurant or planning to hop aboard a sightseeing boat tour to view the spawning event during high tide, horseshoe crabs are synonymous with the First State and among the state’s most famous exports.

14- The Firefly Music Festival

Hosted annually at The Woodlands near the Dover Motor Speedway, the Firefly Music Festival is a multi-day celebration of predominantly indie, alternative and EDM music genres.

The first rendition of the Firefly Music Festival was organised in 2012 and has developed into one of the largest annual music festivals on the East Coast, with the festival attracting over 50,000 visitors throughout the multi-day showpiece event.

Scheduled to resume in 2024, the festival remains one of the biggest draws to Dover and is hosted on a 105-acre (259 ha) property, giving festivalgoers plenty of space to spread out without feeling too cramped.

15- Scrapple

Native to the Mid-Atlantic regions of Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey, scrapple is a unique culinary staple that’s best described as a distant relative of a traditional sausage.

Scrapple is typically enjoyed over breakfast and is prepared using pork cuts mixed with cornmeal and flour, and was introduced to the region by Dutch and Mennonite immigrants during the Mid-Atlantic’s initial European settlement.

While scrapple certainly has an acquired taste, it’s well worth trying if you’re feeling particularly adventurous when travelling through Delaware to get a taste of the region’s ethnic Dutch and Mennonite food.

Delaware Word Cloud

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Mark Westwood
Mark Westwood is a Seattle-based writer who writes for various online blogs and travel websites. In 2017, he went on a 12-month road trip across the USA visiting many iconic landmarks and small towns along the way. Having explored over 20 countries, his favourite places to date are along the west coast of the USA but he is happiest anywhere where there are mountains and ocean.