Delaware's founding fathers signed the U.S. Constitution before others, earning Delaware the nickname "the First State." Although rich in colonial political history, today the state is a business leader—64% of Fortune 500 companies are here. Shoppers love Delaware, too, as the state imposes no sales tax.
Varied landscapes keep Delaware from feeling like America’s second-smallest state. Rolling hills and hardwood forests lay north. Vast tidal marshes and dunescapes line the shore. Gleaming corporate center Wilmington is a short train ride to New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. Find colonial charm in New Castle, tourist bustle at Rehoboth Beach, and calm at Bombay Hook bird sanctuary in Smyrna.
Industrial giant E. I. du Pont dominated Delaware for generations. Many public institutions bear the du Pont name. Family estates and the company's early headquarters and gunpowder works are showplace museums. Major northern parks and preserves were carved from family holdings.
Most of the state lies on the flat, fertile Delmarva Peninsula. Until the mid-20th century, this region was devoted to agriculture, shipping, fishing, and shipbuilding. Towns display a diverse architectural legacy. Medieval elements appear in Lewes, settled by the Dutch in 1637. Rehoboth Beach’s Victorian past emerges in gingerbread-style cottages.