LOADING

Type to search

Extended Feature: Best Places to Live in Delaware

Share

Newark offers the full range of housing styles and prices.

What makes a place great? We looked at several factors, including schools, tax rates, home values, public safety, and amenities such as shopping areas, restaurants, arts organizations, and cultural opportunities. Here’s what we found.

 

Arden, Ardencroft, Ardentown (New Castle)

Arden
Brandywine
Taxes: 2.8583
Median home cost: $267,800

Ardencroft (New Castle)
Brandywine
Taxes: 2.8583
Median home cost: $286,800

Ardentown (New Castle)
Brandywine
Taxes: 2.8583
Median home cost: $269,500

Commute: 26
Safety: 2-2
Arts and culture: 4
Shopping and dining: 2
Nightlife: 1
What can be said for one Arden can be said for all. First, know this: As the oldest single-tax community in the country, you own your house but not the property it sits on, an idea that appeals to those of a particular socio-political stripe. Named after the magical forest of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” the heavily wooded area is chock-a-block with resident artists, so if you’re in with the in crowd, there’s no shortage of creative exchange. The Arden Gild Hall provides plenty of lively programming, and the annual community fair is a 100-year-plus tradition. Bonus points for the neighborhood’s iconic New Candlelight Theatre.

 

 

Bear (New Castle)

Christina
Taxes: 2.5071
Median home cost: $204,900
Commute: 29
Safety: 4-4
Arts and culture: 2
Shopping and dining: 3
Nightlife: 2
The building boom has long since ended, but it seems developers still occasionally find places to squeeze in new subdivisions. The result: One of the state’s biggest areas for young families—despite poorly performing public schools (though the party line from Christina district administrators is that things are improving). Strip centers on U.S. 40 offer stores for all the necessities.

 

 

Bellefonte (New Castle)

Brandywine
Taxes: 3.4748
Median home cost: $173,900
Commute: 26
Safety: 3-3
Arts and culture: 2
Shopping and dining: 3
Nightlife: 2
Funky Bellefonte has a slightly boho feel, thanks to groovy re-sale shops, the Bellefonte Arts gallery and studio, and the cheerful, laid-back Bellefonte Café, which offers fun food and some evening entertainment. A bona fide municipality, it controls its own destiny, unlike some of the unincorporated areas near it.

 

 

Bethany Beach (Sussex)

Indian River 
Taxes: 3.5191
Median home cost: $431,700
Commute: 27
Safety: 5-10
Arts and culture: 3
Shopping and dining: 4
Nightlife: 2
One of the so-called Quiet Resorts, the former Methodist camp town retains its family atmosphere. Less of a year-round town than its larger cousin, Rehoboth Beach, it still offers many of the same attractions: great restaurants like Patsy’s, 14 Global and The Parkway; a main drag, Garfield Parkway, lined with fun shops; and a beach and boardwalk—all in an easily walkable town. Annual celebrations like July 4 and the end-of-summer Jazz Funeral keep the civic spirit high.

 

 

Bethel (Sussex)

Laurel
Taxes: 4.7311
Median home cost: $134,200
Commute: 30
Safety: 2-2
Arts and culture: 1
Shopping and dining: 1
Nightlife: 1
Bethel Heritage Day each October celebrates the once world-famous ship-building past of this tiny town (population: under 200), which is on the National Register of Historic Places. That prosperous past gave rise to beautiful homes that creates the town’s unique aesthetic character. 

 

 

Blades (Sussex)
Seaford
Taxes: 5.4461
Median home cost: $112,400
Commute: 24
Safety: 1-1
Arts and culture: 1
Shopping and dining: 2
Nightlife: 1
The working-class side of the Nanticoke still relies on neighboring Seaford to fulfill the basics. More than 20 percent of the population lives below the poverty line.

 

 

Bowers Beach (Kent)
Lake Forest
Taxes: 2.2271
Median home cost: $109,600
Commute: 31
Safety: 2-2
Arts and culture: 1
Shopping and dining: 2
Nightlife: 2
The sum total of dining and nightlife in Bowers is lively JP’s Wharf, which is OK, because you’re here for the laid-back lifestyle—walks on the beach, fishing on the bay. Like all the bay towns, Bowers and neighboring South Bowers across the Murderkill, are facing greater danger from intense storms, but the town is working with the state on a resiliency plan to decrease its vulnerability.

 

 

Bridgeville (Sussex)

Woodbridge
Taxes: 6.4501
Median home cost: $181,300
Commute: 24
Safety: 8-6
Arts and culture: 2
Shopping and dining: 2
Nightlife: 1
Places like T.S. Smith & Sons orchard keep the town’s past as a hub of farming and canning alive. Places like the golf-course community Heritage Shores, named one of the best communities in the country for active adults, point to its future in commercial and residential development. Jimmy’s Grille is an icon.

 

 

Camden (Kent)

Caesar Rodney
Taxes: 3.1352
Median home cost: $110,700
Commute: 22
Safety: 7-9
Arts and culture: 2
Shopping and dining: 2
Nightlife: 1
Like neighboring Wyoming, the railroad community of Camden offers lots of small-town charm in one of the state’s better school districts. Proximity to Dover means easy commuting to work, state and county government, and the city’s shopping, dining and culture.

 

 

Cheswold (Kent)

Capital
Taxes: 2.9792
Median home cost: $112,300
Commute: 30
Safety: 2-2
Arts and culture: 2
Shopping and dining: 2
Nightlife: 1
A new civic spirit was reflected in Cheswold Pride Day last summer, which recognizes the towns roots in the settlement of Leni Lenape Indians and immigration of African-Americans in the 19th century. New Stonington offers attractive homes at bargain prices.

 

 

Clayton (Kent)

Smyrna
Taxes: 2.4442
Median home cost: $168,000
Commute: 33
Safety: 3-4
Arts and culture: 1
Shopping and dining: 2
Nightlife: 1
Not quite a bedroom community of Smyrna (only because Smyrna itself is so small), this former rail hub is close, with residents traveling to Smyrna (next door), Dover (12 minutes by car), and beyond for work and entertainment.

 

 

Dagsboro (Sussex)
Indian River
Taxes: 3.7291
Median home cost: $221,600
Commute: 23
Safety: 2-2
Arts and culture: 2
Shopping and dining: 1
Nightlife: 1
Fun fact: Dagsboro was home of the 18th U.S. Secretary of State, John M. Clayton, one of Delaware’s great claims to political and governmental fame. Today it’s the place many motorists pass through on their way to Bethany Beach and Fenwick Island. It gets bonus points for the Clayton Theater, the oldest continually operating movie house in the state. Its single screen still shows first-run movies.

 

 

Delaware City (New Castle)

Colonial
Taxes: 2.8878
Median home cost: $128,500
Commute: 28
Safety: 3-6
Arts and culture: 3
Shopping and dining: 3
Nightlife: 2
Longtime residents speak with pride, which is evident during the annual Delaware City Days, a music festival and car shows. The town wins points for walkability and historic, small-town charm, even if some of the older Federalist-style housing needs a little TLC. Battery Park offers stunning views of the Delaware River. The marina gets boaters on the water post haste. Culture points come from Fort Delaware on Pea Patch Island. Subtract a few points for PBF Energy’s refinery (700+ jobs: good—environmental issues: bad). Add points for an effort to attract artists and small businesses. Kathy’s Crab House and Crabby Dick’s restaurant celebrate everyone’s favorite crustacean.

 

 

Delmar (Sussex)

Delmar
Taxes: 4.9835
Median home cost: $146,800
Commute: 25
Safety: 5-6
Arts and culture: 1
Shopping and dining: 2
Nightlife: 1
The self-described “little town too big for one state” (it shares part of its area with Maryland) is still little, but growing, as evidenced by a fairly new municipal building, a fairly new wastewater treatment plant and a brand new public safety building. Little is nice. Delmar Heritage Day and the high school homecoming parade are very big deals.

 

 

Dewey Beach (Sussex)

Cape Henlopen
Taxes: 4.1031
Median home cost: $512,500
Commute: 26
Safety: 2-3
Arts and culture: 2
Shopping and dining: 4
Nightlife: 4
Dewey can be a lonely place in winter, but come summer, it is the undisputed party capital of Delaware, a place known for live modern music at iconic places like The Bottle & Cork and The Rusty Rudder. Newish restaurants like Ivy, as well as the established Two Seas, elevate the dining scene in Dewey, which was once riddled with run-of-the-mill places for hoagies and steaks, chicken and fried seafood. If you’re buying, home styles range from the cottages of Rehoboth By The Sea to the north, to the modern houses of neighboring Indian Beach to the south (neither part of Dewey proper), with everything in between—townhouses, condos, old summer houses, etc. Buyer beware: Your neighbors could be a gang of group house renters who are in summertime party mode every weekend. 

 

 

Dover (Kent)

Caesar Rodney
Taxes: 2.0530
Median home cost: $135,200
Commute: 24
Safety: 7-7
Arts and culture: 4
Shopping and dining: 3
Nightlife: 1

Capital
2.6840
Median home cost: $135,200
Commute: 24
Safety: 7-7
Arts and culture: 4
Shopping and dining: 3
Nightlife: 1
The largest city in the state by area, Dover has never totally lost its small-town heart. Loockerman Street still beats, thanks to places like 33 West Ale House and Grill, Bel Boutique and The Schwartz Center for the Arts, though a lot of the shopping-dining-entertainment action happens out on U.S. 13, at Dover Mall and Dover Downs Hotel & Casino, a main street within itself. Also downtown, the Delaware State Visitor Center, and the Biggs Museum of American Art boost the history and culture factor. The mix of Victorian and Queen Anne styles makes for beautiful historic housing in Dover’s original core. The central location means easy access to upstate attractions and the beaches.

 

 

Ellendale (Sussex)

Milford
Taxes: 5.6920
Median home cost: $116,900
Commute: 27
Safety: 2-2
Arts and culture: 1
Shopping and dining: 1
Nightlife: 1
Don’t blink. At 0.2 square miles, this is among the smallest of small towns. The nearby state forest, one of the most natural areas in the state, offers outstanding outdoor recreation. The Southern Grill is a landmark.

 

 

Elsmere (New Castle)

Red Clay
Taxes: 3.0008
Median home cost: $109,900
Commute: 24
Safety: 9-5
Arts and culture: 2
Shopping and dining: 3
Nightlife: 1
Diversifying Elsmere keeps it small-town spirit, even if the borders blend right into Wilmington’s. Clean-up Day, an Independence Day celebration, Movies in the Parks, the holiday tree lighting and the annual holiday parade galvanize esprit de corps.

 

 

Farmington (Kent)

Woodbridge
Taxes: 2.5922
Median home cost: $143,600
Commute: 33
Safety: 2-2
Arts and culture: 1
Shopping and dining: 1
Nightlife: 1
Population: 110. Need we say more? Milford is the main commercial and cultural hub. 

 

 

Felton (Kent)

Lake Forest
Taxes: 2.5371
Median home cost: $169,100
Commute: 30
Safety: 2-2
Arts and culture: 1
Shopping and dining: 1
Nightlife: 1
A main street with a small market and hardware store and some Gothic Revival-style houses define this charming town.

 

 

Fenwick Island (Sussex)

Indian River
Taxes: 5.2691
Median home cost: $592,900
Commute: 28
Safety: 2-2
Arts and culture: 2
Shopping and dining: 3
Nightlife: 2
The population dwindles during the off-season, but with its proximity to Ocean City, Md., and restaurants on Del. 54, things stay lively. A slew of newish good restaurants adds to a dining scene formerly defined by the excellent Nantuckets, Mancini’s, Oceanside Pizza, the Dairy Queen and a handful of other landmark places. Almost every house on the bay side of Del. 1 fronts the water. Owners hope recent beach replenishment keeps oceanfront homes safe from Sandy-sized storms. Looking for laid-back? Head to the incorporated northern end of town. The unincorporated end abutting Ocean City is palpably busier.

 

 

Frankford (Sussex)

Indian River
Taxes: 5.8491
Median home cost: $173,800
Commute: 26
Safety: 2-2
Arts and culture: 1
Shopping and dining: 1
Nightlife: 1
An area to watch, tiny Frankford, on U.S. 113, is looking to capitalize on the economic boon brought by the beaches as so-called “beach development” moves westward. 

 

 

Frederica (Kent)

Lake Forest
Taxes: 2.6271
Median home cost: $108,500
Commute: 29
Safety: 2-2
Arts and culture: 1
Shopping and dining: 2
Nightlife: 1
On the edge of the marsh around the Murderkill, a small cluster of streets along Del. 12 near Del. 1 define little Frederica. It’s famous for Barratt’s Chapel, the birthplace of American Methodism (though it’s not properly situated in the corporate limits). The reputation of Frederica Pizza has grown enough to lure southbound travelers off the highway.

 

 

Georgetown (Sussex)

Indian River
Taxes: 6.4891
Median home cost: $160,200
Commute: 23
Safety: 10-6
Arts and culture: 2
Shopping and dining: 2
Nightlife: 1
The seat of Sussex County government, Georgetown continues to grow more culturally diverse. The famous Circle, the historic center of town, is the unofficial lawyers’ row and the site of the biannual Return Day celebration. The town proper has beautiful examples of 17th- and 18th-century architecture. The beaches are a straight shot down U.S. 9. Sussex Tech is one of the state’s best high schools. Possum Point Players is an institution.

 

 

Glasgow (New Castle)

Christina
Taxes: 2.8113
Median home cost: $234,100
Commute: 32
Safety: 4-4
Arts and culture: 2
Shopping and dining: 3
Nightlife: 2
A range of housing styles and prices, a beautiful county park, a beautiful YMCA, access to major roads in every direction and People’s Plaza, with its variety of stores and its Regal Cinema, are big draws. The schools are not. 

 

 

Greenwood (Sussex)

Woodbridge
Taxes: 6.2501
Median home cost: $127,000
Commute: 29
Safety: 2-2
Arts and culture: 2
Shopping and dining: 2
Nightlife: 1
Like so many towns in Western Sussex, Greenwood grew up along the railroad. The population around 900 appreciates its small size.

 

 

Greenville (New Castle)

Red Clay
Taxes: 2.5071
Median home cost: $498,400
Commute: 22
Safety: 3-3
Arts and culture: 4
Shopping and dining: 4
Nightlife: 2
It could be argued that 19807, with its suburban-fading-to-genteely-rural vibe, is still the most desirable zip code in the state. The most exclusive golf and country clubs in Delaware call it home, as do high-end retailers. Established private schools like Tower Hill and Tatnall are a stone’s throw from many homes, but the public schools are steady performers. Galleries like Sommerville-Manning and The Station join heavies like the Delaware Museum of Natural History and Winterthur on the cultural front. A range of upscale housing, both new (i.e.: Applecross) and established (i.e.: Westover Hills), is available. Include Centreville here.

 

 

Harrington (Kent)

Lake Forest
Taxes: 2.3041
Median home cost: $97,000
Commute: 30
Safety: 8-5
Arts and culture: 2
Shopping and dining: 2
Nightlife: 3
Harrington scores with the state fairgrounds—where better to celebrate our agricultural roots?—and the Harrington Raceway & Casino for nightlife. The library is a hub of personal enrichment and family activities. So are parks-and-rec programs. Part of the town’s self-improvement, along with repaving of the streets, is the new Freedom Park.

 

 

Hartly (Kent)

Capital
Taxes: 2.3992
Median home cost: $137,500
Commute: 38
Safety: 3-2
Arts and culture: 1
Shopping and dining: 1
Nightlife: 1
Seventy-four people reside in 0.1 square miles, according to the 2010 U.S. Census. Another don’t-blink zone, though a beautifully rural one. Dover is the hub of commerce and entertainment.

 

 

Henlopen Acres (Sussex)

Cape Henlopen
Taxes: 6.3231
Median home cost: $1,788,900
Commute: 19
Safety: 2-2
Arts and culture: 3
Shopping and dining: 4
Nightlife: 3
In a word: exclusive. Beautiful beach homes on quiet, wooded streets, some bordering the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal, all close to the beach. There are no businesses per se in Henlopen Acres, so residents enjoy all the riches Rehoboth Beach, a 10-minute walk away, has to offer. The big draw for area visitors: the Rehoboth Art League.

 

 

Hockessin (New Castle)

Red Clay
Taxes: 2.5071
Median home cost: $345,800
Commute: 30
Safety: 4-4
Arts and culture: 3
Shopping and dining: 3
Nightlife: 1
Also a highly desirable zip code, Hockessin offers diverse housing options, from town home communities to McMansion subdivisions to established homes. Harvest Market feeds diet-conscious residents. The House of William & Merry, the iconic Back Burner and other good restaurants feed discriminating diners. Hockessin Corner houses terrific shops like Everything But The Kitchen Sink. Del. 41 speeds commuters into Wilmington. Dining and shopping options in Pike Creek are a short hop down Del. 7. You share the same solid Red Clay schools with Greenville residents. 

 

 

Houston (Kent)

Milford
Taxes: 1.8512
Median home cost: $150,400
Commute: 28
Safety: 2-2
Arts and culture: 1
Shopping and dining: 1
Nightlife: 1
Like other towns of its kind in Kent, Houston bills itself as a small town that is happily keeping itself that way. Find everything you need in nearby Milford.

 

 

Kenton (Kent)

Smyrna
Taxes: 1.9142
Median home cost: $161,900
Commute: 31
Safety: 2-2
Arts and culture: 1
Shopping and dining: 1
Nightlife: 1
West of Smyrna, this crossroads town counts about 240 residents.

 

 

Laurel (Sussex)

Laurel
Taxes: 6.5311
Median home cost: $122,600
Commute: 27
Safety: 10-6
Arts and culture: 2
Shopping and dining: 2
Nightlife: 1
Another town for lovers of history, it boasts more than 800 buildings on the National Historic Record—more than any other town in the state—and a rare Bascule bridge. The Market Square Bandstand is classic Americana.

 

 

Leipsic (Kent)

Capital
Taxes: 2.8017
Median home cost: $107,800
Commute: 35
Safety: 2-2
Arts and culture: 1
Shopping and dining: 1
Nightlife: 1
This cluster of modest houses on the Leipsic River is famous as the home of Sambo’s Tavern.

 

 

Lewes (Sussex)

Cape Henlopen
Taxes: 4.2731  
Median home cost: $261,500
Commute: 25
Safety: 2-3
Arts and culture: 4
Shopping and dining: 5
Nightlife: 2
Lewes is an interesting combination of historic bay town (one that maintains some industry on the water), summer resort destination and year-round hub of coastal Sussex—home of the stellar Cape Henlopen School District. It offers easy access to bay beaches in town and ocean beaches at Cape Henlopen State Park. Second Street offers outstanding shopping and dining. And the town offers myriad historic homes, as well as places on Lewes Beach that range from more modern to more funky. Residents—longtimers and newcomers—are equally proud of their town. An active historic society and resident artists help define the vibe.

 

 

Little Creek (Kent)

Capital
Taxes: 2.7292
Median home cost: $108,600
Commute: 28
Safety: 2-2
Arts and culture: 1
Shopping and dining: 1
Nightlife: 1
Just north of Leipsic, this short stretch of Del. 9 is fading, though it is surrounded by interesting sights and sites, including the Cherbourg Round Barn, the Cowgill’s Corner Octagonal Schoolhouse and Port Mahon Light.

 

 

Magnolia (Kent)

Caesar Rodney
Taxes: 2.1152
Median home cost: $179,100
Commute: 28
Safety: 2-2
Arts and culture: 1
Shopping and dining: 1
Nightlife: 1
Magnolia’s uniquely circular boundary contains 126 acres and fewer than 300 souls. It is famous for John B. Lindale House, built in the early 1900s by one of the last great peach barons in Delaware. A sign outside the house announces: “This is Magnolia, the center of the universe around which the earth revolves.”

 

 

Middletown (New Castle)

Appoquinimink
Taxes: 2.3321
Median home cost: $206,600
Commute: 35
Safety: 2-2
Arts and culture: 3
Shopping and dining: 3
Nightlife: 2
Annexation and natural growth sped a tripling of the population between 2000 and 2010—with another doubling projected for the next 10 years, so Middletown keeps a steady eye on future needs. Sprawling subdivisions like the emerging Village at Bayberry—with almost 2,000 new homes planned for 1,600 acres—surround a quaint downtown with plenty of salons, restaurants, gift shops, florists, and the Everett Theatre and Gibby Center. Effort is focused, in fact, on keeping important town functions centered on Broad and Main (site of the annual Hummers Parade each New Year’s Day—arguably an important civic function of another kind). Still a small town? It may be fourth-largest in the state but, yes, you bet.

 

 

Milford (Kent)

Milford
Taxes: 2.1912
Median home cost: $163,600
Commute: 24
Safety: 9-8
Arts and culture: 3
Shopping and dining: 3
Nightlife: 1

We’ll blow the secret: Milford rocks. Community groups like the Mispillion Art League and Second Street Players thrive, as does the local branch of the Music School of Delaware. The riverwalk and Walnut Street offices, stores and restaurants define “walkable downtown.” Milford Memorial Hospital offers convenient, excellent healthcare. Waterfront homes, whether on the Mispillion or a local pond, can be found at reasonable prices. Silver Lake Park is a gem. 

 

 

Milford (Sussex)

Milford
Taxes: 4.6520
Median home cost: $163,600
Commute: 24
Safety: 9-8
Arts and culture: 3
Shopping and dining: 3
Nightlife: 1

We’ll blow the secret: Milford rocks. Community groups like the Mispillion Art League and Second Street Players thrive, as does the local branch of the Music School of Delaware. The riverwalk and Walnut Street offices, stores and restaurants define “walkable downtown.” Milford Memorial Hospital offers convenient, excellent healthcare. Waterfront homes, whether on the Mispillion or a local pond, can be found at reasonable prices. Silver Lake Park is a gem. 

 

 

Millsboro (Sussex)

Indian River
Taxes: 3.9091
Median home cost: $162,800
Commute: 24
Safety: 8-7
Arts and culture: 1
Shopping and dining: 2
Nightlife: 1
Don’t pin Millsboro down to its corporate limits. It also claims Long Neck (and the Baywood Greens golf community) and Oak Orchard, which means lots of good living and aquatic recreation along Indian River. All that aside, it still promotes itself as the fastest-growing community in the county, one popular among young families and active adults.

 

 

Millville (Sussex)

Indian River
Taxes: 3.8491
Median home cost: $212,300
Commute: 32
Safety: 2-2
Arts and culture: 2
Shopping and dining: 3
Nightlife: 1
Contiguous with Ocean View, Millville is part of the growing Del. 26 corridor from U.S. 113 to Bethany Beach, which has brought new interest from passers-through.
To wit: a burst of new building in Sand Dollar Village. Millville By The Sea, set to open come summer, advertises “beach” homes starting in the low $200,000s. 

 

 

Milton (Sussex)

Cape Henlopen
Taxes: 3.9191
Median home cost: $208,200
Commute: 28
Safety: 8-7
Arts and culture: 2
Shopping and dining: 2
Nightlife: 2
Quaint streets lined with Victorian, Gothic Revival and Federalist-style homes, the Broadkill River and Wagamons Pond, and the small-town feeling are what draw new residents to Milton. Many come looking for a new beach home, then discover Milton instead. The farmers market draws locals and visitors alike on summer Fridays. The Dogfish Head Craft Brewery ups its hipness quotient. Cape Henlopen schools are tops.

 

 

Newark (New Castle)

Christina
Taxes: 3.0401
Median home cost: $180,200
Commute: 24
Safety: 7-5
Arts and culture: 4
Shopping and dining: 4
Nightlife: 4
Living in a college town keeps you young, which may be part of the reason so many 55+ plus communities have sprung up around Newark. The city offers the full range of housing styles and prices, a Main Street and developing Elkton Road/South Main Street lined with charming shops and good restaurants, and a university that offers—to all—live theater, film series, lectures, readings, art exhibitions and top-notch athletics. That’s not to mention homegrown attractions like the Newark Arts Alliance and Chapel Street Players. Large, beautiful parks on the outskirts offer many kinds of outdoor recreation. Large and small employers abound. And the town loves a party: The annual restaurant week, Community Day, Newark Night, a longstanding Memorial Day parade and public trick-or-treating are just the start of the fun.

 

 

New Castle (New Castle)

Colonial
Taxes: 2.9478
Median home cost: $137,300
Commute: 24
Safety: 6-7
Arts and culture: 4
Shopping and dining: 3
Nightlife: 2
There is historic New Castle—dozens of Colonial homes, the historic market green and courthouse, the residents’ obvious appreciation for local history—then there is everything around it: a jumble of subdivisions. You want to be here because there is no place else like it. A roster of free summer concerts on riverfront Battery Park join Separation Day festivities and Art on the Green as much-anticipated public festivities. Delaware Street offers a small handful of good places to eat. Living in old, often small homes is different, but it has its charms.

 

 

Newport (New Castle)

Red Clay
Taxes: 3.0218
Median home cost: $163,500
Commute: 23
Safety: 6-6
Arts and culture: 1
Shopping and dining: 2
Nightlife: 2
Vestiges of its Colonial past as an important commercial hub are still evident in Newport. Affordable housing in a good school district are big pluses.

 

 

North Wilmington (New Castle)

Brandywine
Taxes: 2.9768
Median home cost: NA
Commute: NA
Safety: NA
Arts and culture: 3
Shopping and dining: 3
Nightlife: 2
Popular, populous North Wilmington has for decades been one of the most popular areas in the state. Good Brandywine district schools, shopping and dining on Philadelphia Pike, Naamans Road and Concord Pike, countless established and attractive subdivisions, and easy access to major roads and large employers make an unbeatable combination of conveniences and amenities.

 

 

Ocean View (Sussex)

Indian River
Taxes: 3.5079
Median home cost: $244,600
Commute: 31
Safety: 5-4
Arts and culture: 2
Shopping and dining: 3
Nightlife: 2
Growing Ocean View, one mile from Bethany on Del. 26, is now solidly part of the resorts, thanks to the development boom of the 1990s. Indian River School District is one of the best.

 

 

Odessa (New Castle)

Appoquinimink
Taxes: 2.3932
Median home cost: $198,000
Commute: 35
Safety: 2-2
Arts and culture: 3
Shopping and dining: 2
Nightlife: 1
In a word: charming. If you live here, you like small towns and history. You’ll find nightlife and dining to be provided by one-and-the-same: Cantwell’s Tavern. Find more options in Middletown, a short hop away on Del. 299. Access to U.S. 13 and Del. 1 is instant. 

 

 

Pike Creek Valley (New Castle)

Red Clay
Taxes: 2.5071
Christina
Taxes: 2.8113
Median home cost: $222,900
Commute: 28
Safety: 7-6
Arts and culture: 2
Shopping and dining: 3
Nightlife: 2
Long a destination for families in search of suburban convenience with a bucolic feel, Pike Creek offers the entire gamut of housing at a range of prices. Shopping and dining centers mainly on Limestone Road. Proximity to big parks like Middle Run and White Clay Creek keeps the active set outdoors. Newark and Wilmington are equally accessible. If you’re shopping, mind where you look. The area is split between good schools in the Red Clay district and some poor performers in the Christina district. 

 

 

Rehoboth Beach (Sussex)

Cape Henlopen
Taxes: 5.4831
Median home cost: $324,300
Commute: 23
Safety: 8-10
Arts and culture: 4
Shopping and dining: 5
Nightlife: 3
Let’s start with arts and culture: The Rehoboth Beach Museum, the Rehoboth Art League, the Bandstand and several small galleries provide plenty of it. Shopping? Where do we start? Dining? Rehoboth is well known as a major destination for foodies, with more great restaurants, at all price points, than we could list. There is more packed into this one square mile of beachfront real estate than in most towns of similar size. There’s plenty to do all year round, members of many communities mingle harmoniously, and it sits solidly in the state’s best school district.

 

 

Seaford (Sussex)

Seaford
Taxes: 4.3461
Median home cost: $148,100
Commute: 22
Safety: 9-7
Arts and culture: 2
Shopping and dining: 2
Nightlife: 1
The unofficial capital of western Sussex, Seaford was recently voted the 28th Best Small Town in America. The historic Governor Ross Mansion is a major attraction, and Seaford is home to many other nationally registered historic places. A charming main street boasts the outstanding Bon Appetit restaurant—a gem—and the AFRAM Festival and Nanticoke Riverfest are major annual celebrations. Nanticoke Memorial Hospital and 500 businesses keep the town working.

 

 

Selbyville (Sussex)

Indian River
Taxes: 5.1991
Median home cost: $279,700
Commute: 23
Safety: 5-5
Arts and culture: 1
Shopping and dining: 3
Nightlife: 2
As the beaches move westward, areas around Selbyville have become attractive as a lower-priced, country-ish alternative. A quick commute down a Del. 54 lined with good restaurants, pubs and bakeries, lands you in Fenwick. There’s parking at the Delaware Seashore State Park—if you get there early enough. 

 

 

Slaughter Beach (Sussex)

Milford
Taxes: 4.9429
Median home cost: $402,900
Commute: 28
Safety: 2-3
Arts and culture: 1
Shopping and dining: 1
Nightlife: 1
This bayside town, once a resort for Milford residents and still a mecca of recreational fishing, is hoping to capitalize on the Delaware Bayshore Initiative to increase low-impact recreation and strengthen the community.

 

 

Smyrna (Kent)

Smyrna
Taxes: 2.0512
Median home cost: $174,900
Commute: 34
Safety: 6-5
Arts and culture: 3
Shopping and dining: 3
Nightlife: 2
Programming at the renovated Smyrna Opera House may not rival that at Wilmington’s Grand, but it is very good just the same, attracting some national talent. The nearby Four Corners still serves as a commercial center, making for a walkable community that offers the best of small-town living. Home styles span the gamut, with some real bargains to be had in the newer communities close to Del. 1, which speeds you to points north and south in short order.

 

 

Smyrna (New Castle)

Smyrna
Taxes: 2.1570
Median home cost: $174,900
Commute: 34
Safety: 6-5
Arts and culture: 3
Shopping and dining: 3
Nightlife: 2
Programming at the renovated Smyrna Opera House may not rival that at Wilmington’s Grand, but it is very good just the same, attracting some national talent. The nearby Four Corners still serves as a commercial center, making for a walkable community that offers the best of small-town living. Home styles span the gamut, with some real bargains to be had in the newer communities close to Del. 1, which speeds you to points north and south in short order.

 

 

South Bethany (Sussex)

Indian River
Taxes: 4.6491
Median home cost: $517,800
Commute: 27
Safety: 2-2
Arts and culture: 1
Shopping and dining: 3
Nightlife: 1
Like Fenwick, things get mighty quiet late fall through early spring, there’s plenty of waterfront living to be had, and the summertime vibe is laid-back. Walk or bike into Bethany for the livelier attractions.

 

 

Townsend (New Castle)

Appoquinimink
Taxes: 2.4008
Median home cost: $228,000
Commute: 40
Safety: 2-2
Arts and culture: 2
Shopping and dining: 2
Nightlife: 2
Lumped in with Middletown and Odessa as part of the MOT area, Townsend, the smallest, has grown to include new subdivisions. Residents benefit from excellent Appoquinimink schools.

 

 

Viola (Kent)

Lake Forest
Taxes: 1.8271
Median home cost: $120,500
Commute: 28
Safety: 2-2
Arts and culture: 1
Shopping and dining: 1
Nightlife: 1
The official slogan: A small town staying small and quiet. We love it like it is. That pretty much says it all. You’ll find a white clapboard church, a white block post office, the Ruritan hall and farmland as far as you can see.

 

 

Wilmington (New Castle)

Brandywine
Taxes: 4.2691
Median home cost: $106,200

Christina
Taxes: 4.0946
Median home cost: $106,200

Colonial
Taxes: 3.4866
Median home cost: $106,200

Red Clay
Taxes: 3.7926
Median home cost: $106,200

Commute: 26
Safety: 9-6
Arts and culture: 5
Shopping and dining: 5
Nightlife: 3
On the downside, the only high schools in the city are charters, so your child is getting bused to the burbs, which, given the high taxes, doesn’t seem fair, especially if the busing is to a school in a sub-par district. On the upside—and it is a large one—you have a choice of beautiful neighborhoods like The Highlands, the enclave of Midtown Brandywine, the ever-popular Trolley Square and the tight-knit Triangle. The downtown and Riverfront can supply all your entertainment needs, from symphony to The Grand Opera House to live modern music at The World Cafe Live at the Queen to movies and IMAX at Penn Cinemas. How many cities of comparable size have a major art museum, a contemporary art center, and so many opera, theater and dance companies? Need we mention dining options from tiny Caribbean joints to the continental splendor of The Green Room? Yes, some neighborhoods need help, but you live in the employment and commercial center of the state, there are several beautiful parks and a burgeoning riverfront, and there are all the festivals and other public celebrations you could ever ask for. 

 

 

Woodside (Kent)

Caesar Rodney
Taxes: 1.9152
Median home cost: $165,800
Commute: 28
Safety: 2-2
Arts and culture: 2
Shopping and dining: 2
Nightlife: 1
The home of Polytech High School, tiny Woodside also contains a State Police barracks and the Division of Motor Vehicles. Dover and shopping centers on U.S. 13 are the destination for most other needs.

 

 

Wyoming (Kent)

Caesar Rodney
Taxes: 2.8152
Median home cost: $112,600
Commute: 23
Safety: 3-3
Arts and culture: 2
Shopping and dining: 2
Nightlife: 1
Even in newer communities, you can still see and feel Wyoming’s farming roots. Fifer Orchards is a major destination for shopping and events. Locals gather at Hall’s Family Restaurant. Town Pride Day and the annual fishing derby in Wyoming Pond express civic spirit. The welcome sign at Camden-Wyoming and Caesar Rodney avenues honors the late Rose Chatto, a leading light in the town for 87 years.

You Might also Like

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *