What to Do in Dover: A Day Trip Guide to Delaware’s State Capital

From fascinating history to top-notch restaurants, here's how to spend a full day in Dover, Delaware's picturesque state capital.

Nestled in the middle of the First State is Dover, Delaware’s state capital. This charming, small city is known for more than just being the seat of our state’s government. It’s also the site for historic national events—namely when Delaware became the first state to ratify the U.S. Constitution in 1787.

In this century it’s the home of the Dover Motor Speedway, which attracts thousands of NASCAR fans every year. But did you know Dover also houses the nation’s only museum dedicated to airlift and air refueling history, as well as a national historic park that showcases the First State’s fascinating history? With a burgeoning downtown scene and plenty of history and culture, there are so many reasons to visit the state capital. Take a look at our guide and then plan your own ideal trip to Dover.

(If you check out any of the places mentioned below, don’t forget to tag @delawaretodaymagazine on Instagram!)

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9 a.m.—Eat a hearty breakfast at the Countrie Eatery

This old-fashioned diner is a local gem. It specializes in of all your breakfast favorites: pancakes, waffles, bacon, eggs cooked any which way you please and more. The Countrie Eatery overlooks a gorgeous pond surrounded by greenery, so grab a window seat if you can and start your day off with a hearty breakfast.

950 North State Street, Dover | 674-8310

10 a.m.—Shop ‘til you drop at Dover’s indie boutiques

Three words: Tax. Free. Shopping. One of Delaware’s many bragging rights is its lack of sales tax, so visitors should make note to explore Dover’s shopping opportunities. The city has several sweet indie boutiques for one-of-a-kind finds like Bel Boutique, BLUVintage and My Roots Boutique. If you’re looking for more mainstream options, the Dover Mall has all of your brand-name favorites.

Bel Boutique, 28 West Loockerman Street, Dover | 741-2340
BLUVintage, 150 South Governors Avenue, Dover | 531-7684
My Roots, 9 West Loockerman Street, Dover | 883-2693
Dover Mall, 1365 North DuPont Highway, Dover | 734-0415

 

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11 a.m.—Explore the Air Mobility Command Museum

Dover’s Air Mobility Museum showcases more than 30 aircrafts ranging from cargo haulers to presidential aircrafts, as well as an array of exhibits showcasing war and humanitarian efforts of U.S. airmen and women over the years. This unique museum offers both free admission and free parking, so peruse the incredible history of the U.S. Air Force to top off your morning in Delaware’s capital city.

1301 Heritage Road, Dover | 677-5938

 

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12:30 p.m.—Grab a bite to eat at McGlynn’s Pub for lunch

Owner Bob Ashby established McGlynn’s Pub in 1983 when he purchased the Drummond Ale House and turned it into a charming Irish pub. The Dover restaurant is one of three locations across Delaware, with the other two in Bear and on the shoreline of Silver Lake in Newark. Diners enjoy its delicious pub specialties, including the McGlynn’s stuffed burger, colossal crab sandwich and bourbon grilled salmon.

800 N. State Street, Dover; 674-0144 | 674-0144

 

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1:30 p.m.—Dive into American history at First State Heritage Park

Dover was established by William Penn in 1683—meaning Dover is technically older than Delaware itself! There is no better place to explore fascinating American history than at The Green at Delaware’s First State Heritage Park. The Green is a gorgeous grassy square surrounded by historic buildings and landmarks. Attractions include the Golden Fleece Tavern, where Delaware first ratified the Constitution, The Old State House, the John Bell House, the Biggs Museum of American Art and more. We recommend blocking out your whole afternoon to explore this rich historic attraction. The park is open sunrise to sunset, but be sure to show up between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. for a free guided tour beginning at the John Bell House.

43 The Green, Dover 

 

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4 p.m.—Enjoy a drink at the Rail Haus Beer Garden

This brand-new Delaware business is a must-visit if you’re in Dover. The beer garden features local craft brews, cocktails, wine and more. Plus, enjoy casual fare like burgers, sandwiches, Bavarian pretzels and bratwurst. With indoor and outdoor seating and plenty of firepits and heaters, the Rail Haus is a year-round hangout for families, couples, friend groups and even furry friends.

92 North West Street, Dover | 450-3525

 

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7 p.m.—Dine on Italian cuisine at Vincenzo’s Pizzeria & Gelato

This family-run restaurant has offered delicious, old-fashioned Italian cuisine for over a decade. Enjoy dishes like fresh Italian wedding soup, Halpern capers with salmon or bruschetta with prosciutto. Not only are the Italian dishes scrumptious, but the fresh, gourmet pizzas keep customers coming back for more. Plus, end the meal with a sweet gelato treat, available in various flavors.

1035 Forrest Avenue, Dover | 674-0966 

9 p.m.—Finish the night out at Bally’s Dover Casino & Resort

Bally’s (formerly Dover Downs) is one of the most popular attractions in the state of Delaware, and for good reason. The entertainment complex boasts seven restaurants and several bars, a full-service spa, high-end shops, and a casino with 2,300 slot machines and 41 gaming tables. Bally’s also frequently hosts musicians, comedians and entertainers for performances onsite. There’s sure to be entertainment aplenty at Bally’s, so enjoy a fun-filled evening before settling in for a great night’s rest at the onsite hotel.

1131 North DuPont Highway, Dover | 800-711-5882

Related: Dennis Forbes Is a Leader in the Dover Dining Scene

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