Seven Reasons Dover Is the Perfect Spot for Your Next Vacation
Are you looking for a vacation spot that is perfect for the whole family? If so, you know how hard it is to find a location that has something for everyone to enjoy. While your younger children may want to go to a location that has plenty of kid-friendly activities, your older children may have an interest in more mature activities such as a music festival taking place somewhere else. Although your significant other may long for a string of relaxing days and early nights at the beach during your upcoming vacation, you might want to visit a destination that has historic sites and an active nightlife.
How do you satisfy everyone? You visit the state of Delaware. More specifically, you take your next vacation in Dover, Delaware.
Tourism in Delaware
Over the past eight years, the tourism industry in Delaware has grown in several significant ways. The industry now employs a greater number of people, more individuals are visiting the state, and the industry contributes more to Delaware’s Gross Domestic Product, or GDP, and tax revenue. In 2008, Delaware’s tourism industry employed 31,000 people. By 2015, an additional 11,000 jobs had been added to the payrolls of businesses in the state’s tourism industry, an increase of nearly 35.5 percent.
In 2008, 6.9 million people visited Delaware, a figure that increased to 8.5 million in 2015. With almost 23.2 percent more people visiting Delaware in 2015 compared to 2008, it is only natural that the state’s economy benefited from the increase in visitors. In 2015, the tourism industry contributed $3.1 billion to the state’s GDP, up from $1.9 billion in 2008. The tourism industry generated $486 million in tax revenue in 2015, $79 million more than it produced in 2008. Tourism has become such an important source of funds for Delaware that every household in the state would pay an additional $1,417 in taxes if the industry did not exist.
Why is tourism thriving in Delaware? One of the reasons is that the state’s effective tax rate is much lower than it is in neighboring states, such as New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New York. Another reason is that Delaware has a wide variety of attractions, amenities, events, and activities that tourists enjoy.
Here is a list of tourist activities in Delaware and the percentage of visitors who participate in them:
- Beach: 37 percent
- Dining: 35 percent
- Shopping: 34 percent
- Nightlife: 20 percent
- Gaming: 15 percent
- Touring: 13 percent
- History: 10 percent
Locations such as Dover Downs Hotel & Casino often host business meetings for out-of-state guests, but leisure is by far the leading reason tourists visit Delaware. In 2015, Delaware hosted 6.81 million leisure travelers and 1.69 million people traveling for business purposes. Tourists like to visit Delaware for the day as well as overnight. Approximately 4.63 million people took a day trip to Delaware in 2015, while 3.87 million visitors spent at least one night in the state. Both day and overnight trips are profitable for Delaware, with the typical tourist spending an average of $105 per day and $566 per trip.
Given its convenient, easily accessible location, Delaware is often described as a “drive-to” state. Around 97 percent of the state’s visitors drive to Delaware and about 75 percent of the state’s guests arrive in Delaware from a starting point that is 200 miles away or less. The top five markets and the percentage of Delaware’s tourists they are responsible for are provided below:
- Philadelphia, PA: 27 percent
- Baltimore, MD: 19 percent
- New York, NY: 12 percent
- Washington, DC: 12 percent
- Harrisburg, PA: 5 percent
Nearby cities are responsible for significant numbers of Delaware’s tourists, but many of the state’s visitors originate from locations that are farther away such as California, Virginia, Florida, Massachusetts, and Idaho. With so much to offer, it is easy to understand why Delaware is a popular destination for people located throughout the United States.
The nation’s second smallest state in terms of physical size, Delaware includes three counties: Kent, New Castle, and Sussex. Sussex is the largest county, followed by Kent, and then New Castle. Kent County, home of the state capital, Dover, generated more than $537.3 million from tourism alone in 2015.
Fun Facts About Dover, Delaware
Knowing some fun facts about the city can make your Dover vacation more enjoyable. You can use your knowledge about Dover to keep your kids entertained if you have to wait in line at a venue. You can also share information about the city and its attractions, which can help your traveling companions have a deeper appreciation for the historic places they visit and the things they see.
Here are some interesting facts about Delaware’s capital that can enhance your Dover vacation:
William Penn founded Dover in 1683. Nearly a century passed before the city became Delaware’s capitol in 1777.
Delaware became the nation’s first official state when 13 of its delegates signed the U.S. Constitution on December 7, 1787 at the Golden Fleece Tavern on The Green in Dover. Today, the U.S. Constitution is the oldest document of its kind that is still in use.
While Delaware was the first state to ratify the U.S. Constitution, it was the last one to get a National Monument. It was not until 2013 that then President Obama and Delawarean, Vice President Joe Biden, dedicated Delaware’s First State National Monument. The monument consists of 1,100 acres of land and some historic buildings. One of the buildings that is included in Delaware’s National Monument is the Dover tavern where the state’s delegates signed the U.S. Constitution.
The gentleman on the back of the 1999 Delaware state quarter is Brigadier-General Caesar Rodney, a former Dover resident. Even though Rodney was suffering from asthma and skin cancer at the time, he still managed to ride 80 miles on horseback during the night to reach Philadelphia on July 1, 1776 in time to cast his vote regarding the country’s independence. Rodney’s vote was the one that pushed the nation in the direction of independence.
Dover is the home of a museum dedicated to the life of John Dickinson. Dickinson is widely referred to as the “penman of the Revolution,” because he wrote “Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania, to the Inhabitants of the British Colonies,” in the mid -1700s. These letters helped sway public opinion against the Townshend Acts, which were drafted by the British government. Dickinson helped write this country’s Articles of Confederation as well as the U.S. Constitution, too. Displaying documents and tools from Dickinson’s lifetime as well as family items and period antiques, the museum built as a tribute to Dickinson is a must-see when you are vacationing in Dover, Delaware.
Eldridge Reeves Johnson was raised in Dover, DE. Johnson invented the phonograph and founded the Victor Talking Machine Company, which is now known as RCA. The city of Dover established a museum to celebrate Johnson’s achievements. The exterior of the museum is designed to look like a Victrola dealer’s store in 1920s America. The museum displays a generously sized collection of phonographs, records, and items related to RCA’s humble beginnings. The museum even has a painting of Nipper, the dog that used to be featured in RCA’s trademark.
Dover was a widely used stop on the Underground Railroad. At the time, Maryland still allowed slavery while New Jersey and Pennsylvania had made slavery illegal. Dover’s geographic location made it a convenient stop for freed slaves to take temporary shelter en route to Delaware’s free-state neighbors.
The Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations unit is located at Dover Air Force Base. This revered command unit is the home of the nation’s only domestic mortuary services for military members.
Tourists and residents enjoy shopping in Dover. The state capital does not charge sales tax on the things you buy, making it more affordable for you to indulge while vacationing in Dover, Delaware. You can take full advantage of Delaware’s lack of sales tax when you visit Green and Lockerman Streets in downtown Dover. These historic streets are dotted with colonial and Victorian period structures that are breathtaking to behold. They are also the home of various specialty book, candle, and jewelry stores. Green and Lockerman Streets are also the perfect places to try some regional food at a local eatery.
Several box office hits were filmed in Dover, DE over the years, including “Easy Money,” starring Rodney Dangerfield and Joe Pesci and made in 1983. If you watch this classic closely, you will see that certain scenes were filmed at the Dover Downs Hotel & Casino. “Glenville,” filmed in 1999, is a horror movie that tells the tale of the horrendous events that take place in Glenville, OH. Even though the story unfolds in another state, several portions of the film were made in Dover, DE.
Things to Do and See During Your Dover Vacation
There are countless reasons to visit Dover, Delaware. It is home to the Dover International Speedway, 10 nationally recognized museums, a long list of historical sites, the world’s biggest cargo plane, and a whole lot more. If you have a limited amount of time to explore Dover and everything it has to offer, here are some must-see attractions you should not miss during your Dover vacation:
Dover International Speedway: Dover International Speedway has hosted NASCAR events since it hosted the Mason-Dixon 300 on July 6, 1969, a race that was won by Richard Petty. Known as “The Monster Mile,” the Dover International Speedway typically hosts two tripleheader NASCAR weekends annually. In addition to NASCAR events, the speedway has become the site of other types of events over time, including the Firefly Music Festival, which is a four-day event that attracts more than 90,000 visitors daily. More than 100 musical acts perform across seven stages during the east coast’s largest music festival. In addition to being the host site for the Firefly Music Festival and other fun-filled events, the Dover International Speedway provides a complete vacation destination experience because it shares its property with the award-winning Dover Downs Hotel & Casino.
Delaware Agricultural Museum: This captivating museum sits on ten gorgeous acres, boasts 30,000 square feet of exhibit space, and has more than 10,000 artifacts in its collection.
Constitution Park: If you are looking for a great spot to take a photo with your family, you should visit Constitution Park as you are vacationing in Dover, Delaware. It has a bronze quill that is 12 feet high and a four-foot cube that is emblazoned with the U.S. Constitution. A half-wall inscribed with the country’s original 13 colonies surrounds the oversized cube and quill, completing the perfect backdrop for an unforgettable family picture or selfie.
Fordham & Dominion Brewing: You can tour this local favorite weekly to see how Oak Barrel Stout and Ram Head IPA are made. You will see the company’s brew house, bottling line, kegging machine, and packaging area during your rare, behind-the-scenes look at how Fordham & Dominion Brewing produces its tasty beverages. The tour is worth it for the beverages alone — it begins and ends with beer and soda samples served in the company’s tasting room.
Schwartz Center for the Arts: When it opened in 1904, the Schwartz Center for the Arts was known as “The Dover Opera House.” When the structure was converted into a movie theater in 1923, it was renamed “The Capital Theater.” After the building was renovated in 2001, it was dubbed the “Schwartz Center for the Arts.” If you like live concerts and plays, check out the venues schedule during your stay in Dover.
Spence’s Bazaar: Spence’s Bazaar has been a staple in Dover, Delaware for the better part of a century. This fun-to-visit attraction is the place to go if you enjoy flea markets and/or live auctions. Do not eat before you visit Spence’s Bazaar because the establishment has a bakery and deli that serve delicious Amish foods on site.
Dover Downs Hotel & Casino: If you are looking for a Dover vacation destination that lets you try the best of everything the city has to offer without requiring you to leave its premises, visit and stay at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino. You will find everything tourists and residents love about Dover in our breathtaking, luxurious property. You will enjoy boutique shopping, 24-hour gaming, including live table games, Toppers Spa/Salon, seasonal harness racing, innovative dining options that include delis and fine dining experiences, live concerts and shows, service that will exceed your expectations at every turn, and much, much more.
If you want to treat yourself and your family to a vacation you will always remember, contact us to make reservations for an unforgettable Dover vacation at our luxury property today.