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What Is the Delmarva Peninsula?

Whether you’re a beach lover, nature enthusiast, or history buff, you must experience the Delmarva Peninsula. You may be seeking adventure, relaxation, or a little bit of both, and this is the perfect destination for your next getaway.

We fell in love with this region of the country during our travels and had a fabulous time. We think it’s worth sharing so you can make your priceless memories.

If you’ve never heard of the Delmarva Peninsula, don’t worry. We’ll share everything you need to know about it and several activities to enjoy during your visit.

Let’s get started!

Rv trip to Williamsburg and the Delmarva Peninsula crossing the CBBT or Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel

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What Is the Delmarva Peninsula?

The Delmarva Peninsula is a 170-mile peninsula along the East Coast of the United States. It borders the Chesapeake Bay, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Delaware River. Three states, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia make up its boundaries.

The natural beauty, diverse wildlife, and rich history make the peninsula a popular tourist destination. If you keep reading, you’ll see there’s no shortage of activities to entertain almost everyone. It’s a unique blend of natural beauty, history, and culture that is hard to resist.

Why Is It Called Delmarva?

The unique “Delmarva” name comes from combining the names of the three states that make up its boundaries: Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. The peninsula’s name is a portmanteau of the three states. The term reflects the region’s unique identity and has been in use since the mid-20th century.

Delmarva Peninsula Map
The boundaries of the Delmarva Peninsula are made up of Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia.

What Is the Delmarva Peninsula Known for?

People know the Delmarva Peninsula for its outstanding natural beauty and historical significance. Anyone who enjoys spending time outdoors will love the peninsula as it offers many outdoor activities. There are numerous hiking, birdwatching, kayaking, and fishing opportunities.

The region is also popular with history buffs as it played a critical role during the colonial era, American Revolution, and Civil War. The region has numerous sites and landmarks to appreciate the area’s historical significance. You can walk through colonial-era architecture, museums, and landmarks to learn about its role in American history.

Whether you want to glimpse the past or enjoy the natural beauty, the Delmarva Peninsula has something for everyone. Trust us; there’s so much to see and do that you will run out of time no matter how long you stay.

CBBT drive longest bridge

How Do You Get To the Delmarva Peninsula?

​Since Delmarva is a peninsula, you may presume that the only way to drive there is from its land connection to Maryland and Delaware from the north. However, you can also take the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel from the south!

This tunnel is the peninsula’s link to Virginia, an impressive link. The bridge is 22 miles long, with two-mile-long sections that are tunnels that dive beneath the water. It allows RVs, but you must turn off your propane to drive across it. Check their website before you cross if you are driving a vehicle other than a passenger car.

We drove the tunnel in 2016, and honestly, we were nervous about taking our fifth wheel across and under so much water. But, we also thought it would be cool to be able to say our home-on-wheels had been under the ocean.

Tunnel under ocean

Things to Do Near the Delmarva Peninsula

The Delmarva Peninsula is a hidden gem offering pristine beaches, quaint historical towns, and an abundance of wildlife. If you’re visiting this area, here are several things you’ll want to add to your to-do list. Let’s dive in!

Visit the Eastern Shore of Virginia Welcome Center & National Wildlife Refuge

If you drive across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, this Welcome Center on the southern tip of the Delmarva peninsula is an excellent first stop. The trails around the Welcome Center venture into the Eastern Shore of Virginia Wildlife Refuge, where we found some old WWII forts.

lady on bullet

This bunker is called the Winslow Battery, one of several batteries that defended Ft. John Custis. It was built in 1942 and housed two 16-inch 50-caliber barrels. The entire battery was built with densely reinforced concrete to withstand direct hits from battleship projectiles or aerial bombs should WWII come to US shores. Although test fired, these guns were never fired at any enemy ship.

This site at the entrance to the Chesapeake Bay was a natural choice for a military reservation to protect our naval bases and our nation’s capital. During the height of wartime, approximately 800 soldiers proudly walked these grounds. The installation closed in 1948, and all the weapons were dismantled, having thankfully never seen battle.

This 239,000-pound beast of a gun could hurl 2,100-pound armor-piercing projectiles 25 miles. Traveling at 1,834 mph, the projectiles met their target in less than a minute! That range meant that this gun could protect the entire mouth of the Chesapeake Bay.

Pro Tip: Snooze in the sand at one of these 9 Best Campgrounds on the Beach in Virginia for Your Seaside Escape.

Giant gun range

Visit Assateague Island National Seashore

Assateague Island National Seashore is a barrier island stretching over 37 miles. It follows the coasts of Maryland and Virginia and offers guests the opportunity to experience maritime forests, salt marshes, and wetlands. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot wild horses grazing on the beach.

Some of the trendiest activities on this island near the Delmarva Peninsula include fishing, swimming, birdwatching, and kayaking. However, the Assateague wild horses are the most significant draw to the island. They are descendants of domesticated horses from a shipwreck 300+ years ago. However, they’re wild animals, so visitors should observe from a distance and not approach or feed them.

Pro Tip: Discover what makes a National Seashore special and how many there are in the US.

Explore Chincoteague Island

Chincoteague Island is along the eastern shores of Virginia. Whether you explore on foot, by bike, or by boat, this charming and picturesque island is one you don’t want to miss. One of the biggest attractions to the island is Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. You can find more than 300 species of wildlife, including Spanish horses, from the same shipwreck that resulted in horses on Assateague Island National Seashore.

This island offers more than horses and a wildlife refuge. You’ll also find a vibrant art and cultural scene. There are several galleries, museums, and events held throughout the year. Take the time to explore and appreciate the creativity on display in local artists’ studios. Learn about the history of the island at the Museum of Chincoteague Island. Take your time and enjoy the slower pace.

Pro Tip: Check out the Chincoteague Pony Swim and these other 11 Unique Events You Should Add to Your RV Travel Calendar.

Chincoteague Island pony swim
While exploring the Delmarva Peninsula, watch the wild ponies swim from Assateague Island to Chincoteague Island.

Discover the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum

The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum is on the eastern shore of St. Michaels, Maryland. This is a world-class museum that preserves the rich maritime heritage of the area. Visitors can explore exhibits and get up close with artifacts that reveal the bay’s importance to the region.

Build in time to watch as workers restore traditional boats that would have operated on the Chesapeake Bay. There are interactive exhibits, and you can climb aboard boats and ships they’ve fixed to their original condition. It’s about as close as you can experience what life would have been like in the late 1800s.

This world-class museum provides the opportunity to enjoy stunning views of the Chesapeake Bay. Additionally, educational programs and events throughout the year include boatbuilding classes, sailing, and summer camps for kids. 

Visit Annapolis, Maryland

Annapolis, Maryland, is a charming city near the Delmarva Peninsula with a population of approximately 40,000. The city’s well-preserved colonial architecture and breathtaking waterfront views make it a must-visit destination. It also is the hub for the region’s art and culture scene. You’ll find various museums, galleries, and performing arts venues. Something is always going on, and it’s easy to appreciate local arts.

One of the biggest attractions in Annapolis is the Naval Academy. Visitors can take guided tours to explore the buildings and landmarks on its campus. There’s also the opportunity to explore the oldest state capital in continuous use, Maryland State House, and one of the oldest churches in the United States, St. Anne’s Episcopal Church.

Annapolis, Maryland pier
City explorers will love visiting Annapolis, Maryland.

Experience the Dover International Speedway

Dover International Speedway is a one-mile oval track in Dover, Delaware. The track has hosted NASCAR races since 1969 and has earned the nickname the “Monster Mile.” It even hosts a race by the same name each fall. If you’re a racing fan, this is a must-see attraction in the Delmarva Peninsula area.

Even if you’re not into racing, the speedway hosts various other activities. It’s not uncommon for the facilities to have festivals, concerts, car shows, and more. While this may be a dream come true for many die-hard racing fans, the “Monster Mile” can provide an unforgettable experience for everyone.

Go Birdwatching at Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge

Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge is a 16,000-acre refuge in Smyrna, Delaware. Visitors can experience many bird species, including raptors, shorebirds, waterfowl, and migratory birds. It’s not uncommon for guests to spot bald eagles, ospreys, and great blue herons. If you’re a birdwatcher or nature lover, you won’t want to miss this must-visit destination.

The refuge offers educational programs, guided tours, and fishing, hunting, and wildlife photography opportunities. Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge is a chance to explore the outdoors in a natural setting and provides an experience you won’t soon forget.

Pro Tip: This is the 3rd National Wildlife Refuge we’ve listed to do on the Delmarva. Find out what they are and why we think you’ll enjoy visiting them!

Bird watching in Delmarva Peninsula
Bird watchers will love looking for raptors, shorebirds, waterfowl, and migratory birds while in the Delmarva Peninsula.

Tour the Nassawango Creek Preserve

The 10,000-acre park of Nassawango Creek Preserve is along the eastern shore of Maryland near the Delmarva Peninsula. The preserve has several natural habitats, including forests, wetlands, and streams. There’s no shortage of opportunities to explore the park on foot, bike, or boat. You may even spot a bald eagle or river otter while you’re floating down Nassawango Creek.

The preserve regularly offers educational programs and events led by experts throughout the year. It’s an excellent opportunity to learn about the area’s cultural heritage and conservation efforts while experiencing the Mid-Atlantic region’s beauty first-hand.

Pro Tip: While road tripping to Delmarva, go camping at these 12 Best Campgrounds on the East Coast Near the Ocean.

Wild Horses of Assateague Island and the Outer Banks | MOTM VLOG #44

Discovering the Unique Charm of the Delmarva Peninsula

There’s much to experience in and around the Delmarva Peninsula. We often find ourselves discussing the time we spent exploring the peninsula and surrounding area. The peninsula’s unique charm is captivating, and we can’t wait to return to discover and experience more of the region. 

What are your favorite things to see and do in the Delmarva Peninsula or the surrounding area? Tell us your insider tips in the comments!

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About Cait Morton

Co-Founder, Logistics Queen, Business & Content Manager, and Animal Lover

An Upper Peninsula of Michigan native (aka a Yooper), Caitlin is the organization, big-picture, and content strategy queen of our operation. She keeps everything orderly and on track.

With a background in Business Management, she supports and helps channel Tom’s technical prowess into the helpful content our readers and viewers expect. That’s not to say you won’t find her turning wrenches and talking shop – RV life is a team effort. She keeps the business and the blog moving forward with a variety of topics and resources for our audience.

Believe it or not, she is rather camera shy, though she co-hosts the Mortons’ personal videos and The RVers TV show.

Caitlin’s passion lies in outdoor recreation and with animals. Some of her favorite things to do are hiking, biking, and getting out on the water via kayak, SUP, or boat.

She also loves the RV life due to the fact that you can bring your pets along. Sharing information about safely recreating outdoors with your whole family – pets included! – is very important to her. Because of this, Caitlin spearheaded the launch of HypePets in 2023.

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Vernon

Sunday 14th of May 2023

On my opinion, one of the most overlooked attractions of Delmarva is the NASA Wallops Flight Facility near Chincoteague, VA. If one is not paying attention you may breeze right past the Visitor Canter. It is small but packs a lot of information. Founded in 1945 it stared as a training center for WWII carrier pilots. It was planned as the home of NASA launches until Florida was chosen instead. It is also home to MARS, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport where rockets from sounding rockets for experimentation to the Anteres/Cygnus ISS supply missions launch. Rocket Lab has a facility there, too. Launches are usually open to the public and viewing is possible from the visitor center as well as Chincoteague. This should be a "Don't miss!" for science and space geeks.