Dover is the county seat of Kent County in central Delaware and the second largest city in the state. It is also one of the largest air force bases in the country and one of the busiest military traffic hubs in the world.
While the town of Dover is home to a variety of attractions, including casinos, racetracks and a wealth of historic sites, the base itself has a range of activities to choose from.
Some of these are reserved for military personnel and their families, but many are open to the public.
Here are 15 things to do in and around Dover Air Force Base, Delaware.
1. Eagle Lane Bowling Center at Dover Air Force Base
Bowling is a great indoor activity, especially during inclement weather when outdoor activities are not possible.
The Eagle Lane Bowling Center at Dover AFB is located on Tuskegee Avenue at the base. Besides bowling, it also has a café, playground and arcade.
Previous guests have noticed the facility is clean and they end up spending more time on site than they originally planned.
Lanes are cheap, and military members and women and their families are entitled to discounts. There’s even a barber shop for those who want to cross another item off their to-do list.
2. Eagle’s Nest Park
Local parks are great places to relax and exercise, and for those visiting the base, Eagles Nest Park is free and convenient.
It’s located on Heritage Road, which is a great place to see the breathtaking spectacle since it’s in the flight path of the large transport planes that come in and out of the base every day.
Facilities at the park include playgrounds, bathrooms and plenty of covered seating areas, making it a great place for picnics and family gatherings.
There are also paved walking paths and plenty of open space for those interested in taking a leisurely stroll in the morning or afternoon.
3. Air Mobility Command Museum
If you’ve ever wondered where military aircraft go after they enter service, you’ll find out after visiting Dover’s Air Mobility Command Museum.
The area is a top attraction for military aviation enthusiasts and history buffs, and its collection includes nearly three dozen aircraft, both vintage and modern.
Most of the aircraft on display toured in logistical and aerial refueling missions, but fighters and bombers were also included.
Older birds have been restored to near pristine condition and can actually tour the insides of some of the larger birds.
4. Dover Air Force Base Arts and Crafts Center
Located on Chevron Street, the Dover Air Force Base Arts and Crafts Center offers visitors a unique mix of arts and practical activities that appeal to a diverse crowd.
The nearly 20,000-square-foot center includes painting and pottery studios with materials and programs suitable for most age groups.
The center’s services also include a framing, carpentry, and multi-car shop, which is open to convenience types who prefer to work on their own cars.
The facility is only open to military members and their families, but for those visiting family in the area, guests are allowed if they are accompanied by a member.
5. Dover Downs Hotel & Casino
For many military families long stranded on bases, getting out of town is a well-deserved breath of fresh air.
Dover Downs Hotel & Casino has a wide variety of facilities and activities to choose from. While gaming is the biggest draw, there’s also plenty to do for younger guests.
Dover Downs’ features Las Vegas-style games and a harness racetrack. It is known for its excellent dining options, including seafood, steaks, gourmet burgers and many international dishes.
During football and racing seasons, the casino’s sports bar is a popular bar for locals and vacationers alike.
6. Eagle Creek Golf Course
Golf is a great way to de-stress, and the Delaware weather is perfect for hitting the ball most of the year.
Eagle Creek Golf Course is considered one of the best value golf courses in the area, especially for military and women who receive discounts on green fees.
The course features a driving range and putting and chipping areas for those who need to warm up before teeing off. Clubs can also be rented.
The course also has a popular bar and grill, a post-game favorite. Courses are available for those who need a little professional guidance.
7. Delaware Agricultural Museum and Village
Agriculture has always been the backbone of the First State’s economy. Although it doesn’t rank high on many travelers’ itineraries, the Delaware Agricultural Museum and Village often ends up being the most memorable stop on many vacationers’ trips.
Tickets are very cheap by holiday standards, and the museum is conveniently located on the North Dupont Freeway near downtown.
Exhibits at the museum include vintage farm equipment, artifacts and related memorabilia. During the summer months, there are often special events and interactive activities for children.
Most guests stop for an hour or two before going on to other adventures.
8. Biggs Museum of American Art
The Biggs Museum of American Art is a free attraction with one of the most complete collections of historical photojournalism in the area.
It’s centrally located and close to other popular tourist hotspots, making it easy to visit for those who are already busy and want to use their time wisely.
The museum’s impressive collection is spread across multiple floors, including state and regional traditional art, antiques, and historical memorabilia.
If you are planning to visit with a large group, you may want to call ahead to let them know when you are arriving so they can make the necessary arrangements.
9. Coffey House
Although it’s only been around since 2018, House of Coffi has become one of Dover’s premier coffee shops.
Nestled between historic buildings, brick streets, and popular attractions in the city center, it opens early every day and is a great place to refuel all day.
Their beans are freshly ground daily, and guests appreciate the store’s laid-back vibe, fast Wi-Fi, and attentive staff.
The walls of the House of Coffi are decorated with local artwork. In addition to hot and cold coffee, they also serve light breakfasts and lunches, as well as other beverages like juices and teas.
10. Dover International Speedway
Every year during the season, Dover International Speedway attracts racing fans from all over the country.
For more than 50 years, the track has been the hallmark of racing. A variety of different levels of competition are held throughout the year, the most popular of which are the NASCAR events held each summer and fall.
It’s a fun experience even for non-racing fans. In addition to world-class racing, the event also includes live entertainment, an abundance of food and beverages, and family-friendly activities for family attendees.
Campgrounds and RV spaces can fill up quickly during peak hours, so plan accordingly.
11. Mission Grill
While Delaware isn’t the first place that most hungry diners think of when they think of barbecue, there are plenty of options for savvy travelers who know where to look.
Located on Dover’s North Dupont Highway, Mission BBQ has all the classic Q options you’d expect, such as baby back ribs, pulled pork and brisket.
Rumor has it that during peak hours, their most popular menu items often sell out before closing, so if you’ll be stopping by around that time, consider dining early to avoid a rush.
They are also known for their homemade side dishes like the classic mac ‘n cheese and beans.
12. Green and the Delaware capital
Downtown Dover is a particularly walkable part of the city and is a great place to explore on foot for history buffs who would rather stretch their legs than waste time in a car.
Delaware’s history dates back to before the Revolutionary War and statehood, and many restored historic buildings are now regularly open to visitors.
The Green is a central park surrounded by popular attractions like the Golden Fleece Tavern and the original state capital. Especially in the afternoons and evenings, it tends to come alive as restaurants and bars fill with weary tourists and thirsty locals.
13. Pfeiffer Orchard
Due to its coastal location and mild climate, Delaware has a relatively long growing season; its annual produce shipments include a variety of fruits and vegetables, such as strawberries, apples, tomatoes, and corn.
Fifer Orchards is a family run farm popular with the u-pick-em crowd. They also hold festivals every year to celebrate different harvests and festivals.
Their Peach Blossom Festival and Autumn Festival are the most popular and include a number of staff-led events perfect for those traveling with energetic little ones.
Their on-site farm stand sells everything from cider and doughnuts to nuts, honey and baked goods.
14. Delaware Waterfront State Park
Dover’s location in the middle of the state means visitors have easy access to attractions at both ends of the state.
The north is known for its cities and historical sites, but the south is definitely beaches.
Delaware Seaside State Park is a great place for beach lovers who like to get away from the crowds at more commercial resorts like Rehoboth Beach.
Its location where the bay and ocean meet also makes it popular with anglers, surfers and campers.
There are many dining and lodging options just a few miles from the state park.
15. Beach Time Distillation
Nothing beats a cold drink after a long day in the sun. For those who prefer adult beverages to coffee and fruit shakes, Beach Time Distilling in Lewis will be a great place to start the night.
Beach Time has been around since 2015 and is especially known for its gin, vodka and rum, which can be sipped over ice or mixed into craft cocktails.
They are only open Monday through Thursday from noon to 6 p.m., but later on Friday and Saturday.
They close early by beach standards, so plan to go earlier instead of later.
Where to Stay: Best Hotels in Dover, Delaware (DE)
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