Hitting the road for the holidays?
You are not alone: 33% of First State residents are expected to travel more than 50 miles to celebrate the holidays. That’s 3.3% more travelers than last year.
Here’s what to know about Christmas and New Years weekends in Delaware.
Gas prices in Delaware are the lowest they’ve been since October 2021, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic, a regional travel agency.
It considers the holiday season to be from Dec. 23 to Jan. 2.
Out of the 325,096 Delawareans expected to travel, 293,000 will reach their destination by car.
The state average for a gallon of gas is down 15 cents from a year ago. On Tuesday, many gas stations were showing gas prices under $3 for regular unleaded gasoline.
While most travelers will be settled in on Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, here’s the best and worst times to hit the road in the days in between holidays, according to AAA:
With so many Delawareans driving over the next two weeks, the state’s Office of Highway Safety released this list of things to consider before getting behind the wheel:
- If you’re planning a night out that includes drinking, make sure you plan for a sober ride home. Use a rideshare service, or public transportation, or call a friend or family member to get you home safely.
- With worsening road conditions this time of year, it’s extremely important to avoid distractions while driving. Put down your phone, always buckle up and focus on the road ahead.
- Slow down and follow posted speed limits before things get ugly.
- If you choose to walk home from celebrations, wear bright or reflective clothing and/or items to make yourself as visible as possible. Additionally, motorists need to be aware of increased pedestrian activity as visibility may be impaired due to hazardous weather and shorter daylight hours during the winter months.
- With bitterly cold weather expected, put blankets and other items such as snow- and ice removal gear into your car in case of an accident or long travel delay caused by a wreck (or wrecks) on the road.
Although it won’t be a white Christmas, the National Weather Service is calling for freezing weather.
Christmas Eve will have a high of 27 degrees and a low of 13 degrees, although the day will be sprinkled with sunshine. Christmas Day will also have sunny skies with a 27-degree high and a 15-degree low.
Temperatures will nearly double for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, according to the Weather Channel.
New Year’s Eve’s high is 56 degrees, but there’s a 24% chance of rain, and the temperature will drop to 47 degrees at night.
New Year’s Day has a high of 59 degrees and a low of 44 degrees. Rain is likely throughout the day, and there’s a 58% chance of precipitation at night.
For a full list of holiday light shows in Delaware, and some in surrounding states, click here.
Irving Berlin’s White Christmas
Ardentown’s Candlelight Theatre will present the musical “White Christmas” every night this week, with its finale on Friday, Dec. 23.
Proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test result required, and attendees must call 302-475-2313 to purchase tickets.
All shows are at 6 p.m. besides Wednesday’s show at 11 a.m.
Holiday Season at Nemours Estate
All December, the Nemours Mansion in Wilmington will be decked out in Christmas decorations inspired by the architecture of the home, which is a staple of Gilded Age design with a 77-room Mansion, 200 acres of French gardens and grounds, and a chauffeur’s garage housing vintage automobiles.
Alfred I. du Pont and his wife, Alicia, lived there for years. In addition to their own ornaments, Nemours also displays ornaments made by patients at Nemours Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children.
The mansion will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. until the new year. Tickets must be bought in advance. They cost $20 for adults and are discounted for children, seniors and military.
Odessa Country Christmas
The Historic Odessa Foundation will host candlelight walking tours at 6 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday evenings for $15 a person.
The tours will leave from the fire-pit in front of the Stone Barn located behind the Wilson-Warner House at 202 Main Street.
Reservations are $15 per person, which includes a beverage ticket redeemable at Cantwell’s Tavern.
The tours will feature the national historic landmark Corbit-Sharp House, along with the Foundation’s other nationally registered properties, all decked out in holiday lights and decor.
New Year’s Eve events
Noon Year’s Eve
The Brandywine Zoo will host a holiday celebration from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Dec. 31.
The day will feature fun activities with a group countdown to noon. Hot chocolate will be available for purchase at the snack bar.
Tickets are free for Brandywine Zoo members and $5 for non-members. Register here.
New Year’s Eve Confetti Countdown
The Delaware Children’s Museum will host four separate New Year’s Eve confetti countdowns at 11 a.m., noon, 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. Dec. 31.
In addition to the countdowns, the museum will offer new year’s themed lighting and décor, puppet shows, live music from local band We Kids Rock, as well as their fun and educational programming and exhibits.
Roaring into the New Year
From 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Dec. 1, the Delaware Museum of Nature & Science will have a family-friendly celebration with festive science stations, live animal presentations, special story time, and creating celebratory hats and noise makers to ring in the new year.
There will be a special science-related ball drop at noon.
Pre-registration required. Click here to register.
New Year’s Day events
New Year’s Day hikes at Delaware State Parks
- Alapocas Run State Park: 3 miles, 10 a.m. start. Check in at Blue Ball Barn courtyard.
- Auburn Valley State Park: 1.8 mile or 2.2 mile trail, 10:30 start. Check in at the parking lot on Creek Road.
- Bellevue State Park: 2.5 miles, 1 p.m. start. Check in at the top of the main parking lot.
- Brandywine Creek State Park: Trails are either 1 mile, 2.2 miles or 2.7 miles. Event starts at 10 a.m. Check in at the nature center.
- Brandywine Zoo: 1/10 mile, check in at the zoo’s ticket window at either 10 a.m. or 11 a.m.
- Cape Henlopen State Park: 2 miles, 10:30 start time. Check in at the Point Overlook.
- Delaware Seashore State Park: 1 mile, 3:30 p.m. start time. Check in at North Inlet Day Area parking lot’s south east corner.
- First State Heritage Park: ¼ mile, noon start time. Check in at John Bell House Interpretive Center.
- Fort DuPont State Park: .7 miles, 9 a.m. start. Check in at the parking lot at the end of Old Battery Lane/Wilmington Avenue.
- Fort Miles Historical Area: .25 or 1.5 miles, 12:30 p.m. start. Check in at Artillery Park.
- Holts Landing State Park: 1.2 miles, 1:30 start. Check in at the picnic pavilion.
- Killens Pond State Park: 1.5 miles, 12:30 p.m. start. Check in at the sports complex parking lot.
- Lums Pond State Park: 2 miles, 10 a.m. start. Check in at the campground stage.
- Trap Pond State Park: 1.1 miles, 9:45 a.m. start. Check in at the Baldcypress Nature Center.
- White Clay Creek State Park: 3.5 miles, 9:30 a.m. start. Check in at the Chambers House Nature Center.
- White Clay Creek State Park: 2 miles, 10:30 a.m. start. Check in at the Possum Hill parking lot.
Raised in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, Jarek earned a B.A. in journalism and a B.A. in political science from Temple University in 2021. After running CNN’s Michael Smerconish’s YouTube channel, Jarek became a reporter for the Bucks County Herald before joining Delaware LIVE News.
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