Great Trips

Delaware Bay Roadtrip

In Delaware there’s “the beach.” In New Jersey there’s “the shore.” In between there’s the road less travelled; “the other shore,” as some have come to call it. This is its roadmap.

Planners in Delaware and New Jersey have spent nearly five years creating two scenic byways. One is the Bayshore Heritage Byway. It spans from the Delaware Memorial Bridge in Pennsville, New Jersey to Cape May. The other is the Delaware Bayshore Byway. It continues from the same bridge in New Castle, Delaware and travels to Lewes. Those who arrive in Cape May and Lewes can sail across Delaware Bay, with their vehicles if necessary, aboard the Cape May-Lewes Ferry.

This loop route has existed since ferry service opened in 1964. What did not exist until now are:

  • curated attractions

  • way-finding signage

  • a trio of ecotourism efforts, including:

  • The advent of peer-to-peer rentals like AirBNB

New Jersey’s Bayshore Heritage Byway

The South Jersey Bayshore Coalition, a group of organizations coordinated by the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions, led the Bayshore Heritage Byway’s creation. They hired expert planners to study the Garden State’s route, which is slightly more complicated than Delaware’s. Click here for a map.

Tourists can rely on to find outdoor fun in New Jersey. The Bayshore Center at Bivalve launched this website in 2015 to showcase local attractions, communities, festivals, food — and sunsets. New Jersey’s bayshore is the only place where people can watch the sun set over open water.

The New Jersey Department of Transportation installed way-finding signs for its byway in 2016. These are plentiful, though it’s still helpful to use a navigation system given the number of turns.

Delaware’s Bayshore Byway

Drivers have Delaware Greenways to thank for planning the Delaware Bayshore Byway. The organization’s staff collaborated with other stakeholders and towns to guarantee the most authentic experience possible. Click here to see the stops they chose. Recent additions include connections along the Historic Lewes Byway, available here.

Tourists can find dozens of roadside attractions on this website, where “Fun comes naturally.” The Partnership for the Delaware Estuary created this website in 2008 to boost outdoor tourism in the First State.

Two state agencies have been working to prepare the Delaware Bayshore Byway for tourists. The Delaware Department of Transportation plans to install way-finding signs (pictured) in March 2017. The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control is adding amenities through its Delaware Bayshore Initiative. A great example is the new wildlife viewing platform at Thousand Acre Marsh near Port Penn.


Both byways wind their way past bayshore villages, family farms, and wetlands. Naturally, very few hotels and motels exist there, but technology has yielded modern solutions. Travelers can now use services like AirBNB, FlipKey, HomeAway, Tripping, and others. These allow travelers to maximize their time on the bayshore, experience communities like a local, and avoid the crowds and traffic that plague beachgoers and “shoobies” alike.

Byways map

Click to enlarge and zoom
Credit: Frank McShane

New Jersey Bayshore Heritage Byway wayfinding sign
Credit: Shaun Bailey of the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary

Delaware Bayshore Byway wayfinding sign
Credit: Delaware Department of Transportation