Where Does Delaware Route 1 Start and End?

Passing through Senator William V. Roth Jr. Bridge, a concrete and steel cable-stayed bridge in Middletown, Delaware
Nini Garcia/Shutterstock.com

Written by Joyce Nash

Published: February 9, 2024

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Spanning over 100 miles, Delaware State Route 1 is the longest highway in the state. Also known as the Korean War Veterans Memorial Highway, Delaware’s Route 1 was first commissioned in 1974. The road serves as a vital north-south artery for travelers looking to bypass U.S. 13. Keep reading to learn more about Delaware Route 1, including where the road begins, ends, and important sights to see along the way.

Drone photo of Bethany Beach Delaware

The southern portion of Delaware Route 1 passes though coastal towns like Bethany Beach.

Delaware Route 1: Northern and Southern Terminus

The southern terminus of Delaware Route 1 is located on Finwick Isle at the Maryland-Delaware state border. The section of Route 1 from Fenwick Isle to just north of Milford is the oldest section of the road. Originally constructed in the 1970s, Route 1 was designed as a modern alternative to SR 14. 

Later, in 1991, workers extended Route 1 from north of Milford to the Dover Turnpike in Christiana, the route’s northern terminus. In 2003, the final portion of Route 1 was completed with the opening of toll plazas south of Biddles and in Dover.

Aerial View of Dover, Delaware during Autumn at Dusk

Dover is the most-populated city along Route 1.

Cities Along Route 1

In the south, Delaware Route 1 begins in the coastal town of Fenwick Island before heading north through the towns of South Bethany and Bethany. These communities are popular destinations for seaside activities.

Then, Route 1 continues north before cutting northeast to pass by the town of Milford. Home to just over 11,000 people, Milford holds the distinction as one of the coldest places in Delaware.

Delaware Route 1 continues north to pass through the state capital of Dover. Route 1 maintains its northerly progression from Dover. The road passes through the towns of Smyrna and Middletown before finally terminating in Christiana at the Dover Turnpike.

Important Sights

The southernmost portion of Delaware State Route 1 passes through the Delaware Seashore State Park. This state park encompasses six miles of coastline along the Atlantic Ocean in addition to 20 miles of coastline along the Rehoboth Bay. The Delaware Seashore State Park provides a vital habitat for wildlife and is also a popular destination for thousands of tourists each year.

Passing through Senator William V. Roth Jr. Bridge, a concrete and steel cable-stayed bridge in Middletown, Delaware

In Middletown, Route 1 crosses the Delaware and Chesapeake Canal via the William V. Roth Jr. Bridge.

Farther north, where Route 1 heads inland, the road passes through the Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge. This protected area stretches for 10,000 acres and is a prime location for birding with over 300 species in the area. 

In Dover, Route 1 passes by the Dover International Speedway, which hosts NASCAR races and events. As the capital of the country’s first official state, Dover has several historic sites to explore, including the Old State House. North of Dover, Route 1 then passes through Middletown, which is home to a piece of movie history. St. Andrew’s School in Middletown was used as a filming location for the 1989 movie Dead Poets Society. 

From its southern start along Delaware’s beaches to its northern terminus in Christiana, Delaware Route 1 showcases some of the state’s best cities, sights, and historic locations.

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About the Author

Joyce Nash is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering travel and geography. She has almost a decade of writing experience. Her background ranges from journalism to farm animal rescues and spans the East Coast to the West. She is based in North Carolina, and in her free time, she enjoys reading, hiking, and spending time with her husband and two cats.

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