Delaware State Parks Activities
There are so many campgrounds in Delaware that you’ll want to see them all! Sites at Cape Henlopen State Park, in particular, are in high demand due to their proximity to the beach. The sites are also surrounded by a lush maritime forest, perfect for those who want a more rustic camping experience. Grab your family tent, camping stove, sleeping bag, camping pillow, along with the rest of your gear, and get out to the campsites. Make sure you don’t forget anything by following our camping checklist while packing for your trip.
Trap Pond State Park is another favorite family campground! The site is situated beside incredible bald cypress swamps, allowing for a fantastic view of the sunset before turning in for the night.
On the other hand, those who want to fall asleep under a canopy of dense hardwoods may find the sites at Killens Pond State Park to their liking. The park’s serene and well-kept camping areas are almost always fully-booked, so be sure to reserve your spot early on.
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Delaware may be one of the smallest states in the country, but it’s full of beautiful natural landscapes that can be explored on one of its many hiking trails. The Gordons Pond Trail at Cape Henlopen State Park is one of the best routes to take, winding through a variety of unique ecosystems, including maritime forests with loblolly pines, a sprawling salt marsh, wetlands, and more. At only 3.2 miles, this trail can be taken on by anyone regardless of stamina or skill level.
However, the park’s best-kept hiking secret is the beautiful Walking Dunes Trail, which takes hikers to the Great Dune, the state’s highest sand dune that rises 80-feet above the ocean below. The trail may be a bit more challenging, but the views that it offers are out of this world.
Explore the state’s wetland forests by going on the Swamp Forest Trail at Lums Pond State Park, which meanders through towering black cherry, sweetgum, and maple trees. The wonders of this trail will never cease to amaze visitors! Consider bringing a rain poncho with you when you are hiking. They are incredibly handy not only for keeping your dry if it starts to rain, but they also make for a great ground cover to sit on or put your gear on while you are hiking.
On the Pondside Trail at Killens Pond State Park, take in views of the park’s 66-acre millpond and the hardwood forest that surrounds it. Keep an eye out for turtles too – they’re known to bask in the sun on the edges of the pond’s waters! This trail is a definite favorite among families, especially those with younger kids.
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Images From Delaware State Parks
There are plenty of routes in Delaware that are made for backpackers looking for adventure! Explore the unique critters that lurk underneath swamps found at Trap Pond State Park, whose 7-mile trail is a favorite among out-of-state backpackers. The route may be short, but it offers many opportunities to observe the region’s incredible wildlife.
If you want a longer backpacking adventure, head on over to White Clay Creek State Park, with it’s 20-mile trail. It is an adventure that will take you back in time as you witness the rise and fall of the timber industry, the origins of grindstones, and more
Anglers love going to Delaware for a chance to catch one of its many trophy fish species. The most popular fishing spot in the state is Herring Point at Cape Henlopen State Park, ideal for those who love to surf fish. Here, anglers can show off their catches of stripers, bluefish, kingfish, and blowfish. The park also allows fishing enthusiasts to bring their vehicles right up to the shoreline, a practical feature that many find appealing.
Lums Pond State Park is also considered to be the best fishing spot in the state with its abundance of perch, pickerel, and largemouth bass. The park also offers boat rentals so anglers can take on deeper waters.
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Geocaching at Delaware’s state parks is an extremely popular recreational activity, especially among the state’s young residents. Brandywine Creek State Park is one of the best places for geocaching – trek through the park’s diverse terrain to uncover cleverly-hidden caches!
Many parks in The Diamond State offer hunting enthusiasts the opportunity to pursue game in safe, regulated, and well-kept environments. Hunt for waterfowl and other small game at Cape Henlopen State Park, Trap Pond State Park, and Delaware Seashore State Park.
Those who prefer bigger game, however, may pursue deer at Fort DuPont State Park, Holts Landing State Park, White Clay Creek State Park, and Lums Pond State Park.
Before going off on your hunting trip, be sure to familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations of each state park.
Day Use Areas
With its abundance of spacious and well-kept areas, Delaware’s state parks are a picnic goers’ paradise! The five picnic areas at Lums Pond State Park are the most popular spot in the state with its easy access to the park’s hiking trails and abundance of tables and charcoal grills. Enjoy the state’s beautiful nature as you take in your meal.
Killens Pond State Park is another favorite picnic spot for locals, offering pavilions that larger groups may avail of. Picnic areas here are in high demand so be sure to come in early to reserve your spot!
Many mountain bike enthusiasts flock to White Clay Creek State Park to take on the park’s bike trail, a 24-mile challenging route that winds through the entire park. Ride through rolling hills, dense hardwood forests, and rushing streams, and keep an eye out for the hundreds of different bird species that have made their homes inside the park. This trail is perfect for intermediate bikers hoping to take their skills to the next level but beginners are sure to enjoy the challenge too!
Trails at Brandywine Creek State Park are also one of the more popular trails in Delaware. The 33-mile long route is extremely challenging with thrilling descents, plenty of drops, and obstacles both natural and man-made. However, the views offered by this trail make all its challenges worth it.
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Take in the gorgeous sunsets and awe-inspiring historic lighthouses while boating at Cape Henlopen State Park. Keep your eyes peeled for schools of bottle-nosed dolphins whose curiosity drives them to check out visitors from time to time!
Enjoy a peaceful afternoon on the tranquil waters of Killens Pond at Killens Pond State Park. After your excursion, head up to the nature center for an incredible view of the pond and the rest of the park.
Boating is also popular at Trap Pond State Park and visitors can even choose to go on the park’s guided tours, which take place on pontoon boats. Professional guides narrate the area’s history and point out fascinating features of the surrounding nature. For those who are more adventurous, the Night Sounds Pontoon Tour is perfect for you! Listen to the chilling sounds that the swamp makes after dark and try not to get scared at the slimy critters that have made the park their home.
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The thin peninsula found at Cape Henlopen State Park is the state’s best Birding spot with plenty of unique species during the migration season. Bird-watching enthusiasts are also invited to participate in the park’s Hawk Watch, which takes place in the fall. Many shorebirds, such as Piping Plovers and Least Terns, can be found nesting along the park’s beaches, however, this area is seasonally closed to protect the endangered species. Your birding adventure will always be more enjoyable with a good pair of binoculars.
At Brandywine Creek State Park, keep your eyes on the skies and watch as warblers and songbirds fly by during the migration season. Many other species breed within the park’s confines so try to catch glimpses of Pileated Woodpeckers, Yellow-billed Cuckoos, Barred Owls, and more. Birders also love trekking to the eastern side of the park where the Freshwater Marsh Nature Preserve lies. Here, rails and Marsh Wrens are often seen, making it the ideal spot to cross these species off your list.
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Delaware’s abundance of lakes makes for perfect beaches! Go for a peaceful swim in the pond found at Bellevue State Park and afterward, explore the surrounding nature by taking on the park’s many trails.
Gordons Pond at Cape Henlopen State Park is also a great swimming spot for locals and tourists alike. The pond’s calm and cool waters are made for cooling off in the summertime and this, combined with the magnificent wildlife found on its shores, is an experience like no other.
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Golfing enthusiasts will love the Deerfield Golf Club, located within White Clay Creek State Park. This sprawling 145-acre golf course has 18 holes with sudden elevation changes and excellent conditioning. Golfers of all skill levels and abilities will undoubtedly enjoy this course! After an exhausting afternoon of golfing, head on over to the club’s Pub and Grille to grab a quick and delicious bite.
Delaware boasts of two equestrian facilities: Wellspring Farm at Bellevue State Park and Sunset Stables at Lums Pond State Park. Exploring the state’s sandy beaches and lush forests are even better when you’re on horseback!
Equestrians looking to save some money can choose to stay overnight at Lums Pond State Park, which offers four horse campsites so visitors won’t have to pay extra for daily trailering.
Recreational Equipment Rentals
Take your vacation to the next level by checking out the various rental equipment that many state parks in Delaware offer! Fenwick Island State Park is especially popular with those looking to try out watersports and other recreational activities. Visitors can stop by the park’s Coastal Kayak facility and check out the many kayaks, sailboats, and paddleboards for rent before heading out for a great day on the water.
History buffs and enthusiasts will enjoy visiting First State National Historical Park, located in the town of New Castle. This huge park explores themes central to American history; from Colonial allegiances to slavery, and to the important role of the country’s natural resources in transforming it into a global superpower. Here, you can also learn about Delaware’s colonial history and its important place in the establishment of the United States of America as the first to ratify the 1787 Constitution. Plenty of buildings and architecture that date back to the colonial period may also be found inside the park.
The night hikes at Lums Pond State Park are one of the most unusual winter activities that you can do in Delaware! Trudge through fallen leaves and melting snow as you explore the park’s stunning scenery after dark. They also offer these hikes during the full moon, which makes for an eerie but wonderful experience.
Winter evening hike programs may also be done at Alapocas Run State Park, Bellevue State Park, and White Clay Creek State Park.
Diving and Snorkeling
Every year, divers and snorkelers from all over the country are drawn to Delaware’s beaches, which provide great access to the cool and tempting waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Explore freshwater marine life at Killens Pond State Park or dive underneath the salty shores of Fenwick Island State Park. Whichever you choose, it’s sure to be an adventure like no other!
Those who want to try their hand at Orienteering – or improve their skills in it – may do so at Brandywine Creek State Park and Killens Pond State Park. Both parks offer huge courses with incredible layouts that will challenge even the most experienced navigator!
Surfing enthusiasts should head over to Delaware Seashore State Park to catch the park’s huge waves! Be sure to check out the beach north of the Inlet, which is considered to be the best surfing spot within the park.