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The Beach at Fenwick Island State Park

The Beach at Fenwick Island State Park. Photo: Patrick Nouhailler's…, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you love the beach and nature, then Fenwick Island State Park is somewhere you should definitely add to your ‘must visit’ list.

Covering a beautiful stretch of barrier island along the Atlantic Ocean, the park offers a variety of recreational activities, including swimming, sunbathing, surfing, and fishing. Visitors can also explore the sand dunes, marshes, and wetlands that are home to a variety of wildlife, including shorebirds, migratory birds, and marine life.

In addition to the beach activities, Fenwick Island State Park offers several miles of trails for hiking and biking.

Enabling guests to venture through the salt marshes and coastal dunes along the Indian River Bay, while taking in beautiful ocean views.

This Delaware state park is conveniently located between Bethany Beach and Ocean City.

There are no camping facilities available onsite, however there are plenty of campground options within the surrounding area, where you can stay overnight if you want to.


While at Fenwick Island State Park, guests can enjoy a wide selection of outdoor recreational pursuits.

Highlighted below is a basic overview of some of the main recreational activities you can do during your time there.

Surfing at Fenwick Island State Park

As it lines the Atlantic Ocean, surfing is a very popular activity at Fenwick Island State Park.

Generally, waves tend to be small to moderate in height, thus making it a great spot for beginners and intermediate surfers. Experienced surfers may prefer to visit during stormier conditions though when the swell gets much larger.

The park has designated surfing areas marked with flags during the summer season. It’s important to note that surfing is only allowed in these areas of the park and during specific times of the year to ensure safety for all visitors.

Visitors should also be aware of the potential hazards of surfing in the ocean, such as rip currents, rough surf, and changing weather conditions. It’s recommended that surfers check the surf conditions and weather forecast before heading out, and always surf with a buddy.

Swimming at Fenwick Island State Park

In addition to surfing, swimming is also a popular activity in the refreshing waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

The park features a lifeguarded beach during the summer months, making it a safe and enjoyable spot for swimmers of all skill levels.

Typically, the water temperature ranges from around 60 degrees Fahrenheit in early summer to about 70 degrees Fahrenheit in late summer, providing comfortable conditions for swimming.

Overall, the beach area is clean and well-maintained, with ample space for visitors to spread out and enjoy the sun and sand. There are also restrooms, showers, and changing rooms available for visitors to use.

Fishing at Fenwick Island State Park

It is well worth bringing your rods and reels with you to the park as there are lots of excellent fishing opportunities to be had.

The park features a long stretch of beach that is ideal for surf fishing, where anglers can catch a variety of species such as striped bass, bluefish, croaker, and flounder. The park also has a fishing pier that extends out into the ocean, allowing anglers to access deeper waters where they can catch larger species like black drum and bluefish.

Fishing is permitted year-round at Fenwick Island State Park, but the best time to fish is during the warmer months when the water temperatures are higher and more species are present.

Anglers must, however, have a Delaware fishing license to fish in the park, which can be obtained online or at various retail locations.

Birding at Fenwick Island State Park

As it is located along a major flyway for migratory birds, Fenwick Island State Park is a terrific spot for birding enthusiasts.

The park’s varied habitats, including dunes, marshes, and beaches, attract a wide variety of bird species who reside here either permanently, or on a seasonal basis.

Visitors to the park can spot shorebirds, waterfowl, raptors, and songbirds throughout the year, with the best birding typically occurs in the fall and spring during migration periods.

The park also offers a birding trail and a birdwatching platform that provides panoramic views of the surrounding wetlands. Additionally, it runs interpretive programs and guided bird walks during peak birding seasons.

To maximize their enjoyment, birders are advised to bring binoculars, a field guide, and appropriate clothing and footwear for hiking through the park’s varied terrain.


Pets are allowed to join you at Fenwick Island State Park but only in certain designated areas such as the surf fishing beaches and the bathhouse pavilion area.

However, they are not allowed in the swimming areas, nature trails, or other areas of the park.

In addition, pets must be kept under control and on a leash throughout their stay and owners are responsible for cleaning up after their pets if they make a mess.


As the park is day use only there are no camping options available at it.

However, there are several campgrounds not too far of a driving distance away which you might want to stay at.

One of these can be found at Assateague Island National Seashore Campground. Located on a barrier island just across the Maryland border, the campground offers both tent and RV camping options. It also presents scenic views and plenty of opportunities for wildlife viewing.

Another good option is the Frontier Town RV Resort & Campground. This is situated about 15 minutes north of the park and offers RV and tent camping options. Its amenities include a water park, mini-golf course, and on-site restaurant.

Wherever you choose to stay, it is worth making a reservation as these sites do fill up quickly.

Park Location

Fenwick Island State Park
Fenwick Island, DE 19944
Phone: 302.227.2800

Park Website



Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Fenwick Island State Park: