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The view of white cherry blossom flowering trees at Brandywine Park, Wilmington, Delaware

If you are looking for a public recreational space in Delaware that offers something for everyone then you should head to Wilmington State Parks.

Taking the form of not one, but several different parks in Wilmington, visitors can enjoy a wide range of activities, including hiking, biking, fishing and picnicking throughout its varying landscapes. Each of which has its own unique features and attractions.

One of its most popular parks is Brandywine Park, which is situated along the Brandywine River and features picturesque walking trails, picnic areas, and stunning gardens. Another is Rockford Park, which boasts a historic tower, a picturesque pond, and hiking trails through wooded areas. Others within the system include H. Fletcher Brown Park and the Wilmington Waterfront Park.

In addition to the recreational activities, the parks also offer educational programs and events throughout the year, including guided nature walks and outdoor concerts.

Unfortunately none of these Delaware state parks have camping accommodation onsite. However, there are plenty of campgrounds within easy driving distance that serve as good bases to explore the area.

Activities

Between them, the combined public recreational spaces of Wilmington State Parks provide visitors with plenty of different ways to immerse themselves within its exceptional natural beauty.

Highlighted below is a quick overview of some of the main features of each one.

Brandywine Park

Brandywine Park spans over 178 acres along both banks of the Brandywine Creek, and is home to several historic sites and landmarks, including the stunning Josephine Fountain and the Brandywine Zoo.

One of the park’s most popular features is the paved Jack A. Markell Trail, which winds through the park and offers stunning views of the Brandywine River. Visitors can enjoy hiking, jogging, biking, and rollerblading on this scenic trail.

In addition, there are several picnic areas with tables and grills throughout the park, making it an ideal spot for a family outing or a picnic with friends.

Another popular attraction in the park is the Brandywine Zoo, which is home to a wide variety of exotic and domestic animals. Visitors can see everything from playful river otters to majestic red pandas and majestic bald eagles.

Here is a short YouTube video with some more information about Brandywine Park:

Rockford Park

Established in 1889, Rockford Park is a beautiful 100-acre park that is famous for its picturesque landscape, tree-lined trails, and stunning gardens.

Visitors to Rockford Park can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking, picnicking, and sports like tennis and basketball. The park also features a playground, a gazebo, and a historic water tower.

Arguably the main attraction of Rockford Park, the 100-foot-tall stone tower offers stunning views of the city of Wilmington and the surrounding countryside. Visitors can climb its spiral staircase to the very top of it to take it all in.

The park is also home to the Delaware Art Museum, which is located on the park’s northern edge. This museum features an impressive collection of American art and has a strong focus on the art and culture of the Delaware Valley.

H. Fletcher Brown Park

H. Fletcher Brown Park is named after a prominent businessman and philanthropist, H. Fletcher Brown, who donated the land to the city of Wilmington.

The park is probably best known for the walking trail that runs through it, offering a great way to exercise and enjoy nature. It also has several picnic areas and playgrounds for children, making it a great spot for family outings.

If you are feeling active you can make use of the basketball court and tennis courts that feature in the park. Additionally, you can play soccer or frisbee on its large, open field.

Wilmington Waterfront Park

Wilmington Waterfront Park is located at the intersection of South Madison Street and South West Street.

Extending for 1.3-acres, the park offers visitors beautiful views of the Christina River and the Wilmington skyline.

It was also designed with a focus on sustainability, incorporating features such as rain gardens, bio-retention swales, and permeable pavement to manage stormwater runoff.

Dominating the park is an 800-foot-long Riverwalk, which provides a scenic path for pedestrians and bicyclists along the Christina River. The park also features a small playground, picnic tables, and benches for visitors to enjoy.

Notably, there are several art installations throughout the park, including the ‘Kalmar Nyckel’ ship sculpture, which pays homage to the ship that brought the first Swedish settlers to Delaware in 1638.

Pets

Pets are allowed in some areas of the Wilmington State Parks, but restrictions may vary by park and specific areas within each of them.

For example, in Brandywine Park, dogs are allowed on leash in some areas but not in the playground, the zoo, or the picnic areas. Likewise in Rockford Park, dogs are allowed on leash in some areas, but not on the athletic fields, tennis courts, or playgrounds.

If you intend to take your dog with you to any of the parks it is worth contacting the main office for clarification on their pet policy.

Camping

While the parks themselves do not have any campgrounds, there are several options available within a short driving distance of them.

One is Lums Pond State Park, which is about 15 miles south of Wilmington. It offers 68 tent and RV sites with electric and water hookups, as well as cabins for rent. Amenities here include restrooms with showers, a camp store, playgrounds, and a fishing pier.

Another nearby option is Brandywine Creek State Park, which is located about 8 miles north of Wilmington. This park has several areas for picnicking and hiking, as well as fishing and nature watching.

Other nearby campgrounds include Killens Pond State Park and Cape Henlopen State Park, both of which offer tent and RV camping options, as well as cabins for rent.

Park Location

Wilmington State Parks
1 St. Rocco Way
Wilmington, DE 19802
Phone: 302.577.7020

Park Website

Map