State Parks

Cape Henlopen State Park

Cape Henlopen State Park is open from 8 a.m. to sunset. Normal park office hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. From April through October, the park office is open seven days a week.

Cape Henlopen's beaches attract thousands of visitors who enjoy ocean swimming and sunbathing. Two designated swimming beaches provide lifeguard patrols between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day.

Cape Henlopen has many year-round hiking and biking opportunities. Experience the park's scenic and ever-changing landscape - and get a lesson in history - along the three-mile-long paved trail that loops the park. Take a trail break and climb to the top of the World War II Observation Tower, where the 360-degree views are spectacular. Or take a short climb to the top of a former military bunker to view the dynamic action along the Atlantic coastline. Explore the coastal environment along the Seaside or the Pinelands Nature Trails, or hike the six miles of beach along the Atlantic Ocean.

History

The Nation's First Public Lands

Cape Henlopen has always been a popular area, valuable for its natural resources as well as for commercial shipping, military defense, and recreation. Many books and articles have been published about the fascinating history of the Cape, but one of the most significant milestones occured after 1682, when the current lands of the state of Delaware were granted to William Penn. Penn proclaimed that Cape Henlopen and its natural resources were to be for the common usage of the citizens of Lewes and Sussex County, thus establishing some of the nation's first "public lands."

Cape Henlopen's strategic location at the mouth of the Delaware Bay led to its role in local shipping and military history. The historic Henlopen Lighthouse no longer helps to guide vessels through the treacherous bay waters, but the two stone "breakwaters" barriers off the point of the Cape, completed in 1869 and 1901, still form a safe harbor for boats during rough seas.

With the onset of World War II, the U.S. Army established a military base at Cape Henlopen in 1941. Bunkers and gun emplacements were camouflaged among the dunes, and concrete observation towers were built along the coast to spot enemy ships. In 1964, the Department of Defense declared 543 acres of the Cape lands as surplus property. The State of Delaware accepted the property and established Cape Henlopen State Park.

Today

Today, the 5193-acre park contains a wealth of natural beauty. In addition to the attractive bay and ocean beaches, the Gordon's Pond Wildlife Area features a unique saltwater Inpoundment. Along the coast, the Great Dune rises 80 feet above sea level, and further inland, the famous "walking dunes" slowly move across the pine forests. A broad salt marsh stretches along the park's western boundary. The variety of habitats within the park make it a valuable home to many species of birds, reptiles, and mammals. During the summer, the park protects nesting areas along the coastline for piping plovers, a threatened species of shorebird.

Hiking trails and interpretive displays throughout the park help visitors to learn about these fascinating natural features. In addition, several WWII-era bunkers provide scenic overlooks, and one of the concrete observation towers has been renovated to provide a panoramic view of the Cape.

Amenities

  • Beaches
  • Boat Rental
  • Campgrounds
  • Conference Facility
  • Day Use
  • Day Use Group Facilities
  • Disc Golf Course
  • Drinking Water
  • Dump Stations
  • Fishing Pier
  • Food/Refreshments
  • Fort Miles Historic Site
  • Seaside Nature Center -- Interpretive Center and Gift Shop
  • Kayak Rentals
  • Laundry Facilities (campground)
  • Overnight Group Facilities
  • Pet Areas
  • Picnic Pavilions
  • Picnic Tables
  • Restrooms
  • RV Sites
  • Showers
  • Trails
  • Wheelchair Accessible

Directions

Cape Henlopen State Park is located at 15099 Cape Henlopen Drive, Lewes, DE 19958. One mile east of the Cape May - Lewes Ferry.

GPS Users: Please note that our address has recently changed. In order to accurately find our location, you may need to use our old address of 42 Cape Henlopen Drive, Lewes, DE 19958.

Park Office

  • 15099 Cape Henlopen Dr.
  • Lewes, DE 19958
  • Phone: (302) 645-8983
  • FAX: (302) 645-0588

 

http://www.destateparks.com/park/cape-henlopen/index.asp

Delaware Seashore State Park

Six Miles of Ocean and Bay Shoreline

Water, water everywhere describes Delaware Seashore State Park. Bounded on the east by the mighty Atlantic Ocean, and on the west by Rehoboth Bay and Indian River Bay, the 2825-acre park is a beach-goer's delight.

Throughout history, the forces of wind and water have kept this barrier island largely inaccessible, due to the frequent natural changes of the inlet channel between the bays and the sea. Transportation along this narrow stretch of land was difficult until the Federal government completed construction of two large steel and stone jetties in 1939, stabilizing the Indian River Inlet. The State Park Commission (now the Division of Parks and Recreation) began operating Delaware Seashore State Park in 1965. Today, the park is a major attraction for millions of visitors who enjoy the large variety of water-related activities available along Delaware's coast.

Amenities

  • Beach
  • Boat Launch
  • Campgrounds
  • Conference Center
  • Four-Season Cottages
  • Day Use Areas
  • Dump Stations
  • Food Concessions
  • Historic Site and Museum
  • Interpretive Center
  • Marina
  • Nature Interpretive Trails
  • Park Store
  • Pet Areas
  • Picnic Pavilions
  • Picnic Tables
  • Playground
  • Restrooms
  • RV Sites
  • Showers
  • Surf Fishing (Off-Road) Areas
  • Trails
  • Wedding and Reception Venues
  • Wheelchair Accessibility

Directions

Delaware Seashore State Park is located at 39415 Inlet Road, Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971.

Park Office

  • 39415 Inlet Road
  • Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971
  • Phone: (302) 227-2800
  • FAX: (302) 227-7400

http://www.destateparks.com/park/delaware-seashore/index.asp