Explore Delaware's Sprawling Cape Henlopen State Park

Cape Henlopen State Park is a beautiful getaway with attractive activities and inviting accommodations located in Northern Delaware. Visitors from Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey often put this park on their travel bucket list. This state recreation area features an array of year-round activities and accommodations for nature-lovers, sportsmen, or anyone looking to get out of the house for the day or weekend. Read on to get the full rundown regarding this bayside state park.

What to Do at Cape Henlopen State Park

Outdoor enthusiasts should look no further than Cape Henlopen State Park. This Delaware state park is an easy, scenic trip for individuals, small groups, or for families. Simply sightseeing throughout the park would be enough to make the trip worthwhile. Not to mention that the park offers facilities like a campground, beach access, disc golf course, picnic tables, picnic areas, bathhouses, dump stations, bike trails, nature trails, and more.

For those who'd like more than just day use at the park, campsites for tents and RVs are available for reservation through the park's website, over the phone, or upon entry at the park, according to the Delaware state park website. The campground is in a beautiful, forested area with grassy fields and sandy spots—a perfect place for campers to pitch a tent or hookup the RV.

This Park is a bicycler's dream with a few miles of biking trails. The bike loop is a fun time as all trails wind through beautiful marshland and green forests. Many people use these biking trails to visit the park's scenic beaches and close by coastal communities like Lewes and Rehoboth Beach.

Many visitors also choose to stroll the park via popular trails like the Gordon Pond Trail or the Beach Trail. Visitors will see all sorts of native animals in the sand dunes and forests as they walk along the raised boardwalk and nature trails. These paths house environments home to an array of animals. Wandering visitors will see everything from cawing shorebirds and rabbits to horseshoe crabs and fish.

Visitors of Cape Henlopen also enjoy its' various bodies of water in several different ways. Fishermen often cast out on Gordon's Pond as well as into the Atlantic Ocean. Surf fishing from the beaches and fishing pier are the most popular options. In the Summertime, fishermen will post up on the beach, swim by the lifeguards, and lay out in the sun for the day. While on the beach, the point at Herring Point is a popular surf spot.

Boating is also very common at Cape Henlopen State Park. Park goers either bring kayaks, canoes, paddleboards or bring their own boat.

How to Get to Cape Henlopen

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The Park is located at 15099 Cape Henlopen Drive in Lewes, DE. Cape Henlopen State Park lies in Sussex County, just outside coastal towns like Lewes and Rehoboth Beach. Visitors need only pay an entrance fee at the park office or with their reservation to access parking lots, camping areas, beaches, sports facilities, and the surrounding nature preserve.

Many travelers from New Jersey will take the Cape May - Lewes Ferry across the Delaware Bay to Cape Henlopen State Park. Tourists can walk on the ferry, drive on with their vehicle, or bike on with their bicycle. Biking through the park and the local towns is a fun way to explore the nature preserve as well as find opportunities to visit shops, breweries, restaurants, and find live entertainment.

Planning Your Trip

In 1682, William Penn made the beaches of Cape Henlopen one of the first public lands in the United States (even before there was a USA). His declaration stated that the park would be for "the usage of the citizens of Lewes and Sussex County."

Today, visitors can book online, call ahead, or simply drive into the park after checking daily hours of operation. However, people should make reservations when visiting on busy weekends in the Summer like Labor Day weekend.
Individuals often visit the park's Seaside Nature Center which houses marine aquariums and natural history exhibits. The park's management offers environmental education programs year-round. This nature center also contains an auditorium and a gift shop. Programs like hayrides, guided nature walks, birding trips, school programs and children's vacation workshops are perfect for visiting families with kids.

Individuals should also make a point to visit Fort Miles which served as a federal defensive site, training area, and testing location during past wars. This area is also home to the restored World War II Observation Tower as well as two lighthouses off the coast known as the Harbor of Refuge Light and the Delaware Breakwater East End Light.

Visitors can rest assured that Cape Henlopen State Park is their best bet for a fun-filled day in sunny, scenic Delaware. Travelers come and return time and time again for hiking, boating, birding, camping, beaching, fishing, and much more.

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