With 16 state parks, covering more than 24,000 acres, Delaware state parks are outstanding locations for a getaway. Stay a day or stay a week, there are locations and activities for everyone, close to everywhere.
Delaware, the second smallest state in the USA, has the 6th highest population density. There are rolling hills, sandy beaches, rivers, forests, lakes, and historical areas. The state parks in Delaware are family friendly - many parks have playgrounds and picnic areas, as well as developed and electric campsites. Use this guide to plan your next adventure in your own backyard!
The Delaware Parks app includes these awesome state parks:
Alapocas RunRight in the heart of Wilmington, you will discover a hidden getaway - perfect for a quick lunch break or extended outings with the whole family. This park features the Can-Do Playground, which provides a place for children of all abilities a place to play. There is a rock climbing area connected to the park by trails.
This park also features the Blue Bell Barn - an old dairy barn built by Alfred I. du Pont which is now the permanent home of the Delaware Folk Art Collection, and is perfect for your gathering, meeting, wedding, or conference.
BellevueBellevue State Park is a 328-acre (133 ha) Delaware state park in the suburbs of Wilmington in New Castle County, Delaware in the United States. The park is named for Bellevue Hall, the former mansion of William duPont, Jr. Many of the facilities at the park were built by Mr. DuPont. Bellevue State Park overlooks the Delaware River and is open for year round recreation, daily, from 8:00 a.m. until sunset.
Brandywine CreekBrandywine Creek State Park is a state park, located 3 miles (4.8 km) north of Wilmington, Delaware along the Brandywine Creek. Open year-round, it is 933 acres (378 ha) in area and, before becoming a state park in 1965, was a dairy farm owned by the Du Pont family. It contains the first two nature preserves in Delaware.
Fourteen miles of trails run the park, the longest being the Rocky Run Trail and the Greenways Trail. Brandywine Creek has a large population of bass, and Wilson's Run is known for its trout. Nearby parks include White Clay Creek State Park, Wilmington State Parks and Bellevue State Park.
The park's Brandywine Creek Nature Center offers natural history and environmental education programs for visitors, school and scout groups and other organizations. Programs include nature crafts and lectures, hayrides, guided nature walks, children's programs and birding programs.
Cape HenlopenCape Henlopen State Park is a Delaware state park on 5,193 acres (2,102 ha) on Cape Henlopen in Sussex County, Delaware, in the United States. William Penn made the beaches of Cape Henlopen one of the first public lands established in what has become the United States in 1682 with the declaration that Cape Henlopen would be for "the usage of the citizens of Lewes and Sussex County." Cape Henlopen State Park has a 24-hour and year-round fishing pier as well as campgrounds. The remainder of the park is only open from sunrise to sunset, and includes a bathhouse on the Atlantic Ocean, an area for surf-fishing, a disc golf course, and bicycle and walking paths. The beach at Herring Point is a popular surfing spot. The park is a stop on Delaware's Coastal Heritage Greenway.
As with all Delaware state beaches, entrance is free during the off-season, but costs $4 for Delaware-tagged vehicles and $8 for out of state vehicles from 1 May to 31 October. Season passes may be purchased at a cost of $27 per in-state vehicle and $54 per out-of-state vehicle. These passes provide access to all state beaches and parks in Delaware.
Cape Henlopen, on Delaware Bay, has long been a public use area although it did not officially become a Delaware state park until 1964. William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania and early leader of Delaware, decreed that Cape Henlopen and its natural resources be set aside for the use and enjoyment of the citizens of the Delaware Colony. Penn's decree established Cape Henlopen as one of the first public use parcels of land in the Thirteen Colonies.
The cape was an important strategic location for the U.S Navy and Army during the American Revolution, War of 1812, Civil War, World War I, and World War II. Cape Henlopen Lighthouse, the sixth lighthouse built on the Atlantic Coast, was constructed from 1767-1769. This lighthouse was in operation until 1924 when it was abandoned after it was extensively damaged in 1920 by a storm. The lighthouse now rests at the bottom of the Atlantic ocean, after falling into the water on April 13, 1926.
A small gun platform was built by 1918 near the present site of Point Comfort parking lot. It was abandoned and removed prior to construction of Fort Miles.
During World War II, the U.S. Army built Fort Miles at Cape Henlopen. Numerous bunkers, concrete observation towers and the pier built to accommodate the laying of mines on the harbor floor remain today. Within the park grounds are a handful of fire control towers from that era, as well as underground gun batteries (bunkers) which were to be used in conjunction with the towers against the eventuality of air attack. Off the coast on the bay side are two lighthouses: the Harbor of Refuge Light and the Delaware Breakwater East End Light.
The beach at Cape Henlopen State Park is open year round. There are two beaches that are open to swimming at the park with lifeguard patrols between the Memorial and Labor Day weekends. A modern bath house with showers, changing rooms and a snack bar is located at the northern beach.
Cape Henlopen State Park has two facilities that are rented out for large group gatherings, a pavilion for picnics and the "Officer's Club" a remnant of the Fort Miles days. The 18 hole disc golf course and basketball courts are open year round. Hunting is permitted during Delaware's designated hunting seasons in some parts of the park. Hunters are expected to follow the rules and regulations of the Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife.
Cape Henlopen State Park is a popular fishing destination. Anglers may fish from the beach or from the fishing pier on Delaware Bay. A concessionaire operates the Cape Henlopen Fishing Center, a bait and tackle shop at the pier. It is open seven days a week May 15 - October 1. Visitors to the park may drive onto the beach for surf fishing after receiving a permit from the park authorities. Access over the dunes is open to pedestrians at all times.
The pine covered dunes of Cape Henlopen State Park are open to camping in some areas with over 150 campsite available. Most sites have running water. They are available from family camping March 1 - November 30. Reservations are required. A primitive campground is available for use by youth groups.
There are a variety of marked nature and hiking trails at the park, ranging from a beach to pine forests. Bicycles are another popular way to explore the park, and rentals are available during part of the year.
The park's Seaside Nature Center features marine aquariums and natural history exhibits about the park. Environmental education programs are offered year-round. The nature center also contains an auditorium and a gift shop.
Programs offered include hayrides, guided nature walks and hikes, birding trips, preschool programs, school programs and children's vacation workshops.
Delaware SeashoreDelaware Seashore State Park is located near Dewey Beach, in Delaware, United States. It is bounded on the east by the mighty Atlantic Ocean and on the west by Rehoboth Bay and Indian River Bay. The park covers 2,825 acres (1,143 ha). It is a major attraction for millions of visitors who enjoy the large variety of water-related activities available along Delaware's coast. The State Park Commission (now the Division of Parks and Recreation) began operating Delaware Seashore State Park in 1965.
Fenwick IslandFenwick Island State Park is a 344-acre (139 ha) Delaware state park between Ocean City, Maryland and Bethany Beach, Delaware in Sussex County, Delaware in the United States. Originally part of Delaware Seashore State Park, it was established in 1966 and renamed in 1981. The park, on a narrow strip of land between the Atlantic Ocean and Little Assawoman Bay, is largely undeveloped in comparison to the beach communities that surround it. Fenwick Island State Park is open for year round recreation from 8:00 am until sunset.
Fenwick Island is named for Thomas Fenwick a planter to migrated to the Thirteen Colonies from York, England. He was granted rights to the land by Lord Baltimore, the second Proprietary Governor of the Province of Maryland, in 1682. Fenwick never actually lived on Fenwick Island, but he did rise to a position of importance in Sussex County government. He served as a Justice of the Peace, Sheriff and register of wills until his death in 1708. Some legends contend that Fenwick swam ashore at Fenwick Island after being thrown overboard by pirates. Most historians do not believe that this happened. It is, however, likely that Fenwick's future son-in-law did swim ashore. William Fassett swam ashore after being cast off by a group of pirates. He would go on to marry Fenwick's daughter, Mary and claim the land of Fenwick Island for himself.
Colonial ownership of Fenwick Island was disputed between the family of William Penn, governor of the Province of Pennsylvania and Delaware Colony and the family of Cæcilius Calvert governor of the Province of Maryland. The dispute was settled in the 1750s when the Trans-Peninsular Line was drawn. This line which forms the southern boundary of Delaware begins on Fenwick Island at the Fenwick Island Lighthouse.
While the governors of Delaware and Maryland were arguing over the correct boundaries, pirates used the harbors of Little Assawoman Bay to the west of Fenwick Island State Park as a safe haven. For 100 years the pirates raided the ships of local and passing sea capitans, using Cedar Island in the bay as their base of operations.
Fenwick Island has remained largely undeveloped because it is a narrow peninsula that is just 3 miles (4.8 km) wide. The constantly shifting dunes have made commercial and residential development difficult. The town of Fenwick Island is located just above the Delaware/Maryland border. Despite several descriptions of Fenwick Island as a barrier island, it is clear from maps that it is not a true island. The border between Maryland and Delaware below Fenwick Island is a land boundary. Ocean City, Maryland occupies the southern tip of the peninsula on which Fenwick Island is situated.
Ownership of the land was designated to the state of Delaware in 1926. It was used as part of the coastal defense system during the World War II years. An observation tower from this era still stands at the northern end of the park. Management of the property was transferred from the Delaware Highway Department to the State Park Commission in 1966. Fenwick Island State Park was originally the souther portion of Delaware Seashore State Park. The parks were divided in 1981. Fenwick Island State Park is managed in conjunction with Holts Landing State Park on Indian River Bay to the north.
Fenwick Island State Park borders the Atlantic Ocean and Little Assawoman Bay. This give visitors to the park to experience two different coastlines on one patch of land. The beach at the ocean is open to swimming, surfing and surf fishing. It is monitored by lifeguards from 9:00 am until 5:00 pm, Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. A modern bathhouse is equipped with showers, changing rooms, a gift shop and food concession. Visitors to the park, interested in surf fishing, are permitted to drive vehicles onto the beach provided they purchase a permit at the gift shop or from the offices at Delaware Seashore State Park.
The bay side of the park is open to fishing, recreational crabbing, clamming, sailing and windsurfing and kayaking. Visitors to the park may rent various types of watercraft and receive sailing lessons from an outfitter across bay at the Assawoman Wildlife Area.
First State Heritage ParkFist State Heritage Park at Dover is a group of historical and cultural sites in Dover, Kent County, Delaware in the United States. Delaware was the first state to ratify the United States Constitution. The sites of the park highlight Delaware's role as the "First State." First State Heritage Park is open year round, with special tours of the sites given the first Saturday of each month at Delaware's Legislative Hall.
The sites of First State Heritage Park at Dover were organized as a state park in 2004 by Governor Ruth Ann Minner. It is a partnership between the Delaware Economic Development Office, the Delaware Department of State, and the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.
The sites of the park are, Legislative Hall, the Delaware Public Archives, the State House Museum, the Johnson Victrola Museum, the Delaware Archaeology Museum, the Museum of Small Town Life, the Delaware Visitor Center, the Biggs Museum of American Art, and Woodburn/Hall house.
Legislative Hall is the state capitol building. It houses offices and the assembly room for the Delaware State Legislature. Legislative Hall has served as the main legislative building since 1933. It is open for tours, Monday - Friday 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. (when the General Assembly is not in session) and 9:00 a.m. - Noon (on session days).
The Delaware Public Archives building houses an extensive collection of materials dating back as far as the 17th century to today. The exhibits are open Monday - Saturday 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. and 9:00 until 5:00 p.m. on state holidays. The research room is open Monday - Saturday 8:00 a.m. until 5:00pm.
The Delaware State House served as the state's first permanent capitol building from 1792 until 1933. It is located on Dover's historic green. The State House originally house Delaware's state government and the government of Kent County.
The State House has undergone several expansions and renovations since it opened in 1792. It was originally built in a Georgian architecture style. The state house was remodeled in 1873 to reflect a Victorian style and restored in 1976 to its original appearance. Extensive renovations of the State House also took place in 2007.
The Johnson Victrola Museum was built in honor of Eldridge R. Johnson founder of the Victor Talking Machine Company. Exhibits as the museum include paintings, objects, memorabilia, and trademarks that highlight the development of the sound recording industry.
The Delaware Archaeology Museum is home archaeologic exhibits of more than 11,000 years if human habitation in Delaware. Artifacts include arrowheads, ceramics, stone and bone tools used by the original Native Americans, the European colonists and residents of the state.
The museum is in the Old Presbyterian Church of Dover. The church was built in 1790 to replace the original log church. Ownership of the church building was transferred to the state in 1947 following the 1924 construction of a new church for the congregation.
The Museum of Small Town Life is adjacent to the Delaware Archaeology Museum. It is home to exhibits that show a variety of businesses from late 19th century Delaware life, including a woodworking shop, general store, print shop, pharmacy, and post office.
The Delaware Visitor Center is open Monday - Friday 8:30 a.m. until 4:30pm, Saturday 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. and Sunday 1:30 p.m. until 4:30pm. It houses to exhibits that change regularly.
The Biggs Museum of American Art is home to an extensive collection of 18th- through 20th century Delaware and American art in the visitors center.
The Woodburn House is Delaware's official governor's residence. It was purchased by the state in 1965 and has housed the governor ever since.
Fort DelawareFort Delaware State Park is a 288-acre (117 ha) Delaware state park on Pea Patch Island in New Castle County, Delaware, in the United States. A fortress was built on Pea Patch Island by the United States Army in 1815, near the conclusion of the War of 1812, to protect the harbors of Wilmington, Delaware and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The fort was burned and rebuilt in the years prior to the American Civil War, and soon after the start of the war the fort was converted to a Prisoner of War camp. Fort Delaware continued to protect the mouth of the Delaware River through World War I and II. Pea Patch Island and Fort Delaware was declared surplus land by the United States Department of Defense in 1945.
Fort Delaware State Park, one of the first state parks in Delaware, was established in 1951. The park, which can only be accessed by ferry, is open for historic programs at Fort Delaware. The fort is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In addition to historical preservation, Fort Delaware State Park is also open for picnicking and hiking. Visitors to the park my reach it by ferry from Delaware City or Fort Mott State Park in New Jersey. Fort Delaware State Park is 0.5-mile (800 m) from Delaware City aboard the Three Fort Ferry. Passengers aboard the ferry are granted access to Fort Mott State Park.
Pea Patch Island emerged as a mud bank in the Delaware River in the 18th century. According to folklore, the island received its name after a ship full of peas ran aground on it, spilling its contents and leading to a growth of the plant on the island. By 1814, the island had grown sufficiently large for the construction of Fort Delaware. The original wood structure was replaced by the current brick and concrete one in 1859. During the American Civil War, Fort Delaware was used by the Union as a camp for Confederate prisoners, in particular those captured in 1863 at the Battle of Gettysburg. Many of the prisoners who died at the fort are buried at nearby Finns Point National Cemetery in New Jersey.
After the release of the last of the remaining Civil War prisoners, only a small caretaker force was left behind at Fort Delaware, and it was largely abandoned in 1870. By 1898, rising tensions between Spain and the United States led to Fort Delaware once again serving as a potential frontline in protecting the ports of the Delaware River. The United States Congress authorized the installation of three 16-inch (41 cm) guns at the south end of Pea Patch Island. The guns were installed in 1898, at the time of the Spanish-American War. A garrison was once again in place at Fort Delaware until 1903, when another small caretaker force was left. The fort was garrisoned once again in 1917, following the United States entry into World War I, but most troops left in 1919. Fort Delaware was manned again during World War II following the December 7, 1941 Attack of Pearl Harbor. The guns were removed in 1943, the fort was abandoned in 1944, and it was declared "surplus property" in 1945. Ownership of Pea Patch Island and Fort Delaware was transferred to the state of Delaware in 1947. Fort Delaware State Park was opened to the public in 1951.
Fort Delaware State Park is a center of historic Civil War interpretation. Award winning re-enactors provide a glimpse into the past of Pea Patch Island. Visitors to the park may have the chance to watch a blacksmith at work, take part in the firing of a gunpowder charge of an 8-inch (20 cm) Columbiad gun or assist a laundress at work.
A group of re enactors pays special attention to Captain George Ahl and his band of former confederate soldiers who formed the 1st Delaware Heavy Artillery. Captain Ahl obtained permission from the War Department to form a battery of Confederate prisoners who could prove they had been conscripted into the Confederate Army. Upon taking an oath of allegiance they were permitted to join the Federal Army. Volunteers have recreated Ahl's Battery at Fort Delaware State Park. They have assumed the identities of members of the battery. The re-enactors give demonstrations of what life was like for the members of the 1st Delaware Heavy Artillery.
The Fort Delaware State Park Gift Shop in Delaware City is the only Civil War gift shop in Delaware, and has a wide variety of books and souvenirs are available. The Fort Delaware Society is a non-profit group dedicated to the preservation and historical interpretation of Fort Delaware.
Fort Delaware State Park is home to a migratory bird rookery, considered to be the largest such habitat north of Florida. Ornithologists believe that ibises, egrets, and herons began nesting on the northern part of Pea Patch Island in the 1950s or 1960s on land that was deposited there by the United States Army Corps of Engineers in the early 1900s. The population of birds at Fort Delaware State Park grew from about 2,000 pairs of nesting birds to 12,000 pairs as they were pushed from their nesting areas on the mainland by man. Scientists have become concerned about the decreasing population of birds on Pea Patch Island. The present estimate of nesting pairs stands at 7,000. Studies have shown that nearly half the chicks born at the heronry within the last five years have died before they were old enough to leave their parents care.
Other than coastal erosion, scientist have found little at the park to threaten the herons, ibises, and egrets. It is believed that changing land-use in the estuary and surrounding land has affected the populations. Representatives from local, state and federal governments have teamed together with non-profit wildlife organizations, business, and industry to create a Special Area Management Plan to help change the downward trend in bird populations at Fort Delaware State Park. Since Beach erosion affecting Pea Patch Island was recognized as a potential threat to the Fort in 1999, the United States Army Corps of Engineers erected a 3,500 feet (1.1 km) seawall during the winter of 2005-2006.
Fort DuPontFort DuPont State Park is a Delaware state park located in Delaware City, Delaware. The fort itself, named after Rear Admiral Samuel Francis duPont, was used as a military base from the Civil War through World War II, and was part of a three fort defense system, with Fort Delaware and Fort Mott with the purpose of protecting the Delaware River and the city of Philadelphia from naval attacks. Fort DuPont State Park is a destination on the Three Forts Ferry Crossing with these other two forts. Fort DuPont State Park is situated along the Delaware River and Chesapeake and Delaware Canal.
Fox PointFox Point State Park is a Delaware state park on 171 acres (69 ha) along the Delaware River in New Castle, Delaware in the United States. The park, which opened in 1995, has been built atop a former hazardous waste site that has been rehabilitated under an adaptive reuse program that was spearheaded by S. Marston Fox and the Fox Point Civic Association. Fox Point State Park is open for year round use from 8:00 am until sunset. The park offers recreational opportunities on biking and pedestrian trails with picnic facilities, a playground and volleyball and horseshoes facilities. Fox Point State Park is just off Interstate 495 and is the northern terminus of Delaware's Coastal Heritage Greenway.
The creation of Fox Point State Park is largely the result of one man's dream. S. Marston Fox spent the last twenty-five years of his life working to transform a stretch of land along the Delaware River in northern Wilmington. The land on which Fox Point State Park sits was created by land fill by the Pennsylvania Railroad along its right of way on the bank of the Delaware River. The railroad was seeking to create additional industrial land for potential customers. Mr. Fox began his efforts to stop the filling process in 1958, and sought to have the land turned over to the people as public use land. The four mile (6.4 km) stretch of shoreline was not turned over to New Castle County until the late 1970s. Mr. Fox passed away in 1982, after which his crusade was taken up by David Ennis and Eugene Snell of the Fox Point Civic Association. The state of Delaware acquired the land in 1990 and began the process of remediating the hazardous waste site.
The soil at Fox Point State Park has been contaminated by industrial waste and sewage sludge. Environmental specialists were called in to construct the park in such a way that the health of employees and visitors would not be threatened. Funds provided by the State of Delaware's Hazardous Substance Cleanup Act were designated to use a commonly employed strategy to contain waste a landfills: a cap system. The cap system plan called for an impermeable layer of plastic to cover the 15 acres (6.1 ha) of contaminated land. Layers of clean fill, sand, gravel and topsoil were placed atop and underneath the protective plastic. The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control continues to monitor and maintain the environmental protections at Fox Point State Park Sections of the park that have not undergone the remediation process are surrounded by mesh fences and are off limits to visitors, although more of the park land will be remediated and opened to the public in the future.
Fox Point State Park's location along the Delaware River provides visitors with several scenic vistas and a view of the working river. The skyline of Philadelphia can be seen to the north and the Delaware Memorial Bridge can be viewed to the south. The park is near the shipping channel of the Delaware River and barges, container ships and tankers pass by regularly. There are several signs on the shore of the river that provide information about the various watercraft that can be seen navigating the Delaware River.
In addition to the vistas, visitors to the park have access to extensive picnic facilities, volleyball courts, horseshoe pits, and a playground. Fox Point State Park is the northern terminus of the Coastal Heritage Greenway, which stretches from Wilmington south along the shore of Delaware Bay to Cape Henlopen State Park. It is also the eastern terminus of the Northern Delaware Greenway.
Fox Point State Park is located on the Atlantic Flyway. This brings a wide variety of migrating birds to the park. It is also close to Pea Patch Island and Fort Delaware State Park, site of the largest heronry north of Florida. Herons, egrets, and ibises are common summertime visitors to the park. The nearby Delaware Memorial Bridge is a nesting location for Peregrine Falcons.
Plans for further development include extensive remediation of the affected soils. Once the polluted soil is protectively contained, additional park infrastructure is planned. A 0.75-mile (1.21 km) loop with fitness stations will be built. The area on the inside of the loop will be planted with a wide variety of wildflowers. This should lessen the environmental impact and cut down on maintenance costs. Plans for the construction of a multi-purpose building have been written, along with plans for an amphitheater, children's garden, and boat launch.
Holts LandingHolts Landing State Park is a 203-acre (82 ha) Delaware state park northwest of Bethany Beach, Sussex County, Delaware in the United States. Prior to becoming a state park the land of Holts Landing State Park was the Holt family farm. The Holts sold the land to the state of Delaware in 1957 and Holts Landing State Park was opened to the public in 1965. The park is on the southern shore of Indian River Bay. Holts Landing State Park is open for year round recreation and features the only pier on the east coast of Delaware that has been purpose built for crabbing, the recreational harvesting of blue crabs.
Holts Landing State Park, on Indian River Bay, has long been a center of crabbing, fishing, hunting, and farming dating back to the Pre-Columbian history of what is now southeastern Delaware. Native peoples took advantage of the abundant seafood that was harvested in the shallow waters of the inland bays. They also hunted wildlife in the surrounding marshes and forests.
The arrival of colonists from Europe signaled the end of the way of life that the Native Americans had known. They were driven out by war and disease and were displaced by men who began farming the land on the southern coast of Indian River Bay. These colonists continued the practice of harvesting seafood from the bay and expanded their farming operations slowly over the years. The Holt family operated a small family farm and boat landing for many years before selling their property to the state in 1957. Holts Landing State Park was opened for public use in 1965.
The recreational facilities at Holts Landing State Park are open daily from 8:00 am until sunset. The crabbing pier on the Indian River Bay was constructed in 2001 to provide visitors with easy access to the abundant blue crabs of the park. Visitors lower a baited basket into the waters of the bay and wait for the crabs to take the bait before pulling them out of the water. The pier is also open to fishing.
Visitors to the park may take advantage of the picnic facilities at Holts Landing State Park. The picnic tables are located in shady sections of the park. There are nearby charcoal grills and a large lawn for the spreading of picnic blankets. A large pavilion is available to rent for family reunions, church gatherings and company picnics. Holts Landing State Park also features a playground, horseshoes pit, nature trails, horse trails, and a boat ramp.
The boat ramp provides access to Indian River Bay which is popular with fishermen and recreation boaters. The common game fish in the bay are sea trout, flounder, bluefish and perch. Clams are also harvested in the shallow waters of the bay.
Assawoman Canal is part of Holts Landing State Park. This canal connects Indian River Bat with Little Assawoman Bay to the south. It was initially dug by hand in the 1890s by immigrant labor. The canal was last dredged in the 1950s. It is no longer deep enough to handle the boat traffic that once passed through it when it was part of the Inter-coastal Waterway. A privately owned marina is located within the park at the northern end of the canal. Most of the rest of the canal is too shallow and narrow for recreational motorboats to safely navigate. It has become a haven for recreational kayakers.
Holts Landing State Park is home to a wide variety of wildlife. Commonly seen wading birds include, herons, egrets and ibises. Hawks and ospreys are the most often seen birds of prey at the park. The forests are populated with songbirds, White-tailed deer, raccoons, foxes, muskrats, and opossums. The animals have adapted to the changes of man by making homes in the pits that were dug by the highway department for road constructions. These pits have since filled with water creating several small ponds. The Assawoman Canal also provides a habitat for a wide variety of wildlife. Possible development along the canal has drawn the attention of the Sierra Club.
Killens PondKillens Pond State Park is a Delaware state park located south of the town of Felton in Kent County, Delaware in the United States. The park surrounds a 66-acre (270,000 m2) pond known as Killens Pond located along the Murderkill River. Amenities available include boating, fishing, hiking, playgrounds, and picnic areas. The park also features a nature center, year-round campgrounds and a water park that is open during the summer months.
Killens Pond State Park on the Murderkill River was previously the site of a millpond and the location of several Native American hunting camps and homes. The millpond was built in the late 18th century. The river received its name after the local Indians attacked and killed the members of a Dutch settlement in 1648. The state park was opened to the public in 1965.
Killens Pond State Park is opened for year round recreation and features a waterpark, Killens Pond Water Park. Killens Pond and the Murderkill River are open to fishing and boating. Common game fish include bass, crappie, bluegill, catfish, perch and pickerel. Canoes, rowboats, kayaks and pedal boats are permitted on the pond and the river is the site of the Murderkill River Canoe Trail.
There are several miles of trails at Killens Pond State Park. They are open to hiking, biking, cross-country skiing and cross-country running. There is an 18 hole disc golf course running through the park. Ice Storm Trail passes through a forest that is recovering from the affects of a 1994 ice storm that stripped many of the trees. The park also features several ballfields and playing courts as well as a bike path the follows the main park entrance from U.S. Route 13.
Lums PondLums Pond State Park is a 1790-acre (7.24 km2) Delaware state park near Bear, New Castle County, Delaware in the United States. The park surrounds Lums Pond, an impoundment built by the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal on St. Georges Creek. The C&D built the pond as a source of water to fill the locks of the canal that connected the Chesapeake Bay with the Delaware River during the early 1800s. Lums Pond State park is open for a wide variety of year-round recreation.
Lums Pond, the largest freshwater pond in Delaware, covering 200 acres (0.81 km2) in central New Castle County, was built in the early 1800s as an impoundment for the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal. The pond supplied water to fill the locks of the canal and water power for a local gristmill. The pond became a natural recreational draw for the residents of Delaware. Ownership was transferred to the state of Delaware in the mid 1900s. Lums Pond State Park was opened to the public in 1963.
Lums Pond is the center of recreation at Lums Pond State Park. Although swimming is not permitted in the pond, it is open to boating and fishing. Rowboats, sailboats, kayaks, canoes, and pedal boats are available to rent. Lums Pond is a freshwater fishery with the common game fish being carp, pickerel, crappie, catfish, and largemouth bass and striped bass. The striped bass are stocked by the Fish and Wildlife Division of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control. The other game fish are native species.
Many visitors to Lums Pond State Park take advantage of the wide variety of camping opportunities that are available. There 62 campsites without electric connections, 6 sites with electricity, 2 yurts, and 4 sites with stabling facilities for horses. The campsites are open to RVs or tents. The yurts feature bunk beds and a futon, electricity, and a large outdoor deck with freshwater and a grill.
Lums Pond State Park is open to hiking, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling on Lums Pond State Parks network of trails. Summit North Marina is located on the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal. It has 250 private slips for boats and offers boat and fuel sales, boat storage and boat repair. Many different ballfields and game courts are spread throughout Lums Pond State Park. The fields are open to football, soccer, baseball, and softball. The courts are open to basketball, volleyball and tennis. Horseshoes pits are available as is a disc golf course. Hunting is permitted with a hunting license from the Division of Fish and Wildlife but a special permit from the Division of Parks and Recreation is also required since the park is Parks and Recreation property. The special permit can be acquired at the park office. Any more questions about the park or anything that is offered by the park can be directed to 302-368-6989 which is the number to Lums Ponds office or by calling the Division of Parks and Recreations headquarters in Dover at 302-739-9200.
Trap PondTrap Pond State Park is a 2,109 acre (8.5 km2) Delaware state park located near Laurel, Delaware. It is one of the largest surviving fragments of what was once an extensive wetland in what is now southwestern Sussex County. The state park features an extensive patch of second-growth baldcypress trees.
The baldcypress is a wetland tree adapted to areas of calm, shallow standing water. It survives frosts but does not like extensive periods below freezing, and Trap Pond is the northernmost extensive natural stand of baldcypress on the Eastern seaboard of the United States.
Many birds flock to stands of baldcypress, including Great Blue Herons, owls, warblers, and Pileated Woodpeckers. Birdwatchers can also see hummingbirds and Bald Eagles at Trap Pond in season.
Large specimens of American holly, the state tree of Delaware, can also be seen in the Trap Pond bottomland.
The rot-resistant wood of Trap Pond's baldcypress trees was extensively harvested starting in the 1700s. The lumbermen extensively altered the morphology of the wetland, damming its outflow to create power for a small sawmill to cut the timbers. This dam helped to create what is now Trap Pond. The pond was enlarged in later years as nearby farmers laid down drainage tiles to de-water their wetlands for agriculture. After the old-growth cypress timber had been harvested, the pond and adjacent surviving wetlands were re-used as the drainage sump for the surrounding farmers of Sussex County.
In the 1930s, the federal Civilian Conservation Corps listed the pond as a place of recreation development. The Delaware legislature took over the land and named it as a state park in 1951.
The partly-sheltered waters of Trap Pond (90 acres/0.4 km2) are now managed as a waterway for family recreation. A concessioner rents canoes, kayaks, rowboats, pedal boats, and surf bikes. There is also a launching ramp for privately-owned shallow-draft vessels.
Fishing opportunities concentrate on panfish such as crappie and bluegill, with some bass and pickerel as well.
The Baldcypress Nature Center features a display of some of the reptiles, fish and amphibians found in Trap Pond, as well as other natural history exhibits and a nature library. The nature center is open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Programs include hayrides, guided nature walks and hikes, naturalist-led pontoon boat tours and outdoor skills workshops.
White Clay CreekWhite Clay Creek State Park is a Delaware state park along White Clay Creek on 3,300 acres (1,335 ha) in New Castle County, Delaware in the United States. The park, often known by its initials W.C.C.S.P., is near the Mason-Dixon Line. North of the park is Pennsylvania's White Clay Creek Preserve. White Clay Creek State Park was opened in 1968 and offers 30 miles (48 km) of nature and fitness trails which are open to hiking and mountain biking through a number of seasonal day-use fee parking lots.
The Mason-Dixon Trail enters the park along a trail from the White Clay Creek Preserve and passes through the preserve on its way towards Newark. A trail map of White Clay Creek State Park is available from the DE State Parks site, as of 6/2009, an updated printed map is available from the park office at 750 Thompson Station Road, Newark, DE. This map also includes the adjoining Middle Run Valley Natural Area - a section of New Castle County parkland which bridges the Judge Morris and Possum Hill areas of White Clay Creek State Park - and also nearby Redd Park - a City of Newark property which connects White Clay & Middle Run to the Newark Reservoir.
The park was established in 1968. It was renamed for parks director Walter S. Carpenter in 1975. In 1995, the park was reestablished from Walter S. Carpenter, Jr. Recreation Area, White Clay Creek Preserve, and some Du Pont family land.