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. Mobi-Mat equipment, consisting of three 30-foot mats allowing those in wheelchairs and power chairs to access the beach from the boardwalk, is also available at the Towers Ocean and South Inlet locations. View our wheelchair policy here.
About Beach Driving
Vehicles may be driven onto the beach for the sole purpose of actively engaging in fishing, in designated areas only. A surf fishing vehicle tag is required to use these areas. Learn More...
Swimming and Sunbathing
The main attraction for many visitors is swimming and sunbathing along the park's spectacular beaches. Two ocean swimming areas feature modern bathhouses with showers and changing rooms. Lifeguards patrol the beaches from 9 am to 5 pm daily between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day. Snack foods are available at the bathhouses, and umbrellas, chairs, and rafts can be rented on the beach.
Fishing and Boating
Fishing and boating are very popular year-round pastimes at Delaware Seashore. In addition to surf fishing on the ocean beaches, anglers may try their luck along the banks of the Indian River Inlet. A special access pier at the Inlet allows the elderly and people with disabilities to get close to the fishing action. The Indian River Marina offers many services for boaters.
Surf Fishing Restrictions
Vehicles bearing surf-fishing permits (meaning their occupants must be actively engaged in recreational surf fishing) are required to park in single file, with a ban on vehicle stacking. This enables better enforcement of the actively-engaged rule and also addresses safety concerns for beachgoers and park staff. Read More
More Than Just Sun and Sand
Thompson Island on Rehoboth Bay is a new addition to the park. Located northwest of the Inlet, Thompson Island Preserve is a good example of the productive salt marsh habitat once common around the inland bays. Due to its importance to local wildlife, human activities on the island are limited, and there is no motor vehicle access or parking available at this time.
With so much to offer in seashore recreation, it is easy to see why the Inlet and surrounding beaches remain the most popular park in the First State. Throughout the year, visitors of all ages will find fun in the sun at Delaware Seashore State Park.
Surfing and Sailboarding
Surfers enjoy riding the mighty ocean waves at Delaware Seashore, too. The beach just north of the Inlet is one of the few designated areas in the state for this exciting sport. Other beaches throughout the park are set aside for surf fishing. Marked dune crossings allow fishing access for four-wheel drive vehicles onto the beach. Permits and related information are available at the park office.
The shallow bays provide many additional opportunities to enjoy the water. Windsurfing and sailing are growing in popularity, and the sports are colorful to watch from the shore. A non-motorized boat launch provides access for sail boards and boats in the New Road area. Clamming and crabbing are permitted in some sections of the bays, please check with the Park Office for open areas. A short nature trail on Burton's Island affords scenic views of the salt marshes and bay islands, where gulls and terns gather in their noisy summer nesting colonies.
For group activities with families and friends, two picnic pavilions are available on a first-come, first-served basis, one on the bay shore at Savages Ditch Road and the other at the Inlet. Entertaining and informative programs, such as bay seining and marsh hikes, are held throughout the summer. The park also hosts a popular Sandcastle Contest each July, where amateur participants create unique sculptures and castles to compete for prizes.