In accordance with Gov. Carney’s goal of limiting interactions among people in Delaware’s beach areas to reduce transmission of COVID-19, the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control announced that the following restrictions are in effect until further notice:
See where the Delaware Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean, and experience the Point, a great place for viewing birds, dolphins, seals, and more. You’ll also see both the East End Breakwater and the Harbor of Refuge lighthouses. In winter, visitors can hike around the Point on the bay and ocean beaches.
Cape Henlopen was once a World War II coastal defense site. Take a tour of Battery 519, and climb to the top of the Observation Tower to discover the roles the towers played in the operation of Fort Miles.
Did you know you can borrow a bike for free, thanks to the Friends of Cape Henlopen? Bike the Loop trail around the park to experience diverse ecosystems, including the maritime forests, dunes, and beach. It's a great way to experience the rich history of the park.
Get up close with native marine life in the touch tank! You’ll learn about the park’s habitats and the creatures that live here. To understand more about the park, sign up for guided programs such as seining the bay, dolphin watches, or ghost crab hikes!
The pier was originally built to support mine operations during World War II. Today, it offers 24-hour access to fishing in the Delaware Bay. Cast your line from the pier, or take a walk to experience the natural beauty of the Delaware Bay.
This 3.2-mile accessible trail offers stunning views of the park’s dynamic coastal habitats, including dunes, forests, and wetlands. Hike or bike across the elevated boardwalk, and look for wildlife along the trail.
When the current lands of the state of Delaware were granted to William Penn sometime after 1682, 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." It has remained in the public domain ever since, playing a major role in local shipping and in the nation's 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. As a Delaware state park, Cape Henlopen remains in the public domain.
Cape Henlopen's beaches attract thousands of visitors who enjoy everything from ocean swimming, boating, fishing, and kayaking to clamming, paddle-boarding and wind-surfing. But Cape Henlopen offers more than just the ocean and bays. The park's premiere trails offer hiking and biking exploration.
A designated swimming beach, accessible from the Lewes entrance to the park, provides lifeguard patrols between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day (schedule may vary depending on staff availability).
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 this location.
Cape Henlopen's campground, set among pine-covered dunes, now includes 2-point hookups, 100-amp service on several sites, and sites to accommodate larger rigs. Twenty walk-in tent sites lie adjacent to the Waking Dunes Trail. Twelve camping cabins -- two-room individual cabins that offer an outdoor spigot and fire ring for cooking and share a communal bath house -- offer an economical alternative for vacationing at the beach. Visit our Reservations section for camping information and pricing.
During World War II, the Delaware River was a chief priority for defense planners because of the access it afforded to the giant trade centers of Wilmington, Philadelphia, and beyond. Fort Miles, located in what is now Cape Henlopen State Park, was a key piece of the nation's coastal defense at that time. Visit the Fort Miles page in our Attractions section for information about programs and tours.
The centerpiece of the newly-renovated Seaside Nature Center is a 495-gallon two-level touch tank, complete with viewing windows that allow visitors to see stingrays, horseshoe crabs and other species in the tank while they’re underwater. The nature center also features five 1,000-gallon tanks with local fish, exhibits that explain the different habitats within the park, a live Osprey cam provided by the Friends of Cape Henlopen (April through August), and a gift shop. A wide selection of activities and programs for children and adults are led by Seaside Nature Center staff each week. Go to YouTube to view the Osprey cam
Free bikes are available at the Seaside Nature Center on a first-come, first-served basis, weather permitting, for 2 hours at a time, Bikes must remain within the park and stay on the paved bike trail. For more information, call the nature center. The Borrow-A-Bike Program is a project of the Friends of Cape Henlopen.
The Borrow-A-Bike program has been suspended until further notice due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please check the Friends of CHSP website for updates.
Lying between the Delaware Bay and the Broadkill River, Beach Plum Island Nature Preserve – Washover Barrier Spit provides the only publicly owned wild beach in Delaware incorporating both dune and marsh habitat. A portion of beachfront allows surf fishing and pedestrian use; however, a majority of the preserve is off limits to human activity to allow for wildlife conservation. The site provides important habitat for horseshoe crab spawning and shorebird feeding in the spring. The preserve has a pedestrian-only linear trail on the river side and a limited-access parking lot.
Saturday, February 6, 2021
How do local animals survive our winters? Look for and learn about the different survival strategies used by wildlife as we explore the park. Dress for the weather. Ages 7 and older with a paying adult. $2 per person
Saturday, February 13, 2021
Volunteer to help maintain the park’s trails or other light maintenance projects. For further details please call the Volunteer Coordinator at 302-644-5005. Free
Tuesday, February 16, 2021
Don’t let the cold weather freeze your bird watching. Join us once a month as we search the park for winter birds. All birding abilities welcome (we even have binoculars to borrow). For ages 10 and up with an adult. Limit 12. Pre-registration required by calling 302-645-6852. Free
Saturday, February 20, 2021
Stranded or just hanging out? Find out which species you may see and what these marine mammals and other wildlife are doing at beach in the winter. Dress to go outside. For ages 7 and up with an adult. $2 per person
Friday, February 26, 2021
Hike the park as the sun sets and the full moon of February (called the Snow Moon) rises. Find out what animals come out on winter nights and how they adapt. Wear comfortable walking shoes and dress for the weather. For ages 7 and up with paying adult. $2 per person
Saturday, February 27, 2021
Do science and help the beach? Yes, you can! Have fun collecting data to help make our beaches better. Dress for the weather. Ages 5 and older with a paying adult. $2 per person