Picture of Cape Henlopen State Park

Cape Henlopen State Park


Special Update - June 30

Limits Set for Beaches

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:

  • The number of vehicles allowed in Cape Henlopen, Delaware Seashore and Fenwick Island state parks will be limited to approximately 60% of the parking capacity. When the 60% capacity is reached, all vehicles will be turned away until vehicle volume within the parks is reduced. Vehicle restrictions may be lifted periodically as volume levels are noticeably reduced within the parks. These limits, which will be enforced at park entrances by DNREC Natural Resources Police, will not be managed based on a “one-in, one-out” policy that would encourage lines of waiting vehicles and people.
  • At Cape Henlopen, when the main gate is closed to additional vehicles based on parking lot capacity, the closure will include vehicles that have arrived at the park for drive-on surf fishing as well.
  • At Delaware Seashore and Fenwick Island surf fishing beaches, NRP officers will monitor the number of vehicles on the beach and will close drive-on beach entrances if vehicles fail to maintain the 20-foot distance between vehicles currently mandated by the Governor’s emergency order.
  • Masks or face coverings are required in bathhouse and concession areas of all three parks and strongly encouraged on the beach as well.
  • Campgrounds and cabin rentals will continue.

Find Your Adventure at Cape Henlopen

The Point at Cape Henlopen State Park

Visit The Point Overlook

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.

Fort Miles Artillery Park at Cape Henlopen State Park.

Tour the Fort Miles Historical Area

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.

 

 

Bike riders at Cape Henlopen State Park

Borrow a Bike and Loop the Park

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.

 

Touch tanks at the Seaside Nature Center let you experience marine life up close.

Visit the Nature Center and Touch Tank

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 fishing is great from the pier at Cape Henlopen State Park

Walk the Fishing Pier

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.

 

 

The Gordons Pond Trail takes you through a variety of habitats

Superintendent’s Pick: Gordons Pond Trail

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.

About the Park

Situated at the mouth of the Delaware Bay sits Cape Henlopen State Park and its 6+ miles of coastline. The “Point” of Cape Henlopen, where the Delaware Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean, shaped the history of this landscape. For millenia, native people lived off the land’s abundant and rich resources and in the late 1600s, William Penn’s family granted the land and allowed citizens to harvest many of the same resources. The area’s strategic position led to the construction of Fort Miles during World war II with its iconic fire control towers along the Atlantic coast and, which served as a federal defensive site, training area and testing location both during and after the war. A diverse collection of habitats makes up the coastal ecosystem of Cape Henlopen State Park. Barrier dune, coastal beaches, and maritime forest are home to many species of plants and animals. Visitors can visit the Seaside Nature Center to participate in an interpretive program or learn about the park’s native plants and animals.

Water, Beaches, and Trails

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.

Camping and Cabins

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.

Fort Miles Museum and Historical Area

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.

Seaside Nature Center

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

Nature Center Hours

Current Hours:

  • Open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Closed Mondays and Tuesdays

Borrow-A-Bike Program

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.

Borrow-A-Bike Hours

7 days/week – weather permitting
10am – 3pm (last bikes out at 2pm)
Call Nature Center to confirm they are open 302-645-6852

Beach Plum Island Nature Preserve

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.

Upcoming Events

Bird Walk

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

8:00 AM

Explore Cape Henlopen's birding hot spots with a staff naturalist during the fall migration. Bring your own binoculars (or borrow a pair of ours), wear comfortable walking shoes and dress for the weather. Beginner birders are welcome. For ages 10 and older with an adult.Call 302-645-6852 for more information and to register. Free

Add to Calendar 9/21/2021 8:00:00 AM 9/21/2021 10:00:00 AM America/New_York Bird Walk Explore Cape Henlopen's birding hot spots with a staff naturalist during the fall migration. Bring your own binoculars (or borrow a pair of ours), wear comfortable walking shoes and dress for the weather. Beginner birders are welcome. For ages 10 and older with an adult.Call 302-645-6852 for more information and to register. Free Cape Henlopen State Park

Nature Jogging

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

4:30 PM

Want to exercise and explore the nature? Join a park interpreter for a scenic 1.5-mile jog out and a 1.5-mile guided cool-down walk back, exploring the nature along the trail. For ages 10 and older with an adult. Call 302-645-6852 for more information and to register. Free

Add to Calendar 9/21/2021 4:30:00 PM 9/21/2021 5:30:00 PM America/New_York Nature Jogging Want to exercise and explore the nature? Join a park interpreter for a scenic 1.5-mile jog out and a 1.5-mile guided cool-down walk back, exploring the nature along the trail. For ages 10 and older with an adult. Call 302-645-6852 for more information and to register. Free Cape Henlopen State Park

Squid Dissection

Saturday, September 25, 2021

2:00 PM

Explore the ins and outs of these mysterious animals through hands-on dissection. For ages 7 and older with an adult. Online registration ends 24 hours prior to the program. After that, please call 302-645-6852. $6 per person

Register Online

Add to Calendar 9/25/2021 2:00:00 PM 9/25/2021 3:00:00 PM America/New_York Squid Dissection Explore the ins and outs of these mysterious animals through hands-on dissection. For ages 7 and older with an adult. Online registration ends 24 hours prior to the program. After that, please call 302-645-6852. $6 per person Cape Henlopen State Park

Bird Walk

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

8:00 AM

Explore Cape Henlopen's birding hot spots with a staff naturalist during the fall migration. Bring your own binoculars (or borrow a pair of ours), wear comfortable walking shoes and dress for the weather. Beginner birders are welcome. For ages 10 and older with an adult.Call 302-645-6852 for more information and to register. Free

Add to Calendar 9/28/2021 8:00:00 AM 9/28/2021 10:00:00 AM America/New_York Bird Walk Explore Cape Henlopen's birding hot spots with a staff naturalist during the fall migration. Bring your own binoculars (or borrow a pair of ours), wear comfortable walking shoes and dress for the weather. Beginner birders are welcome. For ages 10 and older with an adult.Call 302-645-6852 for more information and to register. Free Cape Henlopen State Park

Hike the Point

Saturday, October 2, 2021

9:00 AM

Recently opened for the public to explore the beach, join us on this guided 1.8-mile hike to explore the beauty of Cape Henlopen's Point and its ecological importance. For ages 7 and older with an adult. Online registration ends 24 hours prior to the program. After that, please call 302-645-6852. $5 per person

Register Online

Add to Calendar 10/2/2021 9:00:00 AM 10/2/2021 10:00:00 AM America/New_York Hike the Point Recently opened for the public to explore the beach, join us on this guided 1.8-mile hike to explore the beauty of Cape Henlopen's Point and its ecological importance. For ages 7 and older with an adult. Online registration ends 24 hours prior to the program. After that, please call 302-645-6852. $5 per person Cape Henlopen State Park

Bird Walk

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

8:00 AM

Explore Cape Henlopen’s birding hot spots with a staff naturalist during the fall migration. Bring your own binoculars (or borrow a pair of ours), wear comfortable walking shoes and dress for the weather. Beginner birders are welcome. For ages 10 and older with an adult.Call 302-645-6852 for more information and to register. Free

Add to Calendar 10/5/2021 8:00:00 AM 10/5/2021 10:00:00 AM America/New_York Bird Walk Explore Cape Henlopen’s birding hot spots with a staff naturalist during the fall migration. Bring your own binoculars (or borrow a pair of ours), wear comfortable walking shoes and dress for the weather. Beginner birders are welcome. For ages 10 and older with an adult.Call 302-645-6852 for more information and to register. Free Cape Henlopen State Park

Citizen Science at the Shore

Saturday, October 9, 2021

9:00 AM

Do science and help the beach? Yes, you can! Have fun collecting data to help make our beaches better. For ages 5 and older with an adult. Online registration ends 24 hours prior to the program. After that, please call 302-645-6852. $5 per person

Register Online

Add to Calendar 10/9/2021 9:00:00 AM 10/9/2021 10:00:00 AM America/New_York Citizen Science at the Shore Do science and help the beach? Yes, you can! Have fun collecting data to help make our beaches better. For ages 5 and older with an adult. Online registration ends 24 hours prior to the program. After that, please call 302-645-6852. $5 per person Cape Henlopen State Park

Bird Walk

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

8:00 AM

Explore Cape Henlopen’s birding hot spots with a staff naturalist during the fall migration. Bring your own binoculars (or borrow a pair of ours), wear comfortable walking shoes and dress for the weather. Beginner birders are welcome. For ages 10 and older with an adult.Call 302-645-6852 for more information and to register. Free

Add to Calendar 10/12/2021 8:00:00 AM 10/12/2021 10:00:00 AM America/New_York Bird Walk Explore Cape Henlopen’s birding hot spots with a staff naturalist during the fall migration. Bring your own binoculars (or borrow a pair of ours), wear comfortable walking shoes and dress for the weather. Beginner birders are welcome. For ages 10 and older with an adult.Call 302-645-6852 for more information and to register. Free Cape Henlopen State Park

Nature Jogging

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

4:30 PM

Want to exercise and explore the nature? Join a park interpreter for a scenic 1.5-mile jog out and a 1.5-mile guided cool-down walk back, exploring the nature along the trail. For ages 10 and older with an adult. Call 302-645-6852 for more information and to register. Free

Add to Calendar 10/12/2021 4:30:00 PM 10/12/2021 5:30:00 PM America/New_York Nature Jogging Want to exercise and explore the nature? Join a park interpreter for a scenic 1.5-mile jog out and a 1.5-mile guided cool-down walk back, exploring the nature along the trail. For ages 10 and older with an adult. Call 302-645-6852 for more information and to register. Free Cape Henlopen State Park

Squid Dissection

Saturday, October 16, 2021

2:00 PM

Explore the ins and outs of these mysterious animals through hands-on dissection. For ages 7 and older with an adult. Online registration ends 24 hours prior to the program. After that, please call 302-645-6852. $6 per person

Register Online

Add to Calendar 10/16/2021 2:00:00 PM 10/16/2021 3:00:00 PM America/New_York Squid Dissection Explore the ins and outs of these mysterious animals through hands-on dissection. For ages 7 and older with an adult. Online registration ends 24 hours prior to the program. After that, please call 302-645-6852. $6 per person Cape Henlopen State Park

Bird Walk

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

8:00 AM

Explore Cape Henlopen’s birding hot spots with a staff naturalist during the fall migration. Bring your own binoculars (or borrow a pair of ours), wear comfortable walking shoes and dress for the weather. Beginner birders are welcome. For ages 10 and older with an adult.Call 302-645-6852 for more information and to register. Free

Add to Calendar 10/19/2021 8:00:00 AM 10/19/2021 10:00:00 AM America/New_York Bird Walk Explore Cape Henlopen’s birding hot spots with a staff naturalist during the fall migration. Bring your own binoculars (or borrow a pair of ours), wear comfortable walking shoes and dress for the weather. Beginner birders are welcome. For ages 10 and older with an adult.Call 302-645-6852 for more information and to register. Free Cape Henlopen State Park

Full Moon Hike

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

6:30 PM

Hike the park as the sun sets and the full moon rises to explore what animals come out and how and why they have adapted to life at night. For ages 7 and older with an adult. Online registration ends 24 hours prior to the program. After that, please call 302-645-6852. $6 per person

Register Online

Add to Calendar 10/20/2021 6:30:00 PM 10/20/2021 7:30:00 PM America/New_York Full Moon Hike Hike the park as the sun sets and the full moon rises to explore what animals come out and how and why they have adapted to life at night. For ages 7 and older with an adult. Online registration ends 24 hours prior to the program. After that, please call 302-645-6852. $6 per person Cape Henlopen State Park

Leaf Peeper Hike

Saturday, October 23, 2021

9:00 AM

Our park has more than just pine trees—take a peek at the different colors of the other trees in the park and discover how and why their leaves change color. For ages 5 and older with an adult. Online registration ends 24 hours prior to the program. After that, please call 302-645-6852. $5 per person

Register Online

Add to Calendar 10/23/2021 9:00:00 AM 10/23/2021 10:00:00 AM America/New_York Leaf Peeper Hike Our park has more than just pine trees—take a peek at the different colors of the other trees in the park and discover how and why their leaves change color. For ages 5 and older with an adult. Online registration ends 24 hours prior to the program. After that, please call 302-645-6852. $5 per person Cape Henlopen State Park

Children's Fantasy Trail

Friday, October 29, 2021

6:00 PM

Don't let last year's cancelation scare you away from Fantasy Trail! Wear your Halloween costume and Trick-or-Treat for candy and toys with your favorite storybook characters along our jack-o-lantern lined trail. Events and details subject to change. Call 302-645-6852 for more information. $6 per person

Add to Calendar 10/29/2021 6:00:00 PM 10/29/2021 8:00:00 PM America/New_York Children's Fantasy Trail Don't let last year's cancelation scare you away from Fantasy Trail! Wear your Halloween costume and Trick-or-Treat for candy and toys with your favorite storybook characters along our jack-o-lantern lined trail. Events and details subject to change. Call 302-645-6852 for more information. $6 per person Cape Henlopen State Park

Children's Fantasy Trail

Saturday, October 30, 2021

6:00 PM

Don't let last year's cancelation scare you away from Fantasy Trail! Wear your Halloween costume and Trick-or-Treat for candy and toys with your favorite storybook characters along our jack-o-lantern lined trail. Events and details subject to change. Call 302-645-6852 for more information. $6 per person

Add to Calendar 10/30/2021 6:00:00 PM 10/30/2021 8:00:00 PM America/New_York Children's Fantasy Trail Don't let last year's cancelation scare you away from Fantasy Trail! Wear your Halloween costume and Trick-or-Treat for candy and toys with your favorite storybook characters along our jack-o-lantern lined trail. Events and details subject to change. Call 302-645-6852 for more information. $6 per person Cape Henlopen State Park

Children's Fantasy Trail

Sunday, October 31, 2021

6:00 PM

Don't let last year's cancelation scare you away from Fantasy Trail! Wear your Halloween costume and Trick-or-Treat for candy and toys with your favorite storybook characters along our jack-o-lantern lined trail. Events and details subject to change. Call 302-645-6852 for more information. $6 per person

Add to Calendar 10/31/2021 6:00:00 PM 10/31/2021 7:30:00 PM America/New_York Children's Fantasy Trail Don't let last year's cancelation scare you away from Fantasy Trail! Wear your Halloween costume and Trick-or-Treat for candy and toys with your favorite storybook characters along our jack-o-lantern lined trail. Events and details subject to change. Call 302-645-6852 for more information. $6 per person Cape Henlopen State Park

Cell-phone Nature Photography

Saturday, November 6, 2021

9:00 AM

No fancy camera? No problem! Join us on a short nature walk and learn a few tips and tricks to help you take better nature photos with the mobile phone camera already in your pocket! For ages 7 and older with an adult. Online registration ends 24 hours prior to the program. After that, please call 302-645-6852. $5 per person

Register Online

Add to Calendar 11/6/2021 9:00:00 AM 11/6/2021 10:00:00 AM America/New_York Cell-phone Nature Photography No fancy camera? No problem! Join us on a short nature walk and learn a few tips and tricks to help you take better nature photos with the mobile phone camera already in your pocket! For ages 7 and older with an adult. Online registration ends 24 hours prior to the program. After that, please call 302-645-6852. $5 per person Cape Henlopen State Park

Too Cool for Reptiles

Saturday, November 13, 2021

11:00 AM

See and touch live reptiles as we find out what our local snakes and turtles do as the days get cooler. For ages 5 and older with an adult. Online registration ends 24 hours prior to the program. After that, please call 302-645-6852. $5 per person

Register Online

Add to Calendar 11/13/2021 11:00:00 AM 11/13/2021 12:00:00 PM America/New_York Too Cool for Reptiles See and touch live reptiles as we find out what our local snakes and turtles do as the days get cooler. For ages 5 and older with an adult. Online registration ends 24 hours prior to the program. After that, please call 302-645-6852. $5 per person Cape Henlopen State Park

Full Moon Hike

Friday, November 19, 2021

5:30 PM

Hike the park as the sun sets and the full moon rises to explore what animals come out and how and why they have adapted to life at night. For ages 7 and older with an adult. Online registration ends 24 hours prior to the program. After that, please call 302-645-6852. $6 per person

Register Online

Add to Calendar 11/19/2021 5:30:00 PM 11/19/2021 6:30:00 PM America/New_York Full Moon Hike Hike the park as the sun sets and the full moon rises to explore what animals come out and how and why they have adapted to life at night. For ages 7 and older with an adult. Online registration ends 24 hours prior to the program. After that, please call 302-645-6852. $6 per person Cape Henlopen State Park

Cranberry Bog Hike

Friday, November 26, 2021

9:00 AM

Explore the Pinelands Trail and search for cranberries, wildlife and other natural wonders the early colonists might have seen themselves. For ages 5 and older with an adult. Online registration ends 24 hours prior to the program. After that, please call 302-645-6852. $5 per person

Register Online

Add to Calendar 11/26/2021 9:00:00 AM 11/26/2021 10:00:00 AM America/New_York Cranberry Bog Hike Explore the Pinelands Trail and search for cranberries, wildlife and other natural wonders the early colonists might have seen themselves. For ages 5 and older with an adult. Online registration ends 24 hours prior to the program. After that, please call 302-645-6852. $5 per person Cape Henlopen State Park

Squid Dissection

Saturday, November 27, 2021

2:00 PM

Explore the ins and outs of these mysterious animals through hands-on dissection. For ages 7 and older with an adult. Online registration ends 24 hours prior to the program. After that, please call 302-645-6852. $6 per person

Register Online

Add to Calendar 11/27/2021 2:00:00 PM 11/27/2021 3:00:00 PM America/New_York Squid Dissection Explore the ins and outs of these mysterious animals through hands-on dissection. For ages 7 and older with an adult. Online registration ends 24 hours prior to the program. After that, please call 302-645-6852. $6 per person Cape Henlopen State Park

Map and Directions