Delaware State Parks Covid-19 Preparations and Response
Delaware State Parks staff understand that our natural resources are a vital means for the public to exercise and a source for food; however, in order to keep our parks open for all members of the public to enjoy, we ask that our visitors be mindful of the length and frequency of their visits during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The safest way to enjoy Delaware State Parks is sparingly, as needed, and during off-peak times: before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m. daily. Those kindergarten age or older must bring face coverings with them to enter a park and wear them when they cannot maintain social distancing from other visitors, such as in bathhouses, park offices, concession buildings, boat docks, and on trails and paths where others are present. Face coverings are strongly encouraged for children ages 2 and older, unless a child has a medical condition that makes it hard to breathe or disability that prevents the child from wearing a face covering. Rangers or park staff may require those who do not bring face masks to leave.
Home is the safest place to be! Whenever possible, Delaware residents should look for safe ways to get moving and have fun around their home and neighborhood. Our entire Delaware State Parks team wants you and your loved ones to remain as safe as possible now so you can enjoy our parks to their fullest once the threat of COVID-19 has passed.
Visiting the Parks
- Those kindergarten age or older must bring face coverings with them to enter a park and wear them when they cannot maintain social distancing from other visitors, such as in bathhouses, park offices, concession buildings, boat docks, and on trails and paths where others are present. Rangers or park staff may require those who do not bring face masks to leave.
- State park offices are open. You must observe social distancing requirements and wear a face covering when entering a park office.
- Most bathrooms in other state parks around the state are also open, although some remain closed due to social distancing/cleaning considerations. Cleaning services have been increased to multiple times per day at all open bathrooms and bathhouses.
- Daily entry fees or passes are required for entrance to Delaware State Parks.Visitors without a state park annual pass must pay the daily fee via automated credit card machines, at manned fee booths, or using self-registration fee envelopes, depending on the location. Visitors are encouraged to purchase an annual pass to avoid anticipated delays for daily entrance payments. See the Pass and Permit Sales section below for information about annual passes.
Beach Activities and Swimming
- Beach Activities
- The number of vehicles allowed in Cape Henlopen, Delaware Seashore and Fenwick Island state parks is 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.
- A distance of 20 feet is required between surf-fishing vehicles.
- At Delaware Seashore and Fenwick Island surf fishing beaches, Natural Resources Police officers will monitor the numbers of vehicles on the beach and will close drive-on beach entrances when vehicles fail to maintain the 20-foot distance between vehicles currently mandated by the Governor’s emergency order.
- Beach-area bathrooms and bathhouses are open.
- Sunbathing, swimming, picnicking, surfing, kayaking, walk-on surf fishing and other activities have resumed. Masks or face coverings are required in bathhouse and concession areas and strongly encouraged on the beach as well.
- At least a 6-foot distance is required on beaches between those from different households, and groups of visitors from the same household may not exceed 10 persons.
- Officers may close drive-on surf-fishing beaches to additional surf-fishing vehicles when the carrying capacity to implement social distancing is not possible.
Visit our COVID-19 Surf-Fishing FAQ page for answers to your questions about temporary surf-fishing restrictions currently in effect.
- Killens Pond Water Park
Visitor capacity at the water park is reduced to 30%, with two sessions for visitors per day, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 2:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Guests must reserve a session online prior to visiting the water park. Tickets are not available for purchase at the park. The water park is closed Wednesdays and Thursdays.
The following protocols and procedures are in effect until further notice:
- Masks or other cloth face coverings are required for entry into the water park, while in line, in concession areas and restrooms, and when social distancing of at least 6 feet between those of other households cannot be maintained.
Face coverings are not required while in the water. Any face coverings visitors choose to wear while in the water must be made of swimsuit-type material (man-made fibers). Standard face coverings made from cotton may make it difficult to breathe when wet.
Guests must continue to social distance when in the water.
Bathrooms and slide handrails will be sanitized every hour, and all other touch points will be sanitized between sessions.
All other COVID-19-related rules, regulations and recommendations from the Division of Public Health apply.
- All other Water Park rules and regulations apply.
Camping, Picnic and Pavilion Reservations
- Campsites, cabins, cottages, and yurts are open. All cabins and cottages are sanitized by a professional cleaning service between rentals.
- Picnic areas and pavilions are open and available for reservations. Groups may not exceed 250 people.
- A liberal cancelation policy is in effect through August 31, allowing those with reservations to cancel and receive a full refund.
- Refunds and reservation cancellations are processed by the Delaware State Parks reservation vendor. Additional questions can be handled at the call center at 877-98 PARKS (877-987-2757).
Pass and Permit Information
- Annual park pass sales are currently available online and at most state park offices. Visit our Passes, Tags and Fees page for information about pass and permit sales.
- The purchase of an annual pass, lifetime pass or surf fishing permit does not guarantee access to Delaware State Parks property, programs or functions when the number of visitors is restricted due to a high volume of visitors at peak times, or during other instances of restrictions, including, but not limited to, government restrictions, state of emergency, strike, flood, fire, or unforeseen catastrophe.
- Purchases may be returned within 30 days of sale if the pass or permit has not been opened.
Education, Programs and Events
- Nature Centers and Programs
- Most nature centers and interpretive centers are now open, but with limited hours and programs.
- For the safety of our visitors and staff, program attendees kindergarten age and older will be required to have face coverings and use them indoors and when maintaining social distancing is not possible.
- Anyone kindergarten age and older should wear a face covering except when doing so would inhibit the individual’s health. Children younger than kindergarten age should follow the Division of Public Health recommendations for face coverings on children.
- Rangers or park staff may require those who do not bring face masks to leave.
- Those who are sick or experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should remain home.
- Specific information about the status of any Delaware State Parks event is available on our program calendar page. For announcements about programs at a specific park, please check the social media pages listed in the State Parks on Facebook section below
- Family Gatherings and Outside Group Events
- Permission to hold private gatherings (weddings, reunions, etc.) or public events (races, tournaments, fundraisers, etc.) at a state park must be granted by the park. Please contact the park and obtain permission to hold your event there before making any other plans.
- The maximum number of attendees at any public or private event or gathering in a state park is 250 people.
- Any event or gathering in a state park, whether public or private, must comply with the State of Delaware's Phase 2 Reopening Guidelines, available here.
To maintain social distancing while volunteering, the Division is limiting the number of participants and types of volunteer activities.
Volunteers are asked to self-assess and verify their wellness to participate.
If you have fever, shortness of breath, cough, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat, vomiting and/or diarrhea, or if you have been in contact with anyone who has these symptoms – STAY HOME and DO NOT VOLUNTEER
- Volunteers must adhere to COVID-19 safety measures in Delaware State Parks.
- Volunteers must bring and wear their own work gloves.
- Volunteers are encouraged to bring their own non-power hand tools, as appropriate for the volunteer activity.
- Volunteers are specifically encouraged to read the
Volunteer Code regarding participation prior to volunteering.
For the latest information on COVID-19 in Delaware, visit coronavirus.delaware.gov/.
State Parks on Facebook
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