Picture of Fort Delaware

Fort Delaware State Park


Fort Delaware Closed for the Winter

Fort Delaware is closed for the season and will reopen on April 25, 2020. Winter programs listed on our Upcoming Events calendar take place at alternate off-site locations until ferry service resumes in April. See you next spring! Posted 11/14/19

Park History

The State of Delaware deeded Pea Patch Island, located in the Delaware River between Delaware and New Jersey, to the U.S. government in 1813, and construction of Fort Delaware was completed around 1859.

Arriving at Pea Patch Island

Originally built to protect the ports of Wilmington and Philadelphia, Pea Patch Island also became a Union prison camp during the Civil War, housing up to as many as 12,595 Confederate prisoners of war at one time. Manned only briefly during World Wars I and II, the island and fort were finally abandoned and declared surplus property in 1944, when ownership was transferred back to the State of Delaware. Fort Delaware became a state park in 1951.

Fort Delaware Today

Today, costumed interpreters take you back to the summer of 1864 -- tour the parade ground, officers' quarters, barracks, kitchen, blacksmith shop and ordnance room, hear stories of great escapes, and watch as the Fort's Columbiad cannon fires a live gunpowder charge! Engage with fort historians dressed in period clothing, and hear stories of those who lived at the fort in 1864. Fort Delaware is well-known for “ghostly” activity and has been featured on Ghost Hunters and other television shows. Paranormal tours are offered in the fall.

The Heronry

Pea Patch Island is a summer home to nine different species of herons, egrets, and ibis. The remote marshes provide an outstanding habitat for one of the largest wading bird nesting areas on the East Coast. A hiking trail and its observation platform provide opportunities for photography and nature study. The Prison Camp Trail traverses part of this area and features a bird observation tower along the trail.

Planning Your Visit

  • Access to Pea Patch Island and Fort Delaware is by ferry only. The ticket office and ferry dock are located at 45 Clinton Street in Delaware City.
  • Advance ferry tickets are available online. Click here to reserve your tickets.
  • Same day tickets may be purchased on a first-come, first-served basis at our ticket office. Call (302) 834-7941 for availability.
  • Visitors under the age of 16 must be accompanied by someone 18 or older during their visit to Fort Delaware.
  • Leave pets and alcoholic beverages at home.
  • Be sure to wear closed-toe shoes -- the ground on the island is uneven in places, and you will also be asked to step onto wet biomats to prevent spreading of spores. White-Nose Syndrome, a fungal disease that does not affect humans but is deadly to bats. Bats are vitally important to our ecology; they help to control pests and are important pollinators. White-Nose Syndrome has been confirmed at Fort Delaware.
  • Private boats including kayaks and canoes, are not permitted to dock on Pea Patch Island.

Ferry Schedule

Reserve Now!

Dates
  • April 25 – June 13: Saturday, Sunday and Holidays
  • June 14 – Sept. 4: Wednesday through Sunday and Holidays
  • Sept. 5 – Sept. 30: Saturday and Sunday
  • Oct 1 – April 24: Closed

*School Group tours by reservation only on weekdays in April, May, Sept. and Oct.

*Paranormal tours by reservation only on Friday and Saturday evenings in Oct.

Ferry Departure Times

Ferry operates 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Ticket sales end five (5) minutes before each ferry departure time. Tickets for the last tour of the day end at 3 p.m. Please plan your arrival accordingly.

Ferry Departures from Delaware City to Fort Delaware and Fort Mott
10 a.m. Continues to Fort Mott 1 p.m.
11 a.m. 1:30 p.m.
11:30 a.m. 2 p.m. Continues to Fort Mott
12 p.m. Continues to Fort Mott 3 p.m. Last Ferry to Fort Delaware
  4 p.m. Return to Ft. Mott only

Departures from Fort Delaware to Delaware City Times listed are for tram departures from the Fort to the ferry dock
11 a.m. 1:30 p.m.
11:30 a.m. 2:30 p.m.
12:30 p.m. 3 p.m.
1 p.m. 3:30 p.m.
  4:30 p.m.

Ferry Departures from Fort Mott to Fort Delaware and Delaware City
10:30 a.m. 2:30 p.m. Last Ferry to Fort Delaware
12:30 p.m. 4:30 p.m. Return to Delaware City Only
 

Ferry Departures from Fort Delaware to Fort Mott
12 p.m. 4 p.m. Last Ferry to Fort Mott
2 p.m.  

Upcoming Events

Intro to Fort Delaware

Saturday, December 7, 2019

1:00 PM

Ever wonder what Fort Delaware is all about? Come find out in this special program! We will talk about how Fort Delaware was built, and why, and about its special use during the American Civil War. This program will be held at the Grassdale Center in Delaware City, and is FREE!

Add to Calendar 12/7/2019 1:00:00 PM 12/7/2019 2:00:00 PM America/New_York Intro to Fort Delaware Ever wonder what Fort Delaware is all about? Come find out in this special program! We will talk about how Fort Delaware was built, and why, and about its special use during the American Civil War. This program will be held at the Grassdale Center in Delaware City, and is FREE! Fort Delaware State Park

Civil War 101

Saturday, January 11, 2020

1:00 PM

This lecture-style program is a great introduction to the American Civil War. We will talk about how the Civil War started, and what the legacy of the war is today. This is a great program for those that would like to learn about the Civil War, but don't know how to get started. This program will be held at the Grassdale Center in Delaware City, and is FREE!

Add to Calendar 1/11/2020 1:00:00 PM 1/11/2020 2:00:00 PM America/New_York Civil War 101 This lecture-style program is a great introduction to the American Civil War. We will talk about how the Civil War started, and what the legacy of the war is today. This is a great program for those that would like to learn about the Civil War, but don't know how to get started. This program will be held at the Grassdale Center in Delaware City, and is FREE! Fort Delaware State Park

Can You Stop the Civil War?

Saturday, January 18, 2020

1:00 PM

The Civil War is one of the most cataclysmic events in United States history. Could you have stopped it before it started? Find out in this choose-your-own-adventure style program! This one is great for families. This program will be held at the Grassdale Center in Delaware City and is FREE!

Add to Calendar 1/18/2020 1:00:00 PM 1/18/2020 2:00:00 PM America/New_York Can You Stop the Civil War? The Civil War is one of the most cataclysmic events in United States history. Could you have stopped it before it started? Find out in this choose-your-own-adventure style program! This one is great for families. This program will be held at the Grassdale Center in Delaware City and is FREE! Fort Delaware State Park

Great Escapes

Saturday, February 8, 2020

1:00 PM

If you were imprisoned on an island without much to keep you busy, your mind would surely turn to escape. Come find out about some of the more creative attempts to escape from Fort Delaware, successful and otherwise. This program will be held at the Bear Library. For this program, visitors are asked to register by phone or in person at the Bear Library INFO Desk (302-838-3300).

Add to Calendar 2/8/2020 1:00:00 PM 2/8/2020 2:00:00 PM America/New_York Great Escapes If you were imprisoned on an island without much to keep you busy, your mind would surely turn to escape. Come find out about some of the more creative attempts to escape from Fort Delaware, successful and otherwise. This program will be held at the Bear Library. For this program, visitors are asked to register by phone or in person at the Bear Library INFO Desk (302-838-3300). Fort Delaware State Park

Map and Directions