The small Mid-Atlantic state of Delaware loses out on much of its deserved attention owing to the fact it is located close to Washington D.C., Philadelphia and New York. Despite this, there are plenty of things to see and do in “The First State”, including visiting some or all of the 17 Delaware State Parks. From seashores to forts and heritage parks there’s a lot to see in the second-smallest state in America.
- Delaware State Parks
- 20 State Parks In Delaware To Explore
- 1- Bellevue State Park
- 2- Auburn Valley State Park
- 3- Lums Pond State Park
- 4- Fox Point State Park
- 5- Fort DuPont State Park
- 6- Cape Henlopen State Park
- 7- Fenwick Island State Park
- 8- Brandywine Creek State Park
- 9- Killens Pond State Park
- 10- Holts Landing State Park
- 11- White Clay Creek State Park
- 12- Trap Pond State Park
- 13- First State Heritage Park
- 14- Alapocas Run State Park
- 15- Delaware Seashore State Park
- 16- Wilmington State Park
- 17- Fort Delaware State Park
- 20 State Parks In Delaware To Explore
Delaware State Parks
20 State Parks In Delaware To Explore
1- Bellevue State Park
This state park is in Wilmington next to the Delaware River on the border with New Jersey.
The park is less than an hour’s drive south of Philadelphia, so even if you are visiting Pennsylvania you can pop across the border and visit Bellevue State Park.
Bellevue Hall Mansion was the former home of William Du Pont Jr.
The park is surrounded by tennis courts, gardens, a fitness track, equestrian stables and woodlands.
You can take a scheduled tour of the mansion and discover the native and exotic plants at the arboretum.
There’s also a pond where you can enjoy a peaceful fish.
Bellevue State Park is at 800 Carr Rd, Wilmington, DE 19809.
2- Auburn Valley State Park
Auburn Valley State Park is close to the border with Pennsylvania and just 20 minutes from Wilmington.
It’s at Auburn Valley that you can learn more about the age of automotive and historic steam transportation.
This state park is a fun family day out with plenty of interesting things to see.
While at the park you can see the world’s largest operating collection of Stanley steam cars.
You will find this collection in the Marshall Steam Museum.
You can also look around the Auburn Heights Mansion which is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Kids and adults alike will love riding along the 19th century Auburn Valley Railroad that goes around the estate.
Auburn Valley State Park is at 3000 Creek Rd, Hockessin, DE 19707.
3- Lums Pond State Park
Lums Pond State Park is in northern Delaware just 20 minutes’ drive from Wilmington.
There’s plenty to do at this state park, including hiking the Swamp Forest Trail which allows you to discover the largest millpond in Delaware.
The 6.4-mile trail surrounds the edge of the pond and it’s a lovely and interesting walk.
If biking is more your thing head out along the eight-mile Little Jersey Trail which is suitable for all skill levels.
If you want to be on the water you can canoe, kayak and pedalboat around the pond.
Keep your eyes peeled for turtles, and herons as well as ospreys.
You are also welcome to fish on the lake.
There’s also a new Go Ape Adventure Park which the whole family can enjoy.
If you want to extend your trip to the area there is also a campground and yurts.
Lums Pond State Park is at 1068 Howell School Rd, Bear, DE 19701.
4- Fox Point State Park
Fox Point State Park is on the banks of the Delaware River on the New Jersey border.
This is a lovely park where you can connect with nature and enjoy the fresh air by the river.
You can walk the Riverview Trail or head out on your bike if you prefer.
The Riverview Trail offers views of meadows and the trains and ships that pass by.
You will see shipping vessels traveling down the Delaware River.
There are plenty of picnic benches to eat at as well as a playground and sandbox for the little ones.
The park has been remarkably transformed and was named after S. Marston Fox who helped convert the land from a waste dumping site to the waterfront park you see today.
Fox Point State Park is at Lighthouse Rd, Wilmington, DE 19809.
5- Fort DuPont State Park
Fort DuPont State Park is another state park on the Delaware River, around 20 miles south of Wilmington in northern Delaware.
Named after a Civil War U.S. naval hero, Fort DuPont was built to protect the cities and ports along the Delaware River.
After World War I the fort became a training centre.
When visiting the fort today you can see rifles, mortar and rapid-fire batteries.
The Delaware River sits on one side of the park while the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal sit on the other side.
You can launch boats onto the Delaware River, fish along the river and walk along the River View Trail.
Fort DuPont State Park is at Wilmington Ave, Delaware City, DE 19706.
6- Cape Henlopen State Park
Cape Henlopen State Park is an excellent park with beautiful views at the mouth of the Delaware Bay.
You will find this state park on Cape Henlopen in Sussex County.
If you are searching for a serene waterfront spot while plenty to do then head to Cape Henlopen State Park.
Here you can enjoy six miles of coastline and take in the area’s history.
The beaches at Cape Henlopen are excellent for swimming, fishing, kayaking, paddle-boarding, wind-surfing and clamming.
You can walk or ride bikes along the 3.2 miles of trails that offer excellent views of the wetlands, forest, dunes and ocean.
You can fish on the pier that was originally built to support mine operations during World War II.
There is also a campground at the park with 20 walk-in tent sites that are found next to the Walking Dunes Trail.
There are also 12 camping cabins for something a tad more luxurious.
Cape Henlopen State Park is at 15099 Cape Henlopen Dr, Lewes, DE 19958.
7- Fenwick Island State Park
Fenwick Island is a barrier island located along the Atlantic Ocean in both Maryland and Delaware.
The park is home to three miles of ocean beaches and you can access Little Assawoman Bay from the park.
While at the park you can visit the World War II fire control tower that was helped to protect the coastline.
As you stroll along the beach you can keep an eye out for ghost crabs.
Try your hand at surfing and sailing and enjoy relaxing on the beach while you sunbathe or loll about in the water.
The beach is also wheelchair accessible thanks to the mobi-mat equipment supplied at the park.
Fenwick Island State Park is at DE-1, Fenwick Island, DE 19944.
8- Brandywine Creek State Park
Brandywine Creek State Park is another park close to Wilmington in northern Delaware.
This 933-acre preserve is known for its meadowland and distinctive blue gneiss stone wall which was believed to have been built in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
There are 14 wonderful miles of trails that lead through the park and the old-growth forest.
The park encompasses not one but four nature preserves: Flint Woods, Carney Tract, Tulip Tree Woods and Freshwater Marsh.
Head to the meadow land to enjoy a picnic, disc golf, and kite flying.
Brandywine Creek State Park is at 41 Adams Dam Rd, Wilmington, DE 19807.
9- Killens Pond State Park
Killens Pond State Park is in central Delaware just 25 minutes’ drive south of Dover.
The 66-acre millpond at the centre of the park provides pleasant views and plenty of space for activities.
There’s a 2.6-mile trail that loops around the pond, this is a great way to explore the park.
Make sure you listen out for pileated woodpeckers, warblers and barred owls, which all call the park home.
You will find kayakers, canoers and paddle boats on Killens Pond.
You can also check out the nature centre at the park to learn about the local wildlife as well as meeting some animals.
Other activities include a waterpark which has a leisure pool and four speed slides.
Killens Pond State Park is at 5025 Killens Pond Rd, Felton, DE 19943.
10- Holts Landing State Park
Holts Landing State Park is on the Indian River Bay behind Delaware’s barrier island.
There are a variety of environments to enjoy at this state park including the shoreline, salt marsh, maritime forest and intertidal zone.
Fishing, clamming and crabbing are popular in the park.
You can even wade the shallow waters looking for clams and mussels.
You can go crabbing for blue crabs from the designated pier.
It’s actually the only pier in the state that is solely designated for crabbing! If you want to fish at Holts Landing State Park then you will have to get a permit.
While at the park you should definitely try to head out on the Seahawk Trail.
Here you may be able to see hawks, herons, and ospreys.
Holts Landing State Park is at 27046 Holts Lndg Rd, Dagsboro, DE 19939.
11- White Clay Creek State Park
Another northern Delaware state park is White Clay Creek.
The park is close to the Pennsylvania border and just under 30 minutes’ drive outside of Wilmington.
The park is named after the clay that used to be mined in the area.
White Clay Creek feels like the perfect nature spot, with woodlands, a creek and stream valleys.
The National Wild and Scenic River as well as White Clay Creek are stocked with fish.
One of the best things about this Delaware state park is the 37 miles of trails that hikers and bikers can enjoy.
There’s also an 18 round disc golf course at the Carpenter Recreation Area.
Surrounding the course there are also picnic areas and pavilions – ideal for family visits.
Park Office, 750 Thompson Station Rd, Newark, DE 19711.
12- Trap Pond State Park
Trap Pond State Park is in southern Delaware just 15 minutes southeast of Laurel.
If you are a lover of nature, you will thoroughly enjoy this park.
It is even home to the most northern stand of bald cypress trees.
There’s a wide variety of plant and tree species as well as excellent bass fishing.
Paddling the pond is a highlight of many people’s trip to this state park.
Head into the cypress swamp and be sure to follow the Terrapin Branch Water Trial.
You can also take a pontoon tour into the cypress swamp.
Back on land there’s the 4.6-mile Bob Trail which winds its way through the park.
Visitors to the park can even enjoy free bike rentals in summer.
Trap Pond State Park is at 33587 Bald Cypress Ln, Laurel, DE 19956.
13- First State Heritage Park
First State Heritage Park is in Delaware’s second largest city, Dover, and is all about telling the stories of Delawareans.
This is a super fun park because there’s interpreters dressed in Revolutionary clothing with the aim of informing visitors and guiding them around.
The park centres around Dover Green were Revolutionary soldiers marched.
You can take a tour of the Georgian-style Legislative Hall which has been the home of the state’s General Assembly since 1933.
You can also visit the Old State House which is Delaware’s first permanent capital building.
If you visit on the first Saturday of each month then you will be able to experience the parks thematic events and programs.
First State Heritage Park is at 43 The Green, Dover, DE 19901.
14- Alapocas Run State Park
Alapocas Run State Park is close to Brandywine Creek in Wilmington in northern Delaware.
This park surrounds Blue Rock cliff which is the state’s only natural rock-climbing wall.
The park’s woodlands are the perfect place to take a wander and appreciate the sounds of nature.
The blue rock gneiss cliffs are interesting to look at and give visitors some insight into Wilmington’s quarrying history.
Indoor attractions include Blue Ball Barn.
Here you can discover the history of the local area and Delaware as well as perusing the Delaware Folk Art Collection.
Alapocas Run State Park is at 1914 W Park Dr, Wilmington, DE 19803.
15- Delaware Seashore State Park
Delaware Seashore State Park is another of Delaware’s state parks on its barrier island.
This is an interesting state park as it looks out to the Atlantic Ocean and backs onto Rehoboth Bay.
This park boasts six heavenly miles of ocean as well as 20 miles of bay shoreline.
The Indian River Inlet is connected with the Indian River and Rehoboth Bays.
This area is the heart of the park, with a beach on each side of the inlet where beachgoers enjoy either spending the day or longer if they stay at the waterfront campground.
If you are searching for a bit more luxury you can stay at the cottages.
With two ocean swimming areas, splashing around in the water is a top priority for most visitors.
The beach that is locate north of the inlet is also an excellent surfing spot.
Delaware Seashore State Park is at 25039 Coastal Hwy, Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971.
16- Wilmington State Park
Along the banks of the Brandywine Creek is Wilmington State Parks, which is a northern Delaware state park for the whole family.
If you are visiting Wilmington then this is an excellent park as its right in the heart of the city.
There are a few parks under this state park umbrella, including Brandywine, Rockford, H. Fletcher Brown, Hobbs Property and Kentmere Parkway.
These parks are ideal for picnics, a gentle stroll and are a great place to relax with family and friends.
At Brandywine there’s the Brandywine Zoo and at Rockford Park there’s the 100-year-old Rockford Tower.
Wilmington State Parks is at 1 St. Rocco Way, Wilmington, DE 19802.
17- Fort Delaware State Park
Fort Delaware State Park is on the Delaware River under 30 minutes’ drive south of Wilmington.
The fort was built in the mid 1800s to protect both Philadelphia and Wilmington.
Costumed interpreters will take you back to 1864 with a guided tour.
You can visit the barracks, the kitchen, the old blacksmith and see the cannons.
The fort is actually on Pea Patch Island and can only be accessed by ferry.
If you head to 45 Clinton Street in Delaware City you can purchase tickets from the ferry dock.
Fort Delaware State Park is at 45 Clinton St, Delaware City, DE 19706.
For more amazing US state parks to visit, read:
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- 7 South Dakota State Parks
- 20 Illinois State Parks
- 20 Texas State Parks
- 20 Colorado State Parks
- 20 Florida State Parks
- 20 Florida Keys State Parks
- 20 Arizona State Parks
- 20 Indiana State Parks
- 20 Minnesota State Parks
- 20 Connecticut State Parks
- 20 Washington State Parks
- 20 West Virginia State Parks
- 20 Michigan State Parks
- 20 Ohio State Parks
- 20 Oregon State Parks
- 20 New Mexico State Parks
- 20 Kentucky State Parks
- 17 Nebraska State Parks
- 20 Montana State Parks
- 20 Mississippi State Parks
- 20 Delaware State Parks
- 20 Rhode Island State Parks
- 20 Maine State Parks
- 21 Massachusetts State Parks
- 20 New Hampshire State Parks
- 20 New Jersey State Parks
- 20 Iowa State Parks
- 20 NC State Parks
- 20 Maryland State Parks
- 20 Nevada State Parks
- 20 Kansas State Parks
- 20 Arkansas State Parks
- 20 Wisconsin State Parks
- 20 South Carolina State Parks
- 20 Tennessee State Parks
- 20 Georgia State Parks
- 20 Hawaii State Parks
- 20 Virginia State Parks
- 20 Missouri State Parks
- 20 Oklahoma State Parks
- 20 Utah State Parks
- 20 Idaho State Parks
- 20 Louisiana State Parks
- 20 Vermont State Parks
- 20 Wyoming State Parks
- 20 Pennsylvania State Parks