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Spend the Day at Cape Henlopen State Park!

Along the Gordon's Pond Trail, Cape Henlopen State Park

Looking for a fun day out? Why not head to Cape Henlopen State Park in Delaware?

Great! I’m in! Where is it?

Cape Henlopen State Park, in Sussex County, Delaware, lies on six miles of coastline along the mouth of the Delaware Bay where the Atlantic Ocean and the Delaware Bay meet. It’s roughly 2 hours 25 minutes from Philadelphia, about 1hour 25 minutes from Wilmington, and about 2 hours 40 minutes from Atlantic City. Okay, so not the closest place to anything, but well worth it. We came from the Cape May-Lewes Ferry, and that was only about a 10- minute drive.

Here's a regional map view

Here's a closer look.

A Bit of History

According to the Park’s website, native people inhabited the area and reaped the fruits of the land, but in the late 1600's, William Penn’s family granted the land and allowed citizens to harvest the same resources. During World War II, Fort Miles was constructed on the cape because of the land’s strategic position. You can still visit and climb the observation tower at the Fort Miles Historical Area that includes the Herring Point Battery!

At Herring Point in Cape Henlopen State Park, Delaware

Herring Point Battery, along the Delaware Bay inside Cape Henlopen State Park

The Details

Open: 8am-sunset (the time of sunset is even listed on the website!)

Entrance Fees: In-state vehicles: $5/day. Out-of-state vehicles: $10/day

Parking: abundant, even though there were lots of people when we visited on a beautiful and warm Saturday in April, and free, you know once you pay your entrance fee.

Restrooms: The map shows designated restrooms, but we only saw port-o-potties. But hey, if ya gotta go, ya gotta go.

One of many trail maps in the park.

Once you're on a trail, it's well marked.

Yup, cactus even grows near the bay.

Things to Do

Seaside Nature Center: Has a two-level touch tank with stingrays and horseshoe crabs, five 1,000-gallon tanks with local fish, a live Osprey cam, and a gift shop.

Free Borrow-A-Bike Program: While you’re at the Nature Center you can pick up a bike for a two-hour period.

Fort Miles Historical Area: The fort played a role in the nation’s World War II defense.

Hit the beach at Beach Plum Island Nature Preserve. It’s the only publicly owned wild beach in Delaware!

If you’re a camper or have an RV, there are tent sites, RV hook ups, and even cabins for rent!

There are also programs and events like dolphin watching, a reptile hike and a wild edible walk!

We chose to do a hike/nature trail – specifically, the Gordon’s Pond Trail. It’s roughly 3.2 miles of trails along dunes, through forests and wetlands, and an elevated boardwalk where you can see tons of wildlife!

When we visited, there were alot of people in the park, but it didn’t feel crowded.

Along the elevated boardwalk on Gordon's Pond Trail in Cape Henlopen State Park..

Great water views on the elevated boardwalk on Gordon's Pond Trail.

Stuff to Bring

The usual – hat, water, snacks, bug spray, sunscreen, comfy shoes. You may also want to bring binoculars because we saw a ton of birds.

Recommendation: Definitely go! There’s a little bit of something for everyone!

Marsh views on Gordon's Pond Trail

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