Coastal Delaware - Fenwick, Bethany, Dewey, Rehoboth & Lewes - Vacation Travel Guide

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Coastal Delaware Area Features

Trekking Through Nature

Some of the best locations to observe the natural world are in southeastern Delaware.

All along the southern Delaware coast, beautiful scenery is apparent for all to behold. However, to find some less obvious gems of the natural world, it may help to know where to look. Whether it’s the plants, animals, or the simple tranquility that make these places so special does not matter; they are all renowned for their natural appeal. Plus, there are fun and unique things to do in these areas that should not be missed.

One of the biggest draws to the state’s southeastern coast is Delaware Seashore State Park located between Bethany Beach and Dewey Beach. Six miles of pristine ocean or bay shoreline await visitors who are seeking a natural beach retreat. Rehoboth Bay and Indian River Bay are on the west side of the 2,825-acre park while the Atlantic Ocean borders the east side, providing a choice of environments for a wonderful beach day. Bathhouses are available for showering and changing, and they even sell snack foods. However, before stepping onto the sandy beach, stop into the Indian River Life-Saving Station Museum—an interesting welcome center with a small museum detailing the history of the building and the park. It also serves as a visitor information center and gift shop. While here, pick up a permit to drive on the beach and go surf-fishing—just one of the many activities that can be enjoyed at the park. After a long day in the sun, why not stay for the night? Campgrounds are available for a pleasant night’s sleep by the water.

Visitors to the Prime Hook National Wildlife Reserve, located northwest of Lewes, can explore some of the loveliness of the region and perhaps glimpse the area’s wildlife. This park was established to help protect migratory birds, and anyone who loves to go birding will find this to be a very desirable destination. Throughout the year, over 300 species of birds from snowy owls to bald eagles can be spotted in the reserve. Of the approximate 10,100 acres contained here, most is completely unspoiled natural paradise. There are two ponds and multiple streams for canoeing or kayaking and four paths for hiking. Stroll the boardwalk through the reserve and journey past stunning views of marshland, forests and open fields.

Just south of Prime Hook is Cape Henlopen State Park in Lewes. This park is for swimming and other recreational activities in and out of the water. It even hosts popular events such as the Great Delaware Kite Festival every spring and the Children’s Fantasy Trail at Halloween. Plus, there’s a 3-mile paved trail where history lovers can bicycle or hike to the Fort Miles Museum and Historical Area with a WWII observation tower. Fort Miles defended the U.S. coasts from Germany’s strong navy during WWII and continued in service until the 1970s. Within this historic area is Battery 519, an underground facility that now serves as a museum and displays wartime artifacts.

Fenwick Island State Park is a smaller, natural area near the southern Delaware state line on Route 1. Here, visitors can swim, hike, and surf-fish for 3 miles along the coasts of this barrier island park. A modern bathhouse located at the park’s southern entrance and provides services including umbrella rentals and food concessions in addition to changing and showering facilities. A wide trail for hiking and horseback riding takes explorers through nature and past areas where wildlife can be observed.

Look up and around for unique birds at Assawoman Bay State Wildlife Area. West of Fenwick Island State Park, this is a destination not only for migrating birds, but it’s another great spot for people who love to go bird-watching. Over 300 bird species can be seen throughout the refuge, which consists of several different types of terrain. Marshes there can be both brackish and saltwater and attract wading birds including heron and ibis. There are also pine forests, maritime grasslands, and wetlands that all attract different types of birds and wildlife. This area also has a watchtower that provides beautiful views and better vantages for birding.

Some of the state’s smaller parks are also some of its best-kept secrets. Holts Landing State Park is a 203-acre park northwest of Bethany Beach on the Indian River Bay. This is a wonderful place to go crabbing since this park has a pier that was constructed specifically for that use. It’s a very peaceful park where visitors can also hike and picnic.

These are just some of the many natural parks and reserves that are spread throughout southeastern Delaware, and there are more in the western part of the state. By visiting one of them or as many as you can, you’re likely to find your own little slice of heaven and refuge from the busy, modern world.

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