Here’s the thing about Delaware: All of the outdoors is well within reach, from the hilly woodlands of Northern Delaware, to Central Delaware’s wildlife refuges, to the sun-kissed ocean beaches that make Southern Delaware such a treasure.
Maybe it’s a day for a breezy bike ride through the woods. A soothing kayak excursion could also suit the mood, or perhaps a brisk hike through the dunes, serenaded by the songs of shorebirds. So much to choose from: Stand-up paddleboarding, world-class birdwatching, even a thrilling zipline ride through the woods and across a pond.
Start a journey at a state park, a great choice for those who want their pick of affordable fun, from paddleboarding to biking to horseback riding. Or strike out to new horizons, heading to sea in a chartered fishing boat for a wave-splashed adventure, or just settling in for a carefree car ride along one of the Scenic Byways that crisscross the state.
No matter your flavor of outdoor fun, Delaware has surprises at every turn.
Biking Through Brandywine Creek State Park
Immerse yourself in the heart of the Brandywine Valley at this wooded and hilly state park, crisscrossed with rolling trails and renowned for its beauty. Try the Rocky Run Trail or the Brandywine Trail for a view of the gentle creek, then it’s back to the top of the hill, where you can savor the panoramic view. Open meadows are well suited for picnics, kite flying and disc golf, and in the winter, sledding and cross-country skiing.
Kayaking at Trap Pond State Park
Enjoy the majesty of the nation’s northernmost stand of bald cypress trees as you kayak across this peaceful pond. Or set up your gear and spend the day fishing for bluegills, catfish and largemouth bass. Park interpreters lead guests on narrated pontoon boat tours on summer weekends and holidays, and visitors can quickly hit the water by renting a rowboat, pedal boat, canoe or kayak.
Meet the Birds at Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge
Birdwatchers flock from around the world to see a globe-spanning assortment of birds at Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge, a key stopover on their migratory journey north and south along the Atlantic Flyway. The 16,000-acre refuge has a 12-mile auto-tour route with excellent views, and five short walking trails offer a chance to get up close and personal (especially from the 30-foot-high observation towers.)
Fishing (or Crabbing) at Indian River State Park and Marina
Here’s where the action all begins for folks who love fishing in Delaware, thanks to a well-appointed marina, drive-on beaches for surf fishing, charter boat rentals, and enough amenities to keep all non-fishing fans occupied. From here, boaters can head out into the Atlantic or motor into Delaware’s Inland Bays to lay out their crab pots and catch their next meal. Visit Hook ’em & Cook ’em for fishing gear and fresh seafood, or let the chef do the cooking for you at the park’s waterfront restaurant, Big Chill Beach Club.
Soaring Through the Treetops at Go Ape!
Put on your game face and jump right in: You’re being led on a journey into the treetops, pulling yourself across rope bridges, between 50-foot trees and past other obstacles before being hooked to a 700-foot zipline. Then, feel yourself zooming through the woods and across the pond with a squeal. And be sure to check out the boating, hiking and other adventures available while you’re at Lums Pond State Park.
Try Your Hand at Stand-Up Paddleboarding at the Beach
Splashing gently across the bay, or shredding your way through ocean waves, you feel a shiver of freedom, a fresh sense of closeness with the nature that surrounds you. Grab a few introductory lessons, then sign up for a guided tour, and discover the side of Delaware that few get to see. Popular places to start include Bethany Surf Shop, Delmarva Board Sport Adventures, Coastal Kayak and Delaware Paddlesports.
Sit Back and Learn on a Nature Tour
Sometimes, it pays to let the outdoor experts bring it all into focus. You don’t even have to get your feet wet to enjoy one of the cruises through Delaware’s waterways, ocean and bays offered by Cape Water Tours & Taxi, which has dolphin-watching
cruises, lighthouse cruises and eco-tours. In Northern Delaware, guided tours reveal the quiet beauty of wetlands at DuPont Environmental Education Center, part of the Russell W. Peterson Urban Wildlife Refuge.
Still haven’t sated your quest for adventure? Check out the best scenic drives or beach escapes.