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“Beautiful beaches...avoid crowds!”

Cape Henlopen State Park
Ranked #1 of 52 things to do in Lewes
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: This oceanside state park comprises 155 campsites and the Seaside Nature Center.
Reviewed July 29, 2011

Cape Henlopen State park is full of beautiful sites and great beaches! I've lived here in DE for 5 years and always went to Rhoboth, but a family wanted a photoshoot in an uncrowded spot and this was the place! If you live in DE or have DE tags on your car it is $4.00 to get in, unless you have the state park pass (35.00 for the year). Out of town tags...$8.00. The park has campgrounds, and what I find most beneficial- 2 totally different kinds of beaches! If you follow the signs to the beach-bath house- you will find a very nice, clean, bathhouse (with bathrooms and showers and changing rooms), there is also a little snack bar that sells stuff like hotdogs, burgers and fries...the beach is great as well, there are waves, and plenty of families, as well as plenty of lifeguards and it's not as crowded as all the other beaches.
If you want serene beachs...ones that look like Bermuda...nice white sand...no waves...views of Lighthouses, and the pier that takes the Ferry out- follow the signs to "The point".
Half of the The Point is roped off for nesting grounds for birds, it's a photographers dream with the beautiful beach plants, and all the birds. There is only baby waves so children can actually swim in the water and see their feet.
There are a few things you should know tho...for those that may be squirmish:
- There are a lot of Dead horse shoe crabs, this point is one of 2 places in the world where horse shoe crabs go to mate, so they have been being stranded...and there are quite a few dead ones
-Along the water line there are alot of crushed shells, so if you have senstive feet, or you dont want the kids to complain, wear water shoes
-There are little black snails and sand crabs in the shallow water (my kids enjoy catching them- and letting them go. Do not take them home...they are salt water crabs and they will not live if you do not replenish them with fresh salt water.
-There are tiny minnow looking fish that swim up on the sand islands and jump out of the water in schools...it's very fun to watch.
-Last time I was there a cable of some sort had washed ashore- half still in the ocean, so walk down the beach past that cable so the kids wont get hurt, it's rusty and I'm afraid of tetnus.
-There are mating horseshoe crabs- please do not disturb them...their are also some in the water, they will not hurt you, they do not sting with their tails...they are harmless, but if you step on one, it may hurt as all sea life (mullosks and stuff, cling to their shells and make an unpleasent surface to step on)
-The walk is a little long down the hill (if your out of shape ...like me :) haha) so pack light.

Other wise...if you get here early, there are little sand islands the kids can all go and play on...and swim (like in a pool) with out waves knocking them down. HOWEVER, AT THIS BEACH THEIR ARE NO LIFEGUARDS...PLEASE WATCH YOUR CHILDREN CAREFULLY!
When the tide comes in the islands disappear (in July that happens around 4 pm)...if you get there and just relax-bring your camera, there is historic watch towers overlooking the beach, and often there are deer in the grasses behind you.
This is by far my favorite beach exceeding every beach I've been to on the east coast!
I'll post some photos.

7  Thank Mammapaparazza
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,051 - 1,055 of 1,085 reviews

Reviewed July 28, 2011

Faced with caring for 4 grandchildren and 100 degree heat, we followed a friend's advice to try the Park. What a delightful surprise!!! The ocean-side, life-guarded beach was wonderful. The water was actually cold and there was a lovely breeze for the sun-bathers. The children (ages 5-12) had a ball playing in the surf and after showers in the great facilities provided, we headed to the Nature Center which houses large aquariums with fascinating fish, a hands-on horseshoe crab exhibit and a reptile room. You can "use" bikes (no fee) to explore the well marked trails in the park. From there we went to the fishing pier which is on the bay side and has a lovely calm, shallow beach (too hot for this day) which would be perfect for a cooler day and for very small children. There one can fish, swim or rent kayaks.
There are other smaller beaches, not guarded but with dunes and very pristine. Admission is $8.00 a car for non- residents and $4.00 for residents. Season passes can also be purchased and there are always special activities going on. We will surely go back!!!

ould be great on a cooler day and perfect for very small children.

Thank Carolyn F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 19, 2011

I went to Cape Henlopen this summer because I was too tired to drive a little longer to get down to Delaware Seashore State Park.

As a State Park, a Delawarean has to pay $4 to park and an out-of-state person must pay $6. Compared to the other State Park Beaches or Rehoboth, Bethany, or Dewey, Cape Henlopen is WAY out of the way. My fiancee and I planned on spending the day there and arrived to a packed parking lot. This is the beach all the Delawareans or out of staters go to if they are savvy enough to stay away from Rehoboth.

My fiancee and I were there for about 2 hours before a thunderstorm came (no big deal, it happens). Until then, it was pretty crowded but a nice day. Because of the thunderstorm, on the way out the path through the showering areas was packed with people who were standing around waiting for the rain to stop. It was difficult to get out and we didn't even consider the showering areas (which are nice on a day when it's not too crowded) because there were overflowing with people. It took about an hour in bumper to bumper traffic to get to Rt. 1.

If it were a nicer day, I should have bit the bullet and driven the extra miles to get to Delaware Seashore State Park.

2  Thank manchester88
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 7, 2011

The Sunset Kayaking Tour at Cape Henlopen State Park is a great way to experience the Delaware Bay side of the park. Limited to 10 people and escorted by 3 staff members, the tour starts at the fishing pier, paddles out to the Breakwater and loops back to the fishing pier via the bayside beach area. A nesting pair of ospreys were seen on the Breakwater. You don't have to have any experince to paddle. The conditions are easy and the tour lasts about 2 hrs. The tour is timed to see a really nice sunset over the Breakwater Lighthouse. The cost is reasonable - $25 for a tandem kayak. Highly recommend.

4  Thank nazotraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 7, 2011

My wife and I stayed at Cape Henlopen State Park for the 4th of July holiday. The park is just beautiful and the location cannot be beat.

As tent campers, we really appreciated that there wasn't the usual drone of generators running. And liked that there were so many tent-only sites, and even the sites that weren't tent only still had a lot of tents in them.

The two main negatives, which will not prevent us from returning to the park, because they are minor in comparison to all of the positives, are that the campground bathrooms seem to be rarely cleaned and the staff were not particularly friendly or helpful.

We've stayed at Assateague Island State Park in Maryland many times before, and while it is inconvenient that they shut the bathrooms down on a daily basis, it is really nice that they do such a good job keeping them clean. At Cape Henlopen they seem to only clean the bathrooms every couple/few days and it got horribly filthy in between.

The staff we interacted with weren't particularly helpful or friendly, but perhaps that was just because they had to work on a holiday weekend while everyone else was enjoying the holiday... so I'll give them a pass on that.

I already mentioned that the campground is really nice, but the beach is just incredible! It was honestly the best beach that I've been to in the US. Now I've only been to beaches in MD, DE, NJ, and ME, so I'm sure there are probably better beaches out there, but most of the Northeastern US beaches have broken shells, seaweed, and dune grass debris that are painful under your feet. Not here. There were hardly any shells, and the sand was softer than I've found at any other NE beach. Also, I'm weird about feeling things under my feet when I'm in the water, which ofter prevents me from even going in, but there was little other than some rocks in the surf here. I spent more time in the water on this trip than I think I ever have anywhere else before.

There was a huge parking lot at the beach that filled up every day that we were there, so if you plan on going, I'd suggest going early. There was a concession area that smelled really good, but we stayed out of there, and just brought a cooler with sandwiches. And there are huge bathrooms with multiple showers and changing rooms that really came in handy on our last day there. The campground checkout is at noon, so we packed everything up in the morning and spent the whole day on the beach. On our way out we showered in the the warm showers in this bathroom which allowed us to stop at a nice restaurant on our way home.

In addition to the main beach with the large parking lot, there were smaller parking areas with pedestrian access to quieter beaches. Many of these areas also had bathroom facilities, but no hot showers. There were also a couple areas where 4WD vehicles can actually drive on to the beach. There were a lot of people surf fishing in these areas.

The views here were incredible too. We constantly saw pods of dolphins swimming along the coast. As many as 20 at one time. There are also 2 light houses out in the bay that are visible from the park. Plus a WWII spotting tower that was used to protect the coast from enemy ships during the war. One of them has stairs in it that can be climbed allowing for 360 degree views of the area. You are high enough up to actually see all the way over to Cape May on the other side of the Delaware Bay.

Another really nice feature of the park is that they have a free bike loaner program. You just leave a drivers license in the Nature Store (which also has a small museum with nice aquariums and a touch-tank in it), get a helmet and pick a bike from the large collection in a barn outside. There are a ton a trails to ride on throughout the park.

I should also mention that there is a disc golf course here, which gives you quite a workout because it is all sand. Plus there is a huge fishing pier that juts out into the bay.

The location cannot be beat either. Very close to the small town of Lewes and just a short drive from Rehoboth. It is a great place, and I can't wait to go back!

5  Thank Icemiller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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