Picture of Delaware Seashore State Park

Delaware Seashore State Park


Special Update - June 30

New Limits Set for Beaches

In accordance with Gov. Carney’s goal of limiting interactions among people in Delaware’s beach areas to reduce transmission of COVID-19, the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control announced the following restrictions to be imposed starting on Friday, July 3 and lasting until further notice:

  • The number of vehicles allowed in Cape Henlopen, Delaware Seashore and Fenwick Island state parks will be limited to approximately 60% of the parking capacity. When the 60% capacity is reached, all vehicles will be turned away until vehicle volume within the parks is reduced. Vehicle restrictions may be lifted periodically as volume levels are noticeably reduced within the parks. These limits, which will be enforced at park entrances by DNREC Natural Resources Police, will not be managed based on a “one-in, one-out” policy that would encourage lines of waiting vehicles and people.
  • At Cape Henlopen, when the main gate is closed to additional vehicles based on parking lot capacity, the closure will include vehicles that have arrived at the park for drive-on surf fishing as well.
  • At Delaware Seashore and Fenwick Island surf fishing beaches, NRP officers will monitor the number of vehicles on the beach and will close drive-on beach entrances if vehicles fail to maintain the 20-foot distance between vehicles currently mandated by the Governor’s emergency order.
  • Masks or face coverings are required in bathhouse and concession areas of all three parks and strongly encouraged on the beach as well.
  • Campgrounds and cabin rentals will continue.

Park History

Transportation along this barrier island, bounded on the east by the Atlantic Ocean and on the west by Rehoboth Bay and Indian River Bay, was difficult until the Federal government completed construction of two large steel and stone jetties in 1939, stabilizing the Indian River Inlet. The State Park Commission (now the Division of Parks and Recreation) began managing the land as Indian River State Park in 1965, but it didn't become Delaware Seashore State Park until 1967.

Swimming, Surfing Sunbathing

Two ocean swimming areas, patrolled by lifeguards from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily during the summer season, feature modern bathhouses with showers, changing rooms and concession stands. The beach just north of the Inlet is one of the few surfing areas within the park. Mobi-Mat equipment, consisting of three 30-foot mats allowing those in wheelchairs and power chairs to access the beach from the boardwalk, is also available at the Towers Ocean and South Inlet locations.

Camping at the Beach

Two campgrounds, one on each side of the Indian River Inlet, accommodate a variety of camping units, from tents to large recreational vehicles. North Inlet campsites feature three-point hookups (electricity, water, and sewer service), with three-point hookups (electric, water and sewer) and Standard (no hookups) sites, and tent sites available at the South Inlet campground.

Two campgrounds, one on each side of the Indian River Inlet, accommodate a variety of camping units, from tents to large recreational vehicles. North Inlet campsites feature three-point hookups (electricity, water, and sewer service), with three-point hookups (electric, water and sewer) and Standard (no hookups) sites, and tent sites available at the South Inlet campground. Get info about camping at Delaware Seashore.

Indian River Marina

Anglers may try their luck along the banks of the Indian River Inlet or on the ocean beaches, and head boats and charter boats launch out of the full-service Indian River Marina, offering wet slips, fuel docks, boat storage, supplies and more. Visit our Indian River Marina page for hours and information.

Indian River Life-Saving Station Museum

Built in 1876 for use by the United States Lifesaving Service, the full-restored station today features maritime exhibits and historic reenactors who periodically demonstrate turn-of-the-century techniques to rescue sailing ships in distress. Includes a gift shop offering unique coastal and maritime merchandise. Visit our Indian River Life-Saving Station page for hours and information.

Fishing, Clamming and Crabbing

A special access pier at the Indian Inlet allows the elderly and people with disabilities to get close to the fishing action. Clamming and crabbing are permitted in some sections of the bays; please check with the Park Office for open areas. Marked dune crossings allow surf-fishing access for four-wheel drive vehicles on the beach (permits required). Permits are also required for fishing, clamming and crabbing. Click for information about surf fishing permits and fishing licenses. WARNING: The State online automated fishing license system is NOT compatible with mobile devices or iPads and may encounter printing issues with touch screen computers and apple products.

Dining

Located at the South Inlet Day Use Area at Delaware Seashore State Park, Big Chill Beach Club is an oceanfront restaurant and event tent featuring an umbrella deck with breath-taking 360° views of the Atlantic Ocean, Indian River Inlet, and Indian River Bay. The Big Chill Beach Club features casual beach fare from breakfast to dinner, full-service cocktails, wine and beer, an oyster bar and Umbrella Bar, fire pit and hang-out game area, beach amenities for the beach-goers, and catered events for up to 200 people. Open daily April to October, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. A park entry fee is charged March through November.

Bury your toes in the sand tableside at Hammerheads Dockside at the Indian River Marina! This full-service outdoor restaurant offers a fresh, vibrant menu with terrific views of the marina. Features include live music, a full-service bar, free parking, and complementary dockage for boaters (subject to availability). Open daily at 7 a.m. during the summer.

Outdoor Recreation

Hikers and bikers beat the heat on a cool stretch of the Fred Hudson Trail

The shallow bays are perfect for windsurfing and sailing. A non- motorized boat launch provides access for sail boards, kayaks, and boats in the New Road area.

Six different family-friendly trails showcase a variety of habitats for hikers, bikers, or horseback riders, and entertaining and informative programs, such as bay seining and marsh hikes, are held throughout the summer. The park hosts a popular Sandcastle Contest each July, where amateur participants create unique sculptures and castles to compete for prizes.

Nature Preserves at Delaware Seashore State Park

  • Burton Island Nature Preserve – A short pedestrian-only loop trail winds through several different habitats in its compact area, from salt marsh to upland forest. This variety in the landscape also attracts a large variety of birds, from water and wading birds to migrating songbirds. The trail is best enjoyed during the fall, winter and spring seasons; insect repellent is recommended during warm weather.

  • Thompson Island Nature Preserve – The mature coastal forest of Thompson Island has seen thousands of years of human occupation. Today, hikers can take an out-and-back trail through a mature upland hardwood and conifer forest before ending at a scenic overlook near the Lewes and Rehoboth Canal. The trail's crushed stone surface is accessible. Pets and bicycles are not permitted on the trail or in the preserve.

Upcoming Events

Sharks of the Inland Bays: Holts Landing

Thursday, July 2, 2020

9:00 AM

What kind of sharks could be swimming in our inland bays? Learn the answer at this program where we learn about why sharks might be in our waters, the important role they play in the coastal ecosystem, and how we can help with shark conservation. Pre-registration required by calling (3020 227-6991. Free

Add to Calendar 7/2/2020 9:00:00 AM 7/2/2020 10:00:00 AM America/New_York Sharks of the Inland Bays What kind of sharks could be swimming in our inland bays? Learn the answer at this program where we learn about why sharks might be in our waters, the important role they play in the coastal ecosystem, and how we can help with shark conservation. Pre-registration required by calling (3020 227-6991. Free Holts Landing State Park

Squid Dissection

Thursday, July 2, 2020

10:00 AM

Study one of the most specialized invertebrates of the sea! A park naturalist will guide participants in a dissection, and at the end of the program, we will write with the squid’s pen and ink! Pre-registration required. Ages 6 and up. Pre-registration required by calling (3020 227-6991. Ages 6 and up. $6 per person (including adults)

Add to Calendar 7/2/2020 10:00:00 AM 7/2/2020 11:00:00 AM America/New_York Squid Dissection Study one of the most specialized invertebrates of the sea! A park naturalist will guide participants in a dissection, and at the end of the program, we will write with the squid’s pen and ink! Pre-registration required. Ages 6 and up. Pre-registration required by calling (3020 227-6991. Ages 6 and up. $6 per person (including adults) Delaware Seashore State Park

Marsh Exploration: Holts Landing

Thursday, July 2, 2020

10:00 AM

Have you ever wondered what tiny critters might inhabit the marshes of our inland bays?  Come join a Park Naturalist in exploring what organisms can be found in the salt marsh and learn about the important role that they all play. Closed-toe shoes and pre-registration required by calling (3020 227-6991. Ages 3 and up. $5 per person (including adults)

Add to Calendar 7/2/2020 10:00:00 AM 7/2/2020 11:00:00 AM America/New_York Marsh Exploration Have you ever wondered what tiny critters might inhabit the marshes of our inland bays?  Come join a Park Naturalist in exploring what organisms can be found in the salt marsh and learn about the important role that they all play. Closed-toe shoes and pre-registration required by calling (3020 227-6991. Ages 3 and up. $5 per person (including adults) Holts Landing State Park

Marsh Exploration

Friday, July 3, 2020

2:00 PM

Explore Rehoboth Bay and surrounding marshes like never before! Participants will use hand-held dip nets to collect and identify a variety of marine life. Closed-toe shoes are required to walk through ankle-deep water. Pre-registration required by calling (3020 227-6991. Ages 3 and up. $5 per person

Add to Calendar 7/3/2020 2:00:00 PM 7/3/2020 3:00:00 PM America/New_York Marsh Exploration Explore Rehoboth Bay and surrounding marshes like never before! Participants will use hand-held dip nets to collect and identify a variety of marine life. Closed-toe shoes are required to walk through ankle-deep water. Pre-registration required by calling (3020 227-6991. Ages 3 and up. $5 per person Delaware Seashore State Park

Lyle Gun Firing & Museum Tour

Friday, July 3, 2020

2:00 PM

Travel back in time to 1876 and the beginnings of the Indian River Life Saving Station. Learn about the lives of surfmen stationed on the coast and hear about their heroic rescues in this interactive program. Discover shipwrecks, drills, and daily struggles of men who called this place home on a semi-guided tour. Top off the tour by watching park staff fire an authentic 1894 Lyle gun. Pre-registration required by calling (302) 227-6991.

Add to Calendar 7/3/2020 2:00:00 PM 7/3/2020 3:00:00 PM America/New_York Lyle Gun Firing & Museum Tour Travel back in time to 1876 and the beginnings of the Indian River Life Saving Station. Learn about the lives of surfmen stationed on the coast and hear about their heroic rescues in this interactive program. Discover shipwrecks, drills, and daily struggles of men who called this place home on a semi-guided tour. Top off the tour by watching park staff fire an authentic 1894 Lyle gun. Pre-registration required by calling (302) 227-6991. Delaware Seashore State Park

Crabbing 101

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

10:00 AM

Interested in crabbing but not sure how to get started? Join a park naturalist to learn about the life cycle of the Atlantic blue crab, different crabbing techniques, and current Delaware rules & regulations. Then try your hand in catching those tasty crustaceans! Pre-registration required by calling (302) 227-6991. $6 per person (including adults)

Add to Calendar 7/7/2020 10:00:00 AM 7/7/2020 11:30:00 AM America/New_York Crabbing 101 Interested in crabbing but not sure how to get started? Join a park naturalist to learn about the life cycle of the Atlantic blue crab, different crabbing techniques, and current Delaware rules & regulations. Then try your hand in catching those tasty crustaceans! Pre-registration required by calling (302) 227-6991. $6 per person (including adults) Delaware Seashore State Park

Sunset Bridge Hike

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

7:30 PM

Hike the Indian River Inlet Bridge with a Park Interpreter, watch the sunset, and see the bridge in all its nighttime glory! Learn about the dynamic forces that have shaped the inlet over the last 200 years. Find out about the bridges that have spanned the inlet and how the current bridge design came to be. Pre-registration required by calling (302) 227-6991. $6 per person

Add to Calendar 7/7/2020 7:30:00 PM 7/7/2020 8:30:00 PM America/New_York Sunset Bridge Hike Hike the Indian River Inlet Bridge with a Park Interpreter, watch the sunset, and see the bridge in all its nighttime glory! Learn about the dynamic forces that have shaped the inlet over the last 200 years. Find out about the bridges that have spanned the inlet and how the current bridge design came to be. Pre-registration required by calling (302) 227-6991. $6 per person Delaware Seashore State Park

Kaya Eco-Tour: Paddling Station Cove

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

9:30 AM

Previous paddling experience required. Paddle a sit-on-top kayak through the marshes of Rehoboth Bay for a unique glimpse of the historic Indian River Life-Saving Station. Along this 2.5-mile journey, park naturalists will identify the wildlife that make up this dynamic ecosystem, including the only nesting colony of Laughing Gulls in Delaware. Pre-registration required by calling (302) 227-6991. Ages 13 and up; under 16 must be accompanied by a paying adult. $35 per person

Add to Calendar 7/8/2020 9:30:00 AM 7/8/2020 12:00:00 PM America/New_York Kaya Eco-Tour: Paddling Station Cove Previous paddling experience required. Paddle a sit-on-top kayak through the marshes of Rehoboth Bay for a unique glimpse of the historic Indian River Life-Saving Station. Along this 2.5-mile journey, park naturalists will identify the wildlife that make up this dynamic ecosystem, including the only nesting colony of Laughing Gulls in Delaware. Pre-registration required by calling (302) 227-6991. Ages 13 and up; under 16 must be accompanied by a paying adult. $35 per person Delaware Seashore State Park

Beach Driving Clinic

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

2:00 PM

Learn park rules, licensing requirements and tips from park staff to maximize your safety while driving on the beach. Follow park staff out to the beach to practice driving on the sand (participants must have a valid surf tag and the necessary equipment to do so). Pre-registration required by calling (302) 227-6991. $8 per person

Add to Calendar 7/8/2020 2:00:00 PM 7/8/2020 4:00:00 PM America/New_York Beach Driving Clinic Learn park rules, licensing requirements and tips from park staff to maximize your safety while driving on the beach. Follow park staff out to the beach to practice driving on the sand (participants must have a valid surf tag and the necessary equipment to do so). Pre-registration required by calling (302) 227-6991. $8 per person Delaware Seashore State Park

Driving Through History

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

3:00 PM

If only the dunes could talk, they’d have some fascinating stories to tell! Luckily, our park’s historian has uncovered some not-so-well-known stories about how the park has changed over the last century. Visit some iconic sights in the park, as well as some lesser-known areas, and discover the hidden history of Delaware Seashore State Park. Pre-registration required by calling (302) 227-6991. $6 per person

Add to Calendar 7/8/2020 3:00:00 PM 7/8/2020 4:00:00 PM America/New_York Driving Through History If only the dunes could talk, they’d have some fascinating stories to tell! Luckily, our park’s historian has uncovered some not-so-well-known stories about how the park has changed over the last century. Visit some iconic sights in the park, as well as some lesser-known areas, and discover the hidden history of Delaware Seashore State Park. Pre-registration required by calling (302) 227-6991. $6 per person Delaware Seashore State Park

Sharks of the Inland Bays: Holts Landing

Thursday, July 9, 2020

9:00 AM

What kind of sharks could be swimming in our inland bays? Learn the answer at this program where we learn about why sharks might be in our waters, the important role they play in the coastal ecosystem, and how we can help with shark conservation. Pre-registration required by calling (302) 227-6991. Free

Add to Calendar 7/9/2020 9:00:00 AM 7/9/2020 10:00:00 AM America/New_York Sharks of the Inland Bays What kind of sharks could be swimming in our inland bays? Learn the answer at this program where we learn about why sharks might be in our waters, the important role they play in the coastal ecosystem, and how we can help with shark conservation. Pre-registration required by calling (302) 227-6991. Free Holts Landing State Park

Kaya Eco-Tour: Paddling Station Cove

Thursday, July 9, 2020

9:30 AM

Previous paddling experience required. Paddle a sit-on-top kayak through the marshes of Rehoboth Bay for a unique glimpse of the historic Indian River Life-Saving Station. Along this 2.5-mile journey, park naturalists will identify the wildlife that make up this dynamic ecosystem, including the only nesting colony of Laughing Gulls in Delaware. Pre-registration required by calling (302) 227-6991. Ages 13 and up; under 16 must be accompanied by a paying adult. $35 per person

Add to Calendar 7/9/2020 9:30:00 AM 7/9/2020 12:00:00 PM America/New_York Kaya Eco-Tour: Paddling Station Cove Previous paddling experience required. Paddle a sit-on-top kayak through the marshes of Rehoboth Bay for a unique glimpse of the historic Indian River Life-Saving Station. Along this 2.5-mile journey, park naturalists will identify the wildlife that make up this dynamic ecosystem, including the only nesting colony of Laughing Gulls in Delaware. Pre-registration required by calling (302) 227-6991. Ages 13 and up; under 16 must be accompanied by a paying adult. $35 per person Delaware Seashore State Park

Marsh Exploration: Holts Landing

Thursday, July 9, 2020

10:00 AM

Have you ever wondered what tiny critters might inhabit the marshes of our inland bays?  Come join a Park Naturalist in exploring what organisms can be found in the salt marsh and learn about the important role that they all play. Closed-toe shoes and pre-registration required by calling (302) 227-6991. Ages 3 and up. $5 per person (including adults)

Add to Calendar 7/9/2020 10:00:00 AM 7/9/2020 11:00:00 AM America/New_York Marsh Exploration Have you ever wondered what tiny critters might inhabit the marshes of our inland bays?  Come join a Park Naturalist in exploring what organisms can be found in the salt marsh and learn about the important role that they all play. Closed-toe shoes and pre-registration required by calling (302) 227-6991. Ages 3 and up. $5 per person (including adults) Holts Landing State Park

Paddle Through History: The Assawoman Canal

Friday, July 10, 2020

9:30 AM

The Assawoman canal was envisioned as a part of an inland waterway over 150 miles in length; dug in the late 19th century, it connects the Indian River and Little Assawoman Bays. Rather than be used for trade, it became the easiest way to reach Bethany Beach before automobiles. Explore this waterway via kayak with a park naturalist and a park historian to learn about its history, and the role it plays in the coastal ecosystem. Pre-registration required by calling (302) 227-6991. Ages 13 and up; under 16 must be accompanied by a paying adult. $35 per person

Add to Calendar 7/10/2020 9:30:00 AM 7/10/2020 11:30:00 AM America/New_York Paddle Through History: The Assawoman Canal The Assawoman canal was envisioned as a part of an inland waterway over 150 miles in length; dug in the late 19th century, it connects the Indian River and Little Assawoman Bays. Rather than be used for trade, it became the easiest way to reach Bethany Beach before automobiles. Explore this waterway via kayak with a park naturalist and a park historian to learn about its history, and the role it plays in the coastal ecosystem. Pre-registration required by calling (302) 227-6991. Ages 13 and up; under 16 must be accompanied by a paying adult. $35 per person Delaware Seashore State Park

Lyle Gun Firing & Museum Tour

Friday, July 10, 2020

2:00 PM

Travel back in time to 1876 and the beginnings of the Indian River Life Saving Station. Learn about the lives of surfmen stationed on the coast and hear about their heroic rescues in this interactive program. Discover shipwrecks, drills, and daily struggles of men who called this place home on a semi-guided tour. Top off the tour by watching park staff fire an authentic 1894 Lyle gun. Pre-registration required by calling (302) 227-6991.

Add to Calendar 7/10/2020 2:00:00 PM 7/10/2020 3:00:00 PM America/New_York Lyle Gun Firing & Museum Tour Travel back in time to 1876 and the beginnings of the Indian River Life Saving Station. Learn about the lives of surfmen stationed on the coast and hear about their heroic rescues in this interactive program. Discover shipwrecks, drills, and daily struggles of men who called this place home on a semi-guided tour. Top off the tour by watching park staff fire an authentic 1894 Lyle gun. Pre-registration required by calling (302) 227-6991. Delaware Seashore State Park

Marsh Exploration

Friday, July 10, 2020

2:00 PM

Explore Rehoboth Bay and surrounding marshes like never before! Participants will use hand-held dip nets to collect and identify a variety of marine life. Closed-toe shoes are required to walk through ankle-deep water. Pre-registration required by calling (302) 227-6991. Ages 3 and up. $5 per person

Add to Calendar 7/10/2020 2:00:00 PM 7/10/2020 3:00:00 PM America/New_York Marsh Exploration Explore Rehoboth Bay and surrounding marshes like never before! Participants will use hand-held dip nets to collect and identify a variety of marine life. Closed-toe shoes are required to walk through ankle-deep water. Pre-registration required by calling (302) 227-6991. Ages 3 and up. $5 per person Delaware Seashore State Park

Virtual 40th Annual Sandcastle Contest

Saturday, July 11, 2020

8:00 AM

Take part in one of Delaware Seashore State Park's legacies, the annual Sandcastle Contest! Due to uncertain conditions due to COVID19, this year's contest will be held VIRTUALLY! The contest took place at the South Inlet Day Area for many years, but this year you can build a castle anywhere in the park, on any day leading up to July 11. For details on how to participate, please visit facebook.com/delawareseashorestatepark/events

Add to Calendar 7/11/2020 8:00:00 AM 7/11/2020 2:00:00 PM America/New_York Virtual 40th Annual Sandcastle Contest Take part in one of Delaware Seashore State Park's legacies, the annual Sandcastle Contest! Due to uncertain conditions due to COVID19, this year's contest will be held VIRTUALLY! The contest took place at the South Inlet Day Area for many years, but this year you can build a castle anywhere in the park, on any day leading up to July 11. For details on how to participate, please visit facebook.com/delawareseashorestatepark/events Delaware Seashore State Park

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