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CAPE HENLOPEN STATE PARK
LOCATION - The park is one mile east of Lewes on Delaware 9 along a sandy peninsula called Delaware's "hook" that divides Delaware Bay and Atlantic Ocean. It's near the boarding station for the Cape May-Lewes ferry.
FEATURES - Cape Henlopen has the highest sand dune between Cape Hatteras and Cape Cod. Called the Great Dune, it rises 80 feet above the shore.
ACTIVITIES - The park is the state's largest, covering 3,270 acres and boasting 4 miles of beach along the Atlantic Ocean. Go swimming, crabbing, and surf fishing. Swim from the guarded beach and purchase a snack from the concession stand. Camp in the 159-site campground from April-October with water hookups and a dumping station.
Hike nature trails, including Pinelands Nature Trail, a designated national recreation trail, and Seaside Nature Trail. Stroll along the park's famous "walking dunes." Go fishing in Delaware Bay from the pier, play disc golf on the nine-hole course, and play tennis, basketball, softball, and hockey. Enjoy a scenic view from the observation platform near the picnic pavilion.
Attend a program at Seaside Nature Center's aquarium, which is open year-round. For details, call 302-645-6852. Camp in the campground and climb the restored tower used during World War II to locate enemy ships. It's open from April-October.
Each May, peaking with the full moon/high tide, thousands of horseshoe crabs come to the shores of Delaware Bay to breed. This attracts countless migratory shorebirds who come to feast on the hatchlings as they trek towards the water.
Visit Lewes Historic Complex on Shipcarpenter Street and West Third. Walking tours begin from the Thompson Store. The complex is open mid-June through Labor Day, Tuesday-Saturday. For information and tours, call Lewes Historical Society, 302-645-7670.
Queen Anne's Railroad has an authentic steam engine that operates from its station in Lewes west of Stango Park. Regular 50-minute trips run from mid-June through Labor Day and a dinner train goes on weekend evenings from May until New Year's. For information, call 302-644-1720.
Take a cruise aboard the tall ship Jolly Rover, operating from Lewes 1812 Memorial Park. For details, call 302-645-8073. Sunset cruises also depart from Fisherman's Wharf every day during July through Labor Day and weekends in the spring and fall. For information, call 302-645-8862. Dolphin and whale watching expeditions also leave from the wharf.
Canoeists have over 7 miles of canoe trails in Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge, 8 miles north of Lewes on Delaware 1. Fish the streams and designated ponds for bass and pickerel. For information, call 302-684-8419.
Cape Henlopen State Park
42 Cape Henlopen Drive
Lewes, Delaware 19958
302-645-2103 (campground) 302-645-6852 (nature center)