National Parks are a great way to explore the country, and Delaware is no exception. With 17 state parks, the options for exploring the area are endless!
One of the state’s most popular parks is Delaware Water Gap, a nearly 70,000-acre unit that straddles the New Jersey-Pennsylvania border. Some proponents want to re-designate it as a national park, but some are concerned that such a designation could have unintended consequences.
The First State National Historical Park in Delaware showcases a variety of historic sites that tell the story of how Delaware came to be the first state to ratify the US Constitution. It also highlights the contributions of the Swedish, Dutch and English to early Colonial life in Delaware.
The largest site in the First State National Historical Park, Brandywine Valley preserves rolling farmsteads and scenic forests that once belonged to the Quakers who settled here with William Penn. The area was purchased in the early 1900s by Quaker industrialist and conservationist William Poole Bancroft, who had a vision of protecting green space for all to enjoy.
Located in the heart of Delaware's first capital, the New Castle Court House served as the state's first courthouse and capitol building until 1777. The courthouse was also the location of a number of events that shaped the nation, including the first legislative vote for independence from England. The Court House is surrounded by The Green, a central open space that has served as a public meeting place since 1707.
The Washington – Rochambeau National Historic Trail commemorates the critical role that France played in the Revolutionary War. French General Jean-Baptiste de Rochambeau joined forces with American troops led by General George Washington and together they marched 680 miles from Newport, Rhode Island to Yorktown, Virginia - where they successfully defeated British forces at the end of the War in 1783.
The national historic trail stretches across nine states and the District of Columbia, connecting hundreds of sites and historical places. It includes many of the same routes taken by the American and French soldiers during their march from Newport to Yorktown in 1781-1782.
There are many places to visit on the trail, including the Fort Christin, New Castle Court House Museum and the Woodland Tract at Beaver Valley. You can also check out First State National Historical Park, the site where Delaware ratified the Constitution.
The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is an outdoor lover’s paradise that spans 70,000 acres of protected land along the Middle Delaware River. The area is home to dozens of waterfalls, scenic drives and hiking trails.
The park offers a variety of ways to enjoy the river, including kayaking and rafting trips. Visitors can also rent a boat from an authorized livery or bring their own for the day.
Fishing is another popular activity in the Delaware Water Gap. The river is stocked with trout year-round. Those with fishing licenses in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey can catch bass, striped bass, crappie, bluegill and more.
The 70,000-acre National Recreation Area features four visitor centers to help you plan your trip. Each center features park information, exhibits and more.
The Delaware Division of Parks and Recreation offers visitors a number of opportunities to get outside, explore and enjoy all that this state has to offer. Across 26,000 acres, nearly 8 million people visit one of the 17 state parks every year.
Whether you’re looking for a serene spot to relax and watch the waves roll in or an adventurous getaway with water views, hiking, camping and a whole lot more, these Delaware state parks have it all.
There are even a few unique experiences for visitors to consider, like lantern tours at some of the parks and full-moon hikes that take guests into the night to see nocturnal creatures.
And of course, there are a variety of historic sites to explore too! Step back in time and learn about revolutions, freedom seekers and crusading suffragists at First State Heritage Park. Or take a tour of the Blue Ball Barn, a museum devoted to Delaware folk art and history!