Nature August 11, 2016
The Ultimate Bucket List For Anyone In Delaware Who Loves The Outdoors
I often hear from friends that there’s “nothing to do in Delaware,” and I’m constantly reminding them to look outside at the state around them! We might be living in a very small, mostly rural state, but there is so much to explore in Delaware, especially if you love the outdoors. With so many things to do here, I’ve decided to come up with a Delaware Bucket List for people who love being outside and in nature. Experience the history of the state through these adventures, and learn to appreciate the nature that surrounds us all.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life. While we continue to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, please take proper precautions or add them to your bucket list to see at a later date. If you know of a local business that could use some extra support during these times, please nominate them here:
1. Camp at Blackbird State Forest
Most people don't realize there are campsites at Blackbird, and it's easy to see why. There's only one tract where camping is permitted, and there are only five primitive sites that are first-come, first-served. For a true outdoorsy experience, hike in and hike out of your site - but if you're feeling a little less adventurous, you can drive in, too.
You can find a camp site map and more information on camping at Blackbird State Forest
. If Blackbird is out of your way, or you're looking for something a little less isolated, you can check out our list of the
best tent camping sites in Delaware
2. Hit the High Seas on the Kalmar Nyckle
The Kalmar Nyckel was one of the pioneer ships of the New Workd - the Mayflower of the DelMarVa region. Now, you can hit the seas on a replica, the beautiful museum ship that sails from Wilmington and Lewes. Learn about the history of the first Delaware settlements as you cruise along in style. You can find their
sailing schedule and ticket information
3. Hike... to Maryland?
The Boundary Line trail at White Clay Creek State Park is one of the many beautiful trails in possibly the best park in Delaware. What makes this trail unique is that you can find the Boundary Marker, laid by Jeremiah Dixon and Charles Mason as they started their famous survey, and you can set foot in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Delaware - all that the same time. The Trail Information and Maps are on the
DE State Parks Website
4. Feel like American Royalty at Winterthur
Winterthur is the creation of Henry Francis du Pont, one of the most prominent members of the DuPont family. Currently, it is the premier museum of American decorative arts, The sprawling garden is among the best in the country, and its research library is world reknowned. Take a day to explore all that Winterhur has to offer. You can find their hours and information
5. Find out if Fort Delaware truly is haunted
You'll have to wait until October to take an
official ghost tour
at Fort Delaware, but don't let the wait get you down. You can explore the park and abandoned forts all summer, so you'll still get your fair share of spooky ghost stories, if you're in the right place at the right time.
Or... is it... the wrong place at the wrong time? However you feel about the ghosts, make sure that
is on your Delaware bucket list for the summer and fall.
6. Discover History at Fort Miles
An abandoned World War II Fort sits in the middle of one of Delaware's best beach towns - and it's open for exploration. We've talked about
this easy hike in Delaware
a lot, because it is truly one of the hidden wonders of our state. You really will feel like you're walking on hallowed ground as you stroll through lands and buildings that were one training ground for America's finest soldiers. Hours and visitor information can be found
7. Climb in rural, rocky... Wilmington?
It's hard to imagine a rural retreat in Wilmington, but Alapocas Run State Park is here to stay. Boundless playgrounds and the historic Blue Bell Barn are just part of the fun you can have here! Hike and walk through the beautiful trails, and if you're feeling really adventurous, sign up for a
rock climbing course
at the park office. Belay on!
8. Stop and Smell the Roses at the Hagley Estate
is one of the nicest DuPont Mansions - although, let's be real, everything in the DuPont Historic Corridor is breathtaking. Hagley's gardens are not as well known as Nemours or Longwood Gardens, but they are absolutely worth checking out. Beat some of the crowds and traffic that make Longwood a hassle, and you can even explore Hagley and Nemours on the same day - they're only 1.5 miles apart.
9. Go Birding at Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge
Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge is a little slice of paradise, with some of the
best birding in Delaware
. An internationally significant stop on the Atlantic Flyway guarantees that you'll have a good time spotting waterfowl and other beautiful birds. There are several trails throughout the refuge, including our favorite - the boardwalk trail. Be sure to wear bug spray, as you'll be in the middle of a marsh, and please respect the wildlife this refuge is designed to protect.
10. Cruise from Fisherman's Wharf
Whale and dolphin spotting, fishing and crabbing are just some of the options at Fisherman's Wharf in Lewes if you want to get out on the ocean. And even if you'd prefer to stay on land, explore all that Fisherman's Wharf has to offer: watch the boats go out and come in with their fresh catches, shop the seafood markets nearby, and eat some of the freshest seafood in Delaware. Learn more on their
or by calling (302) 645-8862
11. Paddle Among the Bald Cypress Trees
Trap Pond State Park is 3653 acres of beautiful trails, woods, water and of course, the bald cypress trees. Trap Pond is the northernmost park in North America that includes cypress and bald cypress trees, which are beautiful, rot resistant trees that harbor many waterfowl and other wetland creatures. You can rent a
kayak, canoe, pedal boat, pontoon boat and stand up paddle boards
for a great aquatic adventure.
12. Climb a World War II Observation Tower
Cape Henlopen State Park features several abandoned World War II Observation towers, including one that's open for climbing during park hours. It's an easy climb and when you get to the top, you'll be amazed at the views across the Delaware Bay - on a clear day, you can see Cape May, New Jersey! Get directions and more information on the
Cape Henlopen State Park
13. Have a Drink and Spot Some Whales
The Cape May - Lewes Ferry is one of the most underrated attractions in Delaware. Grab a drink at the on-board bar and stand on the top decks as you look out for whales and dolphins, or time your cruise back and forth so that you get a full dusk and sunset experience. A round trip takes about 3 hours, and you can plan to spend time in Cape May, NJ in between trips if you'd like. A round trip costs an adult foot passenger $18, and the sailing schedule is posted
14. See Lum's Pond State Park from the Air, Water or Earth
Paddle on the pond, picnic on the sand, or
zip across the treetops
at Lum's Pond State Park - there's an adventure here for everyone. You can rent
pedal boats, kayaks and canoes
if you'd like to get out on the water. There are trails to explore throughout the park, and of course, no trip to Lum's Pond would be complete without a picnic overlooking the scenic pond.
See? There are SO many things to do in Delaware! Most of these adventures are available year round, so no matter what season it is, get outside and get moving and start working on your own Delaware bucket list. You’ll be happier and healthier for it, and you can really appreciate the beauty that Delaware has to offer.