Cape Henlopen State Park DE

Cape Henlopen State Park De is a land of gentle dunes and singing shorebirds. Cape Henlopen State Park is revered for its rich assortment of activities: sunbathing on the park’s six miles of shoreline; fishing from the jetty; walking or cycling down the miles of wildflower-adorned trails. Cape Henlopen State Park is a big place with lots to do including camping, biking, hiking, kayaking, touring a WWII fort, and much more. Many people come to the park and just hit the beach, but park has so much more to offer. You can also visit all of the beautiful Delaware beaches here.

Cape Henlopen State Park DE Weather – When to Visit

Summer is the most popular season, and for a good reason. From May through August, the temperatures are idyllic, usually remaining in the mid- to upper 80s. This is when the crowds come to play along the Delaware seashore. Vacation rental and hotel rates are at their highest, though you might say you get what you pay for. If you decide to visit during the summer, you’ll still want to bring layers, as nighttime temperatures can get into the low 70s and upper 60s.

Post-Labor Day weekend, the crowds begin to thin out and the fall temperatures will be between the upper 50s to upper 70s. This is the time to capitalize on lower hotel rates, though some attractions in the area close or reduce their hours outside of the summer season. However, visitors can still soak up the immense array of outdoor activities that the area has to offer.

Best Cape Henlopen Area Beaches

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Cape Henlopen

This swimming beach provides lifeguard patrols between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day. Umbrellas can be rented during the summer. The swimming area also features a modern bath house with showers, changing rooms, and a food concession. 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 this location.

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Delaware Seashore

The main attraction for many visitors is swimming and sunbathing along the park’s spectacular beaches. Two ocean swimming areas feature modern bathhouses with showers and changing rooms. Lifeguards patrol the beaches from 9 am to 5 pm daily between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day. Snack foods are available at the bathhouses, and umbrellas, chairs, and rafts can be rented on the beach. Mobi-Mat equipment is also available here.

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Fenwick Island

The white sand beaches gradually slope into the Atlantic, creating a broad swimming area. Lifeguards patrol the swimming beach daily from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. One of the newest features at the park is the modern bathhouse, which offers convenient showers and changing rooms, a gift shop, and a snack food concession. During the summer months, umbrellas, chairs, and rafts may be rented on the beach. Mobi-Mat equipment is also available here.

Best Cape Henlopen State Park Activities

Catch a Sunrise at Herring Point

Herring Point is one of the best places in the park to watch a sunrise. The sun will rise directly over the water, and there are rock outcroppings that make for beautiful photos.

Visit the Touch Tank and the Aquariums in the Seaside Nature Center

In the nature center you can encounter local reptiles, fish, and other marine organisms. There is also a touch tank where you can find horseshoe crabs, whelks, and more. You can talk with a knowledgeable naturalist, grab a park map, and even pick up a souvenir. The Nature Center is a great place to start your day, and you can rent bikes for free from the bike barn next door.

Bike or Hike the Bike Loop

The Bike Loop Trail will take you through the park and give you a good overview of the place. The trail is an easy ride, and you can stop and see a few things along the way including the Observation Tower, Fort Miles, the Fishing Pier, and the Nature Center. If you’re starting your day at the Nature Center, you can rent bikes at the bike barn and catch the trail from the front of the Nature Center.

Climb the Observation Tower

The Observation Tower was originally a WWII Fire Control Tower, but today, you can climb to the top to get a spectacular 360 view of the entire park. If you are doing the Bike Loop Trail, be sure to stop here!

Tour the Fort Miles Museum

Cape Henlopen was a military fort during WWII, and you can still see the bunkers and the battery where the guns were kept. Tour the artillery park and take a guided battery tour if you can.

Best Cape Henlopen State Park Area (Lewes) Restaurants

Heirloom Over $30

Experience the seasons through their ever evolving menu inspired by seasonal ingredients. Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall each offer their own unique bounty of fruits and vegetables for distinct seasonal flavor. Menu Telephone: 302-313-4065 Web: Heirloom

Striper Bites $11 – 30

An award-winning “nautical bistro” that evokes a fun-spirited blend of the Northeast and Key West. Striper Bites features an array of fresh seafood cuisine along with chicken, steak, and salads. Menu Telephone: 302-645-4657 Web: Striper Bites

Honey’s Farm Fresh Gourmet Kitchen $11 – 30

A unique cafe off the beaten path in historic Lewes serving farm fresh breakfast, fresh juices and lunch. Telephone: 302-644-8400 Web: Honey’s Farm Fresh Gourmet Kitchen

The Surfing Crab $11 – 30

At The Surfing Crab they have a passion for seafood. We strive to make every dish we offer the best you’ve ever had. Come join our family tradition of fresh seafood and crabs! Menu Telephone: 302-644-4448 Web: The Surfing Crab

Kindle $11 – 30

Kindle offers seasonal American fare with a bit of a French influence, as well as an amazing selection of wines by the glass. Pull up a stool at the bar or dine by candlelight in their cozy dining room. Menu Telephone 302-645-7887 Web: Kindle

Best Cape Henlopen State Park DE Area (Lewes) Bars

Half Full

125 2nd St, Lewes Telephone: 302-645-8877 Web: Half Full

Pig & The Publican

516 E Savannah Rd, Lewes Telephone: 302-313-4487 Web: Pig & The Publican

On The Rocks Roadside Grill

43 Cape Henlopen Dr, Lewes Telephone: 302-644-6028 Web: On the Rocks Roadside Grill

Rose & Crown

142 2nd St, Lewes Telephone: 302-847-4475 Web: Rose & Crown

Kindle

111 Bank St, Lewes Telephone: 302-645-7887 Web: Kindle

Best Cape Henlopen State Park DE Area Hotels

26 Comments

  1. only1hugh

    Thank you for such a comprehensive review of Cape Henlopen. Being from the Caribbean I can appreciate a good beach and amenities. I could see if I was stateside visiting in the summer months when the water is hottest as I am not fond to the dip in temperatures that you mention. For me, low 70s is time to go home lol. But even then there appears to be a number of family-filled activities including biking, hiking, touch tank, bars and restaurants which all appear as fun. I like as well that there was mention of services for the differently-abled with the provision of wheelchairs. There are two-person pedal boats that I have seen that paraplegics have been able to use quite well with help.  Thank you as well for the excellent layout of where to stay in the area. You made my work easier if I wanted to stay. All in all this appears to be a lovely respite.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are very welcome!  I’m glad you enjoyed your visit to my Cape Henlopen State Park DE guide.

      Reply
  2. Nicholas Commander

    After this year this location sounds like exactly what I need. Getting outside and exploring and being active just sounds awesome. I will definitely keep this in mind for next summer when hopefully things are better in the world. I really feel like I would get so rejuvenated going to this beach and exploring everything it has to offer because the last year has frankly been exhausting and I think we all deserve an opportunity like this to breathe and relax. You have listed some great things to do as well. It is clear that there is so much to do!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great, sounds like you are ready for a visit to Cape Henlopen.  It is definitely a great place to relax and rejuvenate.  I am glad you enjoyed!

      Reply
  3. Ellen

    Hi,

    I’m really impressed of the pictures of this place, it’s amazing! I actually live in an island so I’m used to see beaches and nice landscapes but your website is fantastic!

    Did you take the pictures?

    If one day I have the opportunity to go there, definitely I will visit again your website.

    Good job here,

    Ellen.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thank you Ellen.  I am glad you enjoyed your visit to beach travel destinatons.

      Reply
  4. Jenny

    Loved visiting your site and reading all about Cape Henlopen. I have just come back from Corfu and already looking for my next adventure!

    I have never heard of Cape Henlopen before but I enjoyed reading about it, although USA is a bit far for me to travel right now would like to visit one day. 

    You have included a lot of useful information and love that you have listed the things you can do in Cape Henlopen, what an amazing place to visit! I hope I can go here someday and has been added to my bucket list!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great Jenny, it is definitely a bucket list item.  And most people they don’t live on the east coast have heard of it.  I’m glad you enjoyed your visit to my Cape Henlopen State Park DE guide.

      Reply
  5. Johnny

    It looks like the perfect location for a honeymoon or a family vacation. Either way, I am thinking to try both of them.  What is intriguing for me is that I can see that bunker, as I am a WWII fanatic and I will love to visit that location. 

    But since I want a romantic getaway first, I will put that on hold for the moment. 

    Wich one of the hotels that you listest in this article you recommend is best for a romantic holiday? 

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I’d definitely recommend the Bellmoor Inn & Spa or the Atlantic Oceanside Dewey Beach Resort.  Please let me know if you need any additional information.  You can have a romantic and historic getaway here 🙂

      Reply
  6. LineCowley

    Hi there, we have a family get-together coming up with a nephew that lives in Delaware, so paying a visit to Cape Henlopen State Park will certainly be on my list of places not to be missed while we are there. You mention camping in the park, but would there be a “glamping” offer available? Or does one have to provide your own equipment? With several kids in the group, this could be a fun way, and more affordable, to spend more time there. 

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      There is glamping available there!  Here is the link to all the available spots, camping or glamping 😀  Please let me know if you need any additional information.

      Reply
  7. Fyne

    Interesting running into this now that summer is over. But hey, there’s always next summer. 

    This is really cool. I’ve never really thought of Delaware in this way before. As some sort of Beach getaway place. I’ve always wanted to visit the state, because I want to visit every state, but it was always just going to be a pit stop or something. I’m seeing Delaware in a whole new light now.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      There is always next summer and you can start planning 🙂  A lot of the hotels in the area book full way in advance.  So planning now for the Delaware coast is probably a good idea.

      Reply
  8. Alketa

    Hi, Cape Henlopen State Park De is a beautiful destination not only for the beautiful beaches, swimming areas, dunes, and all the views, but also, I like to have the possibility to visit historic places, such as the Fort Miles Museum. The Fall is a good possibility to go there since the prices are more affordable for me. Thank you for sharing details and contacts about the best restaurants and hotels. The accommodation conditions look so good and with great reviews.

    Best

    Alketa

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are very welcome Alketa.  I am glad you enjoyed your visit to my Cape Henlopen State Park DE guide.  Stop by when you are ready to plan 🙂

      Reply
  9. Patrice

    I have been to Delaware once before but have never been to Cape Henlopen State Park De. Wow, this looks so peaceful. To sit by that beautiful body of water with a nice book is all the vacation I need. I would love to visit eventually. Is Cape Henlopen State Park De animal friendly?

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yes, Cape Henlopen is animal friendly.  Pets are allowed in the park and on the pet-friendly portion of the beach all day, every day. Dogs must be kept on a leash. However, dogs are not allowed on the boardwalk, swimming beach, and designated swimming areas during the summer months, May 1–Sept. 30.  The entire family including your furry ones can visit!

      Reply
  10. Sinatsir

    WOW! What a nice place to visit with your family and friends. I love your review. I wish I hadn’t seen this because it makes me want to go even if I still can’t. It appears to be very stunning. I have a strong love for the beach. Cape Henlopen State Park appears to be a calm spot on the shore to spend some time alone with nature.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Cape Henlopen is a very relaxed place to visit.  It’s so wide open, the waters are calming, and it can be much less crowded then other popular beaches.  I am glad you enjoyed your visit to my Cape Henlopen State Park DE guide.

      Reply
  11. Travis

    I love this page. One of the main reasons I keep coming back to this website, is because of the fact that you break down prices for every price range! Especially in those restaurant ranges. We can never decide where to eat, not always sure the price ranges or what to expect when you get there. Now we know before we even go! Thanks! 

    I cant wait to visit Cape Henlopen next spring!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Glad it is of help to you Travis!  Thanks for visiting beach travel destinations.

      Reply
  12. Aly

    Cape Henlopen State Park looks like such a peaceful place to spend quiet time with nature on the shore. It must be so relaxing to be around that much water! Are there any good hotels inside the state park where it’s possible to stay? Some of the state parks in my area offer really unique lodges, but many of the others only have primitive camping sites. 

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      No, no hotels in the park.  I wish.  Cape Henlopen is a great area though.  Great getaway for us Floridians!

      Reply
  13. Steve

    What a fantastic review. I wish I had never seen this as now I want to go. It looks absolutely amazing. I am a huge beach person. Are the waters safe to swim in? Are there any rips or strong currents.? I am a good swimmer, but my wife is not. Also are there any nasties in the water like jellyfish or sharks.? I am also not big on crowds, so does it get packed out in peak season? But this is definitely going on the bucket list.

    Thanks 

    Stephen 

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Delaware beaches are the safest and cleanest in the nation.  They are also very calm.  Some say too calm LOL.  They have not had any swim advisories in over 10 years, so you won’t have to worry about sharks and jelly fish 🙂  So enjoy!

      Reply

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