What to do in Delaware Seashore State Park

Delaware Seashore State Park encompasses 2,081 acres of beachfront property. This gorgeous spit has been favored by nature throughout history. The forces of wind and water that have kept it largely inaccessible due to the frequent natural changes of the inlet channel between the bays and the sea. Transportation along this narrow stretch of land 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 operating Delaware Seashore State Park in 1965. Today, the park is a major attraction for millions of visitors who enjoy the large variety of water-related activities available along Delaware's coast.

The main attraction for many visitors at Delaware Seashore State Park 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 and Labor Day weekends. Snack foods are available at the bathhouses, and umbrellas, chairs, and rafts can be rented on the beach.

Thompson Island on Rehoboth Bay is a new addition to the park. Located northwest of the Inlet, Thompson Island Preserve is a good example of the productive salt marsh habitat once common around the inland bays. Due to its importance to local wildlife, human activities on the island are limited, and there is no motor vehicle access or parking available at this time.

Surfers enjoy riding the mighty ocean waves at Delaware Seashore. The beach just north of the Inlet is one of the few designated areas in the state for this exciting sport. Other beaches throughout the park are set aside for surf fishing. Marked dune crossings allow fishing access for four-wheel drive vehicles onto the beach. Permits are required. While the dunes often survive the destructive power of storms, they do not withstand the harmful impact of pedestrian and vehicular traffic.

The shallow bays provide many additional opportunities to enjoy the water. Windsurfing and sailing are growing in popularity, and the sports are colorful to watch from the shore. A non-motorized boat launch provides access for sail boards and boats in the New Road area. Clamming and crabbing are permitted in some sections of the bays. A short nature trail on Burton's Island affords scenic views of the salt marshes and bay islands, where gulls and terns gather in their noisy summer nesting colonies.

For group activities with families and friends, two picnic pavilions are available on a first-come, first-served basis, one on the bay shore at Savages Ditch Road and the other at the Inlet. Entertaining and informative programs, such as bay seining and marsh hikes, are held throughout the summer. The park also hosts a popular Sandcastle Contest each July, where amateur participants create unique sculptures and castles to compete for prizes.

The beautiful oceanfront environment dominates recreation at Delaware Seashore State Park. Saltwater swimming, surfing, sail boarding, fishing and swimming consume the visitors' time. Clamming and crabbing are permitted in some sections of the bays. Camping and picnicking are plentiful and are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Delaware Seashore State Park is located south of Dewey Beach along Delaware Route 1. The park office and Indian River Marina are located on the north side of the Indian River inlet.

The Chesapeake and Delaware Bays moderate Delaware's climate. The state experiences four distinct seasons. Winter can be bitterly cold. Highs during this season average near freezing with low temperatures near 0 degrees F. Spring comes to this region in mid to late March. This is a pleasant time to visit with moderate temperatures and low humidity. Summer brings temperatures ranging from 80 to 90 degrees F. Humidity is highest inland with ocean breezes cooling the shoreline. Fall brings cooler temperatures and low humidity. The forested regions of the state often have brilliant foliage displays.

Inlet 850
Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971

Phone: 302-227-2800

  • Delaware Seashore State Park Travel Q&A