What to do in Fenwick Island State Park

Situated between the popular resort towns of Bethany Beach to the north and Fenwick Island and Ocean City to the south, Fenwick Island State Park is a relaxing escape from the summer crowds. This three-mile stretch of barrier island is a playground of sand, surf, and sun along Delaware's Atlantic coast.

Before the area became a park, the dynamic forces of nature constantly changed the narrow strip of barrier dunes between the Atlantic Ocean and Little Assawoman Bay, keeping the area wild and undeveloped. The area that is Fenwick Island State Park remained largely undisturbed, even as the towns of Bethany Beach and Fenwick Island were established. In 1926, a statewide survey classified the park area as public lands, which were soon assigned to the State Highway Department. Later, during World War II, the park lands were used as part of Delaware's coastal defense system. A concrete observation tower from the war era still stands near the northern boundary of the park.

In 1966, the property was assigned to the State Park Commission as a southern section of Delaware Seashore State Park. The area was renamed Fenwick Island State Park in 1981, and is now managed in conjunction with Holts Landing State Park, on the nearby Indian River Bay.

Fenwick Island State Park invites visitors to enjoy 344 acres of peaceful ocean and bay shoreline. Naturally, swimming and sunbathing are popular activities on the ocean side of the park. 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 AM to 5 PM. 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.

Surfers can catch the big waves at Fenwick Island, as the park has one of the few beaches in Delaware with a designated surfing area. Three dune crossings provide surf fishing access for vehicles with the proper permit to drive onto the beach. Surf fishing vehicle permits may be purchased at the bathhouse gift shop during the summer, or at the nearby park office at Delaware Seashore State Park. Permits are also available at the Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber's tourist information center is located at the southern boundary of Fenwick Island State Park.

Little Assawoman Bay forms the western edge of Fenwick Island State Park, and provides many other opportunities for saltwater recreation. Clammers and crabbers can explore the shallow waters in search of a seafood treat. On windy days, the bay is colorfully decorated with sailboats and windsurfing boards. A watercraft rental concession on the bayside provides sailboats, windsurfers, and offers lessons for beginners. The park does not feature a boat launch, but one is located across the bay at the Assawoman Wildlife Area, managed by the state Division of Fish and Wildlife.

Recreation
Water sports are the main recreation enjoyed at Fenwick Island State Park. Visitors will find fishing, swimming, sailing, sail boarding, surfing and other water related activities. A picnic area, food concession, and several bathhouses are provided. The park also offers a nature trail.

The park rents the following equipment with proof of valid driver's license: sailboards, jet skis, and catamarans.

Location
Fenwick Island State Park is located 3.5 miles south of Bethany Beach on Delaware Route 1.

Climate
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.

Address
c/o Holts Landing State Park
P.O. Box 76
Millville, DE 19970

Phone: 302-539-9060


  • Fenwick Island State Park Travel Q&A

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