When discussing new guidelines for wearing masks for those vaccinated, the Director of the Public Health Division, Dr Karyl Rattay, called the new rules a “reward” for those who fired.
With masks no longer necessary for those vaccinated in most outdoor environments, the summer of 2021 promises to be filled with Delawarens who will come out and make the most of this award after more than a year locked up.
With that in mind, Delaware Online / The News Journal decided to compile a list of some of the best outdoor activities and places to see in Delaware, available to residents and visitors at free or relatively low cost.
To create this list, we relied on Delaware State Parks and the State Tourism Board, but we’ve also included some of our personal favorites from working and living in Delaware.
Cycle along the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal
The trails along the C&D Canal can be used for all kinds of activities, but we recommend taking your bike for a long ride as it is one of the best places for an uninterrupted view without traffic.
The north side of the canal features a mostly flat, paved bike path from Chesapeake City to Delaware City. The south side is clay.
The canal trail has several access points. We recommend parking at the South Lums trailhead on Old Summit Road – roughly in the middle of the trail – for maximum flexibility. Have an after meal at one of the restaurants along the canal to make it a full day.
Birdwatching at Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge
Delaware’s best-known birding site totals 16,000 acres. The diversity of these lands – there are marshes, swamps, agricultural fields and grassy uplands – results in abundant wildlife.
You can drive, walk or cycle the 12 mile road through many habitats. There are five nature trails and three observation towers along the route. Spring is the season for songbirds and shorebirds, and summer is best for heron and egret viewing, according to the Delaware Tourism Board.
Bombay Hook is accessible from Whitehall Neck Road in Smyrna.
Find your adult summer drink on the Delaware Beer, Wine and Spirits Trail
The Delaware on Tap app features over 30 destinations for craft beers, unique spirits and more across Delaware, from Dew Point Brewing Company in Yorklyn to Salted Vines Vineyard and Winery in Frankford.
You can win prizes by using the app to travel the state’s beer, wine and spirits âtrailâ. Even if you find your next hangout in a more old-fashioned way, a cold brew on the deck feels like summer to us.
If you’re looking to try something new but not offensive, this writer’s go-to summer drink is Big Oyster’s solar power, a beautiful orange witbier-style beer.
Enjoy an outdoor concert in Delaware State Parks
Although large concerts at Bellevue State Park and White Clay Creek State Park are suspended due to COVID-19, state parks are hosting smaller concerts this summer.
All that is required is the regular entrance fee to the state park. Concerts are held at Holts Landing State Park, Killens Pond State Park, Trap Pond State Park, and Wilmington State Parks. Most concerts start at 6.30 p.m. An upcoming program can be found on the State Parks website.
Explore the Jasper Crane Rose Garden at Brandywine Park
Jasper Crane Rose Garden is one of the many wonders along the Brandywine in the heart of Wilmington. It is named after Jasper Crane, former vice president of the DuPont company, which donated around 670 plants in the 1930s as part of an effort to beautify the city and create jobs during the Great Depression.
The garden can be found at North Van Buren Street and North Park Drive, near the Brandywine Zoo and the Josephine Fountain, which returned last year after a multi-year restoration project. This is a great stretch for a lunchtime stroll or a weekend picnic.
Play on the sands of Delaware Seashore State Park
One of the best ways to experience Delaware’s beaches is to bypass the traffic and continue on Route 1 to Delaware Seashore State Park in Indian River Inlet.
There are two parking areas for daytime use that require the regular state park entrance fee, so you won’t need to power a meter all day.
The beach is guarded from Memorial Day Saturday through Labor Day Monday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. The park also includes public baths with showers, changing rooms and concessions.
After a long day on the sand, walk to the top of the Indian River Inlet Bridge for breathtaking views of the coast.
Kayak at Trap Pond State Park
Trap Pond near Laurel is home to the country’s northernmost natural stand of bald cypress. Rowboats, pedal boats, canoes and kayaks can be rented from the park during the summer to navigate the pond – a fun way to take in the unique scenery.
Take the Terrapin Branch water trail to approach it. The park also has a picnic area on the water, and hiking and running trails.
Run the unique track at White Clay Creek State Park
With over 60 miles of interconnected hiking and running trails, White Clay Creek State Park can keep you busy all summer long. The trails connect the Maryland Rim west of Newark to the Judge Morris Estate at Pike Creek and stretch for several miles north to the White Clay Creek Preserve in Pennsylvania.
If you’re familiar with the main trail that starts from the Nature Center off Hopkins Road, you don’t have to venture far to find our favorite single section of trail. Park at the Thompson Station Road park office or Chambers Rock parking lot and take either Thompson Station Road or the David English Trail about 400 yards from the Charles Bailey trailhead (it will be on your left).
The trail winds along the creek opposite the PennDel Trail which begins at the Nature Center. Make it an out and back or loop it with the Wendel Cassel trail if you’re looking for more miles and hills.
Walk in Auburn Valley State Park
Delaware’s newest state park is a hidden gem on the Delaware-Pennsylvania border along Red Clay Creek in Yorklyn. The hiking and biking trails are paved, easily accessible, and feature rich foliage and beautiful views.
Park on the Yorklyn Bridge Trail or the Paper Mill parking lot to access a variety of half-mile to full-length loops.
Visit the Hagley Museum
While most indoor exhibits are closed due to COVID-19, there is plenty to explore outside at the Hagley Museum located on 235 acres along the Brandywine.
Hagley presents the house and garden of EI du Pont and the surrounding land used to produce gunpowder in the 1800s. Tickets purchased online in advance are $ 8 for adults and $ 4 for children. from 6 to 14 years old.
Bonus: explore Cape Henlopen State Park
A list of the best places to visit in Delaware wouldn’t be complete without Cape Henlopen State Park. We couldn’t focus on just one activity – the park has everything from beaches, kayaking and fishing to expansive running and biking trails.
The 3.2 mile Gordons Pond Trail is one of our favorites.