Delaware is known for it’s beautiful beaches – Rehoboth, Bethany and Dewey – and for it’s capital city of Dover, with it’s historic Legislative Hall and green. But the most populated part of Delaware is in the north near the cities of Wilmington and Newark, about two hours away from the beaches. And this area is brimming with beautiful state parks.
Delaware State Park Passes
Delaware State Parks passes can be purchased here, and are $4 for an in-state vehicle and $8 out-of-state (with the exception of the seashore parks, which are $1 and $2 more). They can also be purchased at the park when you go. There are no national parks in Delaware, but the state parks are some of the best in the nation. There is camping as well as Yurts available at Lums Pond, the last park on our list – reservations can be made here.
Our Favorite Northern Delaware State Parks List
Brandywine Creek State Park is a picturesque park of rolling meadows and forested area, and of course the creek. Chipmunks can be spotted near the blue gneiss stone walls (built in the late 1800s and early 1900s to mark property lines), and there are more than 14 miles of trail throughout the park. There is a nice disk golf course and plenty of fishing.
Bellevue State Park, a former DuPont estate, lies a few miles away. (You will find many attractions and landmarks in the area that were property of the DuPont family in this area). William DuPont’s home, Bellevue Hall, stands in the middle of the park, as well as a number of other structures and several playgrounds. There are always lovely horses to be seen, as the park includes horse stables, indoor horse training facilities, and a 1 ⅛ mile long horse track. There is a fishing pond, disk golf course, and a paved part of the Northern Delaware Greenway runs through the park.
Just a few miles away is Auburn Valley State Park, which runs along the Red Clay Creek. It houses the world’s largest operating collection of Stanley Steamer cars (which offer rides on “Steamin’ Days”) as well as a historic paper mill which lies undisturbed in the middle of the park. The hike up the hill (I believe this is called the Oversee Farm Trail) will get your heart rate up, but it is also paved which is nice for strollers and scooters.
White Clay Creek State Park encompasses a very large area that runs into Pennsylvania, providing ample opportunity to get lost if you’re not careful! (Yes, we know from experience.) It is named for the clay that was once mined in the area, and of course the creek that runs through it, with many tributaries along the way. It’s mostly woodland, with plenty of opportunities for glimpsing birds and catching fish. And squirrels, so many squirrels. There are also some ruins of old buildings you might encounter (which is always exciting), like the 1790s Judge Morris Estate.
Lums Pond, near the city of Newark, is Delaware’s largest freshwater pond, and is a State Park with lots to do. There are 17 miles of trails around the pond, a boathouse offering a variety of boats with which to explore, camping, pavilions, a dog park, and a nature center with a few live animal exhibits. Our personal favorite activity is the Go-Ape Treetop Ropes course where you can get a workout and some awesome zipline rides across the pond.