The Beacon Inn

Posted on 06-15-2023

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Cape Henlopen State Park Guide: Everything You Need To Know

There are so many great reasons to visit our historic town of Lewes, but one of the main attractions for people of all ages is the fantastic Cape Henlopen State Park.

We’re just a short walk away from Cape Henlopen State Park, and we know how popular it is both with our guests and the locals here in Southern Delaware. That’s why we’ve created this guide for the beautiful State Park next door to us, filled with everything you need to know to make your stay more enjoyable.

Don’t forget to reserve your room for your visit to this true treasure just moments away from us. With a comfortable, well-appointed room, you can get the rest you need for a day of exploration.

Cape Henlopen State Park


About Cape Henlopen State Park

Sitting at the mouth of Delaware Bay, Cape Henlopen State Park comprises trails, beaches, oceanfront, dunes, forests, and wetlands. This coastal habitat plays host to a variety of wildlife and plant life, making it a real draw for lovers of nature. Whether you want to go exploring, make camp, or see the beautiful sunrises over the ocean, or sunsets beyond the bay, Cape Henlopen has to be one of the most attractive places in the whole state.

Campsites and trails remain open all year round, with the exception of The Point – the area at the very top of the cape – which closes from March to September to help protect the nesting habitat of endangered birds like the red knot, piping plovers, and oystercatchers.


A brief history of Cape Henlopen State Park

Cape Henlopen State Park has been a haven for nature for centuries. In the 1600s, the local citizens were allowed to make use of the abundant resources of the land by Willam Penn, a prominent, early leader for Delaware.

It officially became a state park in 1964 and has been a strategic location for many conflicts. From the American Revolution to World Wars I and II, the coastal cape made it the ideal spot for observation towers, bunkers, and gun platforms, including the creation of Fort Miles. 

The coastal importance of the area is also why lighthouses have been a consistent feature, with Cape Henlopen Light lasting from 1767 through to 1920. It was severely storm damaged, before crumbling to the bottom of the dune and into the ocean in 1926. The Harbour of Refuge Light and the Delaware Breakwater East now sit off the cape as the area’s lighthouses.

These days, as a state park, the area attracts visitors from across the country, offering a beautiful outdoor escape for tourists and local residents alike.


Where is it?

Cape Henlopen State Park is situated along the east coast of Delaware, with The Point helping to create the mouth of the Delaware Bay, where those waters meet the Atlantic Ocean. To the west, there is the town of Lewes, while Rehoboth Beach is directly south.


Things to do at Cape Henlopen State Park

Things to do Cape Henlopen State Park

Because it covers such a wide area and a variety of landscapes, there is plenty to see and do in Cape Henlopen State Park. Here are just five of our suggestions for ways to get the most out of your visit:

Visit Fort Miles

A dream come true for history enthusiasts, you can learn all about the importance of the fort’s role in defending the coast during World War II. You can also visit Tower 7, an observation tower that was used to spot enemy ships approaching from the Atlantic.

Learn about local marine life

Encounter the local fish, reptiles, and other creatures that call the surrounding waters home at the Seaside Nature Center. With knowledgeable naturalists on hand to provide more information, you can even get up close at the touch tanks and aquariums.

Take to the trails

Part of the Delawonder Trail, you can hike or cycle along the trail for exercise, bird watching, or simply to enjoy the tranquility of being in nature.

Enjoy the pristine beaches

Whether you want to do a spot of sunbathing or sandcastle building – or perhaps you love to take a dip in the ocean? – there are plenty of spots along the waterfront to explore.

Cast a line at the fishing pier

Delaware is a fantastic place for fishing and there are few places better than the fishing pier to try casting your line. You can read more fishing recommendations in our recent guide covering the topic.


Can you park at Cape Henlopen State Park?

There are two main parking lots where you can drive up if you have camping gear or equipment that you want to take with you. Herring Point Parking at the southern end of the park and The Point parking lot up in the north allow you to get your adventure underway.


Reserve your room for a visit to Cape Henlopen State Park

The Beacon Inn is a popular place to stay when visiting Cape Henlopen State Park

Spend an awe-inspiring weekend exploring Cape Henlopen State Park, where natural beauty, opportunities for family recreation, and a rich history all combine. Reserve your accommodations with us at The Beacon Inn now for any length of stay and you’ll be perfectly placed to experience our charming town and the tranquil escape of Cape Henlopen.

If you need any more information or recommendations for things to do throughout your stay, our team will be happy to help you.

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