Cape Henlopen State Park – Lewes, DE

Disclaimer:  Caution must be used at all times as natural hazards exist at Cape Henlopen State Park.  Please play wisely and follow the applicable rules and safety guidelines.

Cape Henlopen is a state park with six miles of shoreline in Lewes, Delaware. The cape is a point where the Delaware Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean.

Cape Henlopen Entrance Sign
Cape Henlopen Entrance Sign

There’s many activities available in Cape Henlopen, including biking, swimming, fishing, and sightseeing. This state park has a rich history from World World II, as it served as coastline defense.

Cape Henlopen State Park Fee

To enter Cape Henlopen State Park there is a $5 daily fee per vehicle fee for in-state and $10 per vehicle for out of state. This is subject to change, so check their website before visiting.

Swimming at Cape Henlopen

The beach swimming area is accessible from the Lewes entrance of the park, along Cape Henlopen Drive. There’s a large parking lot and an entrance ramp through the Senator David B. McBride Beach bathhouse. Note that this area can be very busy on summer weekends and holidays.

Cape Henlopen Beach Entrance

Before heading onto the beach, check the swimming conditions on the Beach Flag Code sign. It indicates the conditions for swimming. It also lists high tide, low tide, and water temperature.

Keep in mind that the beach is lifeguard patrolled from Memorial Day to Labor Day (subject to change with staffing levels). The orange flags indicate the boundaries of the swimming area.

Cape Henlopen Beach
Orange Flag Indicating Swimming Boundary

The swimming beach includes a bathhouse, concessions, foot showers, and picnic tables. The concession stand serves a wide-variety of food.

Cape Henlopen Concessions

French fries, soft pretzels, salads, cheeseburgers, hot dogs, chicken tenders, chicken wrap, cookies, popcorn, and ice cream are some of the items on the menu. They take credit cards, Google Play and Apple Pay. There are a couple of picnic tables located on the deck close to the concession stand.

Cape Henlopen Snack Bar
Cape Henlopen Concessions

Seaside Nature Center

A short drive from the beach is the Seaside Nature Center. Inside the center there is a touch tank with horseshoe crabs and several aquariums to view the fish of the coastal ocean waters. There’s also a small gift shop. Be sure to check the state park’s website to find Center hours.

Cape Henlopen Touch Tank
Touch Tank

Cape Henlopen Bike Rentals

At the Nature Center, the Friends of Cape Henlopen State Park have a bike rental barn where you can rent bikes for free. While they have bikes for children, they do not have any bikes with training wheels.

Cape Henlopen Bike Rental
Bike Barn

If you’d like to rent a bike, you’ll register at the desk in the Seaside Nature Center. Bikes are rented on a first come, first serve basis. The rentals are for two hours, and everyone under 18 must wear a helmet. Helmets are available at the bike barn. The bike barn has limited hours. Call the Nature Center to confirm they are operating.

Cape Henlopen Bikes
Bike Rentals

Cape Henlopen Towers

Because of its coastal location, Cape Henlopen was used as part of the nation’s coastline defense during World War II. There are still several towers at Cape Henlopen. There is one tower that can still be climbed by the public. This tower is close to Fort Miles Historic Area.

Cape Henlopen Tower
Observation Tower

There are winding steps to climb to the top. Once at the top, the stairs narrow and you can step outside to the top of the tower. There is a railing at the top. There is a warning to watch for wasps in the tower.

Looking for more State Parks in the Mid-Atlantic Region?

There are many amazing state parks in Pennsylvania. Be sure to check out – 

Swatara State Park

Ohiopyle State Park

Ricketts Glen State Park

Trough Creek State Park

Hickory Run State Park

Post Author: karenbeth24