Explore Cape Henlopen State Park – Lighthouses, Hiking, and More

Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, is an incredible vacation destination no matter what you’re looking for. Beautiful beaches, mouthwatering seafood, awesome shopping, rich history, and breathtaking nature; what more could you really ask for? One of the most popular attractions near our Rehoboth Beach vacation rentals is Cape Henlopen State Park. You can spend an entire day (or longer!) exploring this stunning public land. Here are a few attractions you should definitely pay a visit to when you’re at Cape Henlopen State Park.

Harbor of Refuge Lighthouse

The Harbor of Refuge Lighthouse has a fascinating history that dates back into the 1890s. The Harbor of Refuge Breakwater started being built on May 4, 1897 and was completed in a quick 4 years. At first, the breakwater was equipped with temporary lights, but while a permanent lighthouse was being prepared for, a powerful storm came through and swept away the frame tower, striking machine, and fog bell. Congress approved the initial funds for the permanent lighthouse in 1900, but the project was not completed until 1908.

Heading to the northeastern end of Cape Henlopen State Park will give you the best view of the lighthouse. On select days, tours are offered, so be sure to check the schedule before you visit! Even if you don’t take a tour, it’s still fun to wander the grounds and get some great pictures of the lighthouse.

Delaware Breakwater East End Lighthouse

One of the state’s oldest lighthouses, Delaware Breakwater East End Lighthouse was established in 1885 and is a great spot to visit when you’re in Cape Henlopen State Park. It was built as a replacement for the Cape Henlopen Beacon, which was deteriorating rapidly. The lighthouse also brought with it a fog signal, a wharf, and an oil house, rounding out the historical amenities at the site. 

Local companies such as Cape Water Taxis offer tours of the East End Lighthouse. These tours are around 1.5 hours and allow the whole family to discover the rich history of the area and to gaze at the beautiful shorelines of Lewes. Visiting both lighthouses in one day is a great way to think about what life may have been like when the structures were built. 

The Fishing Pier at Cape Henlopen

Cape Henlopen is perfect for all kinds of outdoor activities, but fishing just might be one of the most popular. The pier at Cape Henlopen is a quarter-mile long and provides the perfect spot for anglers young and old to cast their lines. There is a convenient bait and tackle concession stand on the pier as well, where you can grab your fishing license and any supplies or snack foods you might need.

The park also has some of Delaware’s best beaches where you can go surf fishing! You can head to the dune crossovers to make your way to the designated fishing areas. If you want to drive onto the beach, you’ll need a special surf fishing vehicle permit, which can be purchased online or at the park office when available.  

Plan Your Next Stay

These are just a few of the things you can experience when you’re at Cape Henlopen State Park. Sound like a fun vacation idea? Contact us today to start booking your stay in one of our Rehoboth Beach oceanfront rentals!

Seaside Nature Trail

This rustic 1-mile loop gives visitors a relaxing way to explore Cape Henlopen State Park. The Seaside Nature Trail will take you through the incredible nature surrounding the Park, and at the trail’s northernmost point, you’ll find a stretch of track that runs on the beach along Delaware Bay.

The Trail takes guests to the Seaside Nature Center, where you can observe and learn more about local wildlife. They have a 495-gallon two-level touch tank that lets visitors see stingrays, horseshoe crabs, and more! There are also additional tanks with local fish and exhibits that explain the various habitats found within the park.