Article Summary: Delaware National Parks
We’ve got Delaware National Parks! We’ve got four incredible national park sites for you to see on your next visit to The First State.
I’ve been to so many of these amazing places since retiring from teaching in 2018. Did I mention that I taught history? I spent a lifetime teaching about the history behind these momentous sites. Then I got to see them firsthand. And now I’m sharing the stories of these incredible places with you. It doesn’t get any better than that!
Having spent my formative years in a tiny Pennsylvania hamlet not too far removed from the “First State,” I always enjoyed the opportunity to travel there. As my interest in history grew so did my interest in Delaware. And, like so many amazing places I’ve been blessed to visit over the years, I realized that Delaware is a magical place where history and nature meet.
To be clear, this list includes national park sites (as in sites managed by the National Park Service) as opposed to full-fledged national parks.
So, What Is A National Park?
We get asked that question a lot because there’s a difference between a “national park” and a “national park site.” To help you understand that difference you might want to check out our article titled: What Is A National Park Really?
If you’re planning a trip to Delaware then a book that I highly recommend is: Greater Than a Tourist-Delaware USA: 50 Travel Tips from a Local by George Wieber.
We’re going to give you four wonderful reasons why you’ll want to make Delaware your next vacation destination.
Table Of Contents: Delaware National Parks
Delaware National Parks
- Delaware National Parks
- More Delaware National Parks
- Still More Delaware National Parks
- Delaware National Parks FAQ
- Meet The Parks Brothers
- We Hope You’ll Join Our Journey
Delaware National Parks
1. Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail
The first of our amazing Delaware National Parks celebrates an English explorer who played an pivotal role in America’s founding.
The Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail is a water trail located in the Chesapeake Bay region of the United States. It follows the journey of Captain John Smith, who explored the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries in the early 17th century.
The trail spans over 3,000 miles and covers parts of Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia.
The trail serves as a means to educate the public about the cultural and natural resources of the Chesapeake Bay and its rich history, including the interactions between European settlers and native communities. Visitors can experience the trail through recreational boating, kayaking, and hiking.
Things To Do On The John Smith Chesapeake National Historical Trail
The trail commemorates Captain Smith’s exploration of the Bay in 1607 through 1609, and is the nation’s first all-water national historic trail. It stretches over 3,000 miles and traverses most of the Chesapeake’s great rivers.
The trail is administered by the National Park Service. It connects with 16 National Wildlife Refuges, 12 National-Parks, and three other National Trails.
Trails I would recommend exploring include the following:
- The Billy Goat Trail-It’s a popular trail near Potomac, Maryland. This is a protected area designed to preserve the remains of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canals with the original structures still intact. The trail offers spectacular views of the Potomac River.
- Scott’s Run River Trail-It’s a wonderful area for nature trips, walking, and running. It features a beautiful waterfall. This is a beautifully wooded trail with a mix of inclines, flat areas, and areas with loose rocks.
- The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Trail-It’s a popular trail that leads up to an overlook of the Great Falls. You will have wonderful views of the water and rock formations.
2. Chesapeake Bay Watershed
The Chesapeake Bay Watershed is a significant historical, cultural, and natural resource located on the East Coast of the United States. The region has a rich history dating back to prehistoric times, with native communities such as the Susquehannocks and Algonquins residing in the area.
European colonization began in the early 17th century, and the Chesapeake Bay became an important center for trade, agriculture, and fishing.
The region played a crucial role in the American Revolution and the Civil War.
The Chesapeake Bay has also been the site of major environmental challenges, including overfishing, pollution, and habitat loss. Efforts to protect and restore the Chesapeake Bay Watershed have been ongoing for decades and involve collaboration between federal, state, and local governments, as well as private organizations.
Today, the Chesapeake Bay Watershed is a popular destination for recreational activities such as boating, fishing, and wildlife viewing, and remains an important source of food and livelihood for local communities.
Check Out: 18 SURPRISING Massachusetts National Parks
More Delaware National Parks
3. First State National Historical Park
My favorite Delaware National Park is the First State National Historical Park.
First State National Historical Park was established in 2013 to preserve and interpret the cultural and natural resources of Delaware’s colonial and revolutionary history. It is the first national historical park in the state of Delaware.
The park includes several historic sites, including the New Castle Court House Museum, the Old Swedes Church, and the Ryves Holt House. These sites tell the story of Delaware’s role in the American Revolution and its significance as one of the original 13 colonies.
The park also protects important natural resources, such as the Appalachian National Scenic Trail and the White Clay Creek Preserve.
First State National Historical Park provides opportunities for visitors to experience and learn about Delaware’s rich history through interpretive programs, guided tours, and educational resources.
It’s a popular destination for visitors who are interested in American history and culture, as well as outdoor recreation.
Oh The places you’ll want to go | First State National Historical Park
To quote Dr. Seuss, “Oh The Places You’ll Go.” And I recommend the following
- Brandywine Valley: More than 1,300 acres of rolling agricultural fields, pastures, forested hills, and streams preserve the natural and cultural legacy of the larger Brandywine Valley in northern Delaware and southern Pennsylvania. This land serves as a reminder of William Poole Bancrofts vision to protect a green space all people to enjoy.
- Fort Christina: It was here, along the banks of the Christina River, over 375 years ago, that the first Swedish and Finnish American settlers aboard the Kalmar Nyckel and the Fogel Grip landed and settled the first American Swedish colony called New Sweden.
- Old Swedes Historic Site: Old Swedes Historic Site serves as a reminder of the early Swedish settlement that once thrived along the Christina River. While visiting this site you will travel through time as you learn about the earliest settlers buried here to some of the people that for and against Women’s Right to Vote.
Still More Wonderful Places To Go | First State National Historical Park
- New Castle Court House Museum: The New Castle Court House was built in 1732, and served as Delaware’s first court house and eventually state capitol. It was in this historic structure that the representatives of the people of Delaware voted in 1776 for independence from both Pennsylvania and Great Britain.
- The Dover Green: The Dover Green was laid out in 1717, following a plan created by William Penn in 1683, to serve as a gathering area for the growing town. The Green has played a role in the American Revolution, founding of the nation, Women’s Rights, Civil Rights and more.
- John Dickinson Plantation: This site is the early childhood home of John Dickinson who is known as the Penman of the Revolution. During your visit you will learn about his work and accomplishments while also exploring the lesser known stories of those who took care of the land and property. (Source: NPS)
Still More Delaware National Parks
4. Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail
We have arrived at the last of the Delaware National Parks on our list.
George Washington’s ultimate success against the British was made possible through an alliance with France.
On July 11, 1780, 55-year-old General Jean Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau arrived with an army of 450 officers and 5,300 men in Narragansett Bay off Newport, Rhode Island.
From New Hampshire to Virginia, the Washington-Rochambeau National Historic Trail connects major metropolitan areas, state and national parks, historic and scenic trails, and countless other historic sites.
The rout is a 680-mile series of roads used in 1781 by the Continental Army under the command of George Washington and the forces under the command of Admiral Rochambeau during their 14-week march from Newport, Rhode Island, to Yorktown, Virginia.
Check Out: 10 BEST Revolutionary War Sites In America
We’re More Than Just Parks So Why Not Check Out The President Biden Driving Tour
President Joe Biden was not born in the state of Delaware, but his family moved there when he was 10 years old.
He was elected to the New Castle County Council in 1970 and became the sixth-youngest senator in U.S. history after he was elected to the United States Senate from Delaware in 1972, at age 29. Biden was the chair or ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for 12 years.
He also chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee from 1987 to 1995; led the effort to pass the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act and the Violence Against Women Act; and oversaw six U.S. Supreme Court confirmation hearings.
Biden served as a Senator from Delaware from 1973 until his election as Vice-President in 2008.
Check Out The President Biden Driving Tour
While in Delaware, why not check out the President Biden Driving Tour. You can now take a driving tour through the state where Joe Biden’s journey to Washington began and discover the places and people that define “the very best of who we are as Americans.”
So, pack your aviator sunglasses and hit the road with the President Biden Driving Tour that’s filled with presidential pit stops, from the hope filled artwork found on the Chase Center in Wilmington to the sunrises found on the Junction Breakwater Trail.
Stops along this tour include the following:
- Biden Welcome Center: The first stop on your trip as you enter the northern part of the state on I-95 is the Biden Welcome Center, named for Biden, his family, and their spirit of hospitality. After you stop for a quick refresh, a bite to eat, and information on statewide attractions, events, and activities be sure to take a picture with the Welcome to Delaware sign.
- Delaware Discoveries Trail which has added a new addition, it’s 10th overall, to its tour of interactive street art. With a bouquet of Delaware-centric balloons, visitors can stand in front of the artwork and become immersed in a hopeful and celebratory moment.
- Junction Breakwater Trail which runs between Rehoboth Beach and Lewes with its photogenic pit stops of scenic coastal landscape, holds some of the best views of ocean front sunrises, signaling the start of a new day on the horizon. And if you haven’t already, be prepared to see photos of Biden biking along the looping 15 mile trail. (Source: Visit Delaware)
To learn more about the President Biden Driving Tour check out this helpful website
Check Out Our Film – National Parks A Love Story
We set out to create this film at the request of NPS & Interior to capture the feeling of our own love story with America’s National Parks. For us, our National Parks are more than sacred places.
For us, they are a hallowed ideal which represents the very best our country has to offer its people.
It is this fundamental idea that we, as Americans, can pass the legacy of our most treasured landscapes from one generation to the next unmarred by man’s ever-growing footprint which motivates us to celebrate the beauty of these special places.
Delaware National Parks FAQ
Cape Henlopen State Park. Cape Henlopen State Park takes the first spot in our list of best state parks in Delaware. Located along Delaware Bay, the state park offers plenty of opportunities for boating, fishing, paddle boarding, and more along the beautiful water.
The following is a list of the must-see historic sites in Delaware:
First State National Historical Park
Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library
Delaware Art Museum
The Kalmar Nyckel
Historic New Castle
Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail
Biggs Museum Of American Art
Nemours Mansion and Gardens
Delaware Agricultural Museum And Village
John Dickinson Plantation
Why Trust Us About National Parks In Delaware?
We’re Jim Pattiz and Will Pattiz, collectively known as the Pattiz Brothers (and sometimes the Parks Brothers) and we absolutely LOVE the national parks.
You should probably know that we don’t just make this stuff up out of thin air. We’ve spent our entire adult lives exploring and filming America’s national parks and public lands.
We’ve worked with the National Park Service, the Department of Interior, USDA, and the U.S. Forest Service for years creating films on important places and issues. Our work has been featured in leading publications all over the world and even some people outside of our immediate family call us experts on the national parks.
Meet The Parks Brothers
Map Of The Delaware National Parks
List Of Delaware’s National Parks
- Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail
- Chesapeake Bay Watershed
- First State National Historical Park
- Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail
We Hope You’ll Join Our Journey
Our goal here at More Than Just Parks is to share the beauty of America’s national parks and public lands through stunning short films in an effort to get Americans and the world to see the true value in land conservation.
We hope you’ll follow our journey through the parks and help us to keep them the incredible places that they are. If you’re interested in joining the adventure then please sign up below!