I don't even know where to begin. This was our first family camping trip with our kids 5 and 1. We wanted to go camping and have the beach all in one trip. THIS IS YOUR PLACE! We loved so much about this place so I will try to cover it all.
We stayed at campsite #24- which would have been super tight quarters had the neighboring campsite actually been used - the site "on top" of us was an auxiliary site-whatever that means- and you cannot actually book this site online- so technically our spot was 2 spots. Otherwise I'd have to say the sites are pretty small compared to what we're used to here in PA and very close to the sites on each side of you but I feel like this did not hamper our experience at all. The reservations system online describes many of the campsites as sunny or unshaded and I feel that from what I observed every campsite was surrounded in enough trees to provide shade. You did get a campsite that has a fire ring that has a grate you can flip down for cooking over half of the ring or flip up for having a full open fire. There is a water spigot at the top of your site, near where you'd park your vehicle. There is a huge space designated for your car or RV. Most of the campsites slope downwards, it didn't really bother or affect us (except the little one) but just something to keep in mind.
I felt I was able to fully prepare for this trip due to the very helpful people on TripAdvisor alone! What they say about the bathrooms...welll they aren't great but it could be worse. The issue with the bathroom is, especially if you have young children like us, you WILL wait no matter what time of day or night you attempt the bathroom- if you are going to the ladies room. You will stand in a line that goes out the door for both the bathroom stalls and the shower stalls. The reason being- if the campground is at full capacity- and it will be during the summer- you have 2 bathrooms in the whole campground to accommodate 100's of people. The bathrooms themselves only have THREE stalls each. YES you read that correctly 6 stalls for us ladies to split between a ton of people. Now I found myself wondering why people were making such a big deal about bathrooms at a campground in these reviews- I mean what do you expect? You're out in nature! But after the experience I would say this is the one thing the park just did not do a good job on. My suggestion is one more building- even implementing some porta-potties would alleviate the issue. As far as the cleanliness goes-some staff def visited this once or twice to clean it but it is because of the campers that they get so gross. And yes they are bugs galore but again what do you expect? The showers- also only 3 stalls- were gross but i'm really grossed out by showering in anything but a pristine condition so i'm a little finicky about it. The water goes hot and cold every few seconds so it will not be a rewarding shower I tell you that. But I've had worse camping showers. Its the kind of shower where you have to use one hand to push a button to keep the water flowing, if you take your hand off- the water stops. Requires a good use of force too. Needless to say it def ensures no one is taking their sweet time in there. Also-unless you plan well you could have a decent walk to the bathroom.
When you arrive to check in you have to pull over to the side get out and deal with someone at the window- we had a lady that was just so nice and loved her job. And she talked and talked and talked. They give you these maps that are completely useless. You will spend an entire day just trying to figure out what is where because the maps are limited in detail and there is so many places you can go. This little post has bags of ice for sale 16 lb bags $4 and 8lb bags $2 and it sells bundles of firewood for the price of your firstborn child! You literally will pay $6 per every fire you build. One bundle is large enough for only one fire. It could really break the budget vacation you've been planning. And dont even think about going to walmart or lowes or home depot in town because they all charge that-yeah we tried. There will be no wood or anything for you to burn at the campsite. You will not be able to wander into the woods and get yourself anything either. Trust me. They do have a camp store but it is not conveniently located anywhere near the campers. It's really a store that is geared towards all the fishers on the pier but its there. I haven't the slightest clue what you could get in there because we never went in. I do know you can't get milk. What I did do was drive about 5 mins out of the park and find a convenience store immediately. And a great ice cream place with a ton of flavor choices and toppings!
This park is huge. Everything is really close if you have a bike. Seriously I have no clue how people vacation here without having a bike. In general every single person there has a bike to get around because it is otherwise impossible with the heat and the bugs and the fact that you need things and/or want to get on with your day. With that said -everything is literally a hop skip and an awesome scenery filled quick bike ride away. This was the highlight of my summer. Getting out in nature on a bike- feeling like we were accessing something you could only be privy to with bikes. That's because the park has carved out beautifully paved bike paths to get you everywhere! We rented our bikes from the only bike place I came across (next to the convenience store) Lewes CycleSport (I think?). We rented an adult male bike and adult female bike and a trailer thing to pull our littles ones. It cost us $130 for the week. Might I suggest you get to this as soon as you arrive in DE- before you even set up camp because they seem to not want to deliver if they want to go home, and they take half a day to get your delivery to you! Get your money's worth and get your bikes ASAP first thing in the morning and you will have them by 1pm or so. You can choose to haul the bikes to the campground yourself if you're equipped with a truck. They will not deliver your bikes if you rent under 3 days time. That is just an experience you cannot miss. If we did not rent those bikes I don't think our experience could have been as good as it was. Where can you go on your bike?
The beach! Oh so clean and beautiful and whatever beaches we kept ending up on- uncrowded. I got my drink on at the beach with no issue. Once you find them you'll never wanna leave. Theres a lovely playground- brand new- that we did not get to use because I felt it would melt my children in that kind of heat as the entire playground provides zero shade. I kept telling myself I would take them as the sun started to droop but let's be honest- we all know that camp cooking takes some prep time! The Nature Center is just one of those things you don't really rely on for a trip but then realize how lucky you are to be staying at a place with it. It's a small little building and inside you will find souvenirs that are not too expensive ( I didnt get any! spent our extra money on ice and wood!) and 5 large aquarium tanks with creatures in there that the kids loved to look at. There's a touch tank too! They can touch the ever famous horseshoe crabs right in the water. The kids LOVED this. Its air conditioned so its a nice little break from the heat/your bike journey. Here you can access the seaside nature trail. I shoudl point out they had a few different walking trails that we did not get the opportunity to do (really would have loved to) because of our kids. Our 5 year old complains after walking a block and we didn't have a hiking pack for our 1 year old. For our next visit we'd like to accomplish a trail at least. You can also borrow a bike from the bike shed at the Nature center- for free! The only drawback is the 2 hour limit. I hate being rushed and I'd hate to have to be on a constant time limit so this is why we chose to pay for bikes.
To our dismay, we came upon the bayside entrance nearest "the point" too late in our day/trip. We wished we'd found it from day one so we could have visited it every day. We were really bummed when we found out that we could not walk the point due to the nesting of a rare bird species. I have a feeling those birds are there to stay so do not expect to make this trek either.We watched the sunset with our kids here and it was the most beautiful moment ever. And we had it all to ourselves for about 7 minutes until the rest of the people who had also realized how opportunistic this place was had arrived.
I know i'm forgetting 100s of mentionable things about this wonderful piece of paradise! I would go back happily, bugs and bathroom included!
- Also Known As:
- Cape Henlopen State Park Campground Hotel Lewes
- Cape Henlopen State Park Campground Lewes, Delaware