Well these are certainly the days that dreams are made of! I love camping! It’s frugal, its fun, and it gives my family such an awesome opportunity to connect and enjoy mother nature. Cape Henlopen State Park in Delaware is the Mid-Atlantic’s best kept secret and with my used camper I picked up for $1,500 about 4 years ago we have a BLAST! It’s a stock camper so it pulls easily behind my mini van. Read about my adventures and check out the photos….. It’s not too late to plan your frugal trip camping to the beach and Cape Henlopen should surely be on your bucket list!
The park boasts 2 beautiful white sandy, family oriented beaches patrolled with life guards Memorial Day through Labor day. Now I love the beach and so do the kids but I tend to stay away during busy beach hours – about 10:30am to 4:30pm. We’ve made a habit of showing up when everyone is leaving in droves. We love to catch the sun set and enjoy the solitude of the empty shores searching for dolphins, dipping our legs in the surf, and finding treasures mistakenly left behind by previous beach goers.
There are lots of activities to keep my family busy all day long. Cape Henlopen State Park is directly adjacent to Fort Miles. Built in 1941, the massive coastal military barracks was designed to defend U.S. assets along the Delaware River during World War II.
It claims to be one of the most heavily armed coastal fortifications ever built on the East Coast and you can still walk in the soldiers barracks and sit on the huge guns today.
My boys absolutely love checking out the guns and the barracks every year. We’re home schoolers but the kids don’t need a lecture to figure out Fort Miles – its living history and seeing it in person. We always stop for a close up!
The Fort is walking distance from the camp grounds and we never miss the opportunity to climb the look out tower each day. It’s on the way to the barracks and is a really amazing structure with its enormous cement walls and winding spiral staircase. It’s great exercise and its such a beautiful coastal view. It’s absolutely breathtaking from the top of the tower. Sometimes we pack a sandwich and eat at the top for a picnic in the sky.
After a delicious breakfast over the campfire (and yes we also have a camp stove but I prefer open fire cooking when camping) we generally ride bikes and head out to the Cape Henlopen Nature Center and the fishing pier.
You can bring your own bike (which is what we prefer) or you can use a bike free of charge from the Friend of Cape Henlopen Bike Barn directly next to the Nature Center. The bikes are just plain stock bikes (no 10 speeds or mountain bikes) but they work fine for enjoying the miles of scenic trails around Cape Henlopen.
On to the Nature Center….. Its a small building but we like it just the same. There is a touch tank for the kids, small gift shop or books, educations materials about Fort Miles & Cape Henlopen and trinkets for the kids. Last year they had a live cam on an Osprey nest. That was neat!
Off to the fishing pier we go to meet up with my teenage son that is fishing crazy! 2 years ago he caught the largest flounder off of the pier and had his picture up the remainder of the summer in the bait & tackle shop at the foot of the pier. Talk about happy…. ☺
Now its time to make some campfire s’mores (my favorite of course)! Next year we’ll plan another camping trip and start our countdown sometimes in the spring. Prices for camping at Cape Henlpen start around $33 and go up into the $40’s per night. They do have camping cabins you can rent by the week that are right in the camp ground and reasonably priced at around $80 a night. Hope to see you next year! Enjoy your summer and be sure to book early!