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National Parks in Delaware: Explore the 1 Delaware National Park (2021 Update)

Post Summary: National Parks in Delaware

Delaware has a long and rich history as the first to ratify the Constitution of the United States. Hence its nickname “The First State.” This small state is located on the Delmarva Peninsula in the Mid-Atlantic region and is the second smallest state in the United States. The name Delaware comes from Lord de la Warr who was an English nobleman and one of the first settlers to land on what would be later named Cape Henlopen. His first settlement was on Lewes Beach which is now known as Lewes, Delaware’s oldest town. Beyond Delaware’s US and colonial history, Delaware has a rich Native American culture including the Unami Lenape and the Nanticoke people.

Despite being the first state in the United States, it was the last state to get a National Park Service Unit. Here is everything you need to know about the first National Park in Delaware.

This post was published in February 2019. It was updated in September 2021.

Looking to explore the national parks in Delaware? Here is a complete list of all Delaware National Parks.

delaware national parks / does delaware have a national park / parks in de	/ national monuments in delaware

Maps of National Parks in Delaware

Delaware National Parks

First State National Historical Park

First State National Historical Park protects the history of early colonial Delaware and the events leading up to Delaware being the first state to ratify the United States Constitution.  The park spans sites mostly in Delaware with a few sites in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania.  This region was settled by Dutch, Swedes, Finns, and English. The park protects the cultural landscape of the Brandywine River Valley and examines the early settlers relationship with the Native Americans in the region.

The park is made of seven sites.  They are Beaver Valley, Fort Christina National Historic Landmark, Old Swedes Church, New Castle Court House Museum, The Green, John Dickinson Plantation, Ryves Holt House.

The First State was created in 2013 by President Obama as a National Monument. In 2014, Congress elevated the monument to a Historical Park.

Things to do: museums, historical tours

How to get there: First State is made up of several sites spread out across New Castle and Kent County. There is no public transportation so you must drive between the sites. They can be reached via state and local routes.

Where to Stay: A range of accommodations found in the area>> Check prices of nearby hotels on Booking.com or Hotels.com

Entrance Fee: Free

Official Website: Click Here

Map: Download

A grassy park with a few trees
By Ataraxy22Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Affiliate Sites of Delaware

Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail

Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail is about 3,000 miles of water routes along the Chesapeake Bay watershed.  The rivers are located in the following states – Washington D.C, Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. The water routes follow the voyages of Captain John Smith between 160 -1609. Smith produced the first maps of the region.

Much of the Historic trail is included in the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network.  The trail passes thru many state and local sites where you can rent canoes and kayaks.  Boat tours are offered in the bay.

Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail was established on December 19, 2006.

Things to do: Walking, Museums, Historical Tours

How to get there: There are major airports located all along the trial.

Where to Stay: There are a range of hotel options in the citites along the trail.

Entrance Fee: Free, but some of the federal, state, and privately managed buildings along the trail may have an entrance fee.

Official Website: Click Here

Map: Download

A mashy area next to a river with a Great Blue Heron.
Photo Credit – NPCA Photos, CC BY-ND 2.0

Chesapeake Bay

The Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network is a collection of over 150 parks, refuges, museums, historic communities, and water trails along the Chesapeake Bay watershed.  This network included sites in Washington D.C, Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia.

The Chesapeake Bay watershed drains into the large estuary called the Chesapeake Bay.  The Chesapeake Bay is a 200-mile long bay that connects the Susquehanna River and the Atlantic Ocean.  Over 15o rivers and streams drain into the bay.  The bay ranges from 2.8 miles wide to 30 miles.  There is an estimated 11,684 miles of shoreline.

Visitors to the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network can explore a range of sites and learn about the history, culture and natural importance of the area.

Things to do: museum, geocaching, birdwatching, paddling, fossil hunting, history tours,

How to get there: There are many major airports in the area such as Dulles or Philly.

Where to Stay: There is longing located throughout the area.

Entrance Fee: Free, but some of the federal, state, and privately managed buildings along the trail may have an entrance fee.

Official Website: Click Here

Map: Click Here

A bridge crossing over the ocean.
Photo Credit – Forsaken Fotos, CC BY 2.0

Washington-Rochambeau National Historic Trail

Washington-Rochambeau National Historic Trail is a 680-mile long Historical Trail.  The trail is sometimes known as the Washington–Rochambeau Revolutionary Route.  The route follows the road used by George Washington’s Continental Army and Jean-Baptiste de Rochambeau’s Expédition Particulière took on their way from Newport, Rode Island to Yorktown, Virginia. Yorktown was the final battle of the American Revolutionary War.

Washington-Rochambeau National Historic Trail is primary an auto trail.  While the route forces on the march to Yorktown, the trail passes thru or near many other important revolutionary war sites. Rhode Island sites include the Joy Homestead.

Washington-Rochambeau National Historic Trail passes through Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Washington D.C, and Virginia.

Things to do: Auto touring, bicycling, walking, historical tours, guided tours, museums

How to get there: There are major airports all along the route.

Where to Stay: The trail follows major highways and lodging is located along the route.

Entrance Fee: Free, but some of the federal, state, and privately managed buildings along the trail may have an entrance fee.

Official Website: Click Here

Map: Download

A red plank two-story building.
By DaderotOwn work, Public Domain, Link

List of National Parks in Delaware

There is 1 National Park in Delaware.

  • First State National Historical Park (DE, PA)

Affiliated Areas

  • Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail (DC, DE, MD, NY, PA,VA)
  • Chesapeake Bay Gateway Network (DC, DE, MD, NY, PA, VA, WV)
  • Washington-Rochambeau National Historic Trail (CT, DC, DE,MA,MD,NJ,NY,PA,RI,VA)

Delaware National Parks also provides support and management to 1 Wild and Scenic River, 2 National Trails as well as 715 National Register of Historic Places Listings.

There are 14 National Historic Landmarks and 409 Places recorded by the Heritage Documentation Program.

Delaware is home to 17 State Parks.

Frequenlty Asked Questions about Delaware National Parks?

Does Delaware have any national parks?

Delaware does not have any units with the designation National Park. It does have one National Park Service Unit.

What is the only state without a national park?

Until 2013, Delaware was the only state without a National Park Service Unit.

Delaware’s Neighboring States

Planning to visit a few of the National Parks in Delaware and wandering about what national parks are in neighboring states. Here is the list of National Parks in surrounding states.

Check out this great list of the 63 National Parks and get a FREE National Park Checklist. Count how many National Parks you have visited.

Final Thoughts on the National Parks of Delaware

I hope this guide to the National Parks of Delaware is helpful as you plan to explore these amazing National Parks.

Pin for Later: National Parks in Delaware: Explore the 1 Delaware National Park (2021 Update)

Looking to explore the national parks in Delaware? Here is a complete list of all Delaware National Parks.

delaware national parks / does delaware have a national park / parks in de	/ national monuments in delaware

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