Here’s a step-by-step guide to running, walking and hiking in Delaware
From its woods to its waterside trails, Delaware offers hikers, walkers and runners perfect pathways to discovery – it has even been named as one of the most walkable and bikeable states in America. Here’s a three-day journey that will give you a deeper perspective on Delaware’s diverse ecology.
Start in Northern Delaware, in the wooded rolling hills of “Chateau Country.” Get your motor charged with coffee and breakfast at Delaware’s own Brew HaHa Espresso & Newsstand, then head to Brandywine Creek State Park along the scenic Brandywine River, where the Hidden Pond Trail offers vistas of open fields bordered by artisan-crafted stone walls.
Heading south to Newark, take your pick of lunch spots: Newark Bagel, Iron Hill Brewery (a stop on the Delaware Wine & Ale Trail) or Claymont Steak Shop (a Delaware Culinary Trail favorite). Work off lunch along the Pomeroy Trail at White Clay Creek State Park, one of the state’s largest preserves of woodlands. This hiker’s paradise offers 37 miles of trails leading to historic sites and scenic vistas overlooking lush valleys and impressive rock outcrops.
Now head south to Lums Pond State Park in the Middletown area, where the 6.4-mile Swamp Forest Trail loops around the pond through fresh water wetland forests of black cherry, sweet gum, and maple. Off the trail are links to the campground, boat launch, disc golf course, dog training area, nature center and picnic areas.
Wrap up a delightfully draining day with dinner at Cantwell’s Tavern in Historic Odessa, followed by a stay at the Hampton Inn Middletown.
Begin the day with a quick drive south for breakfast at the Smyrna Diner, a local favorite. Then it’s on to the state capital of Dover, where history and nature coalesce at Brecknock Park, an 80- acre park that boasts three miles of hiking trails, wetlands, and even a butterfly and native-plant garden. Ballfields and a picnic pavilion round out the fun.
While you’re in Dover, head over to 33 West Ale House & Grill or The Greene Turtle for lunch before heading south again, this time to the Edward H. McCabe Preserve in Milton. At this preserved area, a wide range of habitats, plants and animals are represented within a relatively small pocket.
The day’s end will deliver a needed dose of casual sophistication at 1776 Steakhouse in Rehoboth Beach, followed by a stay at the Governor’s Bed & Breakfast in Milton.
Start the day early with a drive south to Delaware’s beloved Atlantic Coast, where ocean and dunes combine to create an unrivalled ambiance. Grab coffee and/or breakfast at Surf Bagel in Lewes before taking on the Walking Dunes Trail at nearby Cape Henlopen State Park. This 1.6-mile trail embraces wooded uplands and tidal marsh before terminating at The Great Dune. In late spring, look along the trail for blooming Pink Lady's Slipper and Beach Heather, with its abundant, tiny yellow flowers. Nature enthusiasts will also enjoy views of the tidal marsh and of the many birding opportunities.
Next it’s time for lunch at local favorite Striper Bites Bistro in Lewes before heading to the next town on the coast, Rehoboth Beach. Finish up the trip with a tradition enjoyed by generations in Delaware: people-watching and jogging in the ocean breeze along this mile-long boardwalk. Stroll up Rehoboth Avenue for a lovely dinner of sushi on the rooftop of the Cultured Pearl Restaurant and Sushi Bar before turning in for the night at the luxurious Bellmoor Inn and Spa.
For more information, go to www.VisitDelaware.com/Outdoor, call (866) 284-7483, or e-mail Visit.Delaware@state.de.us.