A kingfisher at Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge was photographed by Edward Crawford.

Into the Wild

Enjoy these Delaware wildlife refuges that are only a short trip from the beach. 

Assawoman Bay State Wildlife Area

37604 MULBERRY LANDING ROAD, FRANKFORD

This wildlife area is made up of farms lost in the Great Depression and later purchased by the U.S. Forest Service. The preserve includes three areas: Miller Neck (1,335 acres), Muddy Neck (284 acres) and The Beach (76 acres). Visitors will spot migrating and wintering waterfowl, white-tailed deer and bobwhite quail around the area. Other protected wildlife species include the Canada goose, black and mallard ducks, amphibians and reptiles. Assawoman also offers plenty of nature views of lush trees and blue waters comprised of creeks, ponds and the Little Assawoman Bay. The Lookout Point provides a higher vantage spot for visitors to see sky, water and land meet. 

James Farm Ecological Preserve

30048 CEDAR NECK ROAD, OCEAN VIEW

Immerse yourself in nature on the Indian River Bay at this preserve. James Farm provides seven different habitats to explore. Visitors can check out the low marsh filled with salt marsh cordgrass and glasswort, or the high marsh comprised of bayberry, marsh alder and salt marsh hay. The maritime forest offers shade with loblolly pines, holly and red cedar trees or go deeper into the hardwood forest with southern red oak, hickory, sweetgum and sassafras. Take in some vitamin C in the meadows that were transformed from former farms. A kayak ride offers a water view. 

Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge

11978 TURKLE POND ROAD, MILTON

Prime Hook is popular among those who love nature photography and birding. Take a drive through the marshes or hike along more than seven miles of trails. While exploring, spot the migratory birds the refuge protects through its feeding, nesting and roosting areas. Visitors can see over 245 species of birds. Other animals include the Atlantic horseshoe crab and Delmarva fox squirrel. Hunting and fishing are also popular attractions at permitted times of the year. 

Silver Lake State Bird Refuge

SILVER LAKE DRIVE, REHOBOTH BEACH

Located within Rehoboth Beach is this prime spot for birding. Silver Lake’s pond gives visitors an up-close view of wintering duck species and other birds. The refuge is most known for the Canvasback species. Other birds found regularly at the refuge include redheads, ruddy ducks and mallards. Plus, lesser scaup, greater scaup, gulls and other waterbirds frequent the pond. The quaint spot offers a grassy area around the pond for relaxing or walking.

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