Think Beyond the Beaches

There is more to vacationing in coastal Delaware than beaches, arcades, and breweries. Have you visited our vast networks of marshes, bays, and canals by kayak, canoe, or paddleboard? Our waterways feature some of the best coastal scenery and wildlife around! You can witness ospreys diving for fish, a giant blue heron standing guard in the marsh, and terrapins bobbing to the surface. If you are lucky enough, you might even encounter a dolphin or stingray. 

The University of Delaware’s Sustainable Coastal Communities Initiative published a Coastal Paddling Map at featuring 16 different paddling excursions for beginners and experienced paddlers. Choose trips based at Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge, the Broadkill River, Cape Henlopen State Park, the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal, and various routes throughout the Inland Bays. The map contains information about distances, access points, parking, restrooms, and fees.

All Delaware paddlers are required to have a personal floatation device and a whistle with them when on the water. It is a good idea to fill out a float plan and leave it with an adult who will contact the Delaware Natural Resources Police if you do not return as scheduled. Paddlers are also encouraged to travel with a companion and to monitor weather and tide conditions. Judge how far to go and when to return based on the winds, tides, and your own experience and fitness level. This time of year, the heat and sun can also create challenges, so make sure to wear sunscreen, a hat, and drink plenty of water. Go the extra step and take a free online safety course for paddlesports at This course is recognized by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators and the U.S. Coast Guard. 

Did You Know?

Recreational kayaking is the most popular paddlesport with more than 11 million participants.

The South Atlantic region, including Delaware, has the most participation in paddlesports than any other region in the U.S.

At 53%, males make up a slightly larger percentage of paddlers than females. Male participation, however, is declining at about 1% per year, while female participation is increasing by the same amount.

20% of stand-up paddlers travel between 10 & 25 miles to their paddling destinations. 

3/4 of reported paddlesport incidents occur when there is clear visibility.

Danielle is a certified climate change professional with Delaware Sea Grant (  Delaware Sea Grant utilizes research, education, and extension work in support of resilient communities, economies, and coastal resources.  Danielle provides technical assistance and outreach to communities on emergency preparedness and building resilience to weather and climate hazards.  She is co-founder of the Resilient and Sustainable Communities League (RASCL – and loves hiking the Gordons Pond Trail in Cape Henlopen State Park. 

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