The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Division of Parks & Recreation announced that 2017 was a record-breaking year for camping, cabins and cottage stays in Delaware’s state parks.
Visitor stays grew by 19 percent, with more than 16,500 additional overnight stays occurring in 2017, compared to 2016. The strongest months of growth in 2017 were the shoulder seasons of April, May, September, October and November.
Since 2015, DNREC’s Delaware State Parks has invested more than $11 million in campground improvements and renovations at parks throughout the state. Improvement projects are selected based on electronic surveys sent to customers following a stay.
Campers are taking advantage of the improvements being made and responding with more frequent and longer visits to state parks. Over the last five years, overnight stays have increased 47 percent in state parks — the highest at any time in the Division’s history. In addition, online travel service Hip Camp recently named Delaware the second-most camping-friendly state in the country.
Recent campground improvements include:
— Killens Pond State Park: New 50-amp electrical service at campsites, fire pits and renovated kitchens for the cabins have been added. In addition, a $3 million renovation brought four 45-foot slides to the popular waterpark.
— Cape Henlopen State Park: Recent renovations include electric hookups, new bathrooms, a new playground, camp store, additional cabins and improvements to the nature center.
— Lums Pond State Park: A $5 million renovation added full hookup sites and new bathrooms. Over the past five years, the park has seen a 250 percent increase in overnight stays.
— Delaware Seashore State Park: A new playground is under construction for the South Inlet campground and the Big Chill Restaurant offers food to visitors just a short walk away.
— Trap Pond State Park: Upgrades to bathrooms are underway and the park friends group, the Trap Pond Partners, has raised more than $180,000 in grants and donations to build a new playground for the campground.
For more, visit www.destateparks.com or call 877-987-2757.