Friday, August 26, 2011

Deleware Seashore State Park

You know how you will sometimes research a place and after reading several bad reviews think, "Aw, people are just so harsh. It can't really be that bad!"

Lesson learned.

I took a group of friends beach camping one summer in Delaware. My park of choice (Cape Henlopen) had sadly been discovered by the rest of the world so it was completely booked. In my frantic search to find another nearby seashore beach I came across Delaware Seashore State Park. Now, in my past experiences State parks have usually proven to be quite nice and well cared for. The reviews I read mentioned nearby construction and cramped conditions, but I wrote it all off to pansy campers complaining too much and I naively assumed all construction would be halted since it was the height of beach season.


There is still ongoing construction at the Indian River Bridge and their website advises visitors to pay close attention to changing traffic patters. The campground itself was very cramped. The tent section had minimal space, little privacy and a scenic backdrop of construction vehicles. How rustic.

There are 146 family sites with water, electric, and sewer hookup, and 37 tent-only sites with no hookups. Electric, water, sewer and showers available April 1 through November 30 and electric and sewer only available year-round. Showers, laundry, ice and soda vending machines are all nearby. It's situated on the Indian River Inlet which is very scenic and made up for the campground a little.

One big issue: NO CAMPFIRES ARE ALLOWED. I'm sure it said this somewhere on the website when we were booking, but it certainly wasn't too obvious. We went into panic mode when we arrived and found it printed boldly on the campground's pamphlet since all we had for dinner was a cooler full of raw hotdogs and hamburgers. They allow BBQs if they are contained, so we bought a cheap one from a nearby WalMart. We may have pushed the envelope a bit far when we tried building a campfire within the BBQ...

Park Ranger: "Hey, there are actually no fires allowed in this park unless they are contained within a BBQ."
My brother: "Oh, but there's a BBQ under there."
Park Ranger skeptically examines the now-minor-bonfire
Park Ranger: "Yeeeeeah, um, I think this should still be put out."

There is a designated area for a group fire at the far end of the campground. The ocean is a short ways on the other side of the bridge and as long as you're facing the water you can't see the cranes and bulldozers behind you.

Pros: Close to the beach
Cons: Construction, cramped quarters, no campfires
Tips:  Reserve earlier and camp at Cape Henlopen
Rating: 1/5

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