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Cape Henlopen State Park

Cape Henlopen State Park in Lewes, DE, is pet friendly. Leashed dogs are welcome on the trails and portions of the beach, as some areas are reserved for beach-nesting species. Please note a fee is involved upon arriving. Visit Website

Or call (302) 645-8983 or email ParkInfo@state.de.us for more information.


BringFido Guest Rating

Cape Henlopen State Park has received a rating of 4.2 out of 5 bones by 23 canine critics on BringFido.

  • Keely-Shea
    Aug 9, 2023
    Great beach day with the pup!

    To clear a few things up:
    There are dog friendly areas within cape henlopen state park (herring point beach for example). At herring point you can take your dog to the beach and romp in the sand / water.

    Cost to enter cape henlopen state park for the day is currently $10. The booth attendants are often unfriendly, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing they think you’re trying to be sneaky and get away with something. I understand the previous reviewers frustration, but it’s a small detail and not worth abandoning a great beach day over.

    The beach is bare bones- no trash cans, you might have to circle the parking lot a few times if you arrive around noon, there are porta potties in the parking lot, no lifeguards, and it’s not handicap accessible.

    Overall would recommend if you’re looking for a simple beach day with your pup!

  • Melissa
    Sep 5, 2022
    Great Surprise

    Was looking for somewhere to go and enjoy the beach when it is usually prohibited to bring your pup. Found out from the guard when you pay to enter that he is ALLOWED on one of the beaches! Had such a fun time!

  • Sara
    Aug 24, 2022
    State Park- so be prepared!

    We had a great time here. It is a state park, so there aren’t shops,
    stores or “board walk.”
    Dogs are not allowed on the trails and you have to pay a fee to enter.
    Carry in, carry out for trash.
    The staff at the booths will provide you with a map and dog rule pamphlet if you ask.
    My GSP and family enjoyed our time there. Nobody gave us a difficult time at the fishing beach. We respected their space and just spent time digging and hunting for feathers.
    Pack a picnic lunch and make sure you have hand wipes or sanitizer. The bathrooms were just port-a-potties and were not very nice. That’s my only complaint.

  • Amber
    Jul 25, 2022
    Great beach for families with dogs

    We had a great weekend at Cape Henlopen State Park with our 12 year old daughter and 2 year old Aussie. There are two beach areas in the park that allow dogs. We only visited Herring Point. One day pass was $10 for out of State residents. The area we were looking for was easy to find. There is a short Sandy trail to the beach. Beach was quiet and not crowded. Scout loved the water, digging in the sand, and meeting other pups. The waves were great for boogie boarding. Bring bug spray and an umbrella. No trash cans on the beach, and I didn’t see amenities like a shower to rinse off. However there was a Rita’s Italian Ice truck selling cold treats to families.

  • David
    Jun 6, 2022
    Great Day at the Beach

    I'm not sure why people had problems. It's June 6th. We went today and the guard directed us to Herring Point inside the park. Parking was easy, short direct walk to our spot on the beach, and our dog swam and played Frisbee all afternoon. We had a blast.

  • Randall
    Apr 19, 2022
    Lovely park

    We asked at the entrance about dog rules and they gave us a brochure but it was pretty vague. So we just looked for signs before when we got to a trail. Seems the bike trails are open to dogs and unprotected beaches like at Herring Point as well. We found more than enough places to explore. for the day. May 1 more pet restrictions go into force for the season. So be aware about that. And it is a “ carry in and carry out” park. Bring plenty of bags.

  • Jung
    Sep 7, 2021
    Great family beach day with pooch

    It is our 3rd day today at Cape Henlopen State Park with our dog, Otto. Well worth the $10 daily admission fee that goes towards preserving this beautiful seashore park.

    Large, wide strip of soft sand, perfect for walking with your dog and tossing some frisbee. This was our first time bringing our plott hound-retriever mix to the beach, and he was scared at the loud waves crashing initially, but soon became comfortable once we started tossing his favorite frisbee!!

    Note, only the surf fishing side (east side) of the park is allowed for dogs. Basically anywhere you see trucks parked on the sand with fishing poles is ok to have your dogs. It’s MUCH less crowded than the regular sunbathing side of the park. We were able to have him on a drag leash while throwing him frisbee. So we really enjoyed it. Be warned if you bring young children that the waves are huge so not as safe for swimming.

    Park at “Point Parking” for entry to the beach side that allows dogs. It’s very confusing initially but every other parking lot clearly has signs that says “dogs prohibited”.

  • William
    Apr 10, 2021
    Day visit

    So there is quite a few places you cannot take your dog, like the fishing pier area and the nature trails, which is sad, but they do have a bike trail that makes a huge 4+ mile-ish circle (with some additional off shots we didn’t do) around the park including some great remnants from its fort days and some great views. However, If your dog has issue with bikers, skateboarders, etc. this may not be the place for you as there are a lot of them on the same trail, if your dog doesn’t get bothered by that it is a great long walk with different scenery. Also you can take your dog on the beach in the off season. Be aware there is a charge to enter the park, $5 for DE residents, $10 for out of state.

  • Tom
    Mar 21, 2021
    Awesome Beach (except for complainers)

    We have taken our pup Penny to this beach many times during the off season, and it has always been wonderful! People are friendly and always put their dogs back on leash when others approach. It helps to read signs, though, and to maybe do 30 seconds of online research on a beach you're going to for the first time before you show up and start complaining about the cost of entering a state park, the lack of a tourist boardwalk, or having to pack out your own trash.

  • Stacey
    Aug 29, 2019
    Dòg policy suck

    If you are here (and I'm sitting at camp in my tent with my dog), you pretty much cant take take the dog much of anywhere and swim and have a normal beach day. The poster that said its deceptive is correct. You can take the dog on designated parts of the beach, but you cant swim. Or u have to be there fishing. Actively fishing. You cant take them to all these things to do. Not allowed on trails. Not allowed , not allowed not allowed....you can sit at your site with your dog. And the are strict with these rules.

  • Nicole
    Jul 7, 2019
    Great for day trips!

    We took Riley on her first day trip and she did fantastic! Great space to run around with her and dip her paws in the water. People are so friendly which allows for a relaxing environment. Dogs are permitted on the selected beach year round so I see many trips in the future!

  • Maria
    Apr 27, 2019
    Great for spring camping and hiking with dogs!

    We actually camped at the State Park in late April with our dog for a week. Great, quiet time to come. Campground is clean and well-maintained and the people were awesome. Lots of dog-friendly places to eat out too. Free bike rentals at Nature Center. Lots of good hiking trails by cool forts. We will try to return!

  • Cindy
    Jul 12, 2018
    Beautiful Park!

    Cape Henlopen is a beautiful park with a lot of things to do. Our dog had a great time at the beach digging in the sand and playing in the water. There were a few other well-behaved dogs there on leashes. Like many state parks, there is a fee to enter and you do have to carry your trash out.

  • Kenny
    More than a year ago

    So my girlfriend, my service dog and I embarked on a day trip to Delaware.

    I had never been to Delaware, so we packed a cooler, some snacks and headed out. After a longer than anticipated trek due to traffic issues, we finally made it to Lewes Delaware and Cape Henlopen State Park. I drove up to the fee vestibule and asked the guy POINT BLANK, "Is there a boardwalk with shops and restaurants?" He says, Oh yeah, there's a boardwalk and all sorts of things to see and do." Since we're not from Delaware, they charged us TEN dollars to enter. We drive to the parking lot, and walked to the "boardwalk." Half across this "boardwalk" I came to the stark realization that there was NOTHING BUT A BEACH and a lot of people. NO shops. NO restaurants. NOTHING but a beach. So I just paid $10 to look at a beach and I was infuriated that the guy lied to me.

    On the way back to the car, my dog took a dump in some sand. I picked it up and looked for a trashcan. Apparently, these people pull in tons of cash on a daily basis, yet can't afford one trashcan or someone to empty it? LAME. The locals told us that we needed to carry our trash out with us? Really? So i need to put a smelly bag of crap in my car? WTH? I tried to toss it out in the men's room and they don't even have a trash can in there. My girl mentioned that someone left a sanitary napkin in the woman's restroom and we spotted several people just leaving bags of trash everywhere. This was just stupid.

    I drove back to the "Park Office" waited in (a sweltering hot) line for almost thirty minutes only to be told that they refused any refunds. Really? We were there for all of six minutes and were told BY THEIR EMPLOYEE what we were to look forward to. He misrepresented the park but gladly took our cash. They do NOT accept credit or debit cards by the way. Again, they take in all that money, yet can't afford a better air conditioning system?

    I am so outraged by this place and would NEVER recommend it to anyone. We ended up going to Rehoboth Beach and found exactly what we were looking for... A strand with shops and eateries. I wish we had more time to visit the many antique shops in the area.

  • Janet
    More than a year ago
    Great beach for you and your dog!

    We have been going to this beach for over 10 years now. It is dog friendly on the non- guarded beaches. Gordon's pond is not guarded and therefore dog friendly. It is very clean and the majority of beach goers follow the keep dogs on leashes law. It is $10 to get into the beach. We get the out of state yearly pass because we go more than enough to cover the price. There is plenty of parking and not a long walk to the beach at all. There is a spot to rinse off feet. There are portable toilets if needed. There is a small stand to rent umbrellas and chairs that is open seasonly according to the weather and demand. They sell some drinks and limited food/snacks. It is carry in/carry out so plan to take your garbage and dog's doody with you! Although unguarded lots of people swim in the ocean.

  • Max
    More than a year ago
    Amazing find

    Went there on a weekday. Beautiful beach and friendly people. Only seen a few dogs at the beach, but dog lovers all around. Easy access, clear path, no need to go far or worry you will be in the wrong place. Whether your passing through or looking for a day trip with your dog, well worth it!

  • Ruth
    More than a year ago
    Great spot for you and doggies

    What a wonderful beach. Clean, wide open space. Our dogs loved it last year and so did we. The dog beach is at the far end, so bring your supplies (including trash bags). Much larger than other dog beaches.

  • Sandy
    More than a year ago
    Too Limited

    Well...that certainly leaves us OUT for a summer vacation, then. Can't do the extra-long trek to the "dog-permitted" beach. CAPE MAY, HERE WE COME!!

  • Tim
    More than a year ago
    Ok, but plan ahead

    Huge park. Dogs only allowed at fishing beaches. Signs will tell you which beaches you CANNOT go. Much longer walk from the car to the beach. Like the Seashore park better.

  • Stephanie
    More than a year ago
    pay attention to the rules

    Nice beach area but pay attention to the rules b/c dogs are allowed only in certain areas of the park.

  • Eric
    More than a year ago
    Deceptive on Dog

    Pets on the Beach
    Pets are allowed in our seashore parks, but Delaware State Law prohibits them from all swimming and sunbathing beaches from May 1 to September 30. Park rules and regulations also restrict pets from areas such as surfboarding & sailboarding beaches and shorebird nesting areas. Pets must be leashed at all times in our seashore parks.
    These areas are CLOSED to pets year-round:
    Picnic areas
    Nature trails
    Bird nesting areas
    Park buildings
    Fort Delaware State Park (service animals allowed)
    Camping with Your Pet
    While in the campground, no excessive barking, especially during “quiet time” (10 p.m to 7 a.m.), will be permitted. Never leave your pet unattended either outside or inside a camping unit. The leash law will be enforced at the campgrounds. Please don’t forget you are required to clean up after your pet.
    At the Beach
    Pet access maps
    Pets are allowed in our seashore parks, but Delaware State Law prohibits them from all swimming and sunbathing beaches from May 1 to September 30. Park rules and regulations also restrict pets from areas such as surfboarding and sailboarding beaches and shorebird nesting areas.

  • Jess
    More than a year ago
    Love it!

    I was so excited the first time I went here!! My dog loves the beach but its so hard to find nice areas that allow dogs. We are going back for a second time and camping with my dog too!

  • Diane
    More than a year ago

    A beautiful park where the Delaware Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean with bicycle and walking paths and many miles of beaches. While in the park, pets must be leashed (not to exceed 6 feet) and under control. Owners must honor all park signs that prohibit the entry of pets in specific areas. Guide dogs are permitted in all pedestrian areas.

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Cape Henlopen State Park