New Jersey and Delaware places

My nephew is being transferred to Dover, Delaware with the Air Force and so now I will be going for at least a week hopefully 2 to that area this summer to meet up with him and my sister and again hopefully in the fall. As quiet water, recreational kayak paddlers, we would like to find places in the Dover vicinity or southern NJ such as the Pine Barrens area. Don’t really want heavily boated areas but places we could just plain enjoy. No problems for us to car camp and drive to see and enjoy some different areas, just need some good ideas. Will also take suggestions for areas around southeast PA and as far south as Virginia (outside the DC area) where I once found a nice wildlife area I enjoyed I think somewhere off the Potomac(???) but can’t seem to find that info to go back there. Like paddling anywhere for at least 2 hours up to 4-6 hours with places to get out for breaks (they don’t do this as much as I do!) Thanks for any suggestions and help.

Dover AFB

– Last Updated: Apr-09-12 4:14 PM EST –

My son is processing out of the USAF, and until recently was based at Dover. The base is right on the Delaware Bay, and much of the bay is calm in that area. There are estuaries all around the base area as well, and nice lake about 6 miles away. If you fish, the lake is packed with all sorts of warmwater fish. It's a Delaware state park, so you might need a permit.

We lived in Ocean City, NJ from 1993-2000. We used our canoe in the bay there, and the Intercoatal Waterway runs all the way down to Cape May. The quickest way from Delaware to southern NJ is the Lewes Cape May ferry. i don't see any reason why you couldn't car top a canoe/kayak on the ferry: tractor trailers use the ferry, so... The Pine Barrens are filled with rivers and streams that are used quite a bit by canoeists and kayakers. That section of New Jersey is filled with estuaries, but mosquitoes can be a nuisance once it warms up. The estuaries in both Delaware and New Jersey can smell awful, so it's more of a nature lover thing...LOL!

P.S. Dover is a dump as far as cities go, and Dover AFB is about as exciting as watching grass grow. Your best bet for lodging (should you need it) is the base hotel. Rates are ridiculously low, and the hotel is very nice. Your nephew will have to make reservations, and should get them well in advance.

PPS: Dover AFB is 75 miles from Philadelphia. You can visit the Brandywine Creek and Ridley Creek are just across the Delaware/PA state line, and will let you see some really nice countryside. Much nicer than anything you'll see in Delaware.

lots of options
I live in Dover. There are many graet places to paddle. there are no natural lakes anywhere in the state. Most are old mill ponds and never more than 10 or twelve ft deep. The Delaware Bay is kind of featureless outside of the estuary. All of the rivers that flow to it are tidal. At low tide you could find yourself suck on a mud flat, so watch the tides. Some good lakes to got to are Trap Pond and Records Pond. They are about a 45 minute drive from Dover. They have the northern most stand of bald cypress in the US. They have water trails that are well marked. A great river to paddle is the Nanticoke. There are many launch sites available tostart from. It flows to the Chesapeak Bay and is great. There are many places in the Chessie, and a great many tributaries to explore. If salt water is your desire I would suggest the Cape Henelopen State Park. There is a protected harbor near the fishing pier that is a great launch site. You can easily paddle to 2 lighthouses, and will usually be greated at some point by dolphins. There are also two protected inland bays, the Rehobeth Bay and the Assawoman Bay. Both are great places to paddle. You will see more boat traffic there, but not so many that you feel any danger. About an hour to an hour an a half drive is Assateauge Island national Seashore. The bay side is my favorite palce to paddle in the area. Shallow protected water with little to no boat traffic. See the ponies and enjoy the views. There are camp grounds that you can paddle to islands to explore. Many times even in mid summer it seems I have the palce to myself. Look on the launch site map at this site, I have placed a few on there to give you an idea.

pine barrens

– Last Updated: Apr-10-12 10:42 AM EST –

Check out jersey shore kayak association. They have a launch map that cover NJ including many in the Pine barrens. Pine barrens has many sandy/piney flat water rivers and some small lakes. Some parts are busy on weekends but it's big enough you can find quiet areas. Off season it's very quiet. My profile picture is an example of a pine barren river.

permit ?
what would the permit be for? we are not interested in fishing just paddling. I don’t mind paying to go into state parks if they have what I am looking for like a decent place to paddle and maybe some nice geocaching hikes. if you think this lake might be of interest to us -which it sounds possible I’d love to get more specifics as to directions, name of pond or park,whatever might help us as I don’t want to be driving in circles wasting our times together as they are far and few between and are precious to us. not that we don’t spend enough time laughing at going the wrong ways… I’d just rather be in the know a little more. feel free to email me any info. thanks chris

New Jersey and Delaware places
yeah I’m planning on ordering the book Paddling the New Jersey Pine Barrens so I’m hopeful that will help also took note of the website you suggested. I also ordered the quiet water book on New Jersey as I own a couple of those already and have even met the author out paddling and find them to be very informative. Any and all help or suggestions are appreciated that will give us options to enjoy our trip this summer and hopefully more for visiting my nephew would be great. Any and all specifics are also appreciated. Chris

S. Del Ponds
First off, on this site there is a places-to-paddle reference under the go-paddling tab. Always a good first stop when looking for paddling destinations. Check it out if you have not already.

Trap Pond is a state park and nice place to camp, especially if you can snag the island camp sites, which takes far advance reservation. An even nice place to paddle is Trussom pond, which is nearby to Trap. It is small, so you are unlikely to spend more than a few hours, but it is said to be one of the northermost cypress swamps and is an enchanting place to dip a paddle.

The Pocomoke River rises near the Deleware line and proceeds south westerly to the Chesapeake. Head down to Snow Hill, Md, and have the Pocomoke River Canoe Company shuttle you up river for an all day float back to Snow Hill. The part of the Pocomoke is a narrow, black-water river through Cypress forest and is another enchanting place to paddle.

And heading west out of Dover, you will quickly encounter Chesapeake tributaries such as the Sassafras and the Chester rivers, both great places to paddle.

Good luck, and don’t forget to post a trip report of your adventures. I will look forward to it.


good books!
I forgot about books, yes both of those are also great resources!

I don’t know if Delaware has state and county permits, but Pennsylvania does. I live in Bucks County, and have to have both a county permit and state permit to use lakes/rivers/streams that fall within county and state parks (most waters in Bucks County do). I had some friends paddle down the Delaware River to just above Trenton. They stepped out of their kayaks on the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware, and were met by a state park ranger that demanded that they purchase PA launch permits or leave immediately. New Jersey has a lot of restrictons on daily life, but canoe and kayak permits aren’t part of that.

I shouldn’t have said Dover is a dump. It’s just not terribly exciting for a young airman. My son and two other airmen shared a house near the Delaware Bay, and I thought that was fantastic. I bought my son a kayak, but couldn’t convince him to fish the bay.The state park was Killen Pond State Park, about 8 miles south of Dover AFB.

Should that have happened in PA if
they landed in places other than those specifically covered by the PA requirements for official launch sites? It’s pretty easy for canoeists and kayakers to avoid official boat ramps.

Delaware River PA Side…
PA side of the Delaware is largely private property from Easton down to Trenton. Landowners go out of their way to guard there little section of bank, and public access is almost nonexistent. The few exceptions are state boat ramps. The New Jersey banks along the same stretch are mostly public access, and are lined with bike trails, parks, and parking lots. It’s a night and day difference. While I live in PA, I park on the New Jersey side to fish the Delaware.

New Jersey and Delaware places
really getting some great info and ideas here can’t thank you all enough. keep any and all suggestions coming as even if we don’t get to some the first time I know I’ll be back again soon enough for 2nd, 3rd and ??? many more times to try some of the others. plus my nephew is already considering buying a kayak of his own so it’ll be great to give him some ideas that super people have thought of for us.

Some of my favorites
My favorite spot in NJ is Island Beach State Park. You have the ocean on one side (not for paddling) and Barnegat Bay on the other. I’ve been there many times, and there is always something new to discover. I saw pelicans there for the first time last year.

Also, Great Bay in Tuckerton, including the old abandoned fish factory.

For quiet paddling, the Pinelands are great, although you may have to deal with obstructions, depending on the river, or more specifically, what part of the river. I like Batsto River, Wading River, and Oswego River.