Adventurers welcome at adults-only day camp


Hey, grown-ups — when did you last spend a weekday adventuring around the state parks? Delaware Seashore State Park is hosting a day camp for adults 21 or older to experience the park, from the wild landscapes to the newest amenities.

Reservations are being accepted for Fridays, Aug. 17, and Sept. 7, departing at 9 a.m.

“That is definitely one of the coolest programs we’ve ever had here,” said Laura Scharle, interpretive programs manager. “It’s rewarding. It’s positive.”

“You’re doing everything that you want to do in the park for one day. … It’s the best bang for your buck,” said Olivia McDonald, park naturalist and program leader.

Campers park at the Indian River Inlet south-side beach, hop on a park bus, explore the north side by land and water, hike over the bridge southward again, visit the Big Chill Beach Club at their leisure and then head home.

Kayaking definitely thrills the group, launching from Savage’s Ditch into the Rehoboth Bay.

“We actually go through some marsh creeks and right by some marsh islands that have some really great nesting grounds. … We go by the only colony of nesting laughing gulls,” as well as herons, snowy egrets and much more. “It’s one of the best variety of birds in a small place,” Scharle said.

Lunch at Hammerheads Dockside at the Indian River Marina is included.

Then, the tour visits the Center for Inland Bays headquarters and U.S. Coast Guard Station Indian River.

Finally, they enjoy a guided hike over the Indian River Inlet Bridge, ending at the Big Chill Beach Club.

It’s not super-formal, they said, but there is always a tour guide when needed, and the campers enjoy the camaraderie.

“Something about when people get on our bus, they start to bond,” Scharle mused. “It’s attracted a wide demographic. … We’ve seen people close up to their 70s. It’s kind of cool.

“You see a lot of things in six hours. We don’t even go on the beach. Everyone does the beach on their own,” so this tour highlights the lesser-known sites, Scharle said.

Plus, it showcases other partners in the park, including the restaurants and official agencies.

“I think 90 percent of the people don’t understand the bridge and why that’s part of the park,” McDonald said.

This is just one of many events that the state park hosts. A full calendar at is available online at www.destateparks.com/park/delaware-seashore/programs.

Pre-registration for the camp is required and can be done by calling (302)-227-6991. The cost is $90 per person, which includes all activities, lunch at Hammerhead’s, park entrance fee and a $10 voucher for the Big Chill restaurant.

“It’s been super-popular, so we’ll probably start offering it again in late spring,” said Scharle of plans for 2019. “It’s a great way to see a lot of pieces of the park you don’t normally visit, all in one easy package.”

By Laura Walter
Staff Reporter