Lums Pond State Park
GOOD FOR: All Ages

Source:Outdoors with Kids Philadelphia (AMC Books)
Address:1068 Howell School Road, Bear, DE
Hours:Grounds open 8 a.m. to sunset daily; office open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, April through October, and Monday through Friday from November through March
Fee: Nonresidents, $6 per vehicle; residents, $3 per vehicle (March through November); pedestrians and bikes, free
Contact:, 302-368-6989

Bathrooms: At park office, playground, and campgrounds
Water/Snacks: Water fountains at park office, playground, and campgrounds

A family favorite: You don’t have to travel far to get to this park for quiet paddling, easy hiking, and plenty of camping.

Lums Pond State Park
Photo by: Susan Charkes

As close as it is to Wilmington and Philadelphia, Lums Pond State Park feels like it’s in the remote backwoods. Families can enjoy boating, mountain biking, hiking, and camping.

The centerpiece of the park is 200-acre Lums Pond—the largest freshwater pond in Delaware—which is surrounded by a mixed pine and hardwoods forest. The pond invites paddlers to explore its quiet shorelines. The park rents canoes, kayaks, sailboats, rowboats, and pedal boats from Memorial Day through September (check the website or call ahead for exact rental schedule and rates). Or bring your own boat to the ramp on Red Lion Road. 

The pond is also excellent for fishing; in addition to local freshwater species, it is stocked with striped bass.

The park is essentially level or gently sloped throughout its 1,790 acres, so the hiking trails are all easy. A short, universally accessible Sensory Loop Trail is near the park office. The pedestrian-only Swamp Forest Trail is the easiest; it goes around the entire pond, a total of 6.4 miles, but the hike can be done in pieces. The trail is all level, leading through forests and wetlands on natural footpaths or boardwalks, so kids can spot frogs and turtles without getting their feet wet. The moist forests are full of wildflowers in spring; birds, amphibians, and other wildlife are abundant. The 8-mile Little Jersey Trail takes a wider loop around the pond and some open grassy areas; it is open to mountain bikes and horses. This trail is a good one to introduce kids to mountain biking, since it is wide and not exceptionally hilly. In winter the flat trails are excellent for cross-country skiing.

On the south side of the pond, with easy access to the boat launch and trails, are 68 tent campsites with showers; pets are permitted (there are also four equestrian campsites). Yurts are also available for rent. A playground is near the boat rental in Area 2. Picnic areas are located all around the pond.

Remember: Dogs must be on a leash except in the off-leash area off of Buck Jersey Road in the northeast part of the park. Swimming in the pond is not permitted.

Plan B:

Northeast of Lums Pond is Fort Delaware State Park; this park, which is reachable only by ferry, is fun for kids to visit to enjoy the novelty of a Civil War island fort.

Where to Eat Nearby:

It’s best to pack a picnic.


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