The second smallest state in the USA, Delaware dominates the north-eastern portion of the Delmarva Peninsula; a large peninsula along the East Coast. It is a long, narrow state that is separated into just three different counties, with the northernmost New Castle County being the most built up.
The entire state is just 506,000 hectare, which is slightly smaller than the city of Atlanta. The entire east side of the state is coastline, while the west is bounded by Maryland. Delaware is a relatively flat state that is home to several museums, parks, wildlife refuges, lighthouses and historic sites.
Most people visit the state for its beach resorts, which pegs it as the ‘The Nation’s Summer Capital’. Its coastal towns are charming and full of life, attracting over 8 million tourists each year. What many people don’t realise is that in addition to having some great beaches, Delaware is also home to a few good lakes.
If you are ever visiting the state in the warmer months, be sure to spend time at one of the 15 best lakes in Delaware.
1. Silver Lake; Dover, Kent County
This lake and park is located in the city of Dover. The 67.5 hectare lake is bordered by public areas where there are barbeque grills, picnic tables, walking paths and a children’s play areas.
Silver Lake is home to numerous species of fish, including carp, largemouth bass, crappie, white perch and striped bass. A permit is required in order to fish in the lake, which can be obtained from the City of Dover Parks and Recreation Department.
The lake also features a beach and a boat ramp. All in all, it is a lovely place to spend time if you are visiting Dover.
2. Hoopes Reservoir; Newcastle County
Hoopes Reservoir is completely surrounded by greenery, making it quite a serene lake that’s great if you want some peace and solitude. The reservoir was developed in 1932 with the impounding of the Old Mill Stream and Red Clay Creek.
The 76 hectare reservoir is the largest in the state. The Valley Garden Park sits at the northeast end of the lake, featuring walking trails, beautiful gardens and lots of open space.
The lake was named after Chief Engineer of the Wilmington Water Department; Edgar M. Hoopes. The dam that impounded the reservoir is also named after this man.
3. Trap Pond; Sussex County
Trap Pond is a pond and state park at the southwest end of Delaware. The 850 hectare park is one of the largest surviving areas of what was once extensive wetlands in the south-western part of the state.
Aside from the lake, one of the greatest features of the Trap Pond State Park is its bald cypress trees. Many bird species flock to the trees, making the park a fantastic place for birdwatchers.
There is a camping ground at the very north end of the lake that boasts 140 sites with electric and water hook-ups, as well as 10 primitive sites and 8 cabins. Opposite the Trap Pond Campground is the Bald Cypress Nature Center, which houses fish, reptiles and amphibians that live in the pond.
4. Newark Reservoir; Newark, New Castle County
This 12 hectare lake sits just north of the Newark’s city centre. It is a new lake, having been built in 2006 to hold and supply water to the city.
Newark Reservoir is a popular recreational area thanks to its walking trails. One of the trails encircles the entire lake, which is a total of 1.8 kilometres.
William M. Redd, Junior Park is linked to the reservoir via one of the walking trails. No recreational activities are allowed in the lake itself apart from the city’s annual triathlon, with the swimming portion being held in the lake.
5. Bellevue State Park; Wilmington, New Castle County
Bellevue State Park sits in the suburbs of the city of Wilmington. The park is home to a lovely pond that is surrounded by grasslands and trees, as well as picnic areas.
Walking paths within the park will take you to the pond, which is a nice place to sit on a hot summer day. Access to the pond is prohibited, but fishing is permitted.
The 133 hectare park features a number of trails for hiking, horseback riding and cycling. There is also a barn, stables, an arts centre, and of course Bellevue Hall; the former mansion of American businessman William du Pont, Jr.
6. Lums Pond; New Castle County
This is the largest freshwater pond in all of Delaware! The 81 hectare pond is surrounded by the Lums Pond State Park.
Lums Pond State Park is open year round to provide people with a plethora of recreational activities. In the warmer months rowing, sailing, kayaking, canoeing and fishing are offered, although swimming is not allowed.
Visit in the winter and enjoy cross-country skiing and snowmobiling, while hiking is offered year-round. The park is also home to volleyball courts, basketball courts and tennis courts, and is also features a few sports fields.
7. Millsboro Pond; Millsboro, Sussex County
Millsboro Pond was once home to the Nanticoke Indians who used the area for hunting and fishing grounds. It is still a great place to go fishing today!
The 40 hectare pond has an abundance of black crappie, largemouth bass and pumpkinseed, as well as perch and pickerel. Fishing is permitted by boat or along the pond’s shoreline.
Many people visit Millsboro Pond for its tranquillity, coming here to go canoeing or kayaking, or to enjoy the scenery. Bird watching is also quite popular, with plenty of waterfowl often visiting the pond.
8. Lake Como; Smyrna, Kent & New Castle counties
Lake Como is known for its fabulous swimming, which opens up to the public every year in mid-May. It is also a great lake for other water activities, including paddle boating, canoeing and fishing.
The reason that this lake is so popular is because it has a lifeguard supervised swimming beach. This means it can get quite busy on the weekends when local families enjoy it, so it’s best to visit on a weekday.
There is a playground and picnic areas along the lake’s shoreline. Lake Como also has a rental centre where visitors can hire paddleboats, kayaks and canoes.
9. Killens Pond; Felton, Kent County
This 26 hectare pond is surrounded by the Killens Pond State Park. The pond sits along the Murderkill River and in the past was used as a mill pond.
Killens Pond is popular for its recreational activities, offering fishing, boating, canoeing, kayaking and rowing. The park surrounding it offers hiking, cycling and cross-country skiing.
The Killens Pond Water Park sits north of the pond, while a campground is located on the south side of it. There is also 18-hole disc golf course throughout the park.
10. Lake Gerar Park; Sussex County
Lake Gerar is a small freshwater lake that is surrounded by the park and just steps away from Rehoboth Beach. It is a fantastic place to spend a day, with things to do in the lake, the park and at the beach.
The six hectare lake has a fishing pier and is surrounded by open space and manicured gardens. The park is home to a children’s play area, picnic tables and trails.
On the west end of the park is a beautiful Italian Garden, while Rehoboth Beach sits to the east of the lake. There are a number of hotels in the area, as many tourists opt to holiday here during the summer months.
11. Records Pond; Laurel, Sussex County
Sitting along Broad Creek in the town of Laurel, Records Pond is a lovely pond that is surrounded by trees and greenery. It is a great place to go kayaking, canoeing and paddle boarding.
Most people come to Records Pond to go fishing. Largemouth bass, channel catfish, crappies and sunfish are in abundance.
There is a fishing pier at the southwest corner of the pond, which is known to locals at Laurel Pond. Those with a boat can access the lake along the north shoreline just to the east of US Route 13.
12. Becks Pond; New Castle County
Many Wilmington residents often enjoy Becks Pond on a hot summer day. The pond is just southwest of the city, sitting within the Becks Pond Park.
The pond is surrounded by trees and grass, with access at the northeast shoreline. This is where the park is located, which boasts gazebos, grills, picnic tables and a playground.
This is the most popular pond for fishing in all of Delaware. This is partly due to its location, as well as its abundance of crappie, sunfish and largemouth bass.
13. Banning Park; Wilmington, New Castle County
This city park is one of the most scenic is the state and offers plenty of recreational activities. Some of these are based around Banning Park Pond, like fishing.
The pond is accessible by walking along the park’s paved paths. There are also hiking trails throughout the wooded areas of the park that will lead visitors to the pond.
Banning Park is a great place to spend a day, what with its picnic areas, grills, fitness circuit, sports fields and loads of open space to enjoy.
14. Sheerness Pool; Kent County
Sheerness Pool is part of the Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge; a National Wildlife Refuse that sits along the east coast of Delaware. The wildlife refuge was established in 1937 as a breeding ground and refuge for migratory and winter fowl.
Sheerness Pool is a freshwater impound that is accessible by hiking along the Parsons Point Trail or driving along the scenic Auto Tour Route that runs through the refuge. There are over 350 bird species here, some of which you will spot on route to the water.
Some of the best wildlife viewing in the Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge can be found along the shoreline of Shearness Pool. The best time to visit is in the spring, when migratory birds return after heading south for the winter.
15. Gordons Pond; Sussex County
Gordons Pond is a wildlife area that sits at the south end of the Cape Henlopen State Park. The Pond is a great place to relax and watch the magnificent wildlife.
Gordons Pond is accessible by walking along a trail that skirts its west shoreline. At the south end of the pond is the Gordons Pond State Park Area.
While hiking along the 364 hectare pond – which is a salt march – you are sure to be in awe by the stunning scenery. There is a pavilion at the end of the trail where you can enjoy a picnic and enjoy the views of not only the pond, but also of the ocean.