Prime Hook Wildlife Refuge: Hiking, Fishing and Quiet

One of the things that surprised and amazed me the most about Delaware and Delmarva is that you can turn off the main highway and suddenly be in the middle of nowhere.

And once you get to that nowhere you are bound to see some pretty amazing things: lush foliage, bodies of water and birds. Even if you are not into nature and birds all that much it is really hard not to be in awe when you see a heron pass by or see an osprey perched in a tree.

I had no idea that Sussex County, DE, sandwiched in between New Jersey and Maryland and just two hours from Philadelphia, could be home to Falcons, Bald Eagles, and Herons. Technically, Delaware is not their home. It’s more like a layover during a really long flight south. Nonetheless, since we moved here we have seen some amazing wildlife.

One of the places where we recently visited is Prime Hook Wildlife Refuge. If you are looking for peace, quiet and nature, this is the place to be. It is tucked off Route 1, Coastal Highway, at the cross-section of Route 16. It is one of the few intersections with a stop light on Coastal Highway in Milton, DE.

We have been there a few times. Once on a field trip and another time just to check it out. We will be back. That is for certain.

Prime Hook has trails to hike and waterways to fish. It is also just down the road from Broadkill Beach. My son and I found a fishing pier all to ourselves. Had we planned it, we would have brought a cooler and fishing poles. This would be the perfect place to spend a lazy afternoon fishing.

If you stop by in the summer months, you can stop by the Broadkill Store for snacks or lunch. My kids love this little seasonal store. They have push-up pops, ice cream sandwiches. They also have baked goods and sandwiches. You also stop at Food Lion in Milton or Milton Quick Stop. The Quick Stop is known for its fried Delaware chicken.


The trails are great for hiking. You truly feel that it is just you alone in the woods. It would be a good idea to put on some bug spray or check yourself for ticks after your hike.

If you are into bird watching, Prime Hook is a must. Prime Hook’s website gives you are run down each month of which birds you are likely to see during your visit. This is the place where migratory birds take a pit stop on their where North or South. You are going to see some amazing birds. We will go back in the fall and winter months because that is when we are most likely to see Bald Eagles.

Photography is huge on Delmarva and with good reason. Everywhere you look there is a gorgeous sunset or sunrise. Then there is the beach, which always amazing. The wildlife here, though, is incredible. If you are a budding nature photographer this is the place to go. Right now, you will see a lot of shorebirds, and according to the refuge, the green-winged and blue-winged teal are starting to arrive.

This would also be a great place to canoe. Can’t say much about kayaking or canoeing. We have yet to do either since we have been here, but we are leaning toward making that investment.

If you are bringing your kids with you, stop by the visitor contact station and your kids can become Junior Refuge Managers. They will get a cool badge. There are some coloring books on Prime Hook’s website, too, if you want to get your kids excited about the trip. The coloring pages are educational, so head’s up.

We have not spent nearly enough time at Prime Hook, but we plan to change that. If you visit, please let us know what you think and share some of your tips. Enjoy!

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