Historic Milton, Delaware was once a center for repairing and building wooden ships. In the heart of Milton, behind the library (one block from Kings Ice Cream) there is a small town park with ample parking and a free boat ramp.
Heading eastward out of Milton, one paddles through narrow, mild tidal waters, hardwood forest and nature preserve. 45 to 60 minutes out, the forest turns into marsh with small trees. An hour farther gets you to flat, open, grassy marsh and then barrier islands separating you from the Delaware Bay.
After about 3 1/2 hours, one passes the US Coast Guard Station in Lewes, Deleware. From here, you can paddle 200 yards out into the Delaware Bay. Two miles farther east puts you in the Atlantic Ocean at the tip of Cape Henlopen. (Be very careful with stong tides near the ocean and the frequent ferries shuttling to and from Cape May, New Jersey.)
I have paddled this river many times, in all seasons, with the tide and against it. Wild flowers, birds and marsh critters abound. There are often dolphins in the bay. There are a few power boats (mostly respectful) on the weekends. The only real signs of civilization along the first 80% of this route are three small boat marina/camp grounds.
Paddlers can make a round trip of any length, or plant a take-out vehicle down river at Oyster Rocks Road (ten miles) or at the Lewes town beach (some 15 miles). Checking tide charts and riding the tide certainly makes the trip easier. Milton tides are approximately one hour delayed from those posted for Roosevelt Inlet or Cape Henlopen.
Motels along route 1 from Dover, DE to Ocean City, MD. A few B&B's in Milton.
One can find this sleepy little town a mile south of Rt. 16 and about three miles west of Rt. 1 in Delaware. (nine miles north of Lewes, twelve miles north of Rehoboth)
Any road map will do.
Send me an email and I'll paddle with you.
- Trip Duration: Day Trip
- Sport/Activity: Kayaking, Canoeing
- Skill Level: Intermediate
- Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)