Want to get away? You're not alone. Delaware state parks feel the demand during COVID-19
With typical getaway options limited due to COVID-19, many have turned to camping for a safe, socially distanced vacation.
Delaware state campgrounds re-opened this past June with new precautions like increased sanitation and masks required for children kindergarten-age and older. The state’s campgrounds have been in high demand since then — according to Cape Henlopen’s campground manager Sean Cain, the park’s campsites have been at full capacity since they reopened.
Unfortunately, if you haven't planned ahead, you’ll be hard pressed to find a campsite this summer.
Popular sites like Cape Henlopen, Indian River Marina, and Lums Pond State Park typically take summer campsite reservations about a year in advance.
For those willing to brave colder weather though, and for those looking for an immediate escape, now is a great time to book a camping getaway.
The state’s five main campgrounds still have several openings for those looking to book a weekend getaway at a cabin, cottage, or yurt. At least a week or two of advance notice is recommended, though several locations also accept same-day bookings.
Stephanie Sanford didn’t camp much before the pandemic, but she’s recently planned several trips and found them to be a great antidote to COVID-related anxieties. She has since been encouraging friends and family to turn to the outdoors as a way to process and relieve the stress of COVID-19.
“I remember just feeling so alleviated from this pressure that was mounting from being a mom, being a wife, being a teacher in the house,” she said.
The quiet of the outdoors, Sanford added, “really puts your mind at ease.”
Sanford has even gotten her friends to join her on her outdoor trips by starting a group called Black Girls Hike Too, which now has over 1000 followers.
Amid the disproportionate impact of pandemic-related stress and anxiety on Black women, Sanford strongly urged friends and family to challenge the idea that the outdoors wasn’t for them.
For other longer-term campers, it’s been a relief that the Delaware state parks are fully open to the public.
Chris Laird has been camping in Delaware for 22 years, and he reassured readers that Delaware campgrounds haven’t changed much due to the pandemic, other than new masking and safety rules.
For brand-new campers, he only had a few works of advice: “Bring a chair, couple drinks, and some firewood."
Contact Joy Ashford at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @joy_ashford.