Over the Labor Day weekend my hubby went to a caving event in West Virginia and I was left home alone ( not really the 2 dogs were with me) so I decided to take a scenic drive on a Friday afternoon down Route 9 in Delaware (DE)
According to the Maryland/Delaware Atlas & Gazetteer
Route 9 in New Castle County is labeled as a scenic drive, called Route 9 coastal Heritage Byway (according to the Gazettere) starting at Port Penn heading south to Route 1.
I have since learned this route is now called the Delaware Bayshore Byway
Start your scenic drive in Delaware City
Delaware City is a quaint, cool, walking town where you can boat watch as ships go up and down the Delaware River or gaze across to Fort Delaware.
Better yet, take a short boat ride to Fort Delaware State Park on Pea Patch Island. This is an historical Fort that dates back to 1859, where it once housed Confederate prisoners of war. It was originally built to protect the ports of Wilmington and Philadelphia.
Roam through the Fort and get a feel for what it may have been like to live here.
And while you’re here also visit Fort DuPont State Park which is located just over the 5th street bridge, a short distance away. This Fort was actively used as a military base from the Civil War through World War II, learn more here – Fort Dupont State Park.
Fees do apply to both state parks.
From Delaware City travel south over the Reedy Point bridge which takes you over the C & D Canal giving you spectacular views of the Augustine Wildlife Area and the Delaware River.
This is my favorite bridge to travel over in Delaware.
After crossing the bridge the first town you come to is Port Penn where there is a corner store to stop at if you want to do any fishing and need bait or pick up snacks and drinks for the ride.
There’s a neat easy hiking trail in this town, I’ll tell you more about that in another post.
From Port Penn travel south passing Augustine Beach. Feel free to stop and linger for a bit. There’s a pot o potty to use and if it isn’t high tide you can sit on the sandy beach area.
This is a popular local spot and it is dog friendly so dogs and people swim here. It’s also a poplar fishing area where you can put your boat in or fish from shore but do have a fishing licence because they do stop to check. This area is managed by DE Fish and Wildlife.
Get back into the car and continue south following the signs. Route 9 does take a few turns so don’t be like me and breeze right by the sign. I traveled west and wound up back at Route 13 before I realized I was going the wrong way, Duh!
You will start to drive away from the water views and over a few inlet bridges. Be aware this area does flood during high tide, not just in heavy rains.
I experienced this once and I regret driving through the high water, my car now makes a humming sound that it never did before. So be safe turn around, don’t drown or do damage to your car.
Head back to Route 13 and look at your Maryland/Delaware Atlas & Gazetteer Find an alternate route back to Route 9, there’s plenty of them.
Your next stop should be at Coleman’s ice cream shop where they sell real home made hand dipped ice cream. The first time we drove this way we were with the grand-kids. It was such a nice treat for all of us to have really good ice cream on a really hot day. They also have a unique playground with a wooden little house, pirate boat, tee pee, a train and a few other cool objects, just for kids.
Really pretty drive and no one on the road for a Friday holiday weekend, which really surprised me.I turned off to take a picture of this thing, not sure what it is, an old tower or lighthouse? This is at the intersection of Route 9 and Cedar Swamp Road.
Continuing down Route 9 a short distance, turn left for a side trip to Cedar Swamp Wildlife area on Thorouughfare Neck road. You would think Cedar Swamp Wildlife area would be off Cedar Swamp Road but it is not so don’t turn onto Cedar Swamp Road.
Follow Thoroughfare Neck road back, turn left at the stop sign then right to eventually end at Collins Beach parking lot. This area is big (possible 30 cars could park here) but when I was there only myself and one other truck was there.
Take a short walk over the boardwalk and arrive at the Collins Beach Boat launch area where you’ll find another smaller parking lot. I guess it gets full here on the weekends but not today. Don’t know where everyone was but they sure weren’t here.
Very quiet here, all I could hear were the sounds of birds and crickets. I took pictures off the boat ramp area and walked around, enjoying the peace and quietness of this pretty area of Delaware I had never seen before. I was very glad I took the time to come here.
Just to clarify Collins Beach is not a beach, there is no sand, no place to put beach chairs but an interesting place to walk/hike or bike. I did see some trails on the drive in and if you bear right at the stop sign it loops around back onto Route 9.
I bet it really pops with color here in the fall but it’s also a hunting area from September to March so be aware of this if traveling in the fall or winter.
The next area I’ll write about is the Woodland Beach area but if you want to head straight to Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge here’s an updated post with video for you – My Adventure at Bombay Hook Wildlife Refuge.
P.S. I think everyone traveling by car should know how to read a map, don’t rely only on your GPS. Check out your state Gazetteer and keep it handy, it can be a life saver when you’re lost and the GPS isn’t helping.
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