What is Delaware Water Gap
Before we get get to the best things to do in Delaware Water Gap, let’s take a minute and see just what the Delaware Water Gap is. Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is a National Park on the Delaware River at the New Jersey and Pennsylvania border. It offers many things to do for those who love being outdoors. Activities include camping, fishing, boating, and hiking. There are many adventures on both sides of the Delaware River in New Jersey and Pennsylvania that provide glimpses into the rich history of this region. The park is a great place for those who love adventure and education while enjoying nature.
10 Things to do in Delaware Water Gap
1. Explore the History of the Delaware Valley.
The Delaware River area has a rich history and there are many ways to discover that history at Delaware Water Gap. Ranging from old time grist mills to inns and villages, there is a wealth of history to explore.
The Millbrook Village replicates the feeling of countryside hamlets where most of the nation’s people lived until the end of the 19th century. During the summer weekends, visitors can explore the buildings and experience demonstrations of what life was like for people who lived during that area.
The Foster-Armstrong House was built in the late 1700’s. It’s main features are the beehive oven and a fireplace in every room. It also displays items of historical interest from the 1700’s up to the early 1900’s.
The Nelden-Roberts Stonehouse is a former school house. It’s main architectural features are a fireplace, wide-wood plank flooring and deep windows.
The Van Campen Inn
The Van Campen Inn was originally built as a farm house and transformed into a “Yaugh” House during colonial times.
Peters Valley School of Craft
The Peters Valley School of Craft is an art school located in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreational Area. They provide studio-based educational workshops for life-long learners and aspiring artists who have the opportunity to benefit from working with nationally and internationally-recognized artists.
This destination may be one of the more interesting items on our Things to do in Delaware Water Gap list.
Old Mine Road
The Old Mine Road was constructed in the mid 1700’s and connected the Hudson River and Philadelphia to the Pahaquarry Mines and provided an important conduit for New Jersey farmers taking crops to area markets, making it one of the oldest commercial roads in the country. It is a popular driving and biking route that connects many of the areas of the park.
2. Bring Your Boat and Launch it on the River.
The Middle Delaware National Scenic and Recreational River offers some of the best and most accessible water recreation opportunities in the northeast United States. This part of the Delaware River is relatively unspoiled as it travels through the rural landscape. Lots of quite pools and a few short riffles make this section ideal for boating.
3. Enjoy 30 Miles of Biking Trails.
Cycling is a popular form of recreation in the park. The McDade Recreational Trail, a packed gravel path, parallels the Delaware River on the Pennsylvania side of the park for 32 miles and most is perfect for mountain and hybrid bikes (closed to biking between White Pines and Pittman Orchard trailheads).
4. Enjoy a Scenic Family Picnic.
The Delaware Water Gap provides many scenic spots for families to enjoy a nice picnic. Pack your food and grill and enjoy a day relaxing along side nature.
5. Partake in Range or Volunteer-led tours and Events.
There are many opportunities to partake in guided tours and events at the park. Be sure to check the calendar for scheduled events.
6. Enjoy a Relaxing Paddle on the River.
The Middle Delaware National Scenic and Recreational River offers some of the best and most accessible water recreation opportunities in the northeast United States. This part of the Delaware River is relatively unspoiled as it travels through the rural landscape. Lots of quiet pools and a few short riffles make this section ideal for beginning paddlers and those seeking a relaxing trip.
7. Fishing and Hunting.
Fishing in Delaware Water Gap
The river, several streams, and numerous lakes offer a variety of fishing prospects. Licenses are required in Pennsylvania and New Jersey for those 16 years of age or older. Either a New Jersey or Pennsylvania fishing license is valid when fishing in the Delaware River from either bank. Fishing in a lake or stream requires the appropriate license from the state that the lake or stream is located in. Additional regulations apply.
Hunting at the Delaware Water Gap
Whitetail deer, pheasant, and bear are just some of the game found in the park. Hunting is permitted in most areas of the park, during the appropriate state-specific seasons, and with the required state licenses.
8. Relax on the River Beaches.
Milford Beach, Pennsylvania
Milford Beach is located at the north end of the park just south of Milford, PA. This area offers a grassy beach complete with picnic areas, a pavilion, restrooms, a boat launch and a canoe launch.
Turtle Beach, New Jersey
Turtle Beach is located six miles north of i-80 on Old Mine Road. This area offers a grassy beach complete with picnic tables and restrooms.
Smithfield Beach, Pennsylvania
Smithfield Beach is located on River Road about seven miles north of the town of Delaware Water Gap, PA, and offers a grassy beach complete with picnic areas, restrooms, a boat launch and a canoe launch.
9. Hike Over 100 Miles of Trail.
Hikers enjoy the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area during all months of the year; every season offers a special reward. During winter, the absence of deciduous leaves opens new vistas along trails and reveals stone walls, foundations, and other reminders of past residents. Spring provides a weekly parade of wildflowers and flowering trees. In summer, hikers can seek out cool retreats among the hemlock forests and follow rolling streams to beautiful falls and cascades. Autumn hikers have crisp air to sharpen the senses and a varied palette of fall colors to enjoy.
10. Enjoy a Scenic Drive.
Now we arrive at our final thing to do on our list of Things to do in Delaware Water Gap and this may be one of the more relaxing ones and can be done comfortably even in cold weather.
Constructed in the mid-1600s, Old Mine Road connected the Hudson River and Philadelphia to the Pahaquarry Mines and provided an important conduit for New Jersey farmers taking crops to area markets, making it one of the oldest commercial roads in the country. Today, Old Mine Road stitches together sections of several roads into the park’s main passage in New Jersey and still retains much of the flavor of 100 years ago, making it a popular driving and biking route.
The Old Mine Road at Delaware Water Gap passes along 15 of the attractions within the park:
- Pahaquarry – Cooper Mine processing mill and mineshafts.
- Calno School – A historic school from the late 1800’s.
- Millbrook Village – This site was a thriving farm village in the 1870’s but quickly declined by the early 1900’s.
- Delaware View House – This property has had many identities over the years – farmstead, hunting lodge, boarding house and hotel.
- Walpack Center – An authentic country village from the 1850’s.
- Van Campen Inn – During the French and Indian War (1754-1763), the house sheltered 150 people against the threat of Indian attack.
- Peters Valley aka Bevans Village – Now known as the Peters Valley School of Craft.
- Bevans-Hellwig Kitchen – In the late 19th century, this little building was the rear kitchen attached to a large farmhouse.
- Alonzo Depue House
- Namanock – this was the site of Fort Namanock during the French and Indian War (1754-1763).
- Westbrook Bell House – Built by Johannis Westbrook, this is the oldest structure in the recreation area, circa 1701.
- Nelden-Roberts Stonehouse – The origins of this small house are obscure, although its construction is attributed to George Nelden, who acquired the property in 1816.
- Minisink Dutch Reformed Church – Dating back to 1737, this is the oldest congregation in the county. The present structure was built in 1899, and tombstones in the cemetery date to 1805.
- Foster-Armstrong House – Foster and Armstrong operated a ferry, and the house was used as a tavern and inn for river travelers. The house reflects the standard of living of a prosperous family in the early 19th century.
- Montague Grange – The National Grange, founded in 1867, is an organization that advocates for rural America and agriculture. The local Montague Grange was founded in 1904 and this Hall was built in 1906. The local group remains active and continues to use the building.
I hope you enjoyed our list of the 10 Things to do in Delaware Water Gap. As you can see there is a wide range of activities for those who crave outdoor adventure. From hiking to boating you will never have a boring day while visiting. This National Park is a very popular tourist destination, especially in the summer months when the weather is a little more forgivable.