Delaware beaches tend to be very busy in the summertime. If you’re looking for a peaceful retreat while remaining close to the coastline, perhaps you should drive to the James Farm Ecological Preserve, DE.
From hiking trails and observation decks to educational programs and a sandy beach, it’s a beautiful oasis a stone’s throw from Highway 1 and the bustle of the Delaware beaches. Let’s dive in!
Where Is the James Farm Ecological Preserve in Delaware?
Sitting on Indian River Bay, only a short drive northwest of Bethany Beach, the James Farm Ecological Preserve is in Ocean View, Delaware. It’s off Cedar Neck Road on Fenwick Island.
Delaware Seashore State Park is north of Highway 1, less than a 10-minute drive. Beach Cove is to the northeast, White Creek runs along the west, and Pasture Point Cove forms the northern border of the preserve.
Traveler’s Tip: While en route to the James Farm Ecological Preserve, enjoy some fun in the sun at Fenwick Island State Park in Delaware.
About the James Farm Ecological Preserve, DE
The James family farmed the 150-acre property for generations. Mary Lighthipe, a descendant of the family, gave the property to Sussex County in memory of her son, who died in a car accident.
She explained to the county that she wanted them to use the property for environmental education and recreational activities. Since 1998, the Delaware Center for the Inland Bays has managed the James Farm Ecological Preserve.
How to Access
Admission to the James Farm Ecological Preserve, DE, is free. It’s also a carry-in/carry-out park, so there are no trash cans or dumpsters. If you enjoy a lunch or snack at the preserve, take your trash out with you. If you bring a pet, clean up after them and dispose of their waste correctly when you leave the preserve.
The James Farm Ecological Preserve is open every day of the year from sunrise to sunset. From Highway 1, take Fred Hudson Road to Cedar Neck Road. The James Farm Ecological Preserve will be on your left.
The red hiking trail ends at the boardwalk beach crossing at Pasture Point Cove. Here visitors can see the wetland habitat of the James Farm Ecological Preserve, DE, up close.
Beachcombing and paddling are popular activities. EcoBay Kayak & Stand Up Paddle is the only vendor available at the James Farm Ecological Preserve. If you don’t have any, you can rent kayaks and stand up paddle board or book a tour of the Indian River Bay.
There are more than three miles of marked hiking trails and three observation platforms at the preserve. These six trails are color-coded and interconnected.
In addition to hiking, visitors can enjoy educational programs and guided tours by staff at the Delaware Center for the Inland Bays. Guests can explore seven habitats and try catching and identifying aquatic creatures.
You can bring pets to the James Farm Ecological Preserve, DE. Make sure they remain on a leash because you don’t want to disturb any habitats. The preserve is a carry-in/carry-out park, so make sure to pick up after your pet. You’ll have to take the doggie bags out of the preserve when you leave.
What Type of Plant Life Exists in the James Farm Ecological Preserve?
A U.S. Forest and Wildlife Service Partners in Wildlife restoration effort purchased and planted more than 4,000 trees at the preserve. Because of the diversity of the plant life, visitors can see seven habitats within the 150-acre preserve.
The low marsh thrives with salt marsh cordgrass and classwork, while the high marsh has bayberry, marsh alder, and salt marsh hay. Loblolly pines, holly, and red cedar of the maritime forest provide ample shade, as do the southern red oak, hickory, sweetgum, and sassafras of the hardwood forest. The meadows were once the farm fields the James family tended.
What Types of Wildlife Are in the James Farm Ecological Preserve, DE?
In the wetland habitat, visitors might see deer, ducks, reptiles, and amphibians. You might spot wild turkeys in the meadow. In the spring and late fall seasons, migratory birds flock to the James Farm Ecological Preserve, DE.
If you’re a birder, this is the time of year to plan a visit. Bring your binoculars and climb to the top of one of the three observation decks. The interpretive signs throughout the preserve help you learn about the shorebirds, migratory birds, and marshland animals living in this slice of paradise.
Traveler’s Tip: If you want to go wildlife watching, find out Everything You Need to Know About Assawoman Wildlife Area.
Is It Worth Visiting the James Farm Ecological Preserve, DE?
If you’re looking for a place to unwind and relax during your trip to the coast of Delaware, the James Farm Ecological Preserve might be the perfect spot. It’s easily accessible and offers a peaceful natural setting.
Meander quietly along one of the hiking trails. Dig your toes in the sand without encountering crowds of other tourists. Breathe in the beauty that is James Farm Ecological Preserve, DE.
Will you add this respite to your travel itinerary?
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