Great Places

Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge

39°15'33.26"N  75°28'23.06"W

2591 Whitehall Neck Road
Smyrna, DE 19977

Phone: (302) 653-9345
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Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge is a great place to watch and photograph nature, especially the 278 species of migrating birds that feed and breed in the refuge. As a matter of fact, the Delaware Birding Trail guide describes Bombay Hook as “Unquestionably Delaware’s single best-known birding site.” And ranked it in the top 10 among scenic drives located inside national wildlife refuges.

Visitors are welcome to drive, bicycle, or walk the public tour route, a 12-mile loop that intersects many of the refuge's varied habitats. Along this road are five nature trails and three observation towers, each of which overlooks a freshwater reservoir or saltwater marsh. A popular time to travel this route is sunset, when flocks fly in to roost overnight.

Visit this channel on YouTube to preview the scenes you may see: Here, too, is another video:

Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge opened to the public in 1937. The name "Bombay Hook" is taken from the Dutch phrase "Bompies Hoeck," which means "Little Tree Point." Previous to that, Native Americans called it "Canaresse," which means "Shaggy Bushes."

Please be advised, no fishing is allowed at Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge. There is also no public boat ramp.

Before you visit, be sure to check out our ecotour in the "Great Trips" section entitled "Adventure at Bombay Hook." And if you haven't visited lately, check out the new addition: the Port Mahon tract originally preserved by The Nature Conservancy in Delaware.

Photo by Tim Williams and the USFWS

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