Great Places

Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge

38°49'29.08"N  75°15'17.29"W

11978 Turkle Pond Road
Milton, DE 19968

Phone: (302) 684-8419
Visit Website
Visit Website

Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge is considered one of the best wetland habitats along the Eastern Seaboard. Its name comes from the Dutch settlers’ term for the area, Priume Hoek, which means Plum Point. This is in reference to the beach plum shrub, which thrives in Delaware's coastal dunes, despite strong winds and salty waves. Indeed, beach plums still flourish here, as do birds of every shape and size.

This 10,000-acre sanctuary is about 80% wetlands. This attracts more than 250 species of birds as they stop to rest and feed during their spring and fall migrations. This includes 80,000 ducks, on average, and tens of thousands of shorebirds. Many people visit in mid-October to see thousands of snow geese and ducks.

Hunting, birdwatching, and nature photography are especially popular here, as are hiking and paddling thanks to five nature trails and 15 miles of stream. One of the refuge's most popular paddling routes is from Waples Pond to Rufuge Entrance Road, a distance of three and a half miles. This should take the average paddler no more than two hours to travel.

Keep your eyes peeled for the rare Delmarva fox squirrel. These were reintroduced to the refuge in 1986.

Visit to watch "Prime Hook threat," a six-minute video explaining how the refuge has changed over time. Fortunately this will change in the future, because federal lawmakers have set aside $40 million for restoration now under way.

Photo by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Click on the marker to view address and get directions