Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge

Quick Facts

Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge

Delaware

(302) 653-6872

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge is about 16,000 acres. Tidal salt marsh composes four-fifths of the refuge, one of the largest expanses of nearly unaltered salt marsh in the mid-Atlantic region. The refuge also has 1,100 acres of impounded fresh water pools. Bombay Hook was established in 1937 as a link in the chain of refuges that extends from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. It is primarily a refuge and breeding ground for migrating birds and other wildlife. There is an auto tour route, visitor center, observation towers and nature trails, providing opportunities to observe wildlife. Visit Bombay Hook and experience the natural world around you. You may find a bald eagle souring overhead or river otters splashing in a pool. The Allee House at Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge stands today, as it did in the eighteenth century, overlooking the fields and marshes of Kent County. It is one of the most handsome and best preserved examples of an early brick farmhouse in Delaware. At the time of this publication it is closed for renovations.

The refuge is open year-round from sunrise to sunset. Part of the refuge is closed for hunting 15 days of the year. The visitor center and The Refuge Store are open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. throughout the year. On spring (March through May) and fall (September through mid-December) weekends it is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Map of Bombay Hook NWR

Latitude, Longitude: 39.280119, -75.486794

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Activities

  • Auto/Motorcycle

    The 12-mile auto touring route is marked by numbered stops along the way, which correspond to a brochure available online or at the park office. Learn about the refuge's history, cooperative farming, freshwater impoundments, the tidal saltmarsh, a wildlife food plot and more.

  • Hiking

    Five nature trails (ranging from 1⁄4 to 1 mile in length) provide opportunities to observe and photograph wildlife. Three of the trails also have 30-foot observation towers. Interpretive information is available in brochures, which are available online or at the park.

  • Historic Sites

    The Allee House at Bombay Hook stands today, just as it did in the eighteenth century, overlooking the fields and marshes of Kent County. It is one of the most handsome examples of an early brick farmhouse and an important example of the plantation houses of eighteenth century Delaware.

    The recorded history of Bombay Hook begins in 1679 with the sale of marshland from Mechacksett, Chief of the Kahansink Indians, to Peter Bayard of New York. Known to the Native Americans as Canaresse, meaning "shaggy bushes" or thicket, the name "Bombay Hook" evolved from the Dutch name "Bompies Hoeck" meaning "little-tree point." Dutch settlers cut salt hay from the marsh, trapped muskrats and hunted waterfowl. The tidal streams that interlace the marsh were plied for fish, crabs and oysters.

  • Hunting

    Deer, turkey, small game and waterfowl hunting will be allowed on Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge subject to applicable state and federal regulations. Check with the park for specific season dates and regulations.

Seasonality/Weather

Though wildlife can be seen year round at Bombay Hook, fall and spring offer the best opportunity for observing peak concentrations of migratory birds.

Park Partners

Friends of Bombay Hook

A 501(c)(3) corporation, Friends of Bombay Hook provide volunteer and financial support to the refuge, and also runs the Refuge Store. The organization's goal is to foster a link between the public and the refuge and encourage appreciation for the refuge and all that it does.

(302) 653-9345

Directions

Driving

From the north - Philadelphia area: Take I-95 South into Delaware. Take Route 1 South (Christiana exit). From Route 1 South take exit 114 (Smyrna - South exit). Rt. 13 North will be a right turn at the end of the exit ramp at a traffic light. Turn right at the next light on to Road 12 East (Smyrna-Leipsic Road). This road merges with Route 9 South (5 miles). Turn left onto Whitehall Neck Road which ends at the refuge entrance. From the south - Washington, DC area: Take I-95 North to Washington, DC Beltway. Take Route 50 East over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. Take 301 North. Take Route 300 East to Smyrna. Take Route 13 South. Turn left on Route 12 East (Symrna-Leipsic Road) and proceed until it merges with Route 9 (5 miles). Stay on Route 9 south. Turn left on Whitehall Neck Road which ends at the refuge entrance. From Dover, Delaware: Take Route 13 North. Turn right onto Route 42 East into Leipsic. Turn left onto Route 9 and proceed north for 2 miles. Turn right onto Whitehall Neck Road which ends at the refuge entrance.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(302) 653-6872

Links