Holts Landing State Park

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Holts Landing State Park
Delaware State Park
Holts Landing Pier.jpg
Crabbing pier at Holts Landing State Park
Named for: The Holt Family
Country United States
State Delaware
County Sussex
 - coordinates 38°35′22″N 75°07′41″W / 38.58944°N 75.12806°W / 38.58944; -75.12806Coordinates: 38°35′22″N 75°07′41″W / 38.58944°N 75.12806°W / 38.58944; -75.12806
 - elevation 7 ft (2.1 m)
Area 203 acres (82 ha)
Founded 1965
Managed by Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control
Locator Red.svg
Location of Holts Landing State Park in Delaware
Location of Holts Landing State Park in Delaware
Website : Holts Landing State Park

Holts Landing State Park is a 203-acre (82 ha) Delaware state park northwest of Bethany Beach, Sussex County, Delaware in the United States. Prior to becoming a state park the land of Holts Landing State Park was the Holt family farm. The Holts sold the land to the state of Delaware in 1957 and Holts Landing State Park was opened to the public in 1965. The park is on the southern shore of Indian River Bay. Holts Landing State Park is open for year round recreation and features the only pier on the east coast of Delaware that has been purpose built for crabbing, the recreational harvesting of blue crabs.


Holts Landing State Park, on Indian River Bay, has long been a center of crabbing, fishing, hunting, and farming dating back to the Pre-Columbian history of what is now southeastern Delaware. Native peoples took advantage of the abundant seafood that was harvested in the shallow waters of the inland bays. They also hunted wildlife in the surrounding marshes and forests.[1]

The arrival of colonists from Europe signalled the end of the way of life that the Native Americans had known. They were driven out by war and disease and were displaced by men who began farming the land on the southern coast of Indian River Bay. These colonists continued the practice of harvesting seafood from the bay and expanded their farming operations slowly over the years. The Holt family operated a small family farm and boat landing for many years before selling their property to the state in 1957. Holts Landing State Park was opened for public use in 1965.[1]


The recreational facilities at Holts Landing State Park are open daily from 8:00 am until sunset. The crabbing pier on the Indian River Bay was constructed in 2001 to provide visitors with easy access to the abundant blue crabs of the park. Visitors lower a baited basket into the waters of the bay and wait for the crabs to take the bait before pulling them out of the water. The pier is also open to fishing.[1]

Visitors to the park may take advantage of the picnic facilities at Holts Landing State Park. The picnic tables are located in shady sections of the park. There are nearby charcoal grills and a large lawn for the spreading of picnic blankets. A large pavilion is available to rent for family reunions, church gatherings and company picnics. Holts Landing State Park also features a playground, horseshoes pit, nature trails, horse trails, and a boat ramp.[2]

The boat ramp provides access to Indian River Bay which is popular with fishermen and recreation boaters. The common game fish in the bay are sea trout, flounder, bluefish and perch. Clams are also harvested in the shallow waters of the bay.[2]

Assawoman Canal is part of Holts Landing State Park. This canal connects Indian River Bay with Little Assawoman Bay to the south. It was initially dug by hand in the 1890s by immigrant labor.[3] The canal was last dredged in the 1950s. It is no longer deep enough to handle the boat traffic that once passed through it when it was part of the Intracoastal Waterway.[4] A privately owned marina is located within the park at the northern end of the canal. Most of the rest of the canal is too shallow and narrow for recreational motorboats to safely navigate. It has become a haven for recreational kayakers.


Holts Landing State Park is home to a wide variety of wildlife. Commonly seen wading birds include, herons, egrets and ibises. Hawks and ospreys are the most often seen birds of prey at the park. The forests are populated with songbirds, White-tailed deer, raccoons, foxes, muskrats, and opossums. The animals have adapted to the changes of man by making homes in the pits that were dug by the highway department for road constructions. These pits have since filled with water creating several small ponds. The Assawoman Canal also provides a habitat for a wide variety of wildlife. Possible development along the canal has drawn the attention of the Sierra Club.[4]

Nearby state parks[edit]

The following state parks are within 30 miles (48 km) of Holts Landing State Park: