The Nature of Tourism
Birders, cyclists, kayakers and other outdoor enthusiasts flock to Delaware for fun. A savvy group of outfitters, state agencies and marketers are hoping to parlay that activity into something more.
(page 4 of 4)
Delaware State Parks has also evolved to keep up with trends in outdoor pursuits. Hiking was once the most popular activity in state parks, but now visitors are mountain biking, kayaking, bird watching and geocaching, says chief of programming Ray Bivens. Geocaching is an outdoor scavenger hunt to locate waterproof containers using the containers’ geographic coordinates and a GPS unit. “It’s surprising how much geocachers will spend on their trips and how far they’ll travel to do it,” Bivens says.
Several years ago Delaware introduced a race series in all three counties to capitalize on an even newer outdoor sport, Adventure Racing. Each Adventure Series event is different, but they always include several activities, such as orienteering, mountain biking and canoeing in one race.
Delaware’s state parks attract a healthy number of out-of-state visitors. Non-residents account for 37 percent of campers statewide and as much as 80 percent at Delaware Seashore State Park. The state parks are continuing to add more ecotourism options, which include naturalist-guided tours by pontoon, kayak and foot.