12 Parks in Dover, Delaware (Updated July 2024)

Dover is the capital and second largest city in Delaware. Despite being a smaller city, Dover has plenty of great parks that are perfect for outdoor recreation, picnics, or just relaxing outdoors. From scenic riverfront parks, to parks with playgrounds, trails and sports fields, Dover’s parks offer a little something for everyone.

This article highlights 12 of the best parks in Dover. For each park, you’ll find information on location, size, amenities and key attractions. Read on to discover some of the top parks and outdoor spaces that Dover has to offer.

Legislative Mall Park

Location: Legislative Avenue and North Street, central Dover
Size: 18 acres
Amenities: Open lawns, walking paths, monuments

As the name implies, Legislative Mall Park sits adjacent to Delaware’s Legislative Hall. The sprawling 18 acre park features lush open lawns dotted with numerous monuments memorializing Delaware political figures and moments in history. Scenic walking paths meander through the grounds and the park serves as a key location for civic events. The park also connects to nearby Dover Green, with the two green spaces forming a much larger park complex in downtown Dover.

Silver Lake Park

Location: 2620 Silver Lake Road, eastern Dover
Size: 900 acres
Amenities: Freshwater lakes, fishing, picnicking, playgrounds, trails, sports fields

As Dover’s largest park, Silver Lake encompasses 900 sprawling acres in eastern Dover that center around two scenic freshwater lakes. The park features picnic areas, walking trails, and a couple of playgrounds and sports fields. The key attraction however is the lakes themselves.

There are sand beaches and swimming areas that are quite popular in the summer months, along with docks for fishing. Small boats, kayaks and canoes are all welcome on the lakes as well. Bird watching and wildlife viewing can be enjoyed from the lakeshores too.

Dover Park

Location: East Water Street, central Dover
Size: 5 acres
Amenities: Gardens, historic buildings, bandshell

Sandwiched between the St. Jones River and downtown Dover, 5 acre Dover Park is easily accessible for locals and visitors. The park features a large gazebo-style bandstand for summertime concerts, plus numerous gardens and historic buildings.

The Sherman H. Masten House within the park is a particularly unique feature, with the historic home and adjacent outbuildings now serving as a history museum. A riverside walking path links with paths along Loockerman Street and the Green, connecting to many of Dover’s other historic buildings and landmarks.

Leonard’s Park

Location: South Little Creek Road, central Dover
Size: 6 acres
Amenities: Multi-use trails, sports fields and courts

Situated along the Little River on the east bank of the St. Jones, Leonard’s Park is a more active community space. The 6 acre park features paved multi-use trails for cycling, running, walking and more. The park also has one of the top sports facilities in Dover, including soccer fields, basketball courts, tennis courts and a baseball diamond. With both passive recreation options and the active sports facilities, Leonard’s Park appeals to a wide range of outdoor enthusiasts.

Phillips Park

Location: 865 Caesar Rodney Ave, eastern Dover
Size: 11 acres
Amenities: Wooded hiking trails, gardens

Surrounded on three sides by the St. Jones River, Phillips Park feels like a secret hideaway despite being within Dover’s city limits. The 11 acre park consists of forested areas and lush gardens, ideal for peaceful hikes and nature strolls.

Paved walking paths, a covered picnic pavilion and scenic gazebo provide comfortable spots to relax outdoors as well. Some gardens are cultivated by the local garden club and feature flowering plants and seasonal displays.

The Green

Location: Loockerman Street, central Dover
Size: 3.5 acres
Amenities: Open lawns, bandstand, historic buildings

The Green is another of Dover’s most historic downtown parks. The 3.5 acre park consists of open green lawns shaded by mature trees. Historic monuments and a white-washed bandstand structure sit within the park.

Surrounding the Green are numerous 18th and 19th century buildings including the Georgian style Old State House. The park serves as a venue for community events and festivals throughout the year. Paths connect The Green to Legislative Mall and Dover Park.

Fork Branch Nature Preserve

Location: 1030 Fork Branch Rd, southern Dover
Size: 117 acres
Amenities: Hiking trails, wildlife habitats

Operated by the Delaware Nature Society, Fork Branch Nature Preserve protects over 100 acres of forests, meadows and wetlands just west of Dover. Six miles of trails traverse the varied habitats, offering excellent hiking and nature viewing opportunities.

Portions of Fork Branch stream meander through the preserve as well, a tributary of the St. Jones River watershed. Deer, birds, butterflies and wildflowers are just some of wildlife that call Fork Branch home.

St. Jones Greenway

Location: Parallel to the St. Jones River in Dover
Size: 5 miles paved trails
Amenities: Multi-use trails, river views

Still under development, the St. Jones Greenway trail project will eventually link parks throughout Dover. Five miles of trail have been paved so far, following along the twisting St. Jones River through the city and providing scenic vistas overlooking the waterway.

The paved multi-use trail has become popular with cyclists, walkers, joggers and skaters that enjoy the natural landscape. When complete, the Greenway will tie neighborhoods, schools and parks together along the riverfront.

Groome Park

Location: 840 Walker Rd, central Dover
Size: 14 acres
Amenities: Playgrounds, sports fields and courts

Occupying 14 acres in central Dover, Groome Park has an abundance of facilities for active recreation and sports. Baseball and softball diamonds accommodate games and league play, while multi-use fields are set up for soccer, football and field hockey.

A large playground set with swings and climbing structures delights kids, with basketball courts and lighted tennis courts rounding out Groome Park’s roster of amenities.

Lisman Park

Location: N. New Street, central Dover
Size: 0.7 acres
Amenities: Open lawns, shade trees

Covering just three-quarters of an acre, Lisman Park is a pocket park along Dover’s North New Street. Mature trees spread shade across most of the park, with open lawn areas in between. The park has ornamental lighting and a few benches, offering a small urban oasis for downtown workers or visitors. Programming is limited due to the park’s diminutive size, but it remains a pleasant spot for a picnic or people watching.

Dover Parklet

Location: Loockerman Street Plaza, downtown Dover
Amenities: Cafe seating, bike racks

More a pedestrian plaza than proper park, Dover Parklet on Loockerman Street none-the-less provides open space downtown. Built on what was once on-street parking spaces, the plaza features ornamental planters and trees, plus outdoor cafe seating and convenient bike racks.

The plaza helps connect Dover’s historic commercial buildings and provides space for pedestrians in the urban city center. Due to its small footprint focusing mainly on hardscaping, Dover Parklet offers a somewhat different park experience than the sprawling green spaces around the city.

Schutte Park

Location: 1150 Walker Rd, central Dover
Size: 88 acres
Amenities: Multi-use trails, MTB trails, disc golf

On Dover’s west side, the 88 acre Schutte Park contains one of the city’s top trail networks weaving through woodlands and along streambeds. A one mile paved loop appeals to walkers and joggers, while over two miles of dedicated mountain biking trails cater to fat tire fans.

There is also an 18-hole disc golf course threading through the park’s forested sections. With a nice variety of both paved and natural surface trails, Schutte Park is a great option for Dover’s active families and outdoor enthusiasts.

Conclusion


From the sprawling 900 acre Silver Lake Park to small pocket parks like Lisman, Dover has an impressive selection of outdoor recreation spaces. Waterfront parks like Dover Park and the St. Jones Greenway trail take advantage of the scenic river landscape, while numerous gardens thrive at Phillips Park and Dover Park. Sports like mountain biking, tennis and disc golf have their own facilities within the city parks system as well.

This list highlights 12 of the best parks in Dover, but additional neighborhood parks, preserves and trails exist. Well-known parks like Legislative Mall and The Green hold historic and civic importance for Delaware’s capital city. More modern parks like Schutte or Groome Park meet recreation demands with their trails and sports amenities. All contribute to providing a great diversity of outdoor options for Dover residents and visitors.

No matter what you enjoy doing outside, Dover likely has a park suited perfectly for your needs. Walk historic grounds, play sports, bike for miles or simply relax riverside – with this strong collection of parks, Dover has something for everyone.

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