Picture of Fort Delaware


Fort Delaware Closed for the Winter

Fort Delaware is closed for the season and will reopen on April 25, 2020. Winter programs listed on our Upcoming Events calendar take place at alternate off-site locations until ferry service resumes in April. See you next spring! Posted 11/14/19

Park History

The State of Delaware deeded Pea Patch Island, located in the Delaware River between Delaware and New Jersey, to the U.S. government in 1813, and construction of Fort Delaware was completed around 1859.

Arriving at Pea Patch Island

Originally built to protect the ports of Wilmington and Philadelphia, Pea Patch Island also became a Union prison camp during the Civil War, housing up to as many as 12,595 Confederate prisoners of war at one time. Manned only briefly during World Wars I and II, the island and fort were finally abandoned and declared surplus property in 1944, when ownership was transferred back to the State of Delaware. Fort Delaware became a state park in 1951.

Fort Delaware Today

Today, costumed interpreters take you back to the summer of 1864 -- tour the parade ground, officers' quarters, barracks, kitchen, blacksmith shop and ordnance room, hear stories of great escapes, and watch as the Fort's Columbiad cannon fires a live gunpowder charge! Engage with fort historians dressed in period clothing, and hear stories of those who lived at the fort in 1864. Fort Delaware is well-known for “ghostly” activity and has been featured on Ghost Hunters and other television shows. Paranormal tours are offered in the fall.

Escape Fort Delaware: The Disloyalty Files

Can you escape Fort Delaware? It’s 1864, and you are a prisoner at Fort Delaware during the Civil War. You have been arrested on the presumption of committing a disloyal act again against the Union. Can you prove your loyalty and escape the island before time runs out? Try this new twist on an escape room in this fun, interactive program at Fort Delaware. Find hidden objects, interact with costumed interpreters, and solve hidden puzzles to complete the game and earn your freedom. This immersive experience is perfect for partners and groups to learn about Delaware history while having fun.

Escape Fort Delaware is offered on the dates listed below. Tickets may be purchased for $50.00 online or by phone by calling 877-987-2757.

The Heronry

Pea Patch Island is a summer home to nine different species of herons, egrets, and ibis. The remote marshes provide an outstanding habitat for one of the largest wading bird nesting areas on the East Coast. A hiking trail and its observation platform provide opportunities for photography and nature study. The Prison Camp Trail traverses part of this area and features a bird observation tower along the trail.

Planning Your Visit

  • Access to Pea Patch Island and Fort Delaware is by ferry only. The ticket office and ferry dock are located at 45 Clinton Street in Delaware City.
  • Advance ferry tickets are available online. Click here to reserve your tickets.
  • Same day tickets may be purchased on a first-come, first-served basis at our ticket office. Call (302) 834-7941 for availability.
  • Visitors under the age of 16 must be accompanied by someone 18 or older during their visit to Fort Delaware.
  • Leave pets and alcoholic beverages at home.
  • Be sure to wear closed-toe shoes -- the ground on the island is uneven in places, and you will also be asked to step onto wet biomats to prevent spreading of spores. White-Nose Syndrome, a fungal disease that does not affect humans but is deadly to bats. Bats are vitally important to our ecology; they help to control pests and are important pollinators. White-Nose Syndrome has been confirmed at Fort Delaware.
  • Private boats, including kayaks and canoes, are not permitted to dock on Pea Patch Island.

Ferry Schedule

Reserve Now!

  • April 29 – June 13: Saturday, Sunday and Holidays
  • June 14 – Sept. 4: Wednesday through Sunday and Holidays
  • Sept. 5 – Sept. 30: Saturday and Sunday
  • Oct 1 – April 28: Closed

*School Group tours by reservation only on weekdays in April, May, Sept. and Oct.

*Paranormal tours by reservation only on Friday and Saturday evenings in Oct.

Ferry Departure Times

Ferry operates 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Ticket sales end five (5) minutes before each ferry departure time. Tickets for the last tour of the day end at 3 p.m. Please plan your arrival accordingly.

Ferry Departures from Delaware City to Fort Delaware and Fort Mott
10 a.m. Continues to Fort Mott 1 p.m.
11 a.m. 1:30 p.m.
11:30 a.m. 2 p.m. Continues to Fort Mott
12 p.m. Continues to Fort Mott 3 p.m. Last Ferry to Fort Delaware
  4 p.m. Return to Ft. Mott only

Departures from Fort Delaware to Delaware City Times listed are for tram departures from the Fort to the ferry dock
11 a.m. 1:30 p.m.
11:30 a.m. 2:30 p.m.
12:30 p.m. 3 p.m.
1 p.m. 3:30 p.m.
  4:30 p.m.

Ferry Departures from Fort Mott to Fort Delaware and Delaware City
10:30 a.m. 2:30 p.m. Last Ferry to Fort Delaware
12:30 p.m. 4:30 p.m. Return to Delaware City Only

Ferry Departures from Fort Delaware to Fort Mott
12 p.m. 4 p.m. Last Ferry to Fort Mott
2 p.m.  

Upcoming Events

Map and Directions