Local Parks and Other Places Open for Safe Outdoor Visits

Find out which state and county parks and other outdoor places are open and how to safely visit

Delaware state parks such as Brandywine Creek, pictured, remain open

 

With kids out of school, parents home from work and health authorities telling everyone to avoid going out among other people, spring cabin fever can set in, especially as the weather turns warmer. It is, however, okay to venture out of doors for some exercise, fresh air and a diversion from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, as long as you and the family keep your distance from others and avoid touching things that others may have handled.

CDC guidelines discourage gatherings of more than 10 people and suggest keeping a distance of at least 6 feet from passersby but many local parks, gardens and nature centers offer wide open spaces.

The state's Parks and Recreation website acknowledges the benefits of time spent in nature, but noted that the most effective defense against the spread of COVID-19 is to stay home. The PA Department of Health also nudged residents to head outdoors, with a March 19 tweet that suggests walking, biking or playing outside with the kids while practicing social distancing. Similarly, New Jersey's state parks are open to the public, however, nature centers, restrooms and other facilities are closed.While many Delaware Valely parks have closed offices and restrooms, visitors still have access to trails, lakes, forests, roads and parking areas. “We encourage practicing social distancing while enjoying open spaces including avoiding all groups and crowds, and visitors should use the bathroom before they leave home,” advised PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn on March 17.

Delaware plans to keep its state parks fully open, including campsites, cabins and bathouses. Offices and nature centers are closed. The state's Department of Resources and Environmental Control announced that park entrance fees will be waived through April 30. "Times are challenging and options are few, and this is an opportunity fro Delawarians to experience our amazing parks and wildlife areas, to embrace nature while we maintain social distance from each other," says DNREC Secretary Shawn Gavin.

Natural Lands, a nonprofit that operates nearly 20 nature preserves in eastern Pennsylvania and South Jersey, will also remain open, with the exception of the Stoneleigh garden in Villanova, PA.

Also, some gardens and preserves, like Bartram's Garden in Philadelphia, remain open as well. 

"Please do not visit if you feel ill or if you have been exposed to someone sick, and please do not gather in groups," it suggest." You may see our farmers, gardeners, and facilities staff working onsite during this time: they will be glad to wave to you, but please continue practicing social distancing to help keep everyone safe.

Here's the status of county-owned parks. 

Pennsylvania

Bucks County

All parks are open to the public. 

Chester County

All parks are closed through March-30.

Delaware County

All parks are closed until further notice.

Montgomery County

All parks are open to the public.

 

New Jersey

Burlington County

All parks are closed until further notice.

Camden County

All parks are closed until further notice.

Gloucester County

All parks are closed through March 30.

 

Delaware

Kent County

All parks are open to the public.

New Castle County

All parks are open to the public.

Health measures to take when visiting parks

Pennsylvania's DCNR provides these tips for staying healthy while you enjoy the outdoors.

  • Adhere to the social spacing guide (minimum 6 feet) between people and don’t recreate in groups

  • Take hand sanitizer and use it regularly

  • Avoid touching your face, eyes, and nose

  • Cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing with a tissue or flexed elbow

  • If you're sick, stay home

 

For more news and resources, bookmark our Coronavirus Guide for Philadelphia Area Families.

Categories: Healthy Living, Parenting