Route 9 Coastal Heritage Scenic Byway
Length: 52.0 mi / 83.7 km
Time to Allow: One hour to 90 minutes to drive the byway.
Route 9 Coastal Heritage Scenic Byway winds along the north and central Delaware coast, passing through several wildlife refuges and areas. As you drive, keep your eyes peeled for wildlife. The byway begins in the historic city of New Castle and ends just south of Dover Air Force Base near the entrance to the John Dickinson Plantation. The two-lane, north-south road runs 52 miles, paralleling the western shore of Delaware River and Bay.
The byway lies entirely within the Atlantic Flyway. Each spring, hundreds of thousands of migrating shorebirds pass through the area, feeding and resting in the marshes and refuges while they gain strength to continue their journey to their northern breeding grounds. Among the best known is the Red Knot, which feed on horseshoe crab eggs along the Delaware Bay shore, which has one of the largest concentrations of spawning crabs in the world and is one of two most critical stops on the East Coast for migrating shorebirds. In the fall, the area also hosts thousands of waterfowl migrating south for the winter.
A 6-mile segment from Route 9 to The Green in Dover is part of the designated route and encompasses the First State Heritage Park.
Route 9 Coastal Heritage Scenic Byway is a Delaware treasure—a scenic, two-lane road that runs along the Delaware River and Bay Estuary offering travelers an intimate interaction with the largest area of preserved coastal marshland on the east coast.
“I like to paint what people forget to look at,” says artist Michele Green. Along Route 9, from Delaware City to Dover - and everywhere in between – you’ll find her with easel and paints.