Top Spots for Your Valentine’s Engagement

A man and a woman walk hand-in-hand in a natural area, gazing at each other.

The candy is filling the shelves, the “sweet heart” card racks are overflowing, and the dinner reservations are all but gone … Valentine’s Day is right around the corner!

It’s estimated that more than 6 million couples are likely to get engaged on Valentine’s Day, and the prep work is a big deal – picking the ring, choosing the words, and of course selecting the perfect location.

Let us help with that last one … check out our recommendations for places to pop the question in Delaware State Parks and wildlife areas (or just to bring that potential someone to a romantic spot).

Psssst – parks are a pretty great place to get married, too.

Hidden Pond Trail

A hiking trial through a woodland in summer.
This scenic trail meanders through the Tulip Tree Woods Nature Preserve along the Brandywine Creek.

This scenic hike in Brandywine Creek State Park includes the most iconic aspects of Brandywine Creek: stone walls, open fields, creeks and a deep forest canopy.

The trail navigates through Tulip Tree Woods Nature Preserve – the first designated Old Growth Forest in the state of Delaware. The tulip poplar trees that make up this forest are over 200 years old.

Propose beneath this canopy of trees which have stood the test of time – just like your love will.

The Marshall Mansion

A well-maintained Victorian mansion overlooks a still pond in a wooded setting.
The Marshall Mansion is a spectacular example of Victorian architecture.

The Marshall Mansion, in Auburn Valley State Park, is a picturesque example of Victorian architecture with loads of storybook charm.

Stroll the grounds with your special someone and imagine it as your very own newlywed estate with lovely landscaping, gardens and a flowing creek.

Recreate those period-piece romantic drama feels (think Jane Eyre, Anna Karenina, Queen Victoria, etc.) and tour the mansion, full to the brim of historic furnishings and art.

Josephine Fountain

A white marble fountain topped by a statue of a woman stands amid blossoming trees.
The Josephine Fountain was commissioned by Gen. J Ernest Smith to honor the love of his life, his late wife Josephine Tatnall Smith, upon her death.

In the wake of Josephine Tatnall Smith’s death in 1931, Gen. J Ernest Smith commissioned the construction of the Josephine Fountain to honor his beloved late wife. The fountain, in Wilmington State Parks, is fashioned of marble and inspired by a timeless 16th-century Florentine fountain.

Rumor has it that buried beneath is a time capsule containing mementos of Josephine and the love they shared (and we like to believe that it’s true!).

Upon completion, Smith established a trust fund for maintaining the fountain after his death to ensure that Josephine would be honored in perpetuity. Flanking the park are cherry trees which the Smiths had donated in 1929 – just two years before her untimely death.

Cherry trees are known for their beautiful blossoms which bloom for just a week or two each spring – ephemeral in their beauty, like love, and fleeting like life.

Little Creek Wildlife Viewing Tower

Two people climb the stairs of a wooden wildlife-viewing platform.
The David Small Wildlife Viewing Boardwalk and Tower was named for former DNREC Secretary David Small in November 2019.

The David Small Wildlife Viewing Boardwalk and Tower, in the Little Creek Wildlife Area, is a 400-foot elevated boardwalk and observation tower offering unparalleled views of the Little Creek impoundment.

This location is great for viewing migrating shorebirds and abundant waterfowl, so it’s perfect for all the lovebirds who enjoy nature watching or just want an amazing backdrop to their engagement photos.

The Point Overlook

Sand dunes and the edge of a walkway lead to a vew of a lighthouse on the DElaware Bay.
The Point Overlook is breathtaking all year long, with incredible sunsets in the winter.

The Point Overlook, in Cape Henlopen State Park, stands atop the dynamic dune environment – always changing, growing and reinventing itself – just like your love.

The Point overlooks the place where the Delaware Bay and Atlantic Ocean meet and become one. Plus the sunsets are magical, especially in winter.

Sandhill Crane Exhibit

A close-up view of a Sandhill Cranes, with its head turned towards the camera.
Sandhill Cranes are native to the American Plains and are known for selecting mates for life.

The Brandywine Zoo is the perfect spot for the animal-lover in your life. The Sandhill crane exhibit is particularly fitting for the season as these large, majestic birds mate for life.

Not a bird person? That’s okay – there’s plenty more to love with lemurs, red pandas, tortoises and pudus.

Plus, make it a two-for-one: stop at the Josephine Fountain on the way to set the tone for things to come, as it’s located adjacent to the Brandywine Zoo.

So, get out into your parks and wildlife areas and spread the love this Valentine’s Day! And if you do happen to get engaged at one of these romantic spots (or in any other state parks or wildlife areas) share your photo on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter with #engageDEstateparks and tag us @DelawareDNREC!

An earlier version of this article originally appeared on the Delaware State Parks Adventure Blog in February of 2022.