Small in size, Delaware is big in beach destinations, sporting dozens of locations where you can lay out in the sun, wade in the surf or take to the sea. The state’s proximity to three large cities — Washington, DC., Baltimore, and Philadelphia — mean that its beach communities are packed from Memorial Day to Labor Day and beyond. The following are five popular Delaware beach destinations worth your consideration.
1. Rehoboth Beach
Approximately 1,300 people call Rehoboth Beach their permanent home, what is arguably the First State’s most popular beach destination. Its proximity to Washington, DC, has earned it the moniker, “The Nation’s Summer Capital,” a place where visitors can hob knob with federal workers including congressional representatives.
Rehoboth Beach is a modern resort with a wooden boardwalk, broad beaches, sporting activities and amusements. The Dodd Homestead, Peter Marsh House, Avery’s Rest Site and the Warrington Site are among the historical sites located within the city limits.
2. Bethany Beach
Along with South Bethany and Fenwick Island, Bethany Beach is known as the state’s quiet resorts. With Delaware Seashore State Park bordering this community on its north side, that reputation has been assured.
What draws many people to Bethany Beach are its free, public access beaches with in-season life guard patrols. The town also features a short boardwalk and three sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places: the Indian River Life Saving Service Station, Wilgus Site and Popular Thicket.
3. Dewey Beach
Found within Delaware’s cape region, Dewey Beach is located next to popular Rehoboth Beach. While its larger neighbor attracts a more boisterous crowd, Dewey Beach is known as a family resort and is prized for its wide, sandy beaches.
The town is host to several annual events including the Dewey Beach Music Conference and the East Coast Skimboarding Championships. The “Greyhounds Reach the Beach” festival is another popular drawer every October.
Home to approximately 2,800 permanent residents, the community of Lewes is also the oldest incorporated town in Delaware. Founded in 1631, Lewes still has a Dutch influence with its Zwaanendael Museum offering a tribute to its original European settlers.
The city is adjacent to Cape Henlopen State Park and also features several other parks including Mary Vessels Park, Stango Park, Blockhouse Pond Park and the Canalfront Park & Marina. The Cape May-Lewes Ferry is also found there, what takes people and cars across the Delaware Bay to Cape May County, New Jersey.
5. Fenwick Island
The southernmost Delaware beach destination is Fenwick Island, a community that straddles the Maryland border and is adjacent to Ocean City. Although “island” is listed in its name, Fenwick is actually on a peninsula, one that it shares with its Maryland neighbor.
Fewer than 400 people are year ‘round residents of Fenwick Island, prized for its relative quietness compared to its southern neighbor. Local attractions include the Fenwick Island Lighthouse, Fenwick Island State Park and the Delaware Seashore State Park.
Other beach destinations and parks in the First State include the Cape Henlopen State Park, Middlesex Beach, Broadkill Beach and Henlopen Acres. And because there is no state income tax, shoppers enjoy tax-free shopping at the many stores in the area.