Delaware Beaches, Take us Away
Less than three hours of drive time and two “Superstar” beaches make the Delaware coastline an appealing summer destination.
There is still plenty of summer left to enjoy a day at the beach. For local sunbathers and swimmers, Delaware beaches offer a change of scenery beyond the Chesapeake Bay with a drive time of less than three hours.
If the sand and the surf aren’t reason enough to hit the road, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) recently awarded “Superstar Beach” status to two Delaware beaches: Rehoboth Beach and Dewey Beach. Only four beaches in the country earned the designation for having “perfect testing results for the past three years, indicating a history of very good water quality,” according to the NRDC website.
Smaller beaches may not have the amenities of the larger ones, but they probably don’t have the large crowds either. Note that state parks charge an admission fee and are “trash free,” which means there are no trashcans (to attract flies, bees and other wildlife) so visitors should plan accordingly.
Bethany Beach, DE 19930
The town of Bethany Beach is 99 miles from Annapolis with an estimated driving time of 145 minutes, according to the town’s website. The beach, which has a small boardwalk and bandstand, is about 15 miles from Ocean City, MD, and is known as “the quiet resort.” The beach is closed to the public from 1 to 5 a.m. daily. Meter and permit parking is available; daily parking permits cost $20 and may be purchased at the information booth located at the Garfield Parkway beach lot or at the police department (located at 214 Garfield Parkway).
Cape Henlopen State Park
15099 Cape Henlopen Dr., Lewes, DE 19958
The Delaware Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean at Cape Henlopen State Park in Lewes, DE. The northern swimming area has a bathhouse with showers. Other amenities include a concession stand, beach umbrella rentals and picnic areas. The Seaside Nature Center offers a variety of programs and is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the summer. The park is open daily from 8 a.m. to sunset. Admission is $8 per day (for out-of-state registered vehicles).
Delaware Seashore State Park
39415 Inlet Rd., Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971
The 2,825-acre Delaware Seashore State Park features the Atlantic Ocean on the east and Rehoboth Bay and Indian River Bay on the west. Amenities include a bathhouse with showers, a concession stand, beach equipment rentals and picnic areas. The park is open daily from 8 a.m. to sunset and charges $8 per day (for out-of-state registered vehicles). Note that there is ongoing construction at the Indian River Bridge so drivers should watch for changing traffic patterns on Route 1.
Dewey Beach, DE 19971
The town of Dewey Beach, DE, is a popular resort destination located between the Atlantic Ocean and Rehoboth Bay. It was recently awarded “Superstar Beach” status by the NRDC for health standards. Beach chairs and umbrellas can be rented from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Note that no one is allowed on the beach between 1 and 5 a.m. and there is a curfew for minors. Limited parking is available without a parking pass, which can be purchased at the town hall. Parking for one day can cost $10 (Monday through Wednesday) or $15 (Thursday through Sunday).
Fenwick Island State Park
Route 1, Fenwick, DE 19971
The beach at Fenwick Island State Park offers 344 acres shoreline between the Atlantic Ocean and Little Assawoman Bay. The park features a bathhouse with showers, a gift shop, a concession stand, beach equipment rentals and a designated surfing area. The beach is open daily from 8 a.m. to sunset. Admission is $8 per day for out-of-state registered vehicles.
1 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971
Looking for a traditional “beach experience” with the ocean, white sand, a mile-long boardwalk, boutiques, arcades/amusement rides, restaurants and hotels? Rehoboth Beach, DE, is the place for all of these things and more. It recently earned the designation of a “Superstar Beach” by the NRDC for health standards.
The beach is open to the public daily, but no one is permitted on the beach from 1 to 5 a.m. Parking meters are located downtown and parking permits are required in the residential resort area. See the website for Rehoboth Beach visitor services to get current parking information.
For those who have visited all the Delaware beaches and want to try a new beach adventure, check out this list of beaches on the southern New Jersey shore.