Sunbathe At the 5 Best Beaches in Delaware

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Woman on Delaware beach

When you think of Delaware, you might not picture much. It’s one of those states that seems to blend in with the rest of the Mid-Atlantic region. Perhaps you know it as one of the 13 colonies. It’s also one of the smallest states in the country. You might even know President Biden grew up in Delaware and attended the University of Delaware before going to Syracuse University. However, you may not know that Delaware has some of the best beaches in the region.

But there isn’t much more that many people know about this coastal state. One thing is sure: there are a handful of peaceful, beautiful beaches that travelers should visit. If you haven’t considered visiting Delaware in the summer, it might be time to put it on your list. Let’s look at the five best beaches in Delaware so you can start planning your next family vacation!

What Is Delaware Known for? 

Many people know Delaware as one of the smallest states in the country. It’s 96 miles long and 30 miles wide. It also has the lowest mean elevation in the country as it lies on a level plain. One of the major rivers in the United States is the Delaware River, running almost 300 miles from New York to the Delaware Bay.

With the nickname “The First State,” Delaware became the first state to ratify the Constitution of the United States on December 7, 1787. Today, the state is home to a little over one million residents.

Sunrise over Delaware beach with seagulls flying

Does Delaware Have Good Beaches?

Although Delaware ranks 49th in the country in total area with less than 2,000 square miles of land, it isn’t lacking in amazing beaches. There are over 60 miles of coastline, with about 40 miles open to the public.

Along the coast, six small beach towns have grown to provide comfortable and enjoyable experiences for visitors. Lewes, Rehoboth Beach, Bethany Beach, Dewey Beach, South Bethany Beach, and Fenwick Island provide shopping, dining, recreational activities, attractions, and accommodations in addition to beautiful beaches.

Can You Swim at Delaware Beaches?

Officials not only allow swimming; they encourage it! Delaware beaches have beach patrol lifeguards monitoring the beaches from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Parents can feel safe bringing their children to these beaches, knowing that other eyes will watch their little ones.

The beach patrol staff also help to maintain order and cleanliness on the beaches. A visit to the best beaches in Delaware will provide an enjoyable experience for everyone.

Traveler’s Tip: Go for a swim in one of America’s 10 Best Beaches (Ranked by TripAdvisor).

Woman smiling on Delaware beach

5 Best Beaches in Delaware

When people want to get away to a beach, they’re searching for different things. Some prefer the serenity of less-visited beaches, while others seek adventure and outdoor fun.

Families want to ensure plenty of activities for their kids, and some travelers revel in the history of former military sites. These five best beaches in Delaware cover the spectrum. No matter what you’re looking for, you’ll find the perfect beach for your next getaway.

1. Cape Henlopen State Park

Address: 15099 Cape Henlopen Drive, Lewes, DE 19958

About: Cape Henlopen State Park has over six miles of shoreline. Lifeguards patrol the swimming beach from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and guests enjoy swimming, boating, fishing, kayaking, beachcombing, paddle-boarding, wind-surfing, hiking, biking, camping, and much more.

Visitors love heading out to The Point for a chance to see dolphins, seals, birds, and a couple of lighthouses. Once a World War II coastal defense site, Cape Henlopen also welcomes visitors to tour Battery 519 of the Fort Miles Historic Area.

The bike loop around the park is another excellent way to experience the natural beauty and wildlife of Cape Henlopen State Park. Finally, the touch tank at the Seaside Nature Center offers programs for kids and families to make their visit fun and educational.

2. Rehoboth Beach

Address: 229 Rehoboth Avenue, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware 19971

About: Rehoboth Beach’s mile-long boardwalk originated in 1873, and much of the beach resort retains its historic charm. The iconic Rehoboth Beach Bandstand is the city’s primary outdoor music and entertainment venue, where the Summer Concert Series welcomes more than 40 bands yearly.

Lifeguards are on duty from Memorial Day to Labor Day and help protect swimmers who visit the largest beach resort in the state. Parking in the City of Rehoboth Beach is by permit or via meters only during the summer season, so prepare. They do not permit dogs on the beach during the busy summer season, but you can bring them on a leash from October 1-April 30.

3. Delaware Seashore State Park

Address: 39415 Inlet Road, Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971

About: Delaware Seashore State Park has six miles of coastline and 20 miles of bay shoreline. Waterfront cottages and campsites welcome visitors to stay overnight near the beaches of the inlet.

A visit to Delaware Seashore State Park isn’t complete without heading to the 1876 Indian River Life-Saving Station. Although no longer in service, the station pays homage to its maritime heritage while providing a coastal event space and educational center.

Seven miles of trails invite guests to explore the state park on foot or by bike. Lifeguards protect two ocean swimming areas from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Fishing, boating, beachcombing, windsurfing, and kayaking are other everyday recreational activities at Delaware Seashore State Park.

4. Fenwick Island State Park

Address: Route 1, Fenwick Island, DE

About: Fenwick Island State Park is Delaware’s southernmost beach. It has three miles of shoreline with access to the Little Assawoman Bay.

One of the highlights of visiting the state park is joining a park naturalist to search for ghost crabs. Kayaks, paddleboards, and sailboats are available for rent. They also permit surf fishing along the shoreline. When the day ends, catch a beautiful sunset over Little Assawoman Bay.

5. South Bethany Beach

Address: 402 Evergreen Road, South Bethany, DE 19930

About: Like the other beaches in Delaware, South Bethany Beach has lifeguards on duty from Memorial Day to Labor Day. You cannot fish or surf while lifeguards are on duty. You cannot bring dogs on the beach during the summer season either. You’ll need parking permits from May 15 to September 15.

Family-friendly restaurants and activities are nearby, making South Bethany Beach one of the best beaches in Delaware. The tax-free shopping along the boardwalk is also a perk of visiting. It’s a tourist beach retaining a quiet, restful atmosphere.

Are the Best Beaches in Delaware Worth It?

The best beaches in Delaware offer many activities. Whether you’re a family looking to keep kids entertained on vacation, a couple seeking a romantic weekend getaway, or an adventurer hoping to explore land and sea, the beaches in Delaware have it all. Beach patrols protect the swimming areas, and the beaches are clean for an enjoyable summer experience.

Now you must decide which of the best beaches in Delaware you’ll visit first!

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