6 Top Delaware Beach Towns

In Delaware, the beaches are an invitation to be in the moment and relax. And each beach town brings its own character, personality and charm. Discover the Delaware beach that’s just right for you.

Lewes. Rehoboth. Dewey. Bethany. South Bethany. Fenwick. Six beach towns, each with its own style and allure, and each with its own reason to become your favorite. Only 29 highway miles separate all six top Delaware beach towns, but that straight stretch of oceanside highway embraces an array of state parks, two broad inland bays, hundreds of restaurants and endless shopping sprees. Pack all your favorite beach essentials; snacks, water, sunblock, umbrella, towels and take advantage of the beautiful East Coast sunrise, sunset and all the hours in between.

They say that once you experience the Delaware beaches, you fall a little bit in love. Day by day, wave after wave, these Delaware coastal towns show why that’s true.

Lewes: The Perfect Family Spot

Lewes Beach is the perfect spot for young families to introduce their children to the surf for the first time. It’s here where the waves are calm and kids spend hours running in out of the water while lifeguards are on watch. It’s here where you can bring your floats to just relax in the water for hours. At the end of the beach day, explore the historic town. Intimate and charming, Lewes (pronounced “Lewis”) still stands as a peaceful refuge from the modern world, thanks in part to the coastal cuisine, intimate boutiques and antique shops that line Second Street.

Insider Tip: Experience a narrated nature tour—or a live music cruise—offered by Cape Water Tours & Taxi.

Cape Henlopen State Park: Nature-Lover’s Paradise

Cape Henlopen State Park
Cape Henlopen State Park, @kyle_kaminski_302

The natural wonders of Delaware’s beaches are brought together in one easy-to-love package at this iconic 5,200- acre state park, known for its views of offshore lighthouses and dunes overlooking the ocean. Take a hike or ride a bike on one of Cape Henlopen’s thoroughly memorable nature trails, or just pack up the family and the beach chairs and head to the park’s public beaches, well equipped with concession stands and bathhouses. The campgrounds here are ideal for affordable longer stays, giving the whole family a chance to enjoy Nature Center programs, disc golf, or even annual events such as the Delaware Kite Festival.

Insider Tip: Be sure to climb to the top of the Great Dune for a glorious view of the coast.

Rehoboth Beach
@rbdcc, Rehoboth Beach

Rehoboth Beach: Small-Town Charm

Beloved by families for generations, Rehoboth sets the standard for its small-town charm and vibrant entertainment scene, ranging from cutting-edge dining destinations to festive, fun nightlife favorites. Daytimes are full of sunbathers and strollers who wander the boardwalk; nighttime gives way to candlelit dinners in laid-back but luscious restaurants, followed by a nightcap in one of Rehoboth’s trendy bars. Contrasts abound here: Family friendly attractions like Funland amusement center and Dolle’s saltwater taffy co-exist harmoniously with an edgier, artsier scene.

Insider Tip: Grab some Thrasher’s French Fries and enjoy the view. The question is vinegar or no vinegar on the fries?

Dewey Beach: Vibrant Nightlife

Here is where the young-and-restless, lively crowds hang, thanks to the bayside nightclubs where rock bands groove until the early hours. Yet it’s also so much more: Dewey’s long been a favorite among friends who chip in for a weekend beach house rental, and an abundance of budget-friendly options makes it an ideal choice for families looking to keep expenses down. Active travelers will appreciate Dewey’s outdoor options, including parasailing, paddleboarding, water/jet skiing, windsurfing, or even dolphin watching.

Insider Tip: Park for free and enjoy the Wednesday Night Bonfires on the Beach in summer.

Delaware Seashore State Park: Outdoor Adventures

It’s hard to miss: Traveling down Delaware’s Scenic Coastal Highway (Del. 1), you see a graceful bridge soaring above the water. Beneath the span, pleasure boats make their way through the Indian River Inlet and toward the open ocean. All around you, travelers indulge in Seashore State Park’s rich lineup of attractions: A camping site nestles near the bridge, just a short walk from the beach. Lunchtime draws folks to the park’s two restaurants, HammerHeads Dockside and The Big Chill Beach Club. Here, you have your choice of water: Spend the day lounging in the sand on the ocean side, or try some windsurfing or sailing in the park’s two bays: Rehoboth Bay and Indian River Bay.

Insider Tip: Rent a beach cottage for the family right in the park.

Bethany Beach, South Bethany: Quiet Escape

Bethany prides itself on being a quiet resort, and benefits from being tucked between two beach and bay state parks: Delaware Seashore State Park and Fenwick Island State Park. More intimate than its up-shore neighbors, Bethany is beloved for its restaurants and cheery boardwalk, and is perfect for a day of strolling, sunbathing and shopping. Along with neighboring South Bethany, it’s also a favorite of extended families who book a beach house for week long getaways.

Insider Tip: Rent a bike in Bethany and enjoy the scenic ride to Dewey Beach.

Fenwick Island: Beautiful Bay Views

Though it’s not truly an island, this southernmost Delaware beach town nonetheless has a set apart sort of vibe, thanks to the natural buffer of Fenwick Island State Park just to the north. Families adore Fenwick for its kid-friendly activities (including putt-putt and go-karts), and outdoor-minded travelers cherish its many boat slips, located just outside beach cottages. Of all the Delaware beach towns, Fenwick and Dewey boast the best access to the inland bays, giving visitors a chance for dinner with a waterside view at the restaurants along Del. 54, or a day paddleboarding on the calm water.

Insider Tip: Enjoy the farm-to-table cuisine at One Coastal restaurant.

Fenwick Island
Fenwick Island
A beer on the beach during sunset.
Glass of beer on the beach

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