1. Rehoboth Beach, 2. Bethany Beach, 3. Cape Henlopen State Park — Lewes, 4. Lewes Beach, 5. Delaware Seashore State Park, 6. Broadkill Beach, 7. Fenwick Island State Park Beach, 8. Slaughter Beach, 9. Dewey Beach, 10. South Bethany Beach, 11. Holts Landing State Park, 12. Woodland Beach, 13. Bowers Beach. The beaches in southern Delaware are well worth a visit, with 30 miles of coastline and over 300 miles of dune-lined coast. Sunbathing, boating, bird-watching, and other activities draw visitors from surrounding New Jersey, Washington, DC, Pennsylvania, and Maryland to America's second smallest state. When you get off the beach, you'll see that each town has its own attractions and character. Whether you're seeking adventures on a bike or kayak, or want to relax on the sand with a lovely book, keep reading to learn about the best beaches in Delaware.
- Rehoboth Beach
- Bethany Beach
- Cape Henlopen State Park — Lewes
- Lewes Beach
- Delaware Seashore State Park
- Broadkill Beach
- Fenwick Island State Park Beach
- Slaughter Beach
- Dewey Beach
- South Bethany Beach
- Holts Landing State Park
- Woodland Beach
- Bowers Beach
Set out an umbrella and some beach chairs, then apply sunscreen to finish your beach retreat. Rehoboth Beach is clean and easily accessible, so getting into holiday mode shouldn’t take long. Soak in the rays and keep an eye out for dolphins in the surf. Spend time on the water by fishing, kayaking, canoeing, or paddleboarding. Schedule a surfing class and ride your first wave. Or simply enjoy the surroundings on a sightseeing boat cruise.
One of Rehoboth Beach’s most charming qualities is its throw-back beach boardwalk. Feel like a child again at Funland, full of midway games, nostalgic amusement rides and an arcade – all at budget-friendly prices. The Rehoboth Beach Bandstand hosts a free summer concert series that attracts talented performers from just about every musical genre. Catch a stage show at Clear Space Theatre Company, where popular musicals like “Grease,” “Rent” and “Chicago” have been staged. Take advantage of discounts on famous brands at Tanger Outlets. Delaware is a tax-free shopping state; have your credit cards handy.
Tripadvisor rating: 4.6/5
Address: Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971, USA
Recommended Hotel Nearby: Boardwalk Plaza Hotel
Despite its tiny size, Bethany Beach has all of the traditional summer coastal resort amenities, such as the short Joseph Olson Boardwalk, a vast, sandy beach, motels, restaurants, and vacation homes. Because Bethany Beach is not located on a barrier island, residential areas extend to the west of the municipal boundaries. If you’re looking for a quiet beach while in the area, head on over to Bethany Beach. It’s among the nice beaches in Delaware with white sand. Plus, the beach is pretty relaxing as teens and college students rarely flock here.
Driving into Bethany Beach you’ll be greeted by the intimate shops leading you to a quiet sense of calmness. You breathe in the ocean air, and you can suddenly feel that this is your coastal home away from home. Bethany is the kind of place that’s perfectly suited to beach-house gatherings of extended families, who find their sunny days filled with an endless array of do-as-you-please activities – sunning or running on the broad beaches; shopping tax-free at the shops around town and on the Boardwalk, or lingering over a gourmet coastal meal.
Tripadvisor rating: 4.5/5
Address: Bethany Beach, DE 19930
Recommended Hotel Nearby: Bethany Beach Ocean Suites Residence Inn by Marriott
Cape Henlopen State Park — Lewes
Cape Henlopen State Park is one of the best beaches in Delaware. This is a Delaware state park on 5,193 acres (2,102 ha) of Cape Henlopen in Sussex County, Delaware, in the United States. William Penn made the beaches of Cape Henlopen one of the first public lands established in what has become the United States in 1682 with the declaration that Cape Henlopen would be for “the usage of the citizens of Lewes and Sussex County.” Cape Henlopen State Park has a 24-hour and year-round fishing pier as well as campgrounds. The remainder of the park is only open from sunrise to sunset and includes a bathhouse on the Atlantic Ocean, an area for surf-fishing, a disc golf course, and bicycle and walking paths. The beach at Herring Point is a popular surfing spot. The park is a stop on Delaware’s Coastal Heritage Greenway.
Cape Henlopen’s beaches attract thousands of visitors who enjoy everything from ocean swimming, boating, fishing, and kayaking to clamming, paddle-boarding, and wind-surfing. But Cape Henlopen offers more than just the ocean and bays. The park’s premier trails offer hiking and biking exploration. A designated swimming beach, accessible from the Lewes entrance to the park, provides lifeguard patrols between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day (the schedule may vary depending on staff availability). Mobi-Mat equipment, consisting of three 30-foot mats allowing those in wheelchairs and power chairs to access the beach from the boardwalk, is also available at this location.
Address: 15099 Cape Henlopen Dr, Lewes, DE 19958, United States
Recommended Hotel Nearby: The Inn at Canal Square
On the beach, there are rental outlets for beach chairs and umbrellas so that you can relax and watch seabirds as well as the Cape May-Lewes ferries as they ply between Delaware and New Jersey. Enjoy a snack from food businesses located nearby. All amenities are within walking distance as the town is directly behind the beach. As it’s a public beach, there isn’t an entrance fee. Bring a lunch if you want, or buy food and drinks at businesses just off the beach area. Arrive early to beat the crowds, as the fine sand beach is popular among residents and visitors. However, even if you’re a bit late, you’ll probably find an empty spot if you walk farther along the beach, which stretches for miles. Stay for an amazing sunset as day turns into night.
Cape Henlopen State Park, located at the ferry port and beyond the southern end of Lewes Beach, has its own beaches and activities. Travel 10 miles (16 kilometers) south to Rehoboth Beach, where the vibe is more commercial. For some family fun, stroll along the busy promenade or visit the water park. Fenwick Island State Park is located 25 miles (41 kilometers) away from Lewes Beach, which offers one of Delaware’s few approved surfing locations. Enjoy the maritime aspect of this unspoiled area with time spent at Lewes Beach. Lifeguards are frequently on duty. Walk or bike to the beach that is located at one end of town and is easily accessible, or use the hourly parking. Be aware that parking is carefully monitored for time violations.
Address: 206 Bay Ave, Lewes, DE 19958, United States
Recommended Hotel Nearby: Home2 Suites By Hilton Lewes Rehoboth Beach
Delaware Seashore State Park
Delaware Seashore State Park is known for its water adventures and lineup of attractions. Enjoy surfing to sunbathing within its miles of ocean coastline and views of the Rehoboth and Indian River Bay. Find camping sites and local flavor at Big Chill Beach Club, just steps from the beach. During your tour, don’t miss the Indian River Life-Saving Station, a historic station erected in 1876 by the United States Lifesaving Service to respond to the rising number of disasters along the coast. The Life-Saving Station has been restored to its original 1905 look and now serves as the park’s visitor center, offering tours and year-round activities.
Campgrounds are available on both the north and south sides of the inlet. The north inlet campground provides 88 RV spaces with full hookups. The South Inlet campground contains 151 full-hookup campsites, 86 non-hookup campsites, and 33 tent-only camping sites. The Delaware Seashore is ideal for a seaside holiday, with good fishing sites, scenic beaches, and more.
There are two ocean swimming areas located on the north side of the inlet as well as the south side. The North Side has been historically known for being a great surf spot. Both beaches offer Mobi-Mat equipment that allows wheelchairs and power chairs to access the beach. Being located on the Southside, the State Parks offer a modern bathhouse consisting of showers, bathrooms, and changing areas.
Tripadvisor rating: 4.0/5
Address: 25039 Coastal Hwy, Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971, United States
Recommended Hotel Nearby: Atlantic Oceanside Dewey Beach Resort
You’ll access the unincorporated beach village after going through a part of Prime Hook NWR, which is located off Delaware Route 1 at the end of Route 16. Many first-time visitors equate Broadkill Beach’s remoteness to that of North Carolina’s Outer Banks, although on a lesser scale. Broadkill’s older part, dating from the mid-20th century, is located just south and north of the intersection of Route 16 and Bayshore Drive. The small number of shops contributes to the town’s great secluded, private atmosphere. On weekends, the Broadkill Shop, a general store that offers sandwiches, groceries, bait & gear, beach toys, souvenirs, and baked doughnuts, will provide many provisions. Kayak and stand-up paddleboard rentals are also available at the business.
Come visit in the summer if you enjoy a good Fourth of July Parade. The family-friendly event is held by residents each year, and with the right views, you can witness fireworks from Cape May, NJ, Lewes, Rehoboth Beach, DE, and other local towns. If you’re looking for a slower pace with beautiful sights and sounds and outdoor activities, every day of the year is a perfect time to visit Broadkill Beach. This beach is considered one of the best beaches in Delaware.
Address: Sussex County Delaware
Recommended Hotel Nearby: Hampton Inn Rehoboth Beach
Fenwick Island State Park Beach
There’s no getting around it: beach season is the finest! Instead of complaining about Rehoboth Beach’s excessive beach traffic or parking challenges, travel south to Fenwick Island State Park, which is home to one of Delaware’s most underappreciated beaches. You’ll be able to surf, swim, and relax without having to deal with the crowds that plague some of Delaware’s busier beaches. When the rest of Delaware’s beaches are crowded, discerning visitors go to Fenwick Island, where the sandy beachfront stretches for miles.
This state park is one of the most underrated around. You’ll likely have the beach to yourself in the early morning hours. Between the beautiful blue water, the white sand, and the lack of crowds, it’s no wonder why people think this is one of the best beaches in Delaware. You’ll quickly agree once you see it for yourself! Even when other beachgoers arrive, there’s plenty of room to sprawl out, so you’ll never feel too crowded. Whether you come to Fenwick Island State Park to swim, splash, surf or just lay out in the sun, this sandy beach in Delaware is sure to become one of your favorite destinations.
Address: DE-1, Fenwick Island, DE 19944, United States
Recommended Hotel Nearby: Holiday Inn Express Bethany Beach, an IHG Hotel
The United States is home to several great sites, like Slaughter Beach in Delaware, ranging from magnificent natural wonders to quirky roadside sights and large metropolises to seaside communities. However, not all of these breathtaking locations are well-known. Many of America’s most extraordinary sites, in fact, slip beneath the radar. Even in this tiny state, you’ll uncover hidden jewels that the rest of the country misses, such as this thriving seaside hamlet you’re sure to like. According to Reader’s Digest, Slaughter Beach in Delaware, not Rehoboth, Dewey, or Bethany, is America’s best-kept secret.
You’ll find fine, white sand and sparkling water, but it’s the tiny critters that invade this stretch of shoreline each year that makes Slaughter Beach unique. Each year in May and June, hundreds of thousands of these prehistoric creatures that date back more than 450 million years ago come to Slaughter Beach to spawn, traveling from the depths of the ocean to the tiny state of Delaware. In fact, these bizarre little crabs are quite important to humans. Their unique blood contains a substance that can detect small amounts of toxins. Their copper-based blue blood, then, is used to test the sterility of IV drugs and medical equipment. How cool!
At its peak, you can witness a quarter-of-a-million horseshoe crabs preparing to lay their eggs, but the rest of the year, this seemingly ordinary beach is quite picturesque. If you’re wondering, “Where is Slaughter Beach?” It is located in Sussex County, Delaware, and one route to get there is through the boardwalk at Marvel Saltmarsh Preserve. Wildlife events take place throughout the spring and summer, beginning in April with infant diamondback terrapin hatchlings moving to the marsh and shore birds returning, and continuing through July with female diamondback terrapin nesting activities and, of course, the return of the horseshoe crabs.
Delaware 36, DE-36, Slaughter Beach, DE, USA
Recommended Hotel Nearby: Hampton Inn Milford
Dewey Beach is in the US state of Delaware. It is a beach town located along the Atlantic Ocean in Sussex County. In addition to beaches along the Atlantic Ocean, Dewey Beach is home to several nightclubs and restaurants along the bay, attracting famous acts and bands during the summer months. The waters surrounding Dewey Beach are popular for jet-skiing.
Relax by day. Revel by night. Dewey Beach is known as the best nightlife spot in Delaware—perfect for the young and young at heart. Many things make up the heart of Dewey Beach, but foodie paradise, live music, and water adventures are deemed the most important. The Resort Area hosts many events for fun-seekers of all ages. Shoppers can find shore bargains at the spring and fall sidewalk sales held in May and October.
During the spring, Dewey Beach hosts several music festivals, and during the summer, you will enjoy the free Monday night movies and Wednesday night bonfires on the beach at Dagsworthy Avenue. Other fun activities on the beach and bay include: junior lifeguard program; environmental outreach program; yoga on the beach; skimboarding, surfing, kayaking, paddle boarding, and SUP yoga classes; jet ski, pontoon boat, and water craft rentals; surf fishing, crabbing, and sports excursions; sailing, windsurfing, kite boarding, and 5K runs/walks. The fun doesn’t stop there! The fall brings events such as the music festivals, greyhound races, and the Sea Witch Festival.
Address: Town of Dewey Beach 105 Rodney Ave. Dewey Beach, DE 19971
Recommended Hotel Nearby: Avenue Inn & Spa
South Bethany Beach
South Bethany is an incorporated town in Sussex County, Delaware, United States. According to the 2010 census, the population of the town is 449, a decrease of 8.7% over the previous decade. It is part of the Salisbury, Maryland-Delaware Metropolitan Statistical Area.
South Bethany is popularly considered one of “The Quiet Resorts”, along with its direct neighbor to the north, Bethany Beach, and its neighbor to the south, Fenwick Island. This is in contrast to the crowded atmosphere of the more popular Dewey Beach and the cosmopolitan bustle of nearby Rehoboth Beach. Assisting South Bethany’s reputation as a “quiet” place is the presence of Delaware Seashore State Park—a six-mile-long barrier island providing a substantial buffer from Dewey Beach’s noise—to the north of Bethany Beach, as well as the relative quiet provided by a large unincorporated area of private condominiums and multimillion-dollar beach homes between the park and Bethany Beach. To the south, South Bethany is insulated from busy Ocean City, Maryland, by Fenwick Island State Park and Fenwick Island itself.
Address: Delaware 19930, USA
Recommended Hotel Nearby: Seaside Inn & Suites
Holts Landing State Park
Holts Landing State Park is a 203-acre (82 ha) Delaware state park northwest of Bethany Beach, Sussex County, Delaware, USA. Prior to becoming a state park, the land of Holts Landing State Park was the Holt family farm. The Holts sold the land to the state of Delaware in 1957, and Holts Landing State Park was opened to the public in 1965. The park is on the southern shore of Indian River Bay. Holts Landing State Park is open for year-round recreation and features the only pier on the east coast of Delaware that has been purpose-built for crabbing, the recreational harvesting of blue crabs.
The park has bay coast grass, grassy fields, hardwood woods, tiny ponds, a variety of birds and animals, picnic spaces, a boat port, and a range of other amenities. The Holt family kept it as a small farm by the time they sold it to the Delaware transportation department in 1957. When the area was handed over to the Delaware State Park Commission in 1965, it became Holts Landing State Park. The nearby Assawoman Canal is also part of Holts Landing. The 97-acre, 3-mile canal connects Indian River Bay with Little Assawoman Bay to the south. The canal was originally dug by hand in the 1890s. At one time, the shallow canal was part of the Intracoastal Waterway System.
Address: Holts Landing Road Park office at 39415 Inlet Rd., Rehoboth Beach, Dagsboro, DE 19939, United States
Recommended Hotel Nearby: Hyatt Place Dewey Beach
Woodland Beach, Delaware is regarded as one of the best beaches in Delaware. It used to be a vibrant town, complete with amusement attractions, restaurants, and taverns. There was also a well-known roller coaster that whisked passengers out over the bay! But all changed with the Hurricane of 1878. A gigantic tidal surge formed in the bay and washed away almost 35 miles of shoreline, from Collins Beach to Woodlands Beach. Neither town recovered completely from the disaster.
Woodland Beach is presently a small town near Smyrna, known across the state by fisherman and few others. Woodland Beach is a well-kept secret – you’d never find it on a list of the greatest beach communities in Delaware, but it surely merits a mention. Take a short trip through the marsh, out on a true road to nowhere, and soak in the sun on what will seem like your own private beach if you’re looking for a peaceful seaside retreat to get away from it all.
Smyrna is home to Woodland Beach, a once-thriving town and beloved beach resort complete with its own amusement park. It was unfortunately destroyed in a bout of bad weather in the late 19th century and it never seemed to fully recover. While not known to be a swimming beach, the calm waters make it popular for dipping your toes in during a sunset stroll. The main attraction at this beach is the 24-hour fishing pier. This modern steel pier is lit all night, meaning you can fish for as long as you’d like.
Address: 100 Beach Ave, Smyrna, DE 19977-3238
Recommended Hotel Nearby: Hilton Garden Inn Dover
Bowers Beach on Delaware Bay is a beautiful stretch of white sand with scattered shells, colorful pebbles and minerals, and gently wavering swells. What a fantastic mix for family fun or solo beachcombing! Bowers Beach is 13.6 miles south of Dover, Delaware, and is easily accessible through Delaware State Route 1S. Along the beach and inland, charming summer vacation cottages and contemporary multi-story residences on high pilings coexist.
The collapse of its pier and damage to sand dunes have harmed this marine village, but investment in Bowers Beach and local dedication have turned it into an up-and-coming beach in the heart of Delaware. This is the town where northern settlers first stepped foot on a sandy beach! Bowers Beach was historically a stop on the Frederica riverboat route, bringing in tourists from Philadelphia while the boat reloaded. Today, at Bowers Beach, you can walk, watch the boats and schooners, run, sunbathe, hunt for sea glass and shells, and fish. Fishing is permitted at the jetty. Fishing fans are asked to leave no trace by not starting fires and bringing a bag to collect their trash. This is one of the best beaches in Delaware.
Tripadvisor rating: 3.5/5
Address: Bowers Beach Rd, Frederica, DE 19946