Delaware, part of the Delmarva Peninsula, shares its eastern most border with the Atlantic Ocean and the Delaware Bay. For this reason, Delaware is well-known for the beach resorts that are scattered along its coastline. Each beach resort in Delaware has its own special appeal to visitors, ranging from the historical feel of Lewes to the nightlife of Dewey Beach. Although there are many beach communities along the Delaware Bay, only 6 towns are considered actual beach resorts.
The most northern town in Delaware’s beach resorts, Lewes is one of the oldest cities in the state of Delaware. Since Delaware was the first state to ratify the Constitution, Lewes advertises itself as “The First Town in the First State.” Settled as a whaling and trading post by the Dutch in 1631, Lewes was originally known as “Zwaanendael” or Swan Valley. During the War of 1812, a British naval vessel bombarded the town with no success, and a cannonball still remains lodged in one of the historical houses that can be found throughout the town. Today, the Cape May-Lewes Ferry carries passengers across the Delaware Bay to New Jersey. A small, white sand beach is perfect for small children as the bay waters are much calmer than the ocean waters at neighboring beaches. The town offers many artisan shops, museums and restaurants to visitors.
In 1873, Reverend Robert Todd founded the town as the Rehoboth Beach Camp Meeting Association and intended the land used for religious camp meetings. Rehoboth is a biblical term meaning “a place for all.” Today, Rehoboth Beach considers itself “The Nation’s Summer Capital” due to the huge influx of tourists that visit the town between Memorial Day and Labor Day every year. Home to many events and festivals, including the Chocolate Festival, Jazz Festival, Independent Film Festival and Sea Witch Halloween Parade and Festival, Rehoboth’s focus on the arts, local talent and charm attract visitors from all over the world. Rehoboth is also the home of the well-known Dogfish Head Brewery, and the original brewpub is located on the town’s main street of the Delaware beach town.
Often compared to Daytona Beach or Cancun for its spring-break atmosphere, Dewey Beach is only one-mile long and 2 blocks wide. Situated between the Atlantic Ocean and the Rehoboth Bay, Dewey the bars and nightclubs that line the main street are what makes the Delaware beach town famous. Home to the Dewey Beach Music Conference, Dewey has spawned several well-known rock groups, including Love Seed Mama Jump. Dewey is also the home to “Greyhounds Reach the Beach” where rescued greyhounds are celebrated. The East Coast Skimboarding Championships held there in August each year are another popular event in the Delaware beach town.
Bethany Beach is actually comprised of two towns, Bethany and South Bethany. Both Bethany and South Bethany, along with Fenwick Island, are Delaware’s quiet resorts, as these beach towns have a more family-oriented feel. Bethany Beach offers visitors a small boardwalk, motels and restaurants, while South Bethany is comprised of vacation homes. Much like Rehoboth Beach, Bethany Beach began as a Christian meeting place in the late 1800’s.
The southernmost beach resort in the state of Delaware is Fenwick Island. Technically, Fenwick Island is not an island but a narrow peninsula that it shares with Ocean City, Maryland. Legend has it that pirates used Fenwick Island to hide from the law and some stories claim that there was buried treasure in the area. In order to keep high-rise development from creeping into Fenwick due to the close proximity of Ocean City, Maryland, the Delaware Assembly incorporated the town in 1953. It is now home to restaurants and hotels, many of which cater to the Ocean City, Maryland tourists.
Delaware beaches are the perfect place to enjoy a relaxing vacation, with events, attractions and nightlife to fit the needs of any family. Add the fact that Delaware has no sales tax, and visitors have even more reason to frequent Delaware beaches.