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13 of the Best Beaches in Delaware For a Perfect Vacation

By | Last Updated : 11th June 2022

Delaware is a peninsula state mainly surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and Delaware Bay. Its geographical location makes it an excellent beach destination, attracting several visitors, even from the neighboring states of Virginia and Pennsylvania. Many beaches are family-friendly, while some provide options for exciting nightlife as well.

Most Delaware beaches are in the southern part of the state, lying adjacent to one another. This provides an ideal option to visitors to check out more than one beach on their single visit. With plenty of hotels and resorts in the vicinity, you will not have to worry about your overnight accommodations.

Beaches in Delaware

1. Rehoboth Beach

Rehoboth Beach in Delaware

Rehoboth Beach is not an excessively large beach town. However, with its one square mile size, it never fails to attract numerous visitors every year. Stretching along the Atlantic Coast, the sandy beaches are clean and family-friendly, requiring no entry fee. With clear waters and lifeguards on duty during the peak season, it is also a hotspot for swimming and various water sports.

The beach features a one-mile-long boardwalk that is ideal for strolling and taking in the ocean views. Besides, you could also be a part of the free concerts held at the Rehoboth Beach Bandstand on summer weekends. After having your fill at the beach, don’t miss heading to the adjacent amusement park, Funland, with your kids for some more fun and excitement.

There is also a Poodle Beach south of the boardwalk that is gay-friendly. With so much to do here, Rehoboth Beach is rightly called “Nation’s Summer Capital.”

Things to do here: Swimming, fishing, boating, kayaking, canoeing, surfing, parasailing, jet skiing, biking

Best Time to Visit: May to August

Dog/Pet Friendly: Dogs are permissible only from October 1 to April 30.

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2. Bethany Beach

Bethany Beach in Delaware

The combination of a serene setting and clean white sand makes Bethany Beach a favorite among many families. Whether you prefer a leisurely walk on the half-mile boardwalk or enjoy paddleboarding in the calm water, the beaches of the coastal town are ideal for visiting.

You’ll also find several souvenir shops, surf shops, and restaurants lined along the boardwalk. With free family-friendly movie screenings every Monday at Garfield Parkway, you can spend a relaxing time within the beach premises.

Things to do here: Swimming, boating, sailing, windsurfing, jet-skiing, fishing, crabbing, water skiing

Best Time to Visit: Late April to mid-May

Dog/Pet Friendly: Dogs aren’t allowed on the beach between May 15 and September 30.

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3. Lewes Beach

Lewes Beach in Delaware

The charming historic town of Lewes is home to two attractive public beaches. Both Savannah Beach and Johnnie Walker Beach feature many amenities, including spacious parking lots, a volleyball court, restroom facilities, a nearby surf shop, and a concession stand. The metered parking lots charge each vehicle a parking fee of about $2.50 per hour.

As the beach town lies at the meeting point of Delaware Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, you can enjoy the spectacular view of both the magnificent water bodies. The calm water with gentle waves and lifeguards patrolling the swimming areas make Lewes Beach a perfectly safe place to visit with your kids.

Besides, the historical Breakwater Lighthouse can be seen from the sandy beaches. After spending time indulging in various beach activities, do take a break and enjoy an ice cream from the nearby Hopkins Farm Creamery, the state’s largest dairy farm.

Things to do here: Swimming, fishing, boating, kayaking, canoeing, kitesurfing, paddleboarding

Best Time to Visit: May, June, September

Dog/Pet Friendly: Dogs are permissible only before 8 am and after 6 pm

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4. Slaughter Beach

Slaughter Beach in Delaware

Slaughter Beach is a small coastal town that lies along Delaware Bay in Sussex County. Unlike the place’s dreadful name, the beach here is relatively peaceful and ideal for those seeking to spend a relaxing holiday by the water. Besides this, one of the main reasons that attract visitors to this beach is the impressive population of horseshoe crabs and numerous birds frequenting the beach to feed on them. The ideal time to witness these crabs that have washed ashore is during low tide. Remember to put on water shoes to protect your feet from the hard crab shells and rocky shoreline. If you wish to swim here, you will have to do it at your own risk, as there are no lifeguards stationed along the sandy stretch.

Things to do here: Swimming, wildlife viewing, birdwatching, picnicking

Best Time to Visit: May to August

Dog/Pet Friendly: Dogs are not allowed to enter the beach from May 1 to September 30

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5. Cape Henlopen State Park Beach

Cape Henlopen State Park Beach in Delaware

Cape Henlopen State Park boasts six miles of public beach, accessible from the Lewes entrance. The beach access and several other parts of the park are wheelchair-friendly. Swimming at the designated area is a sought-after activity, with lifeguards posted on duty between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day.

Some amenities include modern bathhouses with showers and changing rooms. You could also rent an umbrella to spend a relaxing time while taking in views of the Delaware Bay and the Pacific Ocean. If lucky, you might spot bottlenose dolphins surfing the waves. Do bring your binoculars too, as many shorebirds often visit the area mostly during spring, and fall.

Before returning to your vehicle, you could explore the scenic Gordons Pond Trail on a free bike ride from the Seaside Nature Center. The state park also houses historical sites dating back to WWII, which are worth visiting. Check out the Fort Miles bunker or walk to the Whiskey Beach to see the old towers and get insights into the past.

Things to do here: Swimming, fishing, boating, kayaking, canoeing, hiking, biking, golfing, birdwatching, wildlife viewing

Best Time to Visit: May to September

Dog/Pet Friendly: Though dogs are permitted in the state park, they aren’t allowed to access the boardwalk or swimming beach area.

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6. Dewey Beach

Dewey Beach in Delaware

Dewey Beach stretches a mile between Atlantic Beach and Rehoboth Bay. Despite its small size, the beach never fails to entertain its visitors. From an exciting nightlife to various family-friendly activities, you will find it all here. The beach also draws many people for the summer music events it hosts, including Elvis Festival and Fiddler’s Festival.

You could also join other families for a free Monday movie night or enjoy Wednesday night bonfires within the beach premises in summer. As for the daytime, you could spend time on the water by renting a kayak or a jet ski.

Things to do here: Swimming, fishing, boating, kayaking, canoeing, paddleboarding, crabbing, clamming, jet-skiing, parasailing, skimboarding

Best Time to Visit:  May, June, September

Dog/Pet Friendly: Dogs are not allowed on the beach from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm between May 15 and September 15.

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7. Pickering Beach

Pickering Beach in Delaware

Just a 20-minute drive from Dover will lead you to this small and quiet beach along the Delaware Bay. The chief attraction lies in the numerous horseshoe crabs found here mostly from mid May to mid June. The beach also provides the opportunity to witness the red knots, a rare shore bird that often stop by to eat the eggs of these crabs.

Besides this, birders can also take time to see various other shorebirds, birds of prey, and waterfowl, including gulls, thrashers, bald eagles, and herons. Do keep a note that this beach does not have any restrooms or other amenities. So, plan accordingly.

Things to do here: Swimming, surf fishing, boating, kayaking, wildlife viewing, birdwatching, picnicking

Best Time to Visit: May to September

Dog/Pet Friendly: Dogs are allowed but must be kept on a leash.

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8. Fenwick Island State Park Beach

Fenwick Island State Park in Delaware

This state park sits on a barrier island along the Atlantic Coast in Delaware and Maryland. It boasts a three-mile long beach and easy access to Little Assawoman Bay. The plethora of activities here makes it an enjoyable place all day long. While you can be busy with various water sports during the day, watching the sunset in the evening at Little Assawoman Bay shouldn’t be missed. At night, visitors often indulge in a fun hunt for the nocturnal ghost crabs with their flashlights.

Surf fishing is another popular activity here. Remember to acquire your fishing permits as well the passes to access your vehicles on the beach. The beach also offers several conveniences, including changing rooms, showers, modern bathroom facilities, boat rentals, a gift shop, and a concession stand.

Things to do here: Swimming, surf-fishing, boating, kayaking, canoeing, surfing, sailing, windsurfing, clamming, crabbing, picnicking, birdwatching

Best Time to Visit: May to September

Dog/Pet Friendly: Bringing your dogs is prohibited from May 1 to September 30.

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9. Towers Beach

Towers Beach in Delaware

Delaware Seashore State Park features numerous sandy beaches as it’s home to about 6 miles of ocean coastline and 20 miles of bay shoreline. You can visit Towers Beach here that has a bathhouse, a shower, picnic tables, and a snack shack. Besides swimming in the clean water, visitors also enjoy searching for ghost crabs on the shores. As Towers Beach lies close to the popular Rehoboth Beach, it’s an excellent spot for those seeking a quieter alternative to get away from the bustling crowds.

Things to do here: Swimming, fishing, picnicking,

Best Time to Visit: May to August

Dog/Pet Friendly: Dogs aren’t allowed from May 1 through September 30.

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10. Broadkill Beach

Broadkill Beach in Delaware

Driving along Route 1 from Rehoboth Beach will bring you to the quieter and low-key Broadkill Beach. The less crowded beach boasting stunning views of the Delaware Bay is perfect for those keen on unwinding after a busy week. Though there are not many amenities here, you will find a snack shack at the edge of the beach and a few portable toilets. Parking is free, but the small parking lot does not accommodate many vehicles. Hence, remember to reach early in the morning.

Things to do here: Swimming surf fishing, boating, stand-up paddleboarding, , kayaking, wildlife viewing, birdwatching

Best Time to Visit: June to September

Dog/Pet Friendly: Leashed dogs are allowed all the time except from May 01 to September 30.

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11. Holts Landing State Park Beach

Holts Landing State Park in Delaware

Holts Landing State Park sits on the southern side of the Indian River, having an extended stretch of sandy shoreline. Crabbing is a popular activity here with a crabbing pier housed at the beach area. You can also bring your picnic baskets to enjoy a meal at the picnic area that features picnic tables and grills. After having fun at the beach, you may hike along the adjacent Seawalk Trail to spot various birds, including ospreys, herons, hawks, and many shorebirds. There is also a primitive campsite available in the vicinity where you can enjoy an overnight stay.

Things to do here: Swimming, fishing, boating, kayaking, canoeing, hiking, picnicking, crabbing, camping

Best Time to Visit: May to August

Dog/Pet Friendly: Yes

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12. South Bethany Beach

South Bethany Beach in Delaware

South Bethany Beach is a one-mile-long beach along the Atlantic Ocean. With a small parking space, it welcomes limited visitors to enjoy a quiet time. Hop on a kayak and enjoy exploring its calm waters or spend time sunbathing and relaxing by the water. When hungry, you can visit the nearby restaurants to try out some fresh seafood dishes.

Things to do here: Swimming, fishing, boating, kayaking, canoeing, biking

Best Time to Visit: Summer

Dog/Pet Friendly: You cannot bring your dogs to the beach area or boardwalk from May 15 to September 30.

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13. Woodland Beach

Woodland Beach in Delaware

Situated approximately 10 miles from the town of Smyrna, Woodland Beach boasts an untouched stretch of shoreline. It is perfect for a quick and low-key day’s visit. Though swimming is not suitable here for its murky water with an unguarded swimming area, you can enjoy soaking your feet and having a relaxing time. Besides this, visitors mainly go there to collect colorful glass gems that are found at its shore, mainly during low tide. There is also a long fishing pier and a boating ramp within the beach area.

Things to do here: Fishing, boating, kayaking, paddle boarding, kitesurfing, birdwatching

Best Time to Visit: May to August

Dog/Pet Friendly: Leashed dogs are allowed on the beach.

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TOP PICKS

Best Beaches for Camping: Cape Henlopen State Park Beach, Fenwick Island State Park Beach

Best Dog-Friendly Beaches: Fenwick Island State Park Beaches, Dewey Beach, Rehoboth Beach

Best Quiet Beaches: Woodland Beach, Broadkill Beach, Pickering Beach

Best Beaches for Families: Dewey Beach, Rehoboth Beach, Lewes Beach

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