Thanks to the beautiful waters of the Atlantic Ocean and Delaware Bay, many beachgoers love Delaware beaches and the miles of sandy shoreline. While Southern Delaware is known for its popular beaches and a few hidden gems that boast white sands and awesome swimming opportunities, you can find great seaside spots up and down the coast.
Need help deciding where to take your next beach vacation or day trip? We’ve gathered a list of 10 of the best beaches in Delaware. Whether you’re looking for watersports, wildlife viewing, or a boardwalk with a booming nightlife, Delaware’s got something for everyone!
1. Deauville Beach, Sussex County
Located north of the popular Rehoboth Beach, the quieter Deauville Beach is home to long stretches of sand and surf. This picturesque travel destination is often featured on postcards for its gorgeous shoreline.
Swimmers report that Deauville is a guarded beach with water quality standards that are ideal for swimming. In addition to the blue waters and warm sand, visitors at Deauville Beach can enjoy getting active on the tennis courts.
Deauville Beach can get busy in the summer. There is plenty of paid parking available, along with spaces large enough for RVs. If you’re bringing your pet along, be sure to do this during the low season when it’s allowed.
2. Rehoboth Beach, Sussex County
One of the most popular seaside towns in Delaware and the most visited city is the booming beach town of Rehoboth Beach, which features an amazing shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean. The iconic mile-long boardwalk, built in 1873, is home to souvenir shops, mini-golf, arcades, food, and events.
But, the beaches and boardwalks aren’t all there is to see at Rehoboth Beach. Multiple parks with a playground, restrooms, and picnic spots are scattered near the sandy beach. The wooded parts of Central Park and Deer Park have prime spots for wildlife viewing and Stockley Street Park offers photo-worthy views of Silver Lake.
When you visit Rehoboth Beach, there’s plenty of metered street parking available. However, be sure to get to the beach early to snag a good spot to park and settle on the sand especially during the busy summer season.
If you’re planning a vacation to Rehoboth Beach, there’s tons to experience. Enjoy tax-free shopping, incredible dining, and plenty of accommodation options.
3. Bethany Beach, Sussex County
Another popular coastal town in Delaware is Bethany Beach, known for its wide wooden boardwalk and family-friendly attractions. It was even named one of the best secret beaches on Earth by Travel and Leisure!
While Bethany Beach is much smaller than the popular Rehoboth Beach, it’s a treasure not to be missed! The boardwalk offers plenty to see and do along with an exciting nightlife. The beach offers opportunities for swimming, sunbathing, and surfing.
If you’re into beach events, Bethany Beach is the best place to go! From June through August, you can watch movies on the beach while watching the sunset. In September, movies move to the Bandstand, a waterfront music venue. In October, just after sunset, you can enjoy bonfires on the beach while hanging out around the campfire.
Bethany Beach ensures all beachgoers can make their way to the beach with ease. You can even rent beach wheelchairs for easy access to the shore if needed. During peak season, there is plenty of paid parking. During the low season, parking is free.
4. Cape Henlopen State Park, Lewes
Wildlife enthusiasts and military historians alike enjoy adventuring to the seaside Cape Henlopen State Park, which offers so much more than its beautiful sandy beaches. Thanks to the many wildlife viewing areas and Nature Center with a touch tank, Cape Henlopen allows guests to experience the best of Delaware’s nature.
Beach lovers have so much to do at Cape Henlopen. Go swimming, take a stroll, or relax on the sand. If you’re looking for adventure, there are opportunities for kayaking, fishing, paddleboarding, and clamming. You can also rent kayaks and paddleboards if you don’t have your own. Everyone can enjoy the experience including those who need access to beach wheelchairs!
At the Point Overlook, go bird watching and you might even see some dolphins swimming in the ocean. You can also spot the two lighthouses at the Harbor of Refuge and East End Breakwater. If you want to explore the many different natural ecosystems, including beaches, dunes, and forests, you can snag a bike at no cost from the park’s Borrow-A-Bike Program. There are over six miles of coastline to explore along with several nature trails!
If you’re interested in learning more about the area, there are guided programs like ghost crab hikes, dolphin watches, or bay tours. Cape Henlopen State Park also features Fort Miles Museum and Historical Area, perfect for history buffs to check out. For a unique experience to meet stingrays, crabs, and other underwater creatures, be sure to check out the Seaside Nature Center.
If you’re looking to explore all that Cape Henlopen State Park has to offer, enjoy a camping experience at the park. There are tent and RV sites along with cabins for rent.
5. Dewey Beach, Sussex County
Located on a narrow piece of land with a stunning beach along Rehoboth Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, Dewey Beach is one of the best beach destinations for nightlife. It’s situated in eastern Sussex County and has a booming tourism industry during the summer months. During peak season, up to 30,000 visitors flock to Dewey Beach to enjoy the weekend beach city life and fun restaurants along the main street.
In addition to popular beach parties, Dewey Beach also has a ton of family-friendly activities. This includes Funland Amusement Park, Jungle Jim’s Waterpark, and ample beach activities. For water adventure, you can also find boat and kayak rentals in the area.
Dewey Beach is also a great place to enjoy various events. Enjoy experiences like fireworks, bonfires, and movies on the beach. There are also other seaside activities like yoga and beach sports classes. Every August, Dewey Beach holds the iconic East Coast Skimboarding Championships.
If you’re interested in spending your next beach vacation at Dewey Beach, there are some incredible cottages, condos, and hotels close to and away from the beach.
6. Fenwick Island State Park, Sussex County
With over three miles of sandy beaches along two different coastlines, Fenwick Island State Park is home to sandy shores, water sport activities, and history. From surfing on Little Assawoman Bay to learning about World War II at the historic fire control tower, there are tons of ways to enjoy this awesome beach park.
Fenwick Island State Park is a popular destination for surf fishing, where there are three dune crossings available for surf-fishing-licensed vehicles to drive right out onto the beach to fish. To buy a surf fishing permit, decal, and plate, check out the Delaware Seashore Regional Office in the Indian River Marina.
Another popular water activity on Fenwick Island is stand-up paddleboarding along the Inland Bays, where adventurous visitors can watch the spectacular Assawoman Bay sunsets on the water from their paddleboard (or kayak). There are even kayak and paddleboard rentals available at the park.
The park is open year-round. There are daily park entrance fees or annual passes for purchase. During the summer, visitors can find a bathhouse and snack shack next to the Fenwick Island Summer Office.
7. Broadkill Beach, Sussex County
If you’re looking for a beach to visit that is more off the beaten path with a laid-back atmosphere, check out Broadkill Beach. This is an incredible place to enjoy tons of activities away from the crowd. For more to do, Broadkill Beach is located near the popular Rehoboth Beach and the beach town of Lewes.
Broadkill Beach is actually an official horseshoe crab sanctuary designed to protect the state’s marine animal and “signature species.” Guests are encouraged to simply observe the harmless and intriguing horseshoe crabs as they move along the beach between May and June to spawn. You can also catch sightings of birds, dolphins, and other wildlife.
Other activities to enjoy at Broadkill Beach include swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding, and fishing. You can find rentals, souvenirs, beach toys, grocery items, and fishing bait at the general store across the street from the beach. Shallow waters and gentle surf are ideal for little ones to play in the water.
If you’re looking to hang out in the area for a beach vacation, there are several events including the fun annual July 4th parade. There are also several cottages and other rentals in the area.
8. Woodland Beach, Kent County
Considered a hidden gem by locals, Woodland Beach is a small, peaceful beach located about 8 miles east of the small town of Smyrna, Delaware. It’s a great spot to relax, read a book, and catch some fish.
Woodland Beach is an unguarded beach so it may not be the best option for swimming, but the calm water makes it ideal for strolling along the shoreline while you look for seashells and sea glass.
One of the most popular activities to enjoy on Woodland Beach is fishing, especially on the huge fishing pier. There are fishing opportunities throughout the year, aside from winter, and a ton of bait shops nearby. Eager fishers flock to the area to find striped bass, white perch, skates, rays, catfish, bluefish, and even sharks. The pier even has lights for those who enjoy nighttime fishing.
Woodland Beach is another area where wildlife enthusiasts may be able to spot some wild horseshoe crabs during their travels. Just be sure not to bother them unless they get stuck on their backs and need to be flipped over!
9. Pickering Beach, Kent County
If you’re looking for a low-traffic public beach to get away from the city, Pickering Beach may be the hidden gem you’re looking for. Fishing enthusiasts like to visit this beach to catch dogfish, skate, croaker, flounder, bluefish, and more. The beach is also a great spot to collect an interesting variety of sea glass and shells, especially after storms.
Like a few of the other beaches on this list, Pickering Beach is an official sanctuary for horseshoe crabs. This, along with the wide variety of seabirds that come to eat the crab eggs, makes it an excellent wildlife viewing destination.
To find Pickering Beach, look just off of Route 9, east of the Dover Air Force Base and south of the Little Creek Wildlife area. Parking is limited and there’s a beach access path for the public to use. There are no public facilities or amenities so come prepared for a relaxing day by the sea!
10. Delaware Seashore State Park, Sussex County
Located near Dewey Beach, the Delaware Seashore State Park is a major tourist destination for watersports and other water-related activities. This gorgeous state park offers six miles of shoreline with water ideal for swimming and splashing around.
Delaware Seashore State Park is a popular spot for boating, fishing, and other on-the-water activities– even windsurfing! Lifeguards are on duty during the summer. If you prefer enjoying the beach without getting too wet, there are also multiple dune crossings so that four-wheeled vehicles can access the beach.
Around the park, you can take in the scenery from the Indian River Inlet bridge, paddle along the Delaware Bay, and dine at the oceanfront restaurant. You can also explore equestrian, biking, and walking trails.
If you’re looking to spend the night, reserve a campsite. The campground offers bathhouses, laundry facilities, restaurants, tackle shops, and more – perfect for a long stay!
Enjoy Your Beach Trip!
Delaware beaches offer a wide range of exciting opportunities! From watersports to lively boardwalks, nightlife, and great food, there’s something for everyone at the best beaches in Delaware. Whether you’re looking to take a relaxing day trip or go on an adventurous beach vacation, the opportunities are endless.