It’s that time of year — and if you’re anything like us here at WTOP, you need a break from the Beltway.
Those looking for an escape can retreat to Bethany Beach where bike cruisers dominate the roads and the chime of emails are drowned out by the sound of crashing waves.
Bethany Beach is known as the “quiet” beach, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot to do.
The Bethany-Fenwick area of Delaware sits directly north of Ocean City, Maryland, and is sandwiched between the Little Assawoman Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. During the summer months, the two neighboring beach towns see hundreds of thousands of visitors.
If your summer plans include a tranquil trip to the Bethany-Fenwick beaches, use this guide — filled with tips from locals and those in-the-know — to navigate the area’s best activities and can’t-miss dining destinations.
Where should you go in Fenwick and Bethany, Del. this year?
Go to:Catch 54. One of the many SODEL restaurants up and down the coast. There’s a reason they keep opening new ones.
Take your kids to:The Cottage Cafe. They’ve been around forever, and the extensive menu leaves everyone happy.
Go here for the first time:The Heideaway is on the ocean block of Bethany. Farm-to-table freshness and an expansive list of wine and cocktails to unwind with.
Heidaway: Restaurant and bar located on the Bethany Boardwalk boasting a menu featuring fresh, local ingredients.
Ropewalk Bethany Beach: A restaurant and bar on Garfield Parkway in Bethany Beach. Features seafood and all-day happy hour. Open until 11:30 p.m.
Tangerine Goods: A women’s clothing and accessories boutique located on Garfield Parkway in Bethany Beach.
Mini-golf: Two new mini-golf courses are planned just outside of Bethany Beach — one in Ocean View (1.7 miles west of Bethany), and one in Millville (4 miles west of Bethany). Both hope to be open by midsummer. The Millville project will also include a “boardwalk” and creamery. Ocean View mini-golf | Millville mini-golf
3BB Café is opening its second location this summer in Fenwick Village (it also has a location in Bethany).
CraftBOX: Located in Fenwick Village. S.T. E. A. M shop with workshops, activities, and take-home crafts.
What entertainment is on tap in Bethany and the surrounding area?
Workout on the water: Early risers have plenty to look forward to at Bethany Beach. The town hosts daily yoga classes on the bandstand and the beach daily (except for Thursdays) through Sept. 10. Bootcamp, Pilates and ninja warrior classes also take place on the beach throughout the summer. Costs range from $10 to $15 per person.
Surf’s up: Dream of catching a wave? Now is your chance. Take a surf lesson in Bethany with RB Surf School or join a paddle board tour with Bethany Surf Shop.
Movies on the beach: On Mondays, June 17 through Aug. 26, end your days with a movie on the beach off Garfield Parkway.
What are the food options in Bethany and Fenwick Island?
Agriculture is one of the biggest industries in Delaware’s coastal region, and that bounty is obvious when it comes to eating in Fenwick and Bethany. Sure, the area has a handful of casual diners and grab-and-go pizza joints, but those who prefer white tablecloth establishments that focus on farm-to-fork (and sea-to-spoon) dining will not be disappointed.
Those who prefer to picnic or cook have plenty of options for fresh, gourmet ingredients.
Fenwick Island State Park: Visit this 344-acre state park between Ocean City and South Bethany for its quiet beaches and bay shoreline. There’s also hiking, kayaking and horseback riding in the offseason. Entry fee is $5 for in-state, $10 for out of state.
Independence Day Celebration: Bethany celebrates the Fourth of July with a parade, concerts and fireworks. Activities take place on the boardwalk and at the bandstand.
Seaside Craft Show: The 15th annual Seaside Craft Show will be held June 1 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Bethany. Vendors along the streets and the boardwalk will showcase their works. Find more details on the event’s website.
Where to stay, how to get around in Bethany and Fenwick
The majority of the lodging at Bethany Beach consists of condos, homes and bed-and-breakfasts. Visit thequietresorts.com to review and book all available accommodations.
Getting around Bethany Beach, which is 1-square-mile, is pretty easy.
Biking and walking are the preferred modes of transportation. (There are bike racks along the ocean entryways.) If you’re driving into town for the day, there is metered parking along the main streets, and you can use the Parkmobile app, so you don’t have to give up your spot on the beach.
A trolley also runs through Bethany Beach beginning the Friday before Memorial Day through mid-September from 9:30 a.m. and 10 p.m. The fare is just $0.25 each way.