Bethany Beach, Fenwick Island beach guide 2019

A look inside Heideaway, a new restaurant and bar located on the Bethany Boardwalk. (WTOP/John Domen)
Here’s a look inside Heidaway, a new restaurant and bar located on the Bethany Boardwalk. (WTOP/John Domen) (WTOP/John Domen)
Heideaway, a new restaurant and bar located on the Bethany Boardwalk. (WTOP/John Domen)
Heidaway is a new restaurant and bar located on the Bethany Boardwalk. (WTOP/John Domen) (WTOP/John Domen)
People are seen sunning on Bethany Beach
Bethany Beach does not allow ball playing, tossing objects, kites or fishing during lifeguard hours. Of course, with the crowds it draws, it would be hard to do any of those things (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher) (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher)
Bicycles are seen parked in Bethany Beach
Biking to the beach is popular in Bethany Beach. (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher) (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher)
Bethany Beach draws crowds throughout the summer.
Bethany Beach draws crowds throughout the summer. (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher) (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher)
Homes in Fenwick Island, Delaware
It’s very easy to walk or bike the streets of Fenwick Island on the oceanside. (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher) (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher)
fenwick_beach_del_mba.jpg
Beachgoers enjoy an empty boardwalk at Bethany Beach, Delaware before the summer crowds arrive. (WTOP/Michelle Basch) (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
People wait in line at Boardwalk Fries on Bethany Beach's 1-mile boardwalk.
People wait in line at Boardwalk Fries on Bethany Beach’s 1-mile boardwalk. (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher) (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher)
Bethany Beach walking to boardwalk
Shops line Garfield Parkway leading to the Bethany Beach boardwalk and beach. (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher) (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher)
Bethany Beach is considered to be one of the quiet resorts. On the boardwalk, a line forms for the popular Boardwalk Fries. (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher) (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher)
People on Bethany Beach
A crowd soaks up the sun on Bethany Beach. (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher) (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher)
Bethany Beach street with people biking and the trolley is seen
Bethany Beach is a popular vacation destination for people in the D.C. metro area. (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher) (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher)
beach bethany (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher)
Bethany Beach is a favorite of many in the D.C. metro region. (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher) (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher)
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A look inside Heideaway, a new restaurant and bar located on the Bethany Boardwalk. (WTOP/John Domen)
Heideaway, a new restaurant and bar located on the Bethany Boardwalk. (WTOP/John Domen)
People are seen sunning on Bethany Beach
Bicycles are seen parked in Bethany Beach
Bethany Beach draws crowds throughout the summer.
Homes in Fenwick Island, Delaware
fenwick_beach_del_mba.jpg
People wait in line at Boardwalk Fries on Bethany Beach's 1-mile boardwalk.
Bethany Beach walking to boardwalk
People on Bethany Beach
Bethany Beach street with people biking and the trolley is seen
beach bethany (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher)

For more beach news, traffic and weather, visit WTOP’s Summer Beach Guide section.

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.

Get breakfast at: Jimmy’s Kitchen on Fenwick Island.

Need a pizza? Pomodoro Pizza has you covered.


 

Bethany Beach webcams
Beach traffic and weather
WTOP’s summer beach section
Bethany Beach Chamber of Commerce

 


What is new in Bethany and Fenwick Island?

  • 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.
  • Meet me at the bandstand: The bandstand is the place to be in Bethany for live entertainment. Get a full list of planned performances on its website.
  • Shopping: Bethany’s boardwalk is lined with ice cream parlors, candy stores and beach shops. The town is also home to several high-end boutiques and galleries.

 



 

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.

The Bethany Beach farmers market runs Sundays from 8 a.m. to noon June 2 through Sept. 1. The Fenwick Island farmers market runs Fridays from 8 a.m. to noon, June 17 through Sept. 8.

Other than the beach, what’s there to do in lower Delaware?

  • South Coastal Library – Located in Bethany Beach. Hosts tons of events, readings, etc. Non-Delaware residents can purchase a one-month library card for $10 or a yearlong card for $25.
  • Dickens Parlor Theater – Hosts magicians and theatrical shows. It’s just outside of Bethany at 35715 Atlantic Ave. in Millville.
  • Bethany Beach Town Museum – Located in the Bethany Beach Town Hall. It has memorabilia and photographs from the Bethany Beach area. Admission is free of charge, open weekdays 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Bethany Beach Nature Center – Offers hands-on activates for children while educating them about the area’s Inland Bays and Wetlands.
  • Oceanova Spa – Located two miles west of Bethany Beach in Ocean View. Full-service spa.
  • All About U Salon & Spa – Three miles west of Bethany in Millville. Full-service salon and spa.
  • Studio 26 – Two miles west of Bethany in Ocean View. Full service salon and spa.
  • Salted Vines Vineyard & Winery – Six miles west of Bethany Beach in Frankford. Tasting room, outdoor patio, live music and food trucks.
  • Thunder Lagoon Water Park – Housed on Fenwick Island. Features water slides and pools. Connected to Viking mini-golf and go-karts.
  • Coastal Kayak – Located on Fenwick Island. Kayak, stand-up paddle boarding and sailboat rentals. Lessons and group tours available.
  • Back Bay Tours – For boating and fishing.

Exercise, arcades and golf:

Are there any big events in Bethany?

What not to miss in Fenwick and Bethany

  • 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.

Visit the Bethany Beach Chamber of Commerce

WTOP’s Rachel Nania, John Domen and Will Vitka contributed to this report.

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