- Lewes Beach
- Cape Henlopen State Park
- Rehoboth Beach
- Bethany/South Bethany Beach
- Fenwick Island
- Dewey Beach
Delaware may not be the first place that comes to mind when planning a beach vacation, but Delaware boasts 28 miles of coastline! All of these beaches have clean sand, clear water, and lifeguards on duty during the summer months. Read on to find the perfect Delaware beach for your family!
Lewes, founded in 1631, calls itself “The First Town in the First State.” The town has a charming walkable historic district with many dining and boutique shopping options (don’t forget that Delaware shopping is tax-free).
This beach may be a favorite for families with young children, as the water is calm and shallow, and there are public bathrooms and changing rooms.
If history is your thing, you can go back in time at the Zwaanendael Museum and learn about the history of the town and the Delaware coastline.
A ferry runs from Cape May, New Jersey to Lewes, making it accessible for those coming from points north.
Cape Henlopen State Park
Just down the coast from Lewes is Cape Henlopen State Park. If your family loves outdoor activities, this might be the place for you. The park contains hiking and biking trails, a campground, and sandy beaches.
From the point overlook you can see two lighthouses–Delaware Breakwater East End Lighthouse and Harbor of Refuge Lighthouse–and if you are lucky you may see dolphins, seals, and a variety of birds.
Or walk the Great Dune trail, climbing to the top of an 80-foot sand dune. Enjoy spectacular views of the coast from the top. Don’t miss the view of the WWII firetower to the south.
The park contains more than six miles of coastline, and you can do more than swim! Try out something new like fishing, clamming, or paddle boarding. All of it is available at Cape Henlopen.
Kids will also enjoy the Seaside Nature Center, which provides interpretive programs about the park and its environment, along with a touch tank where kids can feel a variety of local aquatic species.
If a boardwalk with amusements sounds like your idea of a true beach vacation, Rehoboth Beach is the place to be. Visit Funland on the beach where you will find all the favorites, including Skee-ball, midway rides, arcade games, bumper cars, and a carousel.
For those who like creepy rides, don’t miss the Haunted Mansion. This iconic 40-year-old attraction takes families through a spooky haunted house with thrills and ghouls.
Or just walk the mile-long boardwalk and munch on saltwater taffy while watching the crowd enjoying the summer days. Rehoboth Beach also has a wide range of kid-friendly dining options within walking distance of the boardwalk.
For music lovers, the city hosts a summer concert series at its iconic bandstand on the boardwalk. The bandstand has been having concerts since 1963 and often hosts over 40 bands per year.
Bethany/South Bethany Beach
If you and your family want to be away from it all, the area around Bethany Beach may be right for you. Away from the crowds of some of the more popular beaches, South Bethany is a good choice for longer-term renters who want lodging near the beach.
These beaches feature some of the best views found on the Delaware coastline. If you are a morning person, grab your camera and snap a breathtaking shot of the sunrise.
Pristine sand and water, along with shallow wading areas for the little ones, make these easygoing beaches a constant choice among families with kids of all ages. The town of Bethany also has a bandshell and offers a summer concert series, along with bonfires and movies on the beach.
If you need a break from the sun, Bethany also features a small Nature Center where kids can learn about the inland ecosystem. The center sits on a 26-acre conservation area and includes a boardwalk through various inland habitats including forest and wetlands.
Located just north of the Maryland border, Fenwick Island sits on the barrier island between Assawoman Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. If you have had enough of the ocean waves, a kayaking or paddle boarding tour in the bay might be a calmer alternative.
If water parks sound like fun, check out Thunder Lagoon Waterpark, which includes six slides, a lazy river, and a giant kiddie pool. Or if you don’t want to get wet, the park also includes mini-golf and go-karts at Viking Golf.
Don’t forget to catch the beautiful sunset over the bay. After that, Fenwick Island State Park offers a guided night walk to search for ghost crabs if you have a little naturalist in your group!
Dewey Beach may be the right place if the kids want to try out a new watersport. Paddleboarding? Parasailing? Jet-skiing? Skimboarding? Dewey Beach has it all.
Just a short drive away is Delaware Seashore State Park, an excellent place for a hike, bike, picnic, or horseback ride. Fishing is available with a license.
If you want to sleep in the park, check out the campground for a fun night of camping on the beach, or stay in a cabin at Indian River Marina. And be sure not to miss the sandcastle contest if you are visiting in July!
During the week, Dewey hosts summer family-friendly movies on the beach as well as beach bonfires.
The town also has several great restaurants and live music venues, making it fun for adults and kids alike. With a range of lodging options, Dewey is a good place for either a short weekend road trip or a relaxing summer-long rental.
The best Delaware beaches for families offer something for everyone–whether you are looking for amusements, nature walks, quiet beaches, or water sports, you will find it somewhere on this beautiful 28 miles of Atlantic beachfront. While each beach has a distinct personality, their proximity to each other means you can experience everything summer has to offer.