Our research is editorially independent but we may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Delaware boasts plenty of small-town charms, but the Small Wonder (the official state’s nickname) is also a must-visit for Atlantic beach lovers. Although the coastline here is pretty modest compared to neighbors, you still have enough pristine, dune-backed, and family-friendly stretches. Expect tax-free shopping, quaint beach towns, striking sunsets, perfect water quality, and scenic seafood dining. We’ve collected the best beaches in Delaware and they are waiting to be experienced this summer.
Mid-Atlantic at its finest, Rehoboth is among the best and most popular beaches in Delaware. Many locals enjoy the sandy delights of miles-long surf all year long. It’s where you start your Delaware coast acquaintance. Rehoboth Beach is all about the ultra-picturesque miles-long boardwalk, clean sands, lots of space, and water with ideal swimming conditions. Your kids will love the rides at Funland amusement park adjacent to the beach. In the season, Rehoboth inevitably gets busy, so book your accommodation in Rehoboth Beach early.
Striking a perfect balance between being a family-friendly destination and an ultimate nightlife spot, Dewey Beach is a great place to visit overall. Off-season it’s just perfect for nature admiring and sunset watching. Summer sees the town explode with life as the vacationers hit the sands, the young crowd invades numerous bars, and families occupy the terraces of the Coastal Highway cafes for ice cream and coffee. The beach is simply ideal for water sports – you can try surfing, skimboarding, and paddleboarding here.
A favorite beach for generations of Delawareans, Lewes is a tranquil stretch on the Bay with plenty of space and a historic town behind. Families love it for the shallow waters, lifeguard oversight, and excellent facilities. There won’t be high waves here, the atmosphere is serene, and it almost never gets overcrowded. Also, you’ve got the picturesque Downtown of Lewes as an added bonus with its colorful old houses, boutique stores, and a kaleidoscope of fine restaurants. The beach is made for peaceful, contemplative leisure and is popular both during the summer and the off-season.
If you fancy a coastal town atmosphere but don’t want too much buzz, Bethany Beach is a golden middle. Boasting one of the best beaches in Delaware, it’s incredibly beautiful and charmingly old-school. There’s a boardwalk for panoramic strolling, plenty of eateries to have a bite of clams, crabs, or lobsters, and an easygoing ambiance. Parking may be problematic during the summer, so arrive early to get the spot. Bethany Beach is an ideal candidate for a long family holiday when all you plan to do is to lounge on the sand and breathe in the ocean scents. Book an oceanfront rental in Bethany Beach and make a vacation out of it.
Fenwick Island State Park
It will be all about the water at spectacular Fenwick Island State Park. So many adventures await thrill-seekers here. Take a kayak excursion to the beautiful Little Assawoman Bay located inland. Enjoy the miles of sandy Atlantic beaches while swimming, surfing, or simply sunbathing. The park also organizes an activity called “Wild Crab Chase,” when the employees take you on an exciting crab-filled beach tour during the night. Fishing enthusiasts will have plenty of space to play here too, Fenwick Island State Park is one of Delaware’s hot spots for surf fishing.
One of the most romantic beaches in Delaware, Coin Beach was named so because of its fame as a treasure hunter’s dream. The area around the stretch saw many shipwrecks throughout the centuries. To this very day, the remnants of the old vessels tend to wash up the shore. Who knows, maybe you’ll get lucky and find some Civil War-era gem. Even if you’re not taking the metal detector with you, Coin Beach is a fantastic Delaware destination with magnificent views of the Charles W. Cullen Memorial Bridge, perfect waves for surfing, and the popular Delaware Seashore State Park North Campground for staying overnight next to the ocean.
Cape Henlopen State Park
Fresh air is in abundance at sprawling Cape Henlopen State Park. History buffs will be delighted to explore the WW2-era Fort Miles, Seaside Nature Center is a perfect visit with the kids, and the long Fishing Pier will make rod professionals happy. The park is situated at the meeting of Delaware Bay and the Atlantic Ocean so a mesmerizing scenery is guaranteed. The shoreline includes sandy beaches ideal for swimming, kayaking, windsurfing, paddleboarding, and sunbathing. Be sure to follow the loop trail finishing it on foot or on the bike. You can drive to the beach too, the fee is $10 for out-of-state and $5 for in-state vehicles.
A part of a Delaware Seashore State Park, Towers Beach is for those who value tranquility and would like to get away from the crowds of nearby Rehoboth and Dewey. It is a very wide, dune-backed piece of sandy Atlantic perfection suitable for families. You’ve got plenty of parking around, showers and changing rooms are available, and the lifeguards are on patrol for safety. One of the best beaches in Delaware, it got its name from two World War II artillery towers close by. Delaware Seashore is also about the marsh islands inland so grab a kayak or a paddleboard to tour the expansive Rehoboth Bay and see its striking flora and fauna.
Broadkill is an idyllic sandy stretch overlooking Delaware Bay where you can spend quality water time. Sunbathing and swimming are the absolute musts here during the summer, but be sure to try other activities like surf fishing, crab-searching, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and birdwatching. Broadkill’s easygoing vibe is suitable for that. The remoteness also adds to the allure. The beach is bordered by the glorious Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge, where you can witness all the beauty of the wetlands and enjoy miles of walking trails.
North Shores Beach
Technically the neighborhood of Rehoboth, North Shores Beach has a completely different feeling. Less developed, less crowded, and more relaxed, it serves well the ultra-exclusive residential community of North Shores. You will see many luxurious mansions here, this part of Delaware is a hot property. Head a little bit up north to find Whiskey Beach, an LGBTQ community’s favorite. And you always have Gordons Pond State Park Area to discover very close to North Shores. Enjoy walking trails to the eerie WW2 coastal artillery towers and kayaking the pretty saltwater Gordon Pond marsh.