Picture it: You wake up a little earlier than you usually would on vacation. The sun is just beginning to peek through the clouds and while it's not blazing hot out, you do start to feel the first few signs of the sun's rays coming over the horizon. Sliding open the deck door, you take the first step out into the world for the day, closing your eyes. The sound of the surf crashing against the shore is enough to calm any nerves, and the feeling of the sand underfoot as you walk down to the ocean is like a dream. But you're not at any private beach or on a tropical island - you're right in Delaware.
This can be a reality thanks to the miles upon miles of shoreline that Delaware offers, much of which goes unnoticed due to both Maryland and Virginia to the south. While the state has many beaches, there are seven main beaches that offer all of this and so much more. Ready to decide which one you should be renting at this summer?
Lewes: Historic & Peaceful
Lewes is the most historic town in all of Delaware and it also happens to conveniently sit along the shoreline. It's also the first beach along the coastline that provides both bay and ocean access. It's the perfect place for those who want both access to a historic, romantic small town as well as an intimate beach, with the option for calm bay water, or the rougher Atlantic surf.
Cape Henlopen: Tranquil & Remote
Right next to that is Cape Henlopen State Park, which gives visitors access to a beach that's a little more secluded. This state park is beautiful in its own right but also encourages hikers to follow the path to The Point, which is where the cape's lighthouse can be found. This remote area is just as romantic as it is tranquil, with a nice sea breeze and perfect sunset-viewing spots.
Rehoboth Beach: 'America's Summer Captial'
Rehoboth Beach is so popular that those who don't live or vacation in Delaware are likely to have heard of it at least once. This town is family-friendly but also artistic and modern enough to attract a younger crowd, as well. With a boardwalk that lines the stretch of the beach (which is one of the largest in the state) and a number of boutique shops in addition to local-loved restaurants, there's no shortage of things to do for busybodies.
Dewey Beach: Nightlife & Adventure
While Lewes provides access to Delaware Bay, Dewey Beach provides access to both the Atlantic and Rehoboth Bay, which opens up many recreational water activities. This has become a haven for the younger crowd, with plenty of nightlife on both the bay and oceanside of town. It also has a reputation for having somewhat of a party atmosphere with carefree vibes, so if a fun, adventure-filled summer is what you're seeking, chances are, you can find it at Dewey Beach.
Delaware Seashore State Park: Bay & Ocean Access
You'll either need to book a place near Delaware Seashore State Park or camp on its campgrounds in order to appreciate this seaside haven for all that it is. Access to both Rehoboth Bay, Indian Bay, and the Atlantic make it the perfect destination for a number of activities, least of all sunbathing. Being surrounded by water on this tiny strip of land means that Delaware's sandy, pristine shores will be calling to you, and you couldn't be in a better place from which to enjoy them.
Bethany Beach: Family-Friendly & Foodie-Friendly
Bethany Beach consists of a small, super-family-friendly town that's filled with boutique shops and plenty of dining options - even for picky eaters. This small town provides quick and easy access to the beach and, though it's small, it's far from boring. This beachside town makes it easy to sit back and enjoy the little things, whether that means meandering through town center, perusing the candy store, grabbing some pizza, or appreciating the beauty of a beach that's not too crowded and doesn't take an eternity to walk to.
Fenwick Island: Hotel Paradise
Fenwick Island is the last oceanside stop before Virginia although it does have access to Assawoman Bay, as well. This town is fairly big and offers no shortage of shops to pop into along its main road. Additionally, there are plenty of options for hotel bookings and rentals (if you commit early). If you need a break from the bustle of town, the state park is right next door, giving visitors the best of both worlds.