Bethany Beach is a beach town along the Atlantic Ocean in Sussex County in the southern part of the state of Delaware. The town is home to several beach houses and some hotels where visitors stay. Bethany Beach has a small boardwalk and a downtown area along Garfield Parkway. Bethany Beach, along with South Bethany and Fenwick Island to the south, is along a part of the Delaware coast known as "The Quiet Resorts" as it has a more laid-back atmosphere compared to Rehoboth Beach and Dewey Beach to the north and Ocean City, Maryland to the south. Bethany Beach has a year round population of just over 1,000 but an additional 15,000 people come to the town to vacation during the summer months. Many visitors to Bethany Beach come from other parts of Delaware and the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area. The peak time for tourists to come to Bethany Beach is between Memorial Day weekend in late May and Labor Day weekend in early September.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
Bethany Beach has a humid subtropical climate with four seasons. Summers are hot and humid, with highs averaging in the 80s and lows averaging in the 60s. Summer temperatures occasionally rise to the 90s or 100s. Winters are cool to cold, with highs averaging in the low to mid 40s and lows averaging in the low 30s. Winter temperatures often drop below freezing. Spring and fall can be variable, usually with milder weather. Bethany Beach averages 46.95 inches of precipitation a year, which is fairly evenly distributed throughout the year. The area does see snow in the winter months, but far less than inland locations. In the warmer months, the area does experience thunderstorms, some of which can be severe. Bethany Beach is prone to tropical storms and hurricanes from the Atlantic basin in the late summer and early fall, but typically only receives the remnants of such storms as they typically weaken by the time they reach this latitude.
Bethany Beach is served by Delaware Route 1 and Delaware Route 26. Delaware Route 1 (Coastal Highway) heads north along the coast to Dewey Beach, Rehoboth Beach, and Lewes and south along the coast to Fenwick Island and Ocean City, Maryland. Delaware Route 26 (Garfield Highway) provides access to Bethany Beach from inland points to the west.
From northern Delaware, follow Delaware Route 1 south to Milford and take the exit to U.S. Route 113 south. Follow U.S. Route 113 south and turn left onto Delaware Route 20 east in Dagsboro. Delaware Route 20 leads into Delaware Route 26 east, which heads into Bethany Beach. While you may use Delaware Route 1 south all the way to Bethany Beach, there is a lot of traffic lights and congestion in the Rehoboth Beach area, and therefore using U.S. Route 113 bypasses a lot of the congestion.
From the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and the Baltimore/Washington D.C. area, follow U.S. Route 50 east and turn left onto Maryland Route 404 east in Wye Mills. Continue along Maryland Route 404 east to the Delaware border, where the road becomes Delaware Route 404. Follow Delaware Route 404 east to Georgetown and turn right onto U.S. Route 113 south. Follow U.S. Route 113 south and turn left onto Delaware Route 20 east in Dagsboro. Delaware Route 20 leads into Delaware Route 26 east, which heads into Bethany Beach.
The closest airport with commercial air service to Bethany Beach is the Salisbury-Ocean City-Wicomico Regional Airport (SBY IATA) near Salisbury, Maryland about 35 miles to the southwest. This airport is served by American Eagle flights from American Airlines hubs in Charlotte and Philadelphia. Rental car service is available at this airport. Visitors may also fly into Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI IATA) near Baltimore or Philadelphia International Airport (PHL IATA) in Philadelphia, which are served by a wider selection of airlines. From here, you can rent a car and drive to Bethany Beach.
The closest train station to Bethany Beach is Wilmington Station in Wilmington about 105 miles to the north. Wilmington Station is served by Amtrak trains operating on the Northeast Corridor between Washington, D.C. and Boston along with some long-distance trains, and SEPTA Regional Rail commuter trains running along the Wilmington/Newark Line from Center City Philadelphia. Rental car services are available at the station. From Wilmington Station, rent a car or take DART First State buses to Bethany Beach.
Bethany Beach is very pedestrian and cyclist friendly. Smart vacationers will leave the family car back at the hotel or rental home and walk into town.
Public parking spaces are located along all streets east of Atlantic Avenue, Atlantic Avenue, Pennsylvania Avenue, Garfield Parkway east of Delaware Route 1, lots off of Garfield Parkway and Hollywood Street, Campbell Place a short distance east of Pennsylvania Avenue, Central Boulevard a short distance east and west of Pennsylvania Avenue, and the north side of 5th Street between Pennsylvania Avenue and Atlantic Avenue. There are a total of 1,000 public parking spaces in Bethany Beach. Between May 15 and September 15, all public parking spaces in Bethany Beach are either enforced by parking meters or require parking permits. During this time, parking meters are in effect from 10AM to 11PM between Hollywood Street and 1st Street and from 10AM to 8PM on all other streets. There is a 2 hour time limit for metered parking on Garfield Parkway while all other parking meters do not have time limits. Parking may be paid with the Parkmobile app at pay stations or individual parking meters, credit cards at pay stations, or quarters at pay stations or individual parking meters. At pay stations, patrons will receive a ticket which should be displayed face-up on their car dashboard. The rate for the parking meters is $2.00 per hour, with credit card payments charged a $0.50 transaction fee. Change machines are available at 99 Garfield Parkway, both sides of Garfield Parkway between Pennsylvania Avenue and Atlantic Avenue, Garfield Parkway and Pennsylvania Avenue, Pennsylvania Avenue and Central Boulevard, Ocean View Beach Lot, Campbell Beach Lot, and Wellington Beach Lot. Parking permits are also valid for all paid public parking spaces except those located on Garfield Parkway, though parking is not guaranteed with a permit. Parking permits may be purchased 24 hours daily from the Bethany Beach Police Department at 214 Garfield Parkway. Costs are $27 for a one-day permit, $79 for a three-day permit, and $183 for a seven-day permit. Daily permits are valid for the date purchased up until 10AM the following day. Public parking spaces typically fill by 10:30AM on Saturdays and Sundays in the summer.
Outside of the public parking spaces, Residential Parking Permits are required along east-west streets between May 15 and September 15. Only people who own property in Bethany Beach are allowed to purchase Residential Parking Permits.
- Bethany Beach Trolley, ☏ . Memorial Day weekend-mid September: 9:30AM-10PM daily. The Bethany Beach Trolley (a bus made to look like an old-time streetcar) operates two routes connecting the beach with the residential areas in the western part of town. The North Trolley Route runs along Atlantic Avenue and west to the neighborhoods to the north of Garfield Parkway. The South Trolley Route runs along Atlantic Avenue and west to the neighborhoods to the south of Garfield Parkway. Service operates every half hour with the exception of a lunch and dinner break. Riders may flag the trolley to drop-off or pick-up anywhere except along Route 26 and Route 1. 25 cents.
- The Beach No visit to Bethany is complete without a day passed on its lovely beach, which is among the nicest in the Middle Atlantic. And the town's small but well-kept boardwalk will be a pleasant surprise for those accustomed to the crass commercialism that so dominates most larger Atlantic Ocean resort town beachfronts. Just be sure to take in a sunrise from it during your visit.
- 1 Bethany Beach Museum, 214 Garfield Pkwy (Inside Town Hall), ☏ . M-F 8AM-4:30PM. Visit and learn about Bethany Beach's birth as a religious retreat over a century ago. Museum is home to memorabilia and photographs. Free.
- Chief Little Owl. 24 foot totem pole erected in 1976 on Garfield Parkway at Delaware Avenue (Del. Rte. 1).
Swimming in the ocean is a popular activity in Bethany Beach. Beachgoers like to get some sand between their toes and a little sun. But this quiet beach town has more to offer than meets the eye.
- Bethany Beach Bandstand, 114 Garfield Pkwy, ☏ . Bandstand with performances running throughout the summer from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend.
- 1 Bethany Beach Nature Center, 807 Garfield Pkwy, ☏ . Nature center with boardwalk through serene wetlands operated by Delaware Center for the Inland Bays.
- Bear Trap Dunes Golf Club, 7 Clubhouse Dr, Ocean View, ☏ . Golf one of their three unique and scenic courses, offering 27 holes.
- Bethany Bay Golf Club, 37270 Club House Ln, Ocean View, ☏ . Semi-private golf course that is par 3 and has 9 holes.
- Captain Jack's Pirate Golf, 21 N. Pennsylvania Ave, ☏ . Pirate-themed miniature golf course. Impossible to miss.
- 2 Delaware Seashore State Park, 39415 Inlet Rd, Rehoboth Beach (Rte 1 north of Bethany Beach), ☏ , fax: . 8AM-sunset daily. A long stretch of natural beach that offers several areas for four-wheel vehicle access and surf fishing. A popular activity is treasure hunting on the beach with metal detectors. The park is home to two ocean swimming areas that have bathhouses that offer showers and changing rooms, concession stands, and rental of umbrellas, chairs, and rafts. The beaches are patrolled by lifeguards from 9AM-5PM between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day. A surfing beach is located north of Indian River Inlet. The inland bays offer activities such as boating, windsurfing, and sailing, with some areas allowing crabbing and clamming. A boat launch is available for boating access to the bay. The Indian River Marina is located to the north of the Indian River Inlet. The state park also has a nature trail on Burton's Island and two picnic pavilions. Delaware Seashore State Park offers year-round camping for tents and RVs. Mar-Nov: $5/day Delaware vehicle, $10/day out-of-state vehicle; Dec-Feb: Free.
- 3 Holts Landing State Park, 27046 Holts Lndg Rd, Dagsboro (Rte 26 west to Holts Landing Road north), ☏ , fax: . 8AM-sunset daily. Located along Indian River Bay, Holts Landing State Park offers a diverse landscape including bayshore beach, grassy fields, and hardwood forests. The park features a crabbing and fishing pier along Indian River Bay, a boat ramp, and picnic areas. Primitive tent camping is available at Holts Landing State Park. The state park has two main trails and several smaller trails for hikers, bicyclists, and horseback riders. Mar-Nov: $4/day Delaware vehicle, $8/day out-of-state vehicle; Dec-Feb: Free.
- Salt Pond Golf Club, 400 Bethany Loop, ☏ . An 18-hole golf course with holes that are par 3 or par 4.
- South Coastal Library, 43 Kent Ave. Just a few blocks from the boardwalk, Bethany's library it has a great children's section perfect for that inevitable rainy day.
Bethany Beach is home to several small stores. Many of the stores are located along the town's main street, Garfield Parkway, near the boardwalk.
- Beach Town Posters, 123 Garfield Pkwy, ☏ . Shop that is home to the acclaimed Beach Town Posters
- Bethany Beach Bike Shop, 900 N. Pennsylvania Ave, ☏ .
- Bethany Surf Shop, 99 Garfield Parkway, ☏ .
- Blooming Boutique, 33548 Market Pl, ☏ . Boutique selling accessories, jewelry, Trollbeads, handbags, shoes, and clothes
- Yesterday's Fun, 117 Atlantic Ave, ☏ . A unique toys and games store stuffed to the gills with toys from the years of decades past. In addition, they carry used video games, and a very extensive selection of board games. On most Thursdays after 7PM, they host a free gaming night, for people to come by and play board games.
Bethany Beach offers a large selection of restaurants. Some of them include:
- Bethany Blues BBQ, 6 N Pennsylvania Ave, ☏ . Restaurant which specializes in BBQ.
- Bethany Boathouse, 39817 Hickman Plaza Rd, ☏ . Casual seafood restaurant offering live entertainment and a kids play area.
- Bethany Diner, 792 Garfield Pkwy, ☏ . Diner serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
- Blue Crab, 210 Garfield Pkwy, Suite D, ☏ . Seafood restaurant offering all-you-can-eat crab, shrimp, fried chicken, corn on the cob, and hush puppies.
- Bluecoast Seafood Grill, 1111 Coastal Hwy, ☏ . Waterfront seafood restaurant with a bar serving handcrafted cocktails.
- The Cottage Cafe Restaurant & Pub, 33034 Coastal Hwy (Rte. 1, about half a mile south of Garfield Parkway), ☏ . The Cottage Cafe has a well-earned reputation for serving up reliable homestyle American fare, including crab cakes, fries, and burgers, in a family-friendly atmosphere twelve months a year.
- DB's Fries, 100 Garfield Pkwy, ☏ . Restaurant specializing in fries.
- DiFebo's Restaurant and Deli, 789 Garfield Pkwy, ☏ . This classic Italian restaurant boasts seasonal specials and a take out menu, using local fresh ingredients.
- Grotto Pizza. A Delaware favorite, Grotto Pizza is a modestly-priced local pizza chain known for pizza with a swirl of sauce on top. Grotto Pizza has two locations in Bethany Beach and one location in South Bethany
- 98 Garfield Pkwy, ☏ .
- 793 Garfield Pkwy, ☏ .
- 8-10 York Beach Mall (Rte 1 in South Bethany), ☏ .
- Kohr Bros, 16 N Atlantic Ave, ☏ . Custard and ice cream place that is a beach favorite
- Mango Mike's, 97 Garfield Pkwy, ☏ . A Caribbean-themed restaurant on the boardwalk at Garfield Parkway.
- Matt's Fish Camp, 28635 Coastal Hwy, ☏ . Casual seafood restaurant serving crab cakes, lobster rolls, and fried fish.
- Mickey's Family Crab House, 39610 Jefferson Bridge Rd, ☏ . Crab house offering all-you-can-eat crabs. Happy-hour specials available.
- Off the Hook, 769 Garfield Pkwy, ☏ . Restaurant offering fresh seafood and farm-to-table dining.
- Patsy's Restaurant, 121 Campbell Pl, ☏ . Seafood restaurant offering casual, fine dining.
- Pie, 20 N Pennsylvania Ave, ☏ . Pizza place offering gourmet grilled pizza along with wine and craft beer.
- The Penguin, 105 Garfield Pkwy, ☏ . American restaurant offering farm-to-table breakfasts, sandwiches, salads, and gluten-free and vegetarian items.
- Sedona, 26 N Pennsylvania Ave, ☏ . New American restaurant and bar featuring full plates, tapas, and occasional exotic game.
- Turtle Beach Cafe, 98 Garfield Pkwy, ☏ . Cafe serving breakfast, lunch, and coffee. Take-out available.
Originally a dry town, Bethany Beach now has a limited number of establishments with liquor licenses. That said, this is not much of a party town. Dewey Beach, to the north, is popular with the college-age frat set, while those looking for a more urbane scene will be well-served by a visit to Rehoboth Beach.
- Salted Vines Vineyard & Winery, 32512 Blackwater Rd, Millville, ☏ . Award-winning winery offering a wide selection of wines and tastings.
- Addy Sea B&B, 99 Ocean View Pkwy, ☏ , toll-free: . Local landmark and renowned Victorian bed and breakfast. Adults only.
- Bethany Beach Ocean Suites Residence Inn by Marriott, 99 Hollywood St, ☏ . Hotel on boardwalk offering rooms with private balconies.
- Hotel Bethany Beach, 39642 Jefferson Bridge Rd, toll-free: . Beach hotel with light breakfast and free Wi-Fi.
The following realtors offer vacation rentals in Bethany Beach:
- Coldwell Banker Vacations, 39682 Sunrise Ct. Seasonal, weekly, and mini-week rentals
- Crowley Associates Realty, Inc, 1000 N. Pennsylvania Ave, ☏ .
- Long and Foster Vacation Rentals, 37156 Rehoboth Ave, Rehoboth Beach, ☏ . Seasonal, weekly, and weekend rentals, flexible checkout days
- Resort Quest by Wyndham Vacation Rentals, 33546 Marketplace, ☏ . Seasonal, weekly, and mini-week rentals of condos, townhomes, and homes.
- Beach Patrol +1 302 539-8114
- Police Department +1 302 539-1000
- Bethany Beach Volunteer Fire Company +1 302 539-7700
Bethany Beach is generally fairly safe, but there are a few things to keep in mind. Rip currents sometimes occur in the water. Make sure to stay in view of lifeguards, and if you're caught in a rip current, swim following the curve of the shoreline rather than tiring yourself out fighting to get back to shore immediately. Sharks are occasionally spotted off the coast, but attacks are very rare.
- Rehoboth Beach - Beach town to the north with a 1-mile long boardwalk, restaurants, shops, and outlet stores
- Dewey Beach - Beach town to the north that features waterfront dining and nightlife
- Ocean City - Beach town to the south that has 10 miles of beaches, a 3-mile long boardwalk, arcades, amusements, shopping, dining, and nightlife
- Indian River Life Saving Station, Coastal Highway 1, just north of the Indian River Inlet. Worth a trip to visit Indian River Life Saving Station, which dates back to early days of 20th century.
- Prince George's Chapel, Vines Creek Road (Del. Rte. 26) and Chapel Lane, Dagsboro. +1 302 732-6835. Anglican chapel built in 1755 and completely restored.
|Routes through Bethany Beach|
|Lewes ← Dewey Beach ←||N S||→ Fenwick Island → Ocean City|