The 10 Best Beaches in Delaware

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Delaware is a small state that gets much attention for its tax-free exemption but not enough credit for its glorious beaches. Growing up in New Jersey, I had access to many shorelines nearby, so it wasn’t until my early 20s—when I first started visiting Rehoboth Beach, D.E.—that I realized they’re some of the best-kept powdery shores secrets in the Northeast. Since discovering Delaware’s beaches, I’ve seen them many times, and boy, are they great for when you’re looking for serenity by the shore, relaxing beach towns, or a just-off-the-boardwalk party. From popular Dewey to secluded Big Stone Beach, here are some of the best beaches and beach towns in Delaware to put on your travel list in the Diamond State.

16 Quiet Beach Towns in America

1. Rehoboth Beach

According to research conducted by Family Destinations Guide, which analyzed Google search data, Rehoboth Beach is the number-one most-searched destination in Delaware—and for good reason. Rehoboth Beach beckons with an irresistible charm, from thrilling water sports to quaint seaside boutiques. This quintessential beach getaway has strong Americana vibes, over a mile of sandy shores, and a kid-friendly (and be-a-kid-again-inducing) boardwalk filled with ice cream and candy shops, funnel cakes, and fried Oreos. But it’s Rehoboth’s clean and wide sandy beaches, which are lined with lifeguard stations during the summer, that make this a choice beach for almost every type of traveler, from families with small kids to LGBTQ+ travelers, who tend to congregate at the gay beaches, Poodle Beach and North Shore. Pro tip: Try the iconic Blue Moon—a fine dining restaurant attached to a cocktail lounge and dance floor so you can go right from dinner to drinks—while in town, or opt for a celebratory steak dinner at 1776 Steakhouse.

2. Dewey Beach

Sink your toes into the warm sand as you enjoy a day of sunbathing, swimming, and beach volleyball in Dewey. As the sun sets, the beach town transforms into a lively party with buzzing nightlife and live music, making it the ideal location for a younger crowd or those who like a healthy dose of a party atmosphere post-relaxation. A wide, powdery sand beach is what Dewey is known for, along with some stunning beachfront homes that are gawk-worthy of a beachfront walk during golden hour.

3. Bethany Beach

Even Frank Costanza could find “Serenity now!” in Bethany Beach, a slowed-down, family-friendly oceanfront town in southeastern Delaware. This coastal gem has pristine stretches of sandy beaches that will make you scratch your head and wonder why you hadn’t shown up sooner to the “Quiet Resorts” as the area and its neighboring South Bethany and Fenwick Island are known. Our tip: Take a chill, leisurely stroll along the boardwalk, admiring the breathtaking ocean views and quaint boutiques. Or, plunge into the crystal-clear (for the Atlantic, anyway!) waters for a refreshing swim or embark on a peaceful kayak excursion.

4. Delaware Seashore State Park

A must-visit destination for anyone looking to savor the taste of classic Americana, Delaware Seashore State Park remains one of the east coast’s top beaches for a reason. With six miles of ocean and twenty miles of bay shoreline, the park is spacious enough to bring the whole family and features activities for anyone who loves the outdoors. Hikers will appreciate the diverse scenery of the Burton Island Nature Preserve, and kayakers will long-remember a day exploring the salt marsh islands of Rehoboth Bay. Thinking about taking out a boat for the day? Nearby Indian River is the place to boat in Delaware, according to Discover Boating, the go-to resource for all things boating. “This southern Delaware river and estuary offer boaters prime fishing with access to the Atlantic Ocean where anglers catch everything from flounder to marlin,” a rep for the organization tells us over email.

5. Lewes

Lewes will charm your pants off, and there’s a ferry between the town and Cape May, N.J., another picturesque beach town that you could easily day trip or do as an additional overnight since it’s under 90 minutes. Lewes has a quiet and relatively flat beach ideal for swimming or wading during a scorching hot day in summer. The area also gets high marks for its historic clapboard houses and an unrivaled dining scene in the state. Our picks: The friendly service and eats at Heirloom or brunch at Harbour, or the charming Matt’s Fish Camp.

6. Cape Henlopen State Park

Within a state known as The Small Wonder, Cape Henlopen State Park’s beaches are a Small Wonder in and of themselves. In fact, the tourism board describes these shores as “a land of gentle dunes and singing shorebirds.” Sounds pretty idyllic, huh? Located between popular Lewes and Rehoboth, Cape Henlopen State Park is also full of treasure—of the sea glass variety. Whether you go hunting for naturally weathered pieces of glass in vibrant blues and greens. If you’re looking for chill, relaxing vibes, and a family-friendly atmosphere, you’ve found the right spot in Delaware. Cape Henlopen also boasts pristine and protected shores, where swimming, sunbathing, fishing, and more recreational activities are at your beck and call.

7. Fenwick Island State Park

With plenty of opportunities for surfing, sailing, hiking, and fishing, Fenwick Island State Park has remained one of Delaware’s most invigorating natural attractions since its founding in 1966. Located in the southeastern corner of “The Small Wonder” on a barrier island, the park’s lush, forest-lined shores offer a shaded front-row seat to the Atlantic. There are impressive luxury homes to stay in should you fancy that kind of trip, and travelers interested in nature walks will go gaga for the Assawoman Wildlife Area, where eastern box turtles, wood thrush, and other local fauna can be found in spades.

8. Slaughter Beach

Despite its name, there’s nothing to fear about Slaughter Beach, situated along the southwest shores of Delaware Bay. Though there’s no shops or restaurants on Slaughter Beach specifically, and that means a quiet energy permeates the air here. Less than 20 minutes away in the town of Milford, it’s possible to check out the award winning, crowd-pleasing Mispillion River brewery after a day with your toes tucked into the sand. Our other favorite attractions include the Mispillion Lighthouse, the Milford Neck Wildlife Area, and the greater Delaware Bay Estuary. What else? Slaughter Beach is famous as a horseshoe crab sanctuary, meaning you’ll see plenty between May and August!

9. Big Stone Beach

Big Stone Beach offers a more unique, intimate Delaware beach experience for those seeking serenity, especially those looking to escape fast-paced city life. The beach is quiet and secluded, facing the Atlantic from the edge of the Milford Neck Preserve. In warmer months along the shoreline, bizarre natural sculptures created by Sabellaria worms resemble big stones—hence the beach’s unique name. Year-round, history buffs can also visit one of Delaware’s five remaining observation towers, commissioned between World Wars I and II.

10. Herring Point Beach

Nestled within historic Cape Henlopen State Park, which we previously mentioned, Herring Point Beach is worth noting, thanks to its lively, family-friendly atmosphere featuring year-round outdoor attractions. Fishing enthusiasts, surfers, and swimmers congregate here for pristine beaches (with lifeguards present from Memorial to Labor Day) and picturesque sand dunes and lighthouse views. Hikers will love an afternoon along the scenic Gordons Pond Trail or the intensive Junction and Breakwater Trail. The town of Lewes is also nearby, which is a great place to stay since it offers plenty of opportunities to shop, drink, and dine once your fun in the sun is done.

purewow author


Dan Koday is a travel and lifestyle writer and editor with 15+ years experience creating content for your favorite websites, print publications and brands. As a native to the NYC...