Explore Bethany Beach: A Family-Friendly Beach Town

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Southern Delaware is home to some of DC’s favorite beach destinations. With five family-friendly destinations to choose from, it can be hard to narrow the choices and pick which beach town is just right for your family. From kid-friendly eats to rainy day fun, we rounded up the best family activities in each destination to help you make the best choice. Once you settle on your home base, be sure to check out our guides to near-by Rehoboth Beach, Lewes, Dewey Beach and Fenwick Island for more fun things to see and do in Southern Delaware. For more information on Bethany Beach, read on.

Bethany Beach

Bethany Beach is the less commercial cousin of Rehoboth Beach. You’ll find a similar strip of shops and upscale restaurants located on and near a much smaller boardwalk. Family is the focus in this town where much of the accommodations are home rentals. For those looking for digs with lots of perks, Sea Colony boasts 12 heated pools and many oceanfront condos for rent. There are also two hotels in town. Like Dewey, the beaches are broad here and offer plenty of room to run around. If you reach Bethany by way of Delaware, you’ll cross the Indian River Inlet Bridge which is fun to drive or walk over when it turns blue at night.

Where to Play

On either side of Indian River Inlet Bridge you’ll find Delaware Seashore State Park beaches ($10/out-of-state vehicles). Take a self-guided tour of the trails that meander through the area by scanning the QR code displayed on the trails. The Park offers a number of events and activities. One of the highlights is a weekly hike over the bridge (night hikes are available too) where a park interpreter discusses the bridge design as well as area history ($6/person). Impress older kids with a night hike when the bridge glows blue.  Fun fact: this bridge illuminates the road with an electric blue color at night because, while most lights distract bats who hunt at night, bats are indifferent to the color blue. Pretty cool, right?

Outlook at Assawoman Bay State Park in Delaware

photo: SouthernDelaware.com

Get Wild

Take a break from summer crowds and head inland to explore Southern Delaware’s natural landscapes. Assawoman Wildlife Area is a quick 20 minute drive from downtown Bethany and offers peaceful trails, secluded picnic benches and calm bay waters that are easy to navigate by kayak. While you’re there, be sure to check out the Assawoman Lookout Point. From the watchtower you can view acres of wilderness. Use this free printable to play I-spy from the top (be on the lookout for rare birds who make this refuge home!).

 

Rainy Day Fun

The Bethany Beach trolley is fun on any day! Enjoy a breezy ride on a good beach day or spend a rainy day exploring the town by trolley. The trolley runs daily from 9:30 a.m. to 10 p.m and costs .25 per trip. Trolleys pick up at stops every 30 minutes, but you can flag the trolley down anywhere along the route! Don’t worry, the windows are sealed when it rains!

Hop off the trolley at the Bethany Beach Nature Center. At 10:30 a.m. every Sat. (rain or shine), the center hosts a Kid Nature Adventure filled with hands-on activities and projects to fill your morning with. Stop by on a sunnier day to explore their walking trails. To learn more about the center, check out this video.

 

Where to Eat

Head to the boardwalk for waterfront dining and a free show every Thurs. night now-Aug. 31. The Bethany Boardwalk hosts live music acts starting at 7:30 p.m. in the bandstand on the boardwalk all summer long ( you can catch live shows on Sat. evenings Sept.-Oct.). From upscale dining to quick bites, the boardwalk has something to please everyone’s palate. If you’re celebrating a special occasion, 99 Sea Level offers fine dining with a kids’ menu! Enjoy sweeping views of the ocean at this fish-based restaurant where your littles can enjoy kid favorites like chicken fingers and Mac & cheese. Mango’s also offers oceanfront dining in a much more laid-back atmosphere featuring Caribbean fare and a tropical vibe. Little Mangos can order a hot dog, chicken fingers or fried shrimp.

Where to Stay

Sea Colony is a massive complex of 70s era beachfront condos. If you’re looking for lodging packed with amenities, you’ll want to park your family here. There are 12 heated pools onsite, tennis courts and onsite activities and games. Enroll your kids in Kids Night Out any Mon. or Wed. all summer. Kids enjoy dinner and a movie while you get a night to enjoy the town sans children ($30/child). Other summer programs include Thurs. night bonfires, weekly movies on the beach, live music and scavenger hunts in the pool.

For more information: townofbethanybeach.com

—Meghan Yudes Meyers

RELATED STORIES:
Family-Friendly Things to See and Do in Lewes, DE
The Best Kid-Friendly Eats and Attractions in Rehoboth Beach
The Best Things to See & Do in Dewey Beach
Why Fenwick Island Is the Perfect Location for Family Fun

 

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