A Tale of Two Beaches – Rehoboth and Bethany
With warmer weather finally arriving after a brutal winter, I decided to make a road trip to the ocean beaches and remember summers gone by. The two beaches that I visited were Rehoboth and Bethany. Two beaches that are only separated by 10 miles of unspoiled sandy beaches and dunes, but are oh, so different.
Rehoboth is more of a year round community with permanent residences and businesses and restaurants that are open year round. According to the 2010 census, the population of permanent residences is 1,327 but during the summer months can swell to over 25,000 within the city limits and thousands more in the surrounding areas and shopping centers. The wooden boardwalk in Rehoboth is a mile long and extends along the town’s beachfront. There are numerous shops and restaurants located along the boardwalk as well as in the main part of town. There are hotels and motels scattered throughout the town and along the boardwalk. Two of my favorites are the Boardwalk Plaza and the Atlantic Sands Hotel.
I have stayed at the Boardwalk Plaza before and I enjoy the place more each time I go back. They provide a wide variety of accommodations and each is tastefully decorated in Grand Victorian style, check out the two parrots in the lobby that greet the guests. The Atlantic Sands Hotel and Conference Center is a bit more casual than the Plaza but offers more in the way of meeting rooms. The two hotels are side by side on the boardwalk and only a few steps from the award winning beach and the Atlantic Ocean.
There is shopping in town as well as at the many shopping centers that are scattered on the outskirts of the town. The world famous Tanger Outlets are a major draw for the area. Great deals on quality merchandise and there is no sales tax in Delaware.
In one of Kenny Chensney’s songs there is a line that says, “When the sun goes down we’ll be grovin…Things get hotter when the sun goes down!” This is another strong suit of Rehoboth Beach. The nightlife is everywhere. The Summer House has been a favorite of mine for 30 years. There is also the Purple Parrot, Frogg Pond, Henlopen Oyster House and the Dogfish Head Pub; and for a casual drink and relaxation check out the pub in the Boardwalk Plaza Hotel. Nearby Dewey Beach also has the Rusty Rudder, Bottle and Cork and Starboard. These places rock.
As I mentioned earlier, a mere 10 miles down the beach and across the new bridge at Indian River Inlet is Bethany Beach. Bethany has earned the title of “The Quiet Beach.” In the early years before there was a bridge over Indian River Inlet, the trains coming from the north, as well as motor traffic, only made it to Rehoboth, and the town prospered. Once the Inlet was bridged, folks began to discover the quiet beaches.
Bethany is much smaller than Rehoboth but still has a half- mile boardwalk and some nightlife. The beaches tend to be less crowded and offer all of the amenities; and the icing on the cake for Bethany is Travel & Leisure Magazine recently named it one of the “Best Secret Beaches on Earth.”
The dining in Bethany is top notch and is a big part of the “Culinary Coast.” Enjoy fresh seafood and sunset views over the bay at Bluecoast Seafood Grill. Grab lunch or dinner on an oceanfront deck at Mangos or if your taste is Italian try DiFibeo’s.
There are few hotels in Bethany as this community started as a place for people to build a second home and enjoy the beach life. There are little communities clustered up and down the beach with the town in the middle. This is why the area is referred to as the quiet beaches. It is more of a place for families and folks who just want to chill. There are many cottages and houses that are for rent and are perfect for couples and small groups. I remember that 40 years ago, a group house were the thing to do every summer, and I guess that is still the norm. Check out the realtor’s ads in this issue and spend a week this summer at a Delaware beach. Mention the special code that appears in the ad to get a discount on your rental.
The other quiet beach is Fenwick Island, which is 5 miles down the beach. Fenwick also has rental properties and is home to the Fenwick Lighthouse, which appears on our cover. This cold winter is finally past, so let’s hit the beach.
Written by: Bob Tagert