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Delaware beaches comparisons

columbus, oh
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Delaware beaches comparisons

I grew up going to the Jersey Shore (Avalon) each summer, but HGTV’s “Big Beach Builds” has me curious about the Delaware beaches. I’ve heard that Dewey is the party beach, but I don’t know much about the others. Are they walkable, or do you need a car to get to the beach? Are there single family houses, not just condo complexes? What is the feel of each town? We are soon to be empty nesters and thought we’d try someplace a little different than what we grew up with.

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Jersey Shore
Jersey Shore
New Jersey
Avalon
Avalon
Cape May County, NJ
Delaware
Delaware
United States
9 replies to this topic
Wilmington, Delaware
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1. Re: Delaware beaches comparisons

Here’s the skinny on the Delaware beaches (in the summer):

Lewes-quaint, historic little town with great shops and restaurants in a compact downtown. Small public beach, but nearby access to large state park with lots of open beach. Houses and B&Bs in town, hotels and condos closer to the ocean. If you know the Jersey beaches, it’s reminiscent of Cape May.

Rehoboth-crazy busy bustling little town with lots to do, places to dine, and lodging options. Best bet staying here is bring or rent bikes, as driving and parking are a major challenge. Many outstanding restaurants, all on or walking distance to Rehoboth Avenue.

Dewey-well-earned reputation as a party town. Whole town is one mile long and 2 blocks wide, and pretty much a watering hole on every block. Mostly house rentals, but some condos and hotels. Fun place to visit and go out, but staying here requires patience and tolerance for the thousands of high school and college age kids whose nightly routine is drink, drink more, loudly stagger home at 1 am, drink more, get house parties shut down by the cops, and pass out.

Bethany-compact little town with one busy main drag from the highway to the beach, but relatively peaceful starting the blocks north and south of Garfield Pkwy. Mostly house rentals and condos, but also an enormous (and out of place) high rise complex called Sea Colony. Nearly everything in Bethany is walkable. If you’re used to Avalon, Bethany will feel most comfortable to you.

Fenwick-another narrow strip of land (like Dewey) with lots packed in, but more family-friendly. Primarily houses and condos, and you’ll have a lot of beach to yourself. Only downside is it’s right on the border with Ocean City. Densely overdeveloped and mildly unsavory, OCMD is not for the faint of heart...unless, of course, you enjoy large crowds and traffic. Much like Atlantic City, but without the charm or gambling.

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Delaware
Delaware
United States
Lewes
Lewes
Delaware
Sea Colony Resort
Sea Colony Resort
234 Reviews
Bethany Beach, DE
Avalon
Avalon
Cape May County, NJ
Fenwick Inn
Fenwick Inn
1,011 Reviews
Ocean City, MD
Ocean City
Ocean City
Maryland
Atlantic City
Atlantic City
Jersey Shore, NJ
columbus, oh
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11 posts
27 reviews
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2. Re: Delaware beaches comparisons

Thanks Anthony! Great info, love your humor. Feeling the vibe of each town. We are originally from Philly, now in Columbus, OH, so it will be a looong drive either to DE or NJ.

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Wilmington, Delaware
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31 posts
197 reviews
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3. Re: Delaware beaches comparisons

Happy to help. I too have lived in Philly, and grew up going to OCNJ. I now live part time at the Delaware beach, and try not to sugar coat my opinions for fellow travelers. I hope you enjoy your time here if you do make it to Delaware.

BTW, I recently enjoyed a trip to Columbus/Dublin, and had one of my best-ever meals at The Refectory. If you haven’t been, go!

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Delaware
Delaware
United States
columbus, oh
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11 posts
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4. Re: Delaware beaches comparisons

The Refectory is lovely. If you eat at the bar, you can get the same, wonderful cuisine at half the cost. We’ve been here about 18 years, and there are so many great places to eat, lots of things to see and do. It’s not a Cowtown anymore!

Merchantville, New...
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5. Re: Delaware beaches comparisons

Anthony’s description is spot on. I live 1 1/2 hours from Avalon, but still prefer Bethany Beach. Bethany is a nice family town. A few shops and the beach is nice. We typically rent a large newer home about a mile or two from the beach. A lot of the rentals offer a beach shuttle, which you can take your chairs and cooler, etc. Fenwick is nice too. There is a lot to do in the area. You can take a day trip to Berlin, which is a nice little town. And, the island with the wild ponies, sorry I forgot the name, is not far, and also a nice day trip.

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Avalon
Avalon
Cape May County, NJ
Bethany Beach
Bethany Beach
511 Reviews
Bethany Beach, DE
Fenwick Inn
Fenwick Inn
1,011 Reviews
Ocean City, MD
NJ
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1 post
9 reviews
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6. Re: Delaware beaches comparisons

Excellent info, Anthony! I just returned to northern NJ late last night from visiting all of the beach towns you discussed. You explained each town's attributes perfectly! I was scoping out the area for my future retirement in a few years. I would like to add that there are some nice towns a bit inland that I checked out. Milford, Milton, Millville, Ocean View. THOUSANDS of new homes are being built in these areas. It won't be a quiet, serene area for much longer.

columbus, oh
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7. Re: Delaware beaches comparisons

On the Philly.com (Inquirer) Shore Guide, they mentioned Bethany Beach too! Just like the South Jersey folks hate the New York/North Jersey crowd coming down, I wonder if the Delaware/Maryland folks will grumble about the Philadelphians?

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Bethany Beach
Bethany Beach
511 Reviews
Bethany Beach, DE
Delaware
Delaware
United States
Maryland
Maryland
United States
Brandywine Valley...
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1,772 posts
76 reviews
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8. Re: Delaware beaches comparisons

"WILL grumble?" It started years ago. My nephew, raised in Rehoboth, told me to watch for car stickers that say, "LAPD." He says it means Locals Against Pennsylvania Drivers. I haven't seen one yet, but I'm keeping an eye out. I know PA drivers have a terrible rep in Slower Lower Delaware.

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Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
United States
Delaware
Delaware
United States
columbus, oh
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9. Re: Delaware beaches comparisons

Haha! Maybe an Ohio plate will just get pity. When we lived in Charleston (SC), we would see Ohio license plates and feel sorry for those poor suckers who had to go back. Now we are those poor suckers.

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Ohio
Ohio
United States
Charleston
Charleston
Coastal South Carolina, SC
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