This is an account of my trip to Bethany Beach, Delaware. Some travel bloggers hop around the world, reviewing all of the best places to visit. The best times to go there. The best restaurants to visit for fine dining. You get the idea. This isn’t exactly going to be like one of those travel blog posts. This will be more like a journal account of someone going on a family vacation (sort of on the cheap). We didn’t actually plan as far ahead for this trip as we should have. It wasn’t until May that we decided we’d like to do a July or August beach trip. By that time, a lot of our options were limited because rental places fill up and we were still working within budget guidelines that we put on ourselves.
Choosing Where to Go on Vacation
Location was a big thing for me. This beach was only a six hour trip from my starting point. I know that obviously will vary for every person reading this, but I am mentioning this because sometimes you can start a trip with a bit of a negative vibe if you know that you have a very long drive ahead of you. Knowing that you can get to your destination in less than the time put in for a typical work day makes for a good start.
First Impressions of Bethany Beach
Right now it’s about 5 in the morning as I start this post. I’ve been here less than twelve hours. We walked to the beach twice yesterday. It is a little over half a mile each way from this house. That’s not terrible, but it is definitely farther away from the beach than I’d like. We planned late though, and available rental homes were sparse. I’m looking at it as a way to keep exercise levels up. I’ll probably get in at least a few miles of walking every day. It would be nice going home from a vacation weighing less than when I left!
Parking in Bethany Beach Sort of Stinks
Parking is really bad around here. I think we are pushing the limit of comfortable walking distance in this house, but there is a trolley that runs a circuit around this little town once every thirty minutes. That service starts around 9 am and goes until 10 at night. It costs a quarter each way and there are two half hour lunch breaks built in for the drivers when the shuttle doesn’t run. It’s a nice idea and I’m sure we’ll give it a shot pretty soon. (End of week update: We ended up never actually taking the trolley. It seemed like our paths just never intersected. Maybe I need to be more patient, so I can’t really say much about this beach feature.)
Bethany Beach is Family Oriented
This is definitely an area made for family visits. There are not a lot of things to do besides going to the beach and hanging out with the people you brought with you. That’s not to say that there is anything wrong with that. Just that some people might be surprised if they are expecting to find a rocking boardwalk filled with bars and live bands. There was a guy there singing John Denver songs last night though. The crowd was very into it and singing along. It was a pretty mellow group of fans. There are regularly scheduled performances through the summer. Mostly on weekends, with some mid-week performances thrown in for fun. Here is a list of activities in the Bethany Beach area.
My Summer Vacation at Bethany Beach, Delaware
Notes from day 1. I walked a lot today. The app on my phone says that I walked 7 miles or 15,940 steps. I didn’t do that as a challenge or anything. Just walking to the beach a few times and then some wandering around, shopping with the family.
Last night, there was a movie shown outdoors at the boardwalk. It was The Secret Life of Pets and it was packed full. That should tell you a lot about the visiting population. There are a lot of kids around. That is no problem for me, but for some vacationers that is probably a deal breaker. The lesson for the day today was to be very careful using spray on sunscreen. I asked my son to spray some on my newly balded head and accidentally got some in my eyes. I do not recommend the experience at all.
Notes from day 2. We spent a few hours on the beach this morning. I’m not really one for just laying on the sand, so my son and I walked up and down the beach a lot. We started out the beach visit by walking in to the surf, but he got blasted by a wave and felt more like hanging by the shore for the rest of our time there. We left during the busiest time (around noon) when the beach was really packed with people. Later in the evening, we walked back down again and sat in the cool sand as the sun went down behind us. I really enjoy sunrise and sunset at the beach.
This morning I was very excited at the prospect of going to an all you can eat seafood buffet that was just down the road in Ocean City, Maryland (Phillips) for dinner. A lot of people seem to like it based on online reviews. I, personally, wasn’t all that crazy about it. I’d probably give it 3 out of 5 stars. Considering the cost is between 30 and 40 dollars per person depending on the time, I was hoping that I’d really like it. At least I didn’t really overeat there. I probably would not go back again unless someone handed me free gift certificates, but your experience may vary. I will say that the waitress was very nice.
Notes from Day 3. Headed down to the beach early and saw some people on paddle boards as the sun was rising. That was pretty cool. I definitely like the beach better in the morning and the evening. The mega-crowded, blazingly hot, middle of the afternoon is not what I enjoy. It’s probably more the big crowds rather than the heat that I don’t like. Last night we took a short ride down the Coastal Highway and visited a Coldstone Creamery ice cream shop because we had a gift card that was given to us a few years ago when there were still Coldstone Creamery stores near our home (they’ve all closed now). It good ice cream, but it was almost $40 for all of us. Once again, you’ve just go to accept that you are probably going to spend some money if you wander into the Ocean City area.
Notes from Day 4. Today I walked a lot and I skipped the sunblock for the most part. I know, that’s a terrible thing to do, but I’m one of those people who grew up with the idea that you were supposed to come back from the beach with a tan. Sunblock apparently does a really good job because I was using it during the first few days here and got pretty much zero tan. My bald head makes me feel like a vanilla cakepop without a tan. I finally got some color today. I guess I should also say that I’m one of those people who usually tans fairly easily. Most of the time, if I look red, it goes to a tan a short while later. So, I walked around without sunblock for a while and now I have a little bit of color.
Here is one important thing to remember about a visit to Bethany Beach… You will probably do a decent bit of walking. Yesterday I walked about 6.7 miles. That was between the hike from the house to the beach, some trips up and down the beach, and a walk to the boardwalk in the evening. I was actually getting a little bit salty about this last night during our walk to the Bethany Beach boardwalk. I did choose to do some extra walking on the beach during the day because sitting on a towel leaves me extremely board and restless, but I would like to have the option to drive and park without it being a big deal. Lemons out of lemonade, I’m hoping that when I get home I’ll have lost a couple of pounds from all of this hiking around town.
Notes from Day 5. Seriously people… enough walking already. I thought today was going to be a “light” day because we were not going to the beach during peak sun hours. I still managed to log 6.5 miles on my little Pacer app. I know that amount of walking is nothing to some people, but without getting into too much detail on this post, I am in dire need of losing weight and although I live a pretty darn clean lifestyle nowadays, I had a stroke about a year and a half ago and take two handfuls of pills a day that say they may cause dizziness. OK…sorry for the pity party. I was just feeling pretty sore by the time I hit the bed last night. Seriously, I would not recommend this beach to anyone who doesn’t like walking unless you can be sure that you are within a block or two of where you want to end up most days. The parking around here stinks in my humble opinion.
We drove up the coast a bit to Rehoboth Beach yesterday. I was there once about 25 years ago and thought it was pretty nice. I haven’t changed my mind on that. It is still pretty family oriented but it has a much larger boardwalk than Bethany Beach. If I end up planning a return trip to this general area, I might strongly consider getting a place in Rehoboth for a week. We drove up and were actually able to park within a 3 minute walk of the Boardwalk. After this week of extended hiking, that was a blessed relief.
Notes from Day 6. The last day of our vacation in Bethany Beach. Tomorrow we will get up and hit the road early. Hopefully by 6 am or so. Today we just hung out at the beach, came home and grilled some hamburgers, and started to prepare for our leaving tomorrow. I enjoyed ending the vacation with a relaxing day of not really going out anywhere.
Impressions of Bethany Beach, Delaware as a vacation spot.
I’m about a week removed from my beach trip right now as I finish this post up. I did, in fact, end up coming home a couple of pounds lighter than when we struck out on our adventure. All of that walking had a positive effect apparently. I was tempted to go back and clean up some of my whining about walking so much, but I decided to leave it. I’m definitely not perfect and for future reference, if we would go back to Bethany Beach, I would like to get something closer to the beach.
Overall, I enjoyed my time in Bethany Beach with my family. It is a nice little town with a family focus. The parking situation is not good if you don’t have a place to stay that is near the beach. You should know that because if you or someone you love has trouble walking around, you might face some frustration. The boardwalk is small compared to the offerings in nearby Ocean City, Maryland, and Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. That’s OK though, because I don’t think people actually go there for the boardwalk or water parks or other wild and crazy stuff. They go to Bethany Beach to hang out with family and friends and relax.
Would I go back to Bethany Beach? Probably. I would just make sure that my “home base” was closer to the beach next time or I would try to rent a house that had bicycles included as part of the deal. It would be a very nice place to have a bike. Everything is flat. A bike would have made my trip to the beach considerably less of a pain in the neck.
Thoughts on Travel Blogging
I’m not a professional travel blogger. You probably figured that out. If you would decide to become a travel blogger, you’d want to include more actual prices and specific information about various places. I really just thought that blogging about a vacation to the beach might be fun and maybe even helpful to someone who was considering a northeast US beach visit. Please feel free to share your interesting vacation experiences below!
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