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Bethany Beach - 561 vacation rentals

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Bethany Beach Travel Tips

The permanent population of Bethany Beach, Del., lingers around 1,000, but this little seaside resort town is alive with vacationers from Baltimore, Virginia and beyond seeking an idyllic retreat from hectic city living. The beach town is sandwiched between popular locales Ocean City, Md., and Rehoboth Beach, Del. If you’re planning your escape to Bethany Beach, here are the must-visit attractions, parks and restaurants in the area to make for a wonderful time away.

Natural Attractions

Spend the day on Fenwick Island, which is about a 4-mile drive south from Bethany Beach on Route 1. Though it’s not a real island, it’s still an enchanting place. One of the best things to do here is visit Fenwick Island State Park. You and the kids can swim, boogie board and play in the sand in this relaxing locale. For a more active experience, take a guided canoe or kayak tour through the meandering waterways - pick a water trail that’s right for you, whether it’s 6 to 7 miles on the Brandywine Creek Trail or a shorter, more relaxing paddle on the non-tidal Racoon Pond, where you are likely to see otters and water snakes. While you’re on Fenwick Island, also check out the lighthouse, which was built in 1859. Though it’s not in use for ships, it still lights up the night sky today. You also can’t miss the free DiscoverSea Shipwreck Museum on Route 1, just above Sea Shell City. It’s a private collection of old coins, china and jewelry from various area shipwrecks.

Holts Landing State Park is another must-see. The beaches are pristine, and the bay is perfect for clamming, crabbing and fishing. Take a hike or a relaxed stroll on one of the various peaceful trails. The Bethany Beach Nature Center on Garfield Parkway is a great little place to learn about local wildlife. They host programs for kids on Saturday mornings and can provide you with information on how to research and track horseshoe crabs in the area:

Other Amusements

Though natural beauty is prevalent in Bethany Beach due to the protected parks and interesting coastal ecosystem, there’s plenty more to explore in the area.

- Hit the mini-links at Viking Golf Theme Park on Fenwick Island, If golf doesn’t interest you or the kids, ride the go-carts and get wet at the water park.

- See and be seen on the 1-mile long Bethany Beach Boardwalk. There are a few businesses to check out, but the main attractions are people-watching and taking in the salty seaside air. This small but mighty boardwalk hosts the Bethany Beach Boardwalk Arts Festival every September. The juried show features works by more than 100 artists, and nearly 7,500 people attend the fest each year.

- Grab the perfect photo opportunity at the Chief Little Owl totem pole at the corner of Garfield Parkway and U.S. Route 1. It was carved by a Hungarian artist who immigrated to the U.S. and is dedicated to the Nanticoke Tribal Nation.

- Climb the WWII Tower in South Bethany. There are 11 such towers along the coast from Wildwood, N.J., to Bethany Beach. Supposedly, U.S. service members stationed there could see 14 miles into the Atlantic as they scanned for enemy ships!

Dining and Shopping

There are two main places to dine and shop in Bethany Beach: the Boardwalk and Garfield Parkway.

On the Boardwalk, the dining is excellent. For a casual but sophisticated meal, head to Patsy’s, where the serve up a mix of Southern-inspired and Key West-style cuisine. Patsy, the owner and chef, believes in farm-to-table dining, so most of the ingredients are local and organic, including the fresh seafood. The only exception is her signature dish: whole snapper, which is flown in from Key West and flash fried tempura-style. If you need a sweet treat, head to The Original Kohr Bros. for frozen yogurt or Maureen’s Ice Cream & Desserts for everything under the sun.

The best spot on Garfield Parkway is Off the Hook for sumptuous farm-to-table fare like buttermilk battered oysters, truffled sweet corn and crab flatbread and mini cheesecakes with strawberry and basil compote. Another must-try is DiFebo’s for their gourmet Mediterranean-inspired cuisine.

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