Dear PoPville – Beach Vacation Suggestions for a Family

Photo by PoPville flickr user Faucetini

“Dear PoP,

I was hoping to get some reader input on a good beach to visit for a long weekend this summer (hotel recommendations as well, if folks have them). It will be my family traveling (me, my husband and our 11 month old) and we’re hoping to go somewhere that is within a couple hours drive (the closer the better). We’re looking for a nice relaxing vacation, not a place where the 20-somethings go to party.”

Any good places for young families on the Delaware shore?

51 Comment

  • Chincoteague Island

  • Bethany. Exactly what you’re looking for. 3 hrs away. All families, and the town is like a single block and everything pretty much shuts down at 10. I think there’s a Best Western or Holiday Inn or something like that around, otherwise its all beach house rentals with a typical 1-week stay.

    • Bethany is what you are looking for. Look into renting a condo in the Sea Colony complex. They have a bunch of pools and their private beach is gorgeous too. And there are restaurants and a CVS and whatnot in walking distance.

  • I personally like Rehoboth the best. It has a cute little boardwalk and it doesn’t get rowdy, yet there is still a lot to do. I have always rented a beach house or condo, but there are definitely quite a few hotels. 3 hour drive.

  • chincoteague/assateague are beautiful. if you don’t mind fresh water, look at garrett county.

  • i would highly recommend bethany beach. i was just there last weekend and it was beautiful and very relaxing.

  • I’ve heard Rehoboth is great for families.

  • Lewes, DE – you can choose bay side or ocean side and both are family friendly.

    • Agreed. Lewes is more cute town with a nice park as a beach a short drive away than the bigger options like Rehoboth and Bethany. Very family friendly.

      Chincoteague and Asateague are nice too, but I always found the bugs to be a bit much. This early in the year though they should be okay.

      • yes – SHH! i love chincoteague. it’s one of my favorite places, but don’t tell everybody! i don’t want it to get too crazy crowded and lose its small town character.

        there are lots of bugs, people. mosquitoes and biting flies. stay away 🙂

  • This IS Pismo Beach.

    • Which is great for a day trip… IF YOU OWN A PLANE.

      • 6 hours of driving (3 there, 3 back) on a Saturday to Rehobeth is a day trip?

        Sounds like a waste of $4 gas to me.

        • If you get up early, stay in Rehoboth for dinner and drive back at night, it’s a good option to get away without having to pay for a hotel.

  • Where is a good beach spot if I don’t want to deal with partying 20-somethings or families with kids running around everywhere?

    • That’s kind of the trade-off though, isn’t it? One or the other in this area, mostly.

      Bethany is still a good option though, especially if you go up a few blocks from the main beach, say to the Ocean View Pkwy (it sounds more intense than it is) beach access point.

    • Check out nudist camps. That’s an ageing demographic.

    • Sandals resorts

    • Emmaleigh504

      New Smyrna Beach, Florida, retirees as far as the eye can see.

    • Rehoboth is probably a good compromise. It’s got a little of both, but neither is to an extreme, like, say, Ocean City NJ with the kids and Ocean City, MD with the drunken 20-somethings.

    • binpetworth

      Yorktown Beach in southeastern Virginia.

      It’s very small but tame; every time I’ve been there’s only a handful of people. Plus, it’s great for its proximity to other interesting cultural attractions.

    • ah

      Pretty much anywhere but Dewey Beach.

  • Cape May, NJ is a little further away, but I take my family there every summer. It’s the perfect mix of family-friendly and adult-friendly, and by that I mean there are several nicer restaurants and bars where you’re less likely to see children.

    • Second Cape May, it’s my personal favorite. Not insanely crowded, very good restaurants, and plenty of things to entertain grownups without a party-like atmospehere.

  • Fenwick Island! Dewey is the crazy beach, Rehobeth can get packed. There’s a state shore in Fenwick so things are a lot more laid back. There’s also a few little hotels around, though I can’t speak to the quality of any of them.

  • anonymouse_dianne

    I like Sea Colony at Bethany. It has its own private beach and if the weather’s lousy there’s an indoor pool and rec center.

  • I’d agree with the recommendations for Bethany Beach. Also, since it’s just the two of you and an infant: consider going the week that school starts. The rates are lower, the weather is still warm, and no zombie hordes.

  • East Coast’s hottest Beach is BETHANY BEACH. This place has everything. Euro twinks, Mexican lucha libre, disco grannies, smurfpsies. All of that and a cat from a bodega.

    — Stefon

  • Bethany, Fenwick Island, and Lewes in DE, or Sandbridge, VA.

  • Does it have to be in Delaware? I haven’t been to Virginia Beach in a couple of years but it always seemed to me to be more oriented to families than, for instance, Ocean City, and less crowded if you stick tot he beach to the north or south of the boardwalk area. And they have a bunch of concerts and street performances throughout the summer which are fun.

  • If you like camping, Cape Henlopen State Park in DE has a great beach and is near all the other beaches (and water parks, boardwalks, civilization, etc.)

    • You can also rent beach camping spaces at Assateague National Seashore, but they fill up fast so you need to reserve well in advance.

    • Totally agree. I go to Cape Henlopen every summer (and stay in Lewes). Its low key and very relaxing. Also, we eat at lupo di mare in Rehoboth every year and it is DELICIOUS.

  • as faux pas as it is to recommend it to DC people, Ocean City has the most amount of lodging and entertainment options for families. stay at the Castle in the Sand if you wanna be close to downtown, or rent a house or condo uptown (or across the DE border in fenwick island) if you want more peace and quiet.

    • I second this. Castle in the Sand is nice.

    • Concur with the Ocean City, MD recommendation for FAMILIES! Although we haven’t stayed at the Castle in the Sand, we did enjoy OC enough to buy a condo there. Close to the inlet. Trimpers Rides (and old rides from the early part of the 20th century), The Bearded Clam, Thrasher’s Fries, Fisher’s Caramel Corn – and we’re a block from the start of the 3-mile long boardwalk.
      Here’s our condo:
      Ya gotta love all the colorful people strolling the boardwalk. It’s basically the floor show! Rednecks, acres and acres of tattoos, kids galore.

  • My fave is Lewes. You can stay at a hotel across the bridge from the town, putting you in walking distance to the beach. then you stroll across the bridge at night to visit the cute little downtown and a few pretty good restaurants and bars. There’s a terrific farmer’s market on Saturdays and a great bike trail down to Rehoboth or over to Cape Henlopen. And if you want a break from Lewes, you can take the ferry to Cape May.

  • bfinpetworth

    Virginia Beach has a great family atmosphere now. Not like back in the 80’s. Wide clean beaches and little to no honky tonk. Lots of hotel choices from low end to high end. Great free outdoor concerts nearly every day of the week. Great boardwalk and bike paths. Hundreds of dolphin swimming up and down the shoreline. It really is an amazingly great beach these days.

    • Seconded, its my choice for enjoying the beach, when I want to go out partying with friends or want to go fishing I go to Ocean City… But 9 times out of 10 its VA Beach for me, peace and quiet!

  • Stay in/around Lewes. Head south on Rt 1. South of Dewey there are tons of places to pull of and have the beach basically to yourself.

  • Asssateague. Stay in princess anne. bonus If there are rockets being launched at wallops Is.

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