It’s no secret the Delaware beaches slow down in the fall. Yet that doesn’t mean the fun has to end! For Delaware locals, the off-season has a certain charm that can only be achieved when the traffic speeds up and the streets slow down.
Take a day, a weekend or the entire fall season to enjoy these fall beach activities that prove beaches aren’t only for the summer sunshine.
1. Walk the beaches and the boardwalks
Along with the renowned Dewey and Rehoboth Beach boardwalks, Delaware’s Bethany Beach has a great little boardwalk for autumn walks. Bethany received numerous accolades over the years, including recognition from National Geographic Traveler, which named Bethany Beach one of seven beaches in the country where “the essential beach experience endures.” The boardwalk, which is over a quarter-mile long and 12 feet wide, is lined with shops and eateries.
2. Sip beer
The Delaware beaches are home to plenty of top-notch craft breweries from big names like Dogfish Head to Big Oyster, Revelation Craft Brewing and many more. Make a weekend of it and follow a DIY beach brewery trail. We recommend starting at Dogfish Head in Milton before heading into Lewes for stops at Big Oyster and Crooked Hammock. Then, if you want more, drive down Route 1. You’ll pass by Iron Hill, Thompson Island, Revelation, Dewey Beer Co. and more.
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3. Visit a gallery
You’ll find local artists’ work on display at Bethany Sea Crest, along with clothing, home décor and gifts.
But you’re sure to fine local artists’ work at Gallery One, which is owned by 15 mostly area artists who work in a variety of mediums. The October theme for an exhibition is “Inspired by Music.” No doubt the beach will figure into a few works.
At the Ellen Rice Gallery, artist Ellen Rice offers paintings that are often inspired by the sea. She’s lived the majority of her life near the Atlantic Ocean.
The Café on 26, a 2017 Best of Delaware winner, is a gallery of sorts with a menu. The walls showcase local artists.
4. Tour the beaches in a kayak
Coastal Kayak is headquartered in Fenwick Island but takes a have-kayak-will-travel approach to tours. One features the Assawoman Wildlife Area, where you may spot bald eagles. Guides also offer a paddleboard tour in the refuge. Enjoy other options like a Bald Cypress Tour or a Sunset Kayak Tour.
5. Take a hike
You don’t need to be on the water to appreciate the Assawoman Wildlife Area, which is just south of Bethany Beach. Brimming with loblolly pine, sweet gum trees and sweet-bay magnolia, the area was created from nine farms, ranging in size from 30 to 325 acres. The Hickman Tract is reportedly home to the endangered Delmarva fox squirrel.
Delaware Seashore State Park boasts great hiking trails like Burton’s Island Loop. For hiking trails at the beaches that suit any experience level, try a quick search on AllTrails. (PSA: Check this out first.)
Like any town along the Delaware coast, Bethany has its fair share of celebrated restaurants. Try the original Bethany Blues for barbecue, bourbon and beer (there are NFL specials during football season at the bar).
For great sushi, try Rehoboth’s Stingray Sushi Bar & Asian Grill. A Best of Delaware winner, this restaurant is a must-try for chef-inspired Asian dishes.
Bethany Boathouse is a place where children can play (there’s a playground out front), while parents can enjoy a pineapple crush—or the adult beverage of their choice. There’s something for all ages.
For a date night, Best of Delaware winner Salt Air is an ideal atmosphere with farm and ocean to table local cuisine. Along with the hand-crafted, thoughtful menu options, Salt Air offers top-notch craft cocktails, fine wine and more.
For more dining options at the beaches, check out our 2023 Food & Drink Best of Delaware winners.