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15 Amazing Beaches near Wilmington, DE

Sandy shores of Chesapeake Bay, panoramic views along the Delaware River, beckoning waves of the Atlantic - Wilmington has a wide selection of beaches!
Atlantic City Pier and Beach during the sunset

The scenic Wilmington, is more than just a vibrant city steeped in history; it’s also a gateway to a plethora of coastal wonders.

Within a few hours’ drive (and often less), you can find yourself on the sandy shores of Chesapeake Bay, taking in panoramic views along the Delaware River, or venturing further to the Atlantic’s beckoning waves.

From the untouched serenity of North East Beach’s jellyfish-free waters to the lively boardwalks of Rehoboth Beach and Atlantic City, the region promises a beach escape tailored for every soul.

Whether you’re an adventurous kayaker, a sun-seeking lounger, a bird-watching enthusiast, or someone seeking the perfect family day out, Wilmington’s neighboring beaches have you covered.

Discover the options!

1. Deemers Beach

A beach with sand and stones in Delaware
Source: wikimedia/CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Distance from Wilmington: 8 miles
  • Activities: fishing, beachcombing, kayaking, dog walking
  • Facilities: parking, a trail, dog-friendly

Just 8 miles from Wilmington, nestled near historic New Castle, lies a hidden shoreline not on everyone’s radar.

Those seeking a pristine sunbathing spot might not find their idyll here; it’s a pebbly terrain, speckled with driftwood, rather than a sunbather’s sanctuary.

Yet, this unique spot provides an off-the-beaten-path destination for avid beachcombers and dog walkers, eager to uncover treasures tossed by the tides.

While its clandestine charm offers spectacular sunrise and sunset vistas for photographers, those venturing to its waters should be wary of the occasional debris and glass.

With its proximity to Wilmington, and a scenic walkway stretching to Battery Park, this unsung beach offers a raw, unspoiled experience for the more adventurous soul.

2. North East Beach

Turkey Point Lighthouse, at Elk Neck State Park, Maryland.
Source: dreamstime
  • Distance from Wilmington: 34 miles
  • Activities: swimming, sunbathing, picnicking, kayaking, boating, canoeing, camping
  • Facilities: restroom, showers, picnic tables, grills, shelters, parking, playground, shops, pet-friendly

Located 34 miles away, North East Beach is the nearest swimming beach to Wilmington that offers more than just sand and shore.

This slice of Elk Neck State Park, where freshwater channels merge into the top of Chesapeake Bay, ensures a near-absence of jellyfish, making for safer and more pleasant swims.

Active visitors will appreciate the canoe and kayak hand-launch area, while those seeking relaxation can bask on the shores or indulge in a picnic.

While many enjoy the beach’s calm and warm waters, remember to bring water shoes to counter the rocky shores.

The area boasts ample amenities, from picnic tables to grills and restrooms with cold-water showers.

Group picnic shelters can accommodate large parties, though reservations are a must.

Whether it’s observing eagles in action, swimming, or simply unwinding, North East Beach offers a refreshing break for everyone.

3. Augustine Beach

  • Distance from Wilmington: 20 miles
  • Activities: fishing, crabbing, boating, beachcombing, kayaking
  • Facilities: restrooms, parking, boat ramp, kayak, trails

Situated on the west bank of the Delaware River, Augustine Beach is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts.

Only 20 miles away from Wilmington, this picturesque locale beckons with its dual beaches flanking a state-managed boat ramp.

Anglers converge here, enticed by the promise of striped bass, white perch, and the occasional summer flounder.

Those preferring calm currents can wade into the water, taking in panoramic views, including the Salem I power plant’s cooling tower, which creates an industrial contrast to the otherwise pristine vista.

Visitors can also indulge in bird-watching or set off on sandy walking trails.

For convenience, the beach offers ample parking, port-a-potties, and a boat launch for those wanting to traverse deeper waters.

Whether you’re casting a line, launching a kayak, or just soaking up the sun, Augustine Beach promises a delightful escape, but swimming here isn’t popular.

4. Betterton Beach

Betterton Beach in Maryland
Source: wikimedia/CC BY-SA 3.0
  • Distance from Wilmington: 52 miles
  • Activities: swimming, sunbathing, fishing, picnicking, kayaking, kayaking, beach volleyball, canoeing
  • Facilities: restrooms, parking, playground, lifeguards, picnic areas, concession stand, boardwalk

A 52-mile drive from Wilmington, lies the serene Betterton Beach—a hidden gem on the shores of Chesapeake Bay.

Spread over 5.2 acres, this waterfront park is a tranquil haven for sun-seekers and families.

Whether you’re looking to volley at the beachside court, cast a line from the stone fishing jetty, or launch a boat for a day on the water, Betterton has you covered.

Amenities such as a bathhouse and the Mary Roe Walkup Picnic Pavilion ensure a comfortable stay, while concessions during the summer keep hunger at bay.

Canine friends must sit this one out, as dogs aren’t permitted on the sands. For beachgoers, the call of Betterton is hard to resist.

5. Bowers Beach

Bowers Beach Delaware
Source: flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0
  • Distance from Wilmington: 62 miles
  • Activities: swimming, sunbathing, fishing, picnicking, kayaking, paddleboarding, beachcombing, boating
  • Facilities: restrooms, parking, picnic areas, boat ramp

Nestled 62 miles from Wilmington, the coastal haven of Bowers Beach is the epitome of “small town, big possibilities.”

As one of Delaware’s Quaint Villages, Bowers Beach is not just a sunbather’s paradise but an ecotourism hotspot.

From the rich history preserved in the Bowers Beach Maritime Museum to the pristine shores ideal for shore fishing, kayaking, and paddleboarding, this beach offers more than just a day by the sea.

After exploring the beach, those craving a gourmet break can enjoy the town’s eateries serving the freshest seafood.

For a rejuvenating escape that feels miles away but is right next door, Bowers Beach promises an unparalleled coastal experience.

Note that dogs aren’t allowed on Bowers Beach beach between May 1st and September 30th.

6. Pickering Beach

Horseshoe Crab in Delaware
Source: dreamstime
  • Distance from Wilmington: 58 miles
  • Activities: fishing, picnicking, kayaking, beachcombing
  • Facilities: restrooms, parking, dog-friendly

Nestled about an hour’s drive south of Wilmington, Pickering Beach is Delaware Bay’s best-kept secret for nature enthusiasts.

Located just off Route 9 on Pickering Beach Road, this tranquil sanctuary serves as an essential breeding ground for the venerable horseshoe crab.

Every spring, these ancient creatures emerge en masse, drawing both migratory birds like the red knot and awe-struck visitors.

As a bay beach, it’s tailored for leisurely activities such as kayaking, boating, and fishing.

While swimming isn’t recommended, the beach is perfect for low-tide strolls.

However, potential visitors should note its rustic charm means fewer amenities; it’s a carry-in, carry-out location with limited public parking.

And for those with four-legged companions? They’ll find Pickering Beach a serene, dog-friendly escape.

7. Fortescue Beach

Photo looking south along Fortescue Beach in the unincorporated Downe Township, New Jersey community of Fortescue.
Source: wikimedia/CC BY-SA 3.0
  • Distance from Wilmington: 51 miles
  • Activities: sunbathing, fishing, picnics, kayaking, boating, beachcombing
  • Facilities: lodging, parking, local dining, pet-friendly

Nestled along the Delaware Bay, Fortescue Beach is a fun and versatile destination, 51 miles from Wilmington.

A scenic journey through New Jersey’s marshlands and countryside transports you to this tranquil spot, known to many as the “Weakfish Capital of the World.”

Its pristine shoreline stretches for half a mile, offering unspoiled views and an array of natural wonders, from migratory birds to the annual horseshoe crab spawning spectacle.

Families seeking a quiet escape will appreciate its crowd-free sands and calm waters.

For the adventurous, the local party boat, The Bonanza II, offers daily fishing excursions.

While amenities may be sparse, the beach’s rustic charm and pet-friendly stance are unmatched.

And as the sun sets, it reveals a panorama that is truly breathtaking.

Just like many locations near Wilmington, Fortescue Beach is excellent for fishing, finding sea glass, and spotting wildlife, but not many are brave enough to swim here.

8. Atlantic City Beach

The Steel Pier at Atlantic City in New Jersey
Source: dreamstime
  • Distance from Wilmington: 86 miles
  • Activities: swimming, sunbathing, fishing, surfing, bodyboarding, kitesurfing, volleyball, frisbee
  • Facilities: restrooms, showers, beach bars, chair & umbrella rentals, lifeguards, parking, accommodation, restaurants

Tucked away in New Jersey’s bustling Atlantic City, the storied Atlantic City Beach beckons with a blend of relaxation and vibrancy.

This historic stretch, also known as Caspian Avenue Beach, not only offers a tranquil escape with its calm waves – perfect for swimming and kayaking – but also a hub of energetic activities.

Enthusiasts can indulge in surfing, windsurfing, parasailing, and fishing, while families find delight in bodyboarding and wave jumping.

Adjacent to the beach, the iconic boardwalk teems with myriad stores, ranging from quaint boutiques to saltwater taffy stands.

Ensuring a safe dip, lifeguards vigilantly monitor the shores during the summer months.

Moreover, amenities like showers and changing rooms enhance the beach-going experience.

Nestled close to attractions like the Atlantic City Aquarium and Absecon Lighthouse, this beach promises a holistic Atlantic City adventure.

9. Brigantine Beach

A lifeguard boat on the beach in Brigantine, New Jersey with a blue sky on a sunny day.
Source: dreamstime
  • Distance from Wilmington: 90 miles
  • Activities: swimming, sunbathing, surfing, fishing, kayaking, paddleboarding, beach volleyball
  • Facilities: restrooms, showers, lifeguards, parking, playgrounds, bike rentals, boat ramps, on-beach parking

Located just north of Atlantic City lies Brigantine Beach, an idyllic seaside treasure known for its serene ambiance juxtaposed against the backdrop of its bustling neighbor.

A two-hour drive from Wilmington, it’s still cab be considered as a day-trip destination.

Stretching across miles of coastline, the beach is characterized by its soft sands, perfect for sunbathing, and crystalline waters that beckon surfers, swimmers, and sandcastle builders alike.

For those seeking more engaging activities, the Marine Mammal Stranding Center and the iconic Brigantine Lighthouse offer both entertainment and education.

Seafood aficionados can satiate their cravings at local eateries, while shopaholics will find a haven in the myriad boutiques dotting the island.

Although this beach requires Beach Badges, it stretches for miles and offers a unique opportunity to park right by the water.

With an array of amenities to complement its natural allure, Brigantine Beach is truly “an island you’ll love for life.”

10. Ocean City Beach

People enjoy the beach along the coastline in Ocean City, New Jersey, USA
Source: dreamstime
  • Distance from Wilmington: 89 miles
  • Activities: swimming, sunbathing, fishing, picnics, kayaking, paddleboarding, surfing, beach volleyball, biking
  • Facilities: restrooms, showers, parking, playground, lifeguards, boardwalk, mini golf, rentals, dining

An 89-mile drive from Wilmington, Ocean City boasts eight miles of pristine oceanfront beaches, earning its title as “America’s Greatest Family Resort.”

Situated less than two hours away, this beach is an idyllic escape for families and beach lovers alike.

Ocean City isn’t just about swimming and sunbathing – it offers a myriad of activities from surfing to shell hunting.

The lively boardwalk is lined with numerous restaurants, shops, and amusement parks.

Accessibility is paramount here, ensuring everyone, regardless of mobility, can enjoy the offerings.

While dogs are welcome most of the year, they’re restricted from May 1 to Sept. 30.

Prioritising safety, visitors are reminded to swim only at guarded beaches and adhere to various guidelines, including no smoking, no alcohol, and no fires.

With countless amenities and activities, Ocean City is the beach destination not to be missed this season.

11. Sea Isle City Beach

Sea Isle City, NJ - May 13, 2021: Gazebo on the promenade at the Jersey shore beach
Source: dreamstime
  • Distance from Wilmington: 78 miles
  • Activities: swimming, sunbathing, fishing, kayaking, paddleboarding, beachcombing, beach volleyball, surfing
  • Facilities: restrooms, showers, parking, playground, restaurants, lifeguards, rentals, dining

A 90-minute drive southeast from Wilmington lies Sea Isle City, a picturesque coastal retreat in Cape May County.

Esteemed for its family-centered aura, this beach offers an expansive list of activities: morning yoga sessions, surfing, kayaking, and beach volleyball to name a few.

Anglers delight in the pristine waters, while beachcombers revel in the sunrise-lit sands.

The beach’s facilities cater to every need, from clean restrooms and playful playgrounds to beach tags at just $5.

The promenade buzzes with shops, eateries, and breathtaking ocean views.

And for dog-enthusiasts? Sea Isle extends a paw of friendship, welcoming furry companions but only off-season.

This haven promises more than just sand and surf, it’s a fun and iconic destination for all.

12. Lewes Beach

Cape Henlopen State Park Public Beach aka Lewes Beach in Delaware
Source: flickr/CC BY 2.0
  • Distance from Wilmington: 90 miles
  • Activities: swimming, sunbathing, fishing, picnicking, kayaking, paddleboarding, camping, beachcombing, hiking, biking, bonfires (with permit)
  • Facilities: restrooms, showers, picnic areas, parking, playground, dining, rentals

Located 90 miles from Wilmington, Lewes Beach offers an idyllic Delaware Bay getaway.

Forming a picturesque arc, this beach area boasts distinct zones like Roosevelt Inlet, Savannah Beach, and the family-favorite Johnnie Walker Beach, among others.

Those visiting can revel in the safety measures; lifeguards patrol from Memorial Day to Labor Day, marking their territory with flags on the sand and buoys in the water.

The amenities cater to all, from Mobi-Mats ensuring accessibility to bathhouses providing year-round facilities.

Beachgoers, especially families, appreciate the calm waves perfect for paddleboarding and the minimal presence of jellyfish.

Parking? While it’s metered from May to September, the rates are reasonable, and many have found spots with a little patience.

Whether you’re looking to engage in activities like volleyball or simply relax by the sea, Lewes Beach promises an all-round seaside experience.

13. Rehoboth Beach

Rehoboth Beach
Source: unsplash
  • Distance from Wilmington: 93 miles
  • Activities: swimming, sunbathing, fishing, kayaking, paddleboarding, kiteboarding, surfing, shopping
  • Facilities: restrooms, showers, wheelchair rentals, parking, playground, dog-friendly, boardwalk, amusements, lifeguards

Located 93 miles from Wilmington, Rehoboth Beach, affectionately dubbed the “Nation’s Summer Capital,” beckons visitors with its captivating charm.

This Delaware gem flaunts a picturesque mile-long boardwalk teeming with eclectic shops, gourmet eateries, and family-oriented amusements, a testament to its standing as one of the East Coast’s top beaches.

Sun seekers relish the expansive sandy shores, with vigilant lifeguards ensuring safe frolics in the waves.

Furry companions, too, find a haven in specific dog-friendly zones (Dewey Beach).

The town bustles year-round, hosting festivals and events against the scenic backdrop of its boardwalk.

Those craving a blend of outdoor adventures and cultural pursuits will be spoilt for choice, from nearby nature trails to vibrant summer concerts.

Amenities like ample parking – albeit competitive in peak season – and diverse accommodation options further enhance the allure of this coastal retreat.

14. Dewey Beach

a pier with a lovely restaurant near Dewey Beach in Delaware
Source: unsplash
  • Distance from Wilmington: 93 miles
  • Activities: swimming, sunbathing, fishing, picnics, kayaking, paddleboarding, windsurfing, jet-skiing, live music
  • Facilities: restrooms, showers, picnic tables, parking, playground, restaurants, dog-friendly, accommodations

Nestled along Delaware’s Atlantic coast, just an hour and a half drive from Wilmington, lies the vibrant and picturesque Dewey Beach.

Known for its eclectic charm, this sun-kissed paradise offers more than just sand and surf.

A haven for both water enthusiasts and party-goers, Dewey Beach bursts with activities ranging from paddleboarding to electrifying live music at renowned spots like the Rusty Rudder.

Its nightlife is reputed as the best in the state, making it the go-to for the young at heart.

Families aren’t left out, with events like beach movies and communal bonfires.

One distinctive feature is its dog-friendly policies, allowing furry friends to revel in beach fun during specific hours.

However, visitors should be prepared; parking, often metered, becomes competitive in summer.

Whether seeking adrenaline or relaxation, Dewey Beach promises unforgettable memories.

15. Delaware Seashore State Park

Delaware Seashore State Park
Source: depositphotos
  • Distance from Wilmington: 97 miles
  • Activities: swimming, sunbathing, fishing, picnics, kayaking, paddleboarding, camping, beachcombing, boating, hiking, biking
  • Facilities: restrooms, showers, picnic areas, parking, playground, restaurants, lifeguard, cottages, campgrounds

A two-hour drive southeast from Wilmington, lies a coastal treasure: Delaware Seashore State Park.

As you make your journey, the serene Atlantic coastline gradually unfolds, revealing six miles of pristine ocean and 20 miles of bay shoreline.

Nestled between the bustling towns of Bethany Beach and Rehoboth Beach, this haven offers a quieter, more natural retreat.

Beachgoers will be thrilled with the myriad of activities available.

From the avid angler casting a line from the inlet’s rock jetties to adventure-seekers diving into water sports, there’s something for everyone.

Nature enthusiasts can tread more than seven miles of trails, spotting local wildlife and rare birds.

As for amenities, Delaware Seashore has it all: modern restrooms, showers, and even concession stands for when hunger strikes.

So whether you’re seeking a day of sunbathing or an active adventure, this state park promises an unforgettable experience.

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