Located directly on the Atlantic Ocean with nearly a mile of beachfront open to the public, Bethany Beach is a very family-oriented. You’ll know you’ve arrived when you see Chief Little Owl — the 24-foot-tall wooden sculpture paying homage to the Nanticoke Nation -standing at the intersection of Route 1, the coastal highway, with Route 26, the main access road from the west.
While there, note the octagonal shape of the Town Hall roof, which mirrors that of the nearby Church, which was established by the Town’s founding citizens. Town Hall houses our Town Museum and Children’s Theatre and provides a venue for our Town Council to work out amicable solutions to our public policy issues. Be sure to take time to observe the beautiful flowers brightening the median and surrounding locations.
Bethany’s boardwalk is only 3/8 of a mile long but, as the Town’s annual Events Calendar stresses, “it provides us and our many visitors miles and miles of fun and exercise.” The Boardwalk presents opportunities both for walkers and for those who want to join in the seasonal morning exercise classes, as well as the chance to buy a variety of beach food treats and Bethany-themed T-shirts.
At the Boardwalk’s center is the renowned Bandstand, the site during the summer of weekend and other evening performances by a variety of performers — some famous, some not; some alive, some not- all of whom provide free entertainment all summer long! A sadder event is the famous Labor Day late afternoon New Orleans style Jazz Funeral, lamenting the “death of summer.”
Getting around is made easier by the two quaint trolley cars that run throughout our small town all summer (and charge only 25 cents a ride!) and the available handicap-friendly big-wheeled beach-access chairs. Things you may want to see near the beach are the summer Sunday morning Farmers’ Market and the two Arts/Craft Festivals. Slightly further away is the historical marker and peaceful park at the Loop Canal, where a hundred years ago a steamboat, after dropping off those who had arrived by train in Rehoboth, made its circular turn to head back north (it couldn’t back up).
Farther away are the excellent South Coastal Library (on Kent Avenue), where you can participate in varied educational programs for all ages, and the tranquil Nature Center (out Route 26), where you can walk along an elevated boardwalk out into a wetlands area. Throughout the Town is a full range of eating experiences, from the best beach fries to elegant fine dining and everything in between.
Of course, if you are here over the 4th of July you can watch, or participate in, our delightful Annual Parade – it features not only the usual bands, fire trucks and dignitaries but also informal entries of all sizes and kinds, from hundreds of kids on decorated bicycles to numerous floats that reflect the enthusiasm and imagination of our residents, visitors and businesses. And what would the 4th be without our superb fireworks launched from the beach at dusk?