We present to you … Bethany Beach

Bethany Beach will forever hold a special place in my heart. Like the majority of people who interact with the town, my first memories of Bethany were family vacations every summer as a youth. My grandmother had access to a timeshare in town through her job for one week a summer, and we all would flock to the beach to play in the ocean, make our own sundaes and just simply enjoy the company of one another without any outside distractions.

The place was pure magic to us kids, and judging by the constant smile on my parents’ faces throughout the week, the magic was not exclusive to children. The town had a slower pace than neighbors like Ocean City or Rehoboth Beach, and it was conducive to families spending quality time with one another without the headaches that often accompany vacations.

Of course, that was many years ago.

What you have today is... well, in many ways, the same place. Bethany Beach has maintained the quaint, small-town feel it had back when my family first started coming here in the early 1970s. The beaches are clean. The shops and restaurants have unique flairs to them. And people typically greet you with a smile as you pass them walking down Garfield Parkway.

Oh, some of those old, cool cottages are long gone now, and there have been modernization efforts on both the residential and business sides of the town, but much remains the same.

And that is a comfort.

As we put together research for this book — as well as the work we did a few years ago on our comprehensive look back at the Storm of ’62 — it became clearly evident to us that the seismic shift in the town of Bethany Beach’s face indeed took place in the aftermath of that storm. 

The storm leveled the town. The people of the community rebuilt it better than it was before. And life has marched on from that point.

We’ve seen beach replenishment efforts, a ban on public smoking, a controversial new hotel project, headaches over a downtown roads effort and public infighting between townspeople and those who operate the town’s government — and that’s just in the 10-plus years we’ve been in business at the Coastal Point.

Yet Bethany Beach continues on, both as a haven for those who wish to collect memories through their beach vacations, and those who have decided to make this place their homes.

With the vast majority of the town built up, and not much more room to grow barring incorporation of neighboring areas, the future of Bethany Beach looks to stay similar to what we see today.

And that’s a good thing.

— By Darin J. McCann