Bethany Beach is no longer a secret paradise to the world
Bethany Beach, Del. was recently named one of the “Best Secret Beaches on Earth” by Travel and Leisure magazine and one of their “Favorite Family Beaches.”
Yes, that’s on the entire Earth.
U.S. Sen. Thomas Carper (D-Del.) was in town on April 6 to start the Easter weekend by highlighting Bethany’s international recognition with help from Bethany Beach Mayor Tony McClenney and Bethany-Fenwick Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Carrie Subity.
With a group of beachgoers stopping to observe the event, Carper jokingly said, “I thought this was supposed to be a secret,” before he noted that this wasn’t the first time Delaware beaches have been recognized.
Last July, Rehoboth Beach and Dewey Beach were honored by Delaware officials following the release of a National Resource Defense Council (NRDC) report that named them as “superstar” beaches. They were featured nationally following a review of U.S. beaches that rated them based on various criteria, including beach water quality and the level of protection offered to beachgoers through notifications about water quality.
Rehoboth and Dewey were two of only four beaches, among 200 beaches nationwide, to be awarded recognition above and beyond five-star status from the NRDC, a non-partisan international environmental advocacy group.
Now, it’s Bethany’s turn in the spotlight.
David Keeps of Travel and Leisure magazine wrote of the town, “A boardwalk with a bandstand and a frozen custard shop, a landmark carved totem pole, and a sophisticated miniature golf course add up to an all-American destination — and one of T+L’s Favorite Family Beaches.
“Known as the Quiet Resorts, Bethany Beach and Fenwick Island offer seven miles of Atlantic Ocean for swimming, as well as a sheltered bay for boating and fishing, minus the hubbub of nearby towns Rehoboth Beach, Del., and Ocean City, Md.”
Carper spoke of the other things Delaware is known for, such as agriculture and its chemical industry, but he said tourism is a frontrunner in what the state has to offer.
“And it starts and ends with the beaches,” he said. Giving a nod to several people who had stopped to listen – both sets of families from cities in Maryland – he said, “They came here for this, not chicken or the Nylon industry.”
McClenny said he “didn’t even know [Bethany Beach] was here in 1982,” and 12 years ago, came to “spend a week.” Now, he’s a full-time resident and the town’s mayor.
He thanked the senator for his help with beach replenishment, surmising that in recent years replenishment has helped the town avoid another storm of ’62, the infamous Ash Wednesday storm that wiped out nearly every beachfront structure in the town and that – for those who were there – remains in the forefront of their minds as a once-in-a-lifetime storm experience.
Replenishment and construction of a new dune have already been credited with preventing damage in more recent storms.
Subity thanked the senator for helping to recognize “our wonderful secret beach.”
Bethany Beach was one of four U.S. beaches so recognized. The full list included: Todos Santos, Baja California Sur, Mexico; Puako, Big Island, Hawaii; Ibo Island, Mozambique; Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam; Salema, Portugal; Palm Beach, Barbuda; Cirali Beach, Turkey; Koh Lanta, Thailand; Grand Haven, Michigan; Lord Howe Island, Australia; Pyla-sur-Mer, France; Cayucos, Calif.; Panglao Island, Philippines, and Alagoas, Brazil.