Bethany: Best beach for families, best boardwalk food

Date Published: 
June 21, 2013

Bethany Beach received a pair of informal accolades this week, named among Family Vacation Critic’s (familyvacationcritic.com) “10 Best Beaches for Families in 2013” and by the Daily Meal (thedailymeal.com) as having one of the “Best Boardwalks for Food.”

Family Vacation Critic’s list featured beach towns from around the country, including Nevada, California and Hawaii, based on criteria suggested by its readers.

“Nearly half of all families consider the cleanliness of a beach to be the most significant quality, according to our survey. Other important factors include safe waters with a lifeguard on duty, and nearby restaurants, accommodations and entertainment,” according to the Web site, published by online travel specialist the Independent Traveler Inc., a subsidiary of TripAdvisor LLC. They described the chosen locations as “well worth your next family trip.”

Family Vacation Critic noted that Bethany consistently appears on many “Best Beaches” lists, though they said it “is often overlooked. It shouldn’t be,” they said.

“Families find the beach to be safe; several lifeguards patrol the area, and the waves are generally calm and free of debris. … Many families rave about Bethany’s non-commercialized boardwalk and town. It’s quaint and charming, with restaurants, shops and galleries. Other attractions include the walking trails near Bethany Beach Nature Center and Captain Jack’s Pirate Golf.”

The other beaches on the site’s “10 Best” list include: Beach Haven, Beach Haven, N.J.; Coquina Beach, Nags Head, N.C.; Coronado Central Beach, Coronado, Calif.; Fort De Soto Park, St. Petersburg, Fla.; Poipu Beach Park, Koloa, Hawaii; Sand Harbor Beach, Incline Village, Nev.; Siesta Beach, Siesta Key, Fla.; Skaket Beach, Orleans, Mass.; and Stewart Beach on Galveston Island, Texas.

Bethany Beach was also named to The Daily Meal’s list of a double-dozen food-fantasy-friendly boardwalks, along with nearby Rehoboth Beach and Ocean City, Md., as well as destinations on the Jersey shore and around the country.

“We chose the top 25 boardwalks around the country, based on reflection of region, price and quality of ingredients. Expect plenty of fried delights, cavity-inducing confections and foods on a stick,” they noted. “Whether you’re taking a daylong retreat from the rigors of the working world or a weeklong vacation with the kids, these boardwalks are the places to indulge with abandon.”

While there are a plethora of foodie favorites and sweet-tooth centrals in Bethany, the site singled out Bethany’s Candy Kitchen, along with Rehoboth Beach’s Dolle’s and the healthier-food-focused GreenMan Juice Bar.

“Who needs a bikini body when there’s a confectionary like Candy Kitchen on the boardwalk?” they argued of the Bethany sweet shop. “Splurge on decadent hand-dipped chocolate-covered pretzels, tiramisu truffles or pistachio fudge. Your diet can start tomorrow.”

In Rehoboth, quirky sandwich selections also met with menu approval.

“With witty menu items like The Bellydancer wrap (curried couscous with chickpeas, tofu, carrot, raisins, green onion, and yogurt) and the Naked Hippie sandwich (chickpea spread, cucumber, tomato, Cheddar cheese, organic greens, and Dijon mustard), GreenMan Juice Bar is the destination for all-natural, guilt-free boardwalk noshes. Candy lovers should head to Dolle’s for caramel popcorn or gummies sold by the pound,” they said.

In Ocean City, the boardwalk food aficionados declared, “It’ll be difficult to pick just one kind of hand-dipped donut from Fractured Prune, where 15 glazes and 11 toppings combine to form specialty flavors like Pebble Beach (glaze, cinnamon, sugar, and mini chocolate chips) and Morning Buzz (mocha plus crushed Oreos). For a salt fix, grab a fistful of Thrasher’s hand-cut vinegar fries. For a taste of the sea, try the blue crabs at Mug & Mallet.”

The other cuisine-conscious boardwalk selections in the list included: Coney Island Beach & Boardwalk, Brooklyn, N.Y.; Atlantic City Boardwalk, Atlantic City, N.J.; Jersey Shore Boardwalk, Ocean City, N.J.; Ocean Front Walk, Venice Beach, Calif.; Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Santa Cruz, Calif.; Seaside Heights Boardwalk, Seaside Heights, N.J.; Carolina Beach Boardwalk, Carolina Beach, N.C.; Hampton Beach Boardwalk, Hampton Beach, N.H.; Disney’s BoardWalk, Orlando, Fla.; Myrtle Beach Boardwalk and Promenade, Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Rockaway Beach Boardwalk, Queens, N.Y.; Hollywood Beach Boardwalk, Hollywood, Fla.; Navy Pier, Chicago; Mission Beach Boardwalk, San Diego, Calif.; Long Beach Boardwalk, Long Beach, Calif.; The Boardwalk Shops at The Newport Pier, Newport Beach, Calif.; Ontario Beach Park, Rochester, N.Y.; Huron Boardwalk, Saint Ignace, Mich.; Wildwood Boardwalk, Wildwood, N.J.; Old Orchard Beach Pier, Old Orchard Beach, Maine; and Kemah Boardwalk, Kemah, Texas.

Despite that celebration of oceanfront epicurean delight, Bethany Beach managed to receive an honorable mention from the State of Delaware last week for its efforts toward a healthier community, including access to healthy foods and exercise opportunities. (See Page ???)

Travel + Leisure magazine named Bethany Beach one of its “Best Secret Beaches on Earth” for 2012, describing it as “an all-American destination — and one of T+L’s Favorite Family Beaches.”