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A Brief History of the Delaware Beaches

The Delaware Beaches along the Delaware coast is a very popular vacation destination. But you may wonder how these beach communities developed. Here’s a little bit of the history behind the Rehoboth, Bethany, and Dewey Beaches in Delaware.  

Rehoboth Beach: From Church Camp to Resort Town

When the first European settlers arrived in the area, it is said that this area was one of the main Mid-Atlantic fishing villages for Native Americans. However, modern developments have wiped away any evidence that such a village may have existed.

The city was first founded as a church camp association. When the church group disbanded, it was incorporated as Henlopen City. Later it was renamed Rehoboth Beach which was the name originally given to the city by the church group. Interestingly, Rehoboth is a location named in the Old Testament, which means “broad spaces” in Hebrew.

Bethany Beach: A Quiet Community Withstands Multiple Disasters

You may recognize Bethany as another Biblical name (from the New Testament this time). This city was also founded by a minister. Prior to 1950, this was a quiet little community. But growth began not long after the end of the second World War. The Chesapeake Bay Bridge made the beach community easily accessible to the residents of the nation’s capital, causing a population boom.

A devastating storm brought ruin in 1962. But development was resumed starting with a new post office and bank. Several hurricanes and nor’easters have damaged the area. But the residents were not deterred, and development continued, even until today. In 2011, Bethany Beach imposed a smoking, including nearly all of the boardwalk and beach areas.

Dewey Beach: A Way of Life

This is the most popular beach in Delaware, although you wouldn’t know it from the town’s population; 300-or-so residents. At peak season, 30,000 people descend on Dewey Beach and it’s many eateries. Only recently incorporated in 1981, Dewey beach is a popular family vacation spot and has adopted the motto: “Dewey Beach, a way of life.”


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