Last week we went on our summer beach vacation to our favorite destination- Bethany Beach, DE. I went on this trek with my hubby, 3 teens, 2 dogs, and my mom. I decided before we went I wanted to spend the week driving around Bethany and surrounding area – Millville- Ocean View – Frankford – and others – so we could get a feel of where we might want to live one day (hopefully sooner than later) and I just wanted to really see the area. There is a lot to it.
I have been coming to vacation in Bethany Beach for 45 years but I didn’t really know the area very well. When you have just a short week at the beach it is usually spent sitting for hours by the ocean reading and then hitting a great eating spot for dinner. The area has grown enormously over the years as many people took advantage of Delaware’s low taxes and cost of living. I had not spent a lot of time seeing what was really around bc I was trying to soak up as much beach as I could. This time it was different bc my husband and I really want to live in that area and it is important while visiting to tool around in the car and see what the different areas offer.
So on Tuesday my mom, and husband – Kevin, and I took off in the car and drove and drove for a couple hours. The area isn’t huge so we saw a lot. Armed with GPS and Google maps I navigated(I love to do this so much) us around through different neighborhoods. At one point we came across a park -called the James Farm Ecological Preserve -that I had never seen before. I got out to take a look at the trail maps- I love maps- and I saw that the trails led through some forest to a beach on the Indian River Bay. It seemed like a cool place to hangout so after more neighborhood exploring, we headed back home to drop my mom off- get some kids and a dog and go back to this park to explore.
The Bethany Beach area (inc. areas to the west of Route 1) has Ocean to the East and two bays to the north and south. Indian River Bay is to the north this bay feeds into the Rehoboth Bay further north and Little Assawoman Bay is to the south near Fenwick, DE. Another great town just north of Ocean City Md. Here is a map link of the Delaware shore so you can get a better feel of the area. The Delaware shore is also home to incredible shoreline state parks(Fenwick Island State Park, Delaware Seashore State Park and Cape Henlopen State Park). These parks have great beaches, fishing and much more. Here is a link to the Delaware state park info.
When we got back to the park it was later afternoon. We picked a trail that was more woodsy. Fifty feet in we were enveloped in trees and the peace of the place was palpable. It was hard to believe that this trail would lead to a sandy beach on the bay! The walk was lovely and though it seemed like we might be in the woods forever soon enough we came upon the end of the trail and to a boardwalk that had an arrow that pointed to the beach. I think the walk to the beach took less than 15 minutes from the parking lot. When we walked out to the beach we were met with very shallow water. There were some people just standing way out in less than waist deep water talking…some were collecting oysters. It was pretty cool. With the tide out the shallow area lasted for 50 yards or so. The water was clear so you could see the seaweed floating below along with small fish that jumped in and out of the water. It was peaceful.
I am not sure this is a well know place by visitors to the beach. It was very quiet and empty. A vast difference to the July beach scene on the ocean in Bethany! The best part dogs are allowed anytime. Bethany has a strict no dog rule on the beach from mid-may to end of September. The state parks allow dogs and some of the other Delaware beaches have less stringent rules allowing dogs on the beach before and after main beach hours. So to find this quiet place that allows dogs was great.
We spent about 30 minutes on the beach and then headed back to the car via another more direct trail. All trails were easy flat walks. I plan to visit again but next time with a beach chair, a book, sunscreen, and my dog….
Thanks for reading…..
More about the preserve: http://www.inlandbays.org/visit-us-james-farm-ecological-preserve/