Planning a Trip
By Car -- Whether you're approaching from points north or south, it is best to take Route 113 and to avoid the frequently crowded Route 1 -- particularly in July and August. To reach Bethany Beach, take Route 26 east at Dagsboro; to reach Fenwick Island from the north, take Route 20 south (just outside of Dagsboro); and to get to Fenwick from the south, turn west on Route 54 at Selbyville. From the west, take Route 50 across the Bay Bridge to Route 404 east, then turn south on Route 113 and follow the directions above.
By Bus -- Bus service is no longer available here. Greyhound (tel. 800/229-9424; www.greyhound.com) does provide bus service to Ocean City.
By Plane -- Visitors arriving by plane can fly into the Salisbury-Ocean City Wicomico Regional Airport.
The Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce (tel. 800/962-SURF or 302/539-2100; www.bethany-fenwick.org) is on Route 1, adjacent to the Fenwick Island State Park. It publishes a helpful booklet called The Quiet Resorts and stocks plenty of brochures. It's open year-round, Monday through Friday from 9am to 5pm, Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 4pm. Bethany's Town Hall, 214 Garfield Pkwy. (tel. 302/539-8011), also has brochures and a small museum telling the story of Bethany's origins.
Since Bethany Beach and Fenwick Island are within 5 miles of each other, most people take a car, but bikes and inline skates are also useful. All motels provide free guest parking; most restaurants also have access to parking for customers. Many Bethany and Fenwick streets are subject to metered or permit parking, and the rules are strictly enforced. Bethany's meters are enforced mid-May through mid-September from 10am to 11pm. Tip: Forget Bethany's meters -- just stop at the kiosk for a parking permit. These run $7 a day or $47 a week and eliminate the need to keep the meters fed all day. The kiosk and a couple of change machines around town will also make change.
Once you park the car, you can get around Bethany Beach (but not to Sea Colony or South Bethany) via the Beach Trolley. It costs a quarter to ride and runs from 9:30am to 10pm.
If it weren't for the little signs in the median on Route 1, you'd never know there were three communities here. But officially, there are: Bethany Beach, South Bethany, and Fenwick Island. North of the town of Fenwick is the Fenwick Island State Park, all beach and parking lot with no restaurants, shops, or hotels. Fenwick Island is like a hyphen, connecting Ocean City to Delaware. Traveling north from O.C., you'll hardly know you've left the state.
Head north to Bethany Beach and its quieter, all-residential neighbor, South Bethany. Bethany Beach is home to a small shopping area and boardwalk. Between the two is the huge condo resort called Sea Colony. Bethany and South Bethany have public beaches; Sea Colony's are private.
The Bethany Beach Boardwalk Arts Festival (tel. 302/539-2100), a juried festival of fine arts and crafts, is held the Saturday after Labor Day from 10am to 5pm. In late September, join in the Make-a-Wish Sea Colony Triathlon (www.midatlantic.wish.org) or just cheer on the athletes. The Fall Surf-Fishing Tournament is held in October; the Spring Surf-Fishing Tournament takes place on a weekend in early May. For information, call tel. 302/539-2100.