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Fenwick Island State Park
Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
The Quiet Beach
Situated between the popular resort towns of Bethany Beach to the north and Fenwick Island and Ocean City to the south, Fenwick Island State Park is a relaxing escape from the summer crowds. This three-mile stretch of barrier island is a playground of sand, surf, and sun along Delaware's Atlantic coast.
Before the area became a park, the dynamic forces of nature constantly changed the narrow strip of barrier dunes between the Atlantic Ocean and Little Assawoman Bay, keeping the area wild and undeveloped. The area that is Fenwick Island State Park remained largely undisturbed, even as the towns of Bethany Beach and Fenwick Island were established. In 1926, a statewide survey classified the park area as public lands, which were soon assigned to the state Highway Department. Later, during World War II, the park lands were used as part of Delaware's coastal defense system. A concrete observation tower from the war era still stands near the northern boundary of the park.
About Beach Driving
Vehicles may be driven onto the beach for the sole purpose of actively engaging in fishing, in designated areas only. A surf fishing vehicle tag is required to use these areas.
In 1966, the property was assigned to the State Park Commission as a southern section of Delaware Seashore State Park. The area was renamed Fenwick Island State Park in 1981, and is now managed in conjunction with Holts Landing State Park, on the nearby Indian River Bay.
Swimming, Surfing, and Sunbathing
Today, Fenwick Island State Park invites visitors to enjoy 344 acres of peaceful ocean and bay shoreline. Naturally, swimming and sunbathing are popular activities on the ocean side of the park. The white sand beaches gradually slope into the Atlantic, creating a broad swimming area. Lifeguards patrol the swimming beach daily from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, 9am to 5pm. One of the newest features at the park is the modern bathhouse, which offers convenient showers and changing rooms, a gift shop, and a snack food concession. During the summer months, umbrellas, chairs, and rafts may be rented on the beach.
Surfers can catch the big waves at Fenwick Island, too, as the park has one of the few beaches in Delaware with a designated surfing area. The ocean beaches are also a favorite spot for surf fishing. Three dune crossings provide fishing access for vehicles with the proper permit to drive onto the beach. Surf fishing vehicle permits may be purchased at the bathhouse gift shop during the summer, or at the nearby park office at Delaware Seashore State Park.