Bethany Beach

Go here: Bethany Beach is part of the "Quiet Resorts," a seven-mile stretch of beaches including South Bethany and Fenwick Island, just north of Ocean City. Thanks to a beach replenishment project, there's more sand than ever for lounging, but there's also swimming, fishing, surfing, sailing and raft-riding. The boardwalk is lined with shops, restaurants, bars and video arcades, and Captain Jack's Pirate Golf mini-golf course is just two blocks away. Its proximity to Ocean City makes it a popular destination for high school graduates in the spring, so be wary of large crowds in May and June.

Stay here: Bethany Arms Motel and Apartments, 99 Hollywood St., 302-539-9603. For families with children who want to open the back door and run onto the beach, the Bethany Arms is ideal. Two of its four buildings sit oceanfront just behind the boardwalk, and it is less than a block away from the restaurants, shops and bandstand of the Bethany business district. Rooms range from $125 to $250 per night.

Sea Colony, Coastal Highway 1, 800-500-4254, is another option, offering condo rentals with a residential feel, tennis courts and shuttle services. Rates vary.

Eat here: Bethany Blues BBQ Pit, 6 N. Pennsylvania Ave., 302-537-1500. Absolutely no gas or electric heat is used to cook the barbeque at Bethany Blues; instead, a wood smoker called Lil' Reggie is used to cook Angus steaks, pork and chicken over a hickory wood fire. Monday night is All You Can Eat Night, a meal that includes ribs, pulled pork, beef brisket, smoked and pulled chicken, smoked sausage and two sides for $15. The restaurant serves sandwiches for $9 and dinner entrees for $15 to $25.

Catch 54 Fish House, Highway 54, Fenwick Island, 302-436-8600. Take a boat to dinner and feast on seafood at this waterfront restaurant created by TV chef Matthew Haley. Entrees start at $15.95, and the restaurant is open year-round.

Don't miss this: The Boardwalk Bandstand, Boardwalk and Garfield Parkway, 302-539-5484 for event listings. Performances start at 7:30 p.m. Friday to Sunday every weekend. Seating is provided but it fills up fast, so bring your own chair.

Get here: By car, Bethany Beach is about 125 miles away from Baltimore. The fastest route is to go south on Interstate 97 and over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, which takes a little less than three hours.

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