The Most Expensive Beaches in Delaware to Buy a Second Home

Written by Katarina Betterton
Updated: September 12, 2023
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So you want to buy a second home in the First State?

Delaware has long been a landmark of America despite being its second-smallest state. If you’re looking to buy a second home that offers the enticing draw of a beach vacation, as well as proximity to major cities, consider buying on one of Delaware’s beaches.

Though the price tags seem hefty, these homes provide the best of beach and city living to anyone looking for a second home in the Northeast.

What Is the Draw of Delaware?

Last Light on Rehoboth Beach,Delaware

Delaware offers residents more than tranquil beaches.

©Bruce Goerlitz Photo/Shutterstock.com

The biggest draw of living in Delaware is the state’s lack of personal property tax and sales tax. Did you know that social security payments and Railroad Retirement fall under that as well? This alone makes Delaware an attractive second-home destination; especially for Americans nearing retirement age.

Outside of Delaware’s tax laws and its reasonable cost of living, especially compared to other nearby Northeastern states like New York and New Jersey, there is also plenty to do in “The Diamond State.” While lake houses offer tranquility in the mountains, beach houses on the Delaware coast allow their owners to indulge in a plethora of regional activities. With just a few hours’ drive, a second home in Delaware gets you to Baltimore, Maryland, Washington, D.C., and central New Jersey.

At just over 1,000 residents outside of summer months, Bethany Beach has all the charm of a small town with the amenities of a larger metropolitan.

The Most Expensive Beaches in Delaware to Buy a Second Home

Ready to discover the most expensive beaches in Delaware to buy your second home? Here’s a complete list — including their location, charm, and an example home for sale.

Rehoboth Beach

Silver Lake

Locals and tourists enjoy the nearly two hundred acres of recreation fields, playgrounds, grills, fitness courses, walking paths, fishing, and camping at Silver Lake in Rehoboth Beach.

©Dex Sightseeing Photography/Shutterstock.com

Known as the Nation’s Summer Capital, Rehoboth Beach has delighted families, tourists, and locals since its incorporation in 1891. First used as a gateway for those in Washington, D.C. to enjoy beach days in a close town, Rehoboth has morphed into a year-round destination for many. Summer tourism in Rehoboth continues to boom; raising three million people in just a year’s time — from 7,759,000 visitors to 10,010,299.

Rehoboth Beach ranks as the most expensive beach in Delaware to buy a second home for several reasons; one of which is the number of multi-million dollar waterfront homes. These three-level seaside mansions boast minimalist interiors, convenient access to the town and boardwalk, and an opportunity to get involved in the community’s many activities.

Things to Do in Rehoboth

For a town that’s only a mile or so big, Rehoboth doesn’t skimp on activities, attractions, and festivals for its locals. The Rehoboth Boardwalk is a must-do for tourists and a much-loved staple for residents. As for festivals, each year the town hosts many different types, including the Rehoboth Beach Independent Film Festival, the Rehoboth Beach Autumn Jazz Festival, and the Sea Witch Halloween Festival. Don’t forget the town’s summer programming: free concerts hosted by Rehoboth Beach Bandstand.

As a resident, you’ll be able to find and enjoy whatever you’re most passionate about in Rehoboth — be it golf, arts, theater, nature, outdoor recreation, or something else. Rehoboth’s vibrant downtown and surrounding areas offer limitless opportunities to explore your next new hobby.

Home example: 1 and 3 Cullen St. in Rehoboth was listed for $10,999,900 before selling at just over $9 million in 2021. This is an oceanfront home with two homes on a .79-acre lot, built in 1939 by Alexis Felix DuPont. The main house features 7,035 square feet, six fireplaces, a gourmet kitchen, a sauna, and seven bedrooms with ocean views. The 2,922-square-foot guest house has five bedrooms. 

Bethany Beach

Drone photo of Bethany Beach Delaware

Bethany Beach butts up against the Atlantic Ocean.

©Zach Chilelli/Shutterstock.com

If you’re looking for a small town in the off-season, Bethany Beach will likely be a favorite.

At just over 1,000 residents outside of summer months, Bethany Beach has all the charm of a small town with the amenities of a larger metropolitan. The east side of the town, bordered completely by the beach and the Atlantic Ocean, has free access all year. Bethany’s humid subtropical climate allows locals to enjoy mild, cool winters. 

Along with Fenwick Island and North Bethany, Bethany Beach is regarded as one of the quieter beaches on the Delaware coast, thanks in part to the Delaware Seashore State Park in its limits and its history. Amid the creation of railroads in the 1950s, none of the newly-created railroads had train stations or routes that traveled through Bethany Beach. Eager vacationers would instead choose to travel to Rehoboth to the north or Ocean City to the south, as they were both more accessible. 

On the Off-Season

During most of the year, residents of Bethany Beach get involved in their community through the town’s farmer’s market, a public library system, and the nature center. Traveling by trolley is a great way to get around the town between May and mid-September.  

Though the off-season activities offer a more intimate relationship for residents and locals, the town does come alive in the summer. As 15,000 tourists flood the neighborhoods — becoming transplant residents for a few days or the whole summer — the town’s festivals and events charge into overdrive. 

Home example: While no longer available, 30073 Surfside Drive sold for $6,200,000 in March 2022 for good reason. This stunning, eight-bed, eight-bath beachfront home is situated in a private North Bethany community. It offers direct beach access, ocean views, and a luxurious master suite. Enjoy the two-story Great Room, elevator, storm shutters, and bike garage.

Dewey Beach

Delaware Seashore State Park

Small-town vibes and sandy beaches make Dewey Beach an excellent second neighborhood.

©Acroterion / CC BY-SA – License

Dewey Beach is a coastal town favored by many who visit the beach towns of Delaware and takes third place in the list of most expensive beaches in Delaware to buy a second home.

If you thought Bethany Beach was small — think again. Dewey boasts a year-round population of just 300 people. However, the tiny population isn’t surprising when you look at how little land Dewey has. The infamous beach town is barely one mile long and two blocks wide, but it packs a ton of heart into the area it inhabits.

Coastal Highway, also known as Delaware Route 1, is the town’s main street. Lined with bars, restaurants, and seaside shops, the town thrives on the income from tourism season and contently lives normal life outside the summer months. 

Dewey Beach not only hosts over 30,000 tourists during summer weekends, but it’s also a town that cares deeply about its residents and their quality of life. Sleepy and quaint for most of the year, Dewey Beach forgoes its party hat when kids go back to school and opts for other activities: like the Dewey Beach Music Conference for unsigned bands and Greyhounds Reach The Beach — an event that congregates thousands of rescued greyhounds and their owners.

Home example: 1 Beach Ave. in Dewey Beach is currently priced at $4,399,000. At this home, you’ll enjoy unobstructed ocean views, private North Indian Beach access, and multiple outdoor decks. It has six bedrooms, four bathrooms, resort-style amenities, a new roof, new siding, new windows, and new doors.

What Makes Delaware Beaches So Expensive?

Like anywhere else in America, the neighborhood surrounding a home affects the price. Unfortunately for buyers, the neighborhoods in Delaware have stunning amenities and reside close to the Atlantic Ocean. While oceanfront and ocean-view properties carry value within themselves, these amenities drive up the median prices of homes. However, within that price, you’re getting your stunning house — plus all the restaurants, boutiques, parks, artisan vendors, and more in the community. 

The law of supply and demand also influences real estate prices in Delaware’s beach and seaside towns. With a lower cost of living and a lack of property tax, people are beginning to flock to Delaware’s beaches in droves. With a boom in population, Delaware home prices continue to inch upward and maintain the seller market.

Summary of the Most Expensive Beaches in Delaware to Buy a Second Home

RankDelaware BeachHome Price
1Rehoboth Beach$10,999,900
2Bethany Beach$5,590,000
3Dewey Beach$4,399,000
Summary Table of the Most Expensive Beaches in Delaware to Buy a Second Home

Living in Delaware offers great tax benefits, sandy beaches, and a convenient location to other major cities on the East Coast. While tourism season picks up life amid Delaware beaches, it doesn’t change the demand for real estate. Choosing one of the most expensive beaches in Delaware to buy a second home promises sun, sand, fun, and quite the mortgage payment.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © David Kay/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

Katarina is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on dogs, travel, and unique aspects about towns, cities, and countries in the world. Katarina has been writing professionally for eight years. She secured two Bachelors degrees — in PR and Advertising — in 2017 from Rowan University and is currently working toward a Master's degree in creative writing. Katarina also volunteers for her local animal shelter and plans vacations across the globe for her friend group. A resident of Ohio, Katarina enjoys writing fiction novels, gardening, and working to train her three dogs to speak using "talk" buttons.

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