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Delaware Surf Guide: The Best Places to Surf in Delaware

Updated: Oct 9, 2023

Stuck in between the states of New Jersey and Maryland is the tiny state of Delaware.

Not the typical surfing destination, Delaware needs just the right conditions to give a surfer something to play with.

There are many natural occurring obstacles that tend to ruin swells along Delaware’s short stretch of exposed coastline.

That being said, surfing here isn’t impossible. In fact there are plenty of surfers who take on some of Delaware's fun waves.

If you find yourself stuck in Delaware and you absolutely have to surf then we’ll break down all of the best spots to go to.

What’s So Special About Surfing in Delaware?

Waves in Delaware

Delaware needs some perfect conditions in order to produce surfable waves. A big deterrent to incoming swells is its proximity to the continental shelf.

The shelf tends to wreck any sort of ground swell that comes through the area so northeasterly wind swells will be your best bet for good surf.

Delaware’s coastline is pretty straight so there aren't very many opportunities for a good point break or something like that.

So your best bet for good surf is probably the winter when there’s size but also no crowds, just be prepared with a thick wetsuit.

The Surf Culture in Delaware

It’s hard to define a state like Delaware’s surf culture. Let’s just say that surfing isn’t the primary thing to do in Delaware.

Most surfers you’ll meet will be beginners learning to surf on a hot summer day.

That’s not to say there aren’t locals in Delaware because there definitely are, they just may not be as strong as somewhere else on the east coast.

Equipment Needed to Surf in Delaware

During the summer and early fall no cold water gear is necessary. Simply surf the slow rolling waves in your trunks.

However, winter is another story.

Like most of the east coast water temperatures dip into the 40s and a wetsuit with a hood in the 5/4 range is probably best. Then booties and gloves would be ideal as well.

The Best Surf Spots in Delaware

Indian River Inlet

One of the best waves in Delaware is the Indian River Inlet. Despite most of the state being pretty slow in terms of surf, the Indian River Inlet is actually a really good wave.

There’s both a north and south peak on both sides of the inlet.

With the right southeast swell, The Indian River Inlet turns into a hollow wave that’s ideal for tube riding. Another plus of this spot is its ability to handle size when other places are maxed out.

Since it’s one of the best waves in Delaware, it's also one of the most popular. However, it’s mostly experienced surfers so no need to worry about beginners.

Dewey Beach

A pretty standard beach break, Dewey Beach is a classic sandbar beach break.

Like any inconsistent beach break, Dewey Beach has its moments. On the right day it will look like a perfect hollow east coast wave but most days are small mushy slow rolling waves.

It typically needs a southeast swell to give you surfable waves. Since there are better beach breaks along Delaware’s coast, Dewey Beach will most likely be pretty empty and quiet.

Especially during the winter when waves actually have a chance of getting good. Surfers of all abilities should feel welcome here as it's perfect for beginners.

Bethany Beach

Another stretch of sandy beach break, Bethany Beach is a fun place to catch some decent waves.

On the right swell, Bethany Beach is capable of producing some legitimately good waves that are perfect for an east coast tube ride.

The stretch of coastline here is pretty consistent and the sandbars and multiple peaks will typically give you something to surf.

Most days will be pretty mushy but that being said it will probably be better than other beaches north or south of it.

This wave should be surfed during the winter when waves are biggest and summer surfing restrictions are lifted. Crowds will also be pretty weak during the winter.

Fenwick Island

Right on the border of Delaware and Maryland is the little beach town of Fenwick Island.

It’s a pretty short stretch of coast that produces some pretty lackluster beach breaks.

The sandbars here will usually give you something to surf just don’t expect the hollow tubes of Dewey or Indian River Inlet.

This beach is somewhat popular among Delaware residents and it gets really crowded during the summer.

So your best bet to catch some decent waves is to head out there during the winter.

Just prepare accordingly with a thick wetsuit and booties.

Gordon’s Pond

In the Rehoboth Beach area is a pretty interesting wave in the northern coast of Delaware.

The wave is known as Gordon’s Pond. It’s technically a jetty beach break, so it has the potential to get really good and hollow.

In order to live up to its full potential it needs a south swell and this typically comes in the form of a hurricane swell. Hurricane swells usually push through during the summer and early fall months, making this a great summer wave.

The crowds aren’t too bad but this spot should really only be surfed by experienced surfers due to its difficult takeoff.

PS — if you want to avoid parking altogether when surfing at these locations, consider an e-bike.

What To Do In Delaware When the Waves Are Flat

Most days in Delaware may not look very surfable so it's important to know what to do when the waves are flat.

A really cool museum worth checking out is the Air Mobility Command Museum.

It’s an aviation museum located on the Dover Air Force Base that showcases a number of old retired US military planes.

There’s also amusement parks like Funland. Places like Funland are great if you like roller coasters.

Then of course it's worth checking out all the different beaches because during the summer these beaches are a big draw for Delaware residents.

Summers are mostly flat so they provide a great opportunity to sun tan and swim.

Delaware Surf Guide

So Delaware may not be the best place to catch waves but regardless it still provides the average surfer with plenty to surf.

Hopefully you got a grasp for what some of those spots are like!


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