Bethany Beach and Fenwick Island are packed in summer, with more and more people booking a week in a condominium unit or beach house. New developments are springing up on Route 24, a short drive from the beach, now that almost every oceanfront parcel has been developed.

Bethany has a variety of accommodations, from oceanfront mansions to houses in town, from duplexes and town houses to condos tucked under trees. The condo resort Sea Colony is an attractive option, with many rental units in nine oceanfront high-rises and a variety of condos on the west side of Route 1. With 12 pools, one is close to every unit. Tennis villas are surrounded by 34 courts, four indoor. There are also walking and biking paths, a fitness center, and a children's center. Shuttles take Sea Colony West guests to the beach. Guests need a recreation pass for the beach, pools, tennis courts, fitness centers, and shuttles; these cost $35 per person per week in season.

Look for your vacation rental early: Bookings are accepted up to a year in advance though you might still find a nice place a few weeks before you arrive. Rentals range from $500 per week for a small unit up to the thousands for oceanfront homes with room for extended family. Some good rental companies to call include Century 21 Wilgus (tel. 800/441-8118), Coldwell Banker (tel. 302/539-1777), Seacoast Realty (tel. 800/928-8800 or 302/539-8600), Tansey-Warner, Inc. (tel. 800/221-0070 or 302/539-3001), and Tidewater Realty, Ltd. (tel. 800/888-7501 or 302/539-7500). Resort Quest (tel. 888/500-4254 or 302/537-8888; specializes in Sea Colony units. All of them will send brochures describing their rental properties.

Hotel rooms for July and August are booked months in advance, have higher rates, and often require weekend surcharges and 2- or 3-night minimum stays. Get your beach fix at a budget rate by visiting in spring or especially the fall when the weather can be beautiful and the water is warm. Beaches are fairly quiet in early June and after mid-August when schools reopen.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.