Delaware Beaches

Shifting Shores

Delaware's beaches are a major draw for summertime vacation and recreational opportunities.The coastal economy generates approximately $7 billion and employs roughly 59,000 people annually. As natural ocean processes keep these habitats in constant flux, these areas have to be maintained through beach nourishment projects, erosion control and dune maintenance, and storm repair.
State Park Beach Visitors for Fiscal Year 2016-2017
The 3 Delaware State Park beaches accounted for nearly 50% of total State Park visitors for 2016-2017. However, according to a study on the economic impact of the Delaware State Park System, which focused on visitors who stayed overnight or traveled more than 50 miles for the main purpose of visiting a state park, it is estimated that these beach parks generated over 90% of the visitor spending for this time period.
Delaware has several other public beach areas that are major attractions for vacationers as well. These resort communities generate a lot of state revenue, and because of this they are also important to maintain.
Not only are Delaware's beaches important to the local tourism economy, but they provide essential habitat for wildlife and protection from flooding and storms. Because of the various roles that beaches play for people and wildlife, DNREC makes it a priority to take measures to sustainably manage them so that they can be enjoyed for generations to come.
Many recent studies have looked at the economic benefits of coastal living and tourism in contrast to the associated risks to health and property damage and loss in value. Tidal flooding from sea level rise and storms are issues that Delaware residents are already feeling and will continue to be impacted by in the future. Despite the high costs from property damage associated with coastal flooding, flooding is not our greatest challenge. Mitigating the impacts of beach erosion is by far the most costly coastal issue to address. Without measures against erosion, the damage to Delaware's coast could be a lot greater. Increasing awareness and preparedness in coastal communities is important and there are various planning, training, and technical resources available on the DNREC website.

Page reviewed 5/14/19