Dewey Beach, Delaware

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Dewey Beach, Delaware
Motto: Dewey Beach, A Way of Life
Location in Sussex County and the state of Delaware.
Location in Sussex County and the state of Delaware.
Dewey Beach is located in Delaware
Dewey Beach
Dewey Beach
Dewey Beach is located in the US
Dewey Beach
Dewey Beach
Location within the state of Delaware
Coordinates: 38°41′34″N 75°04′29″W / 38.69278°N 75.07472°W / 38.69278; -75.07472Coordinates: 38°41′34″N 75°04′29″W / 38.69278°N 75.07472°W / 38.69278; -75.07472
Country United States
State Delaware
County Sussex
Incorporated 1981
 • Total 0.3 sq mi (0.9 km2)
 • Land 0.3 sq mi (0.9 km2)
 • Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation 7 ft (2 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 341
 • Density 1,136.7/sq mi (378.9/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 19971
Area code(s) 302
FIPS code 10-20900
GNIS feature ID 213884[1]

Dewey Beach is an incorporated coastal town in eastern Sussex County, Delaware, United States. According to the 2010 census, the population of the town is 341, an increase of 13.3% over the previous decade.[2] It is part of the rapidly growing Cape Region and lies within the Salisbury, Maryland-Delaware Metropolitan Statistical Area. In 2011, the NRDC awarded Dewey Beach with a 5-Star rating in water quality. This award was given only to 12 other locations, one being neighboring Rehoboth Beach.[3] Out of the 30 states with coastline, the Delaware Beaches ranked number 1 in water quality in 2011.[4]


In 1868, "Rehoboth City" first appeared on a map of Lewes Rehoboth Hundred in Beer's Atlas of Delaware. It is believed that the name was changed to Dewey Beach following the 1898 Battle of Manilla (Spanish–American War) when Admiral George Dewey became a national hero.

The Rehoboth Beach Life-Saving Station (RBLSS), located at the end of Dagsworthy Street, was commissioned in 1878. It became the Rehoboth Beach Coast Guard Station (RBCGS) in 1915. In 1921 citizens objected to the closing of the station, and it was recommissioned in 1926. The station was decommissioned in 1937 and abandoned in 1946. The original structure was moved to Lewes and became a residence. A replica of the station was built in 1988 which stands today.

Incorporated in 1981, the town lies on a small strip of land between the Atlantic Ocean and Rehoboth Bay, is about one mile long and two blocks wide. Despite its small size and low year-round population of about 300, it is not uncommon for 30,000 to descend upon the town during summer weekends. Numerous bars and restaurants line Coastal Highway (Delaware Route 1), the town's main street.

"Dewey Beach, A Way of Life"[edit]

While it has a reputation as a magnet for partygoers in the summer months, Dewey Beach is also a popular family resort spot, particularly because of its wide, sandy beaches, and many hotels, cottages, and condominiums may be found.

As is the case with most beach areas, Dewey Beach quiets down in the off season.

The town hosts the Dewey Beach Music Conference during the last weekend of September. This event began in 2002 and has been a huge draw for unsigned bands from all over the country.

Another popular Dewey Beach event, which occurs every Columbus Day weekend in October, is Greyhounds Reach The Beach, where thousands of rescued greyhounds and their owners congregate.

Also, the town is the location of the annual East Coast Skimboarding Championships, in mid-August.

In June, recently graduated high school seniors come to Dewey Beach for Senior Week.[5]


Dewey Beach is located at 38°41′34″N 75°04′29″W / 38.69278°N 75.07472°W / 38.69278; -75.07472 (38.6928899, -75.0746249).[6]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 0.3 square miles (0.78 km2), all of it land.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1990 204
2000 301 47.5%
2010 341 13.3%
Est. 2015 371 [7] 8.8%
U.S. Decennial Census[8]

As of the census[9] of 2000, there were 301 people, 161 households, and 83 families residing in the town. The population density was 876.6 people per square mile (341.8/km²). There were 1,369 housing units at an average density of 3,986.9 per square mile (1,554.6/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 91.69% White, 0.33% African American, 0.33% Native American, 3.65% Asian, 2.66% from other races, and 1.33% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.32% of the population.

There were 161 households out of which 9.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.1% were married couples living together, 5.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 48.4% were non-families. 40.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.87 and the average family size was 2.45.

In the town, the population was spread out with 8.3% under the age of 18, 5.6% from 18 to 24, 23.3% from 25 to 44, 34.6% from 45 to 64, and 28.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 52 years. For every 100 females there were 106.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 110.7 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $79,471, and the median income for a family was $97,505. Males had a median income of $56,563 versus $39,583 for females. The per capita income for the town was $51,958. None of the families and 1.9% of the population were living below the poverty line, including no under eighteen and 5.8% of those over 64.


Dewey Beach is governed by a Town Council and Mayor.[10] As of 2011, the city's mayor is Diane Hanson.[10]

The Town has a full-time police force, whose command staff consists of the Chief of Police and a Lieutenant (assistant chief of police). The department has no "special units" as do some large agencies, but it does have two officers, a sergeant and a corporal, who are qualified as motorcycle officers. In addition, the department is one of only a few in the state to have a full-time communications center (dispatch).

During high-activity periods, the department is augmented by additional police officers who are commissioned for those times, such as the summer. Those officers are fully certified police officers who have the same police authority as year-round officers.


External links[edit]

Preceded by
Rehoboth Beach
Beaches of Delmarva Succeeded by
Delaware Seashore State Park