Bethany Beach Restrictions on Tents and Canopies

The Bethany Beach Town Council approved a new ordinance restricting the use of shading devices on the beach.

By way of background, the ordinance is the result of extensive work done over the past year by the Council and the Charter and Ordinance Review Committee and is based on the input received in public meetings, workshops, in documenting issues related to the use of the beach this past summer, and finally in a Town-wide survey to which some 1200 Bethany Beach property owners and residents responded.  Over 70 percent of those responding thought that tents and canopies should be banned.

The ordinance was based on the information and documentation received in our survey. It allows standard size umbrellas and so-called baby tents as the only shading devices allowed on the beach in Bethany Beach. (Please see the definitions listed below.) The ordinance would prohibit all other shading devices including, but not limited to, cabanas, canopies, pavilions, sportsbrellas, tarps, tents or similar devices or any materials mounted on supports.

The Town will be enforcing this restriction on tents and canopies this summer. But because this is a new ordinance, people erecting a prohibited tent or canopy on the beach will simply be asked to take the device down and will not be cited if they comply with the request.

If a person is cited, penalties upon conviction would be consistent with other penalties in Section 223 for minor offenses, such as for sleeping on the beach, throwing objects and flying kites, and, upon conviction would be not less than $50 nor more than $100.



Umbrella — A collapsible circular shade no greater than eight (8) feet in diameter stretched over hinged ribs radiating from a central pole no greater than seven (7) feet six (6) inches in height, and without grounding lines, ropes or sides.


Baby Tent — A device designed or used to shade infants and small children, no larger than 36 inches high by 36 inches wide by 36 inches deep and without grounding wires or ropes that extend beyond the perimeter of the device.


Other Shading Devices — include, but are not limited to, cabanas, canopies, pavilions, sportsbrellas, tarps, tents, or similar devices, or any materials mounted on supports


Link to Ordinance