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Bethel Beach Natural Area Preserve


Bethel Beach is a sandy, southward pointing finger that separates the eastern side of Winter Harbor from Chesapeake Bay. The beach, actually a spit, may be walked northward, and southward as far as the tidal cut. The northeastern beach tiger beetle, a federal threatened insect that thrives in the soft sand, inhabits the beach. In addition to the beetles, over 185 species of birds have been observed here, including 25 species of shorebirds. Visitors should carefully scan the beach, offshore bay waters (where Wilson’s storm-petrels fly during summer), tidal lagoons, salt marsh, shrubby swamp, and deeper channels. During fall, American golden plover and stilt sandpiper are among the shorebirds that inhabit the site; watch the marsh for rails, bitterns, and sparrows. Winter brings opportunities to encounter snow bunting, northern gannet, tundra swan, and numerous types of waterfowl.

Please remember that Bethel Beach is a Natural Area Preserve and as such, contains sensitive natural communities. Respect this area by staying on designated paths, respecting private property signs, leaving pets at home, and not removing anything from the area.


Location Coordinates: 37.410542,-76.250703

From SR 14 turn onto Rt. 611. Continue for 2.0 miles, turn left on Rt. 609, and follow it 2.0 miles to the end of the road.

Location & Directions

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Site Information

  • Site Contact: Chesapeake Bay Region Steward: 804-225-2303,
  • Website
  • Access: Free, Daily

Birds Recently Seen at Bethel Beach Natural Area Preserve (as reported to eBird)

  • Canada Goose
  • Mute Swan
  • American Oystercatcher
  • Killdeer
  • Willet
  • Laughing Gull
  • Great Black-backed Gull
  • Caspian Tern
  • Royal Tern
  • Double-crested Cormorant

Seasonal Bird Observations


  • Parking