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Sea Colony

Bethany Beach, Delaware

By Roger Cox, Editor

Sea Colony, Bethany Beach, Delaware
©Roger Cox

Sea Colony begins as a phalanx of 10-to-14-story towers on the beach, crosses over Route 1, and continues westward as a series of quiet residential neighborhoods consisting of one- to three-story clapboard houses and townhouses. There are some 2,200 condo-miniums and homes altogether, and during the first week in August, when I visited, I was told that literally every one was occupied, either by its owner or a renting vacationer.

Tennis Features

Pro Shop: 302-539-4488

For a majority of vacationers who come here, the beach is an obvious lure. However, many owners told me that the deciding factor in their purchase of a home was the quality of the tennis, both for them and their kids. That's because after the beach, the most important amenity at Sea Colony is its 34 hard and clay tennis courts.

Tennis Staff. Early in 2010, Thomas Johnston Thomas Johnston, Director of Tennis, Sea Colony, Bethany Beach, DEtook the reins as Sea Colony's tennis director. He brings a diverse background: he played junior tennis in Texas, was a Division III All American in southern California, went on to the satellite circuit and then settled into coaching, first at Pomona/Pitzer in southern California, and then at the University of Virginia at Charlottesville. Following his stint at UVA, he moved to nearby Wintergreen Resort to direct its programs and run an academy. Along the way, he earned a Master's in sports psychology.
Tennis Programs. During the busy summer season, there are daily adult clinics, daily Cardio sessions, and a variety of junior clinics for various ages from Monday through Friday. There are as many as five round robins weekly during the busy summer. At any season the staff is there to help set up games, aided now by the ability of guests and members to sign up online (see Sea Colony Tennis for a detailed overview of all things tennis). And roughly once a month from April to October, some sort of special event—a professional, sanctioned, or social tournament, a visiting pro, or an exhibition—rounds out the program.
Beyond that, Johnston offer tailor-made weekend camps for small groups,Courts at Sea Colony modified to include the option of a mental toughness component that draws on his sports psychology training.
On paper, this all appears to be rock-solid choice of tennis options, but what sets them apart is the number of participants. On a day in August when temperatures had soared above 95 degrees, more than 30 adults and juniors turned out for the 10 a.m. intermediate clinic and another 30-plus attended the advanced clinic. I also counted 20 beginners in afternoon junior clinic, which had astutely been scheduled for the indoor courts.
Courts & Fees. The vast majority of the courts are at the tennis center, where there are 12 Har-Tru and 10 hard courts outdoors (4 with with new NCAA quality lighting) in a semi-circle around the building housing the four indoor courts and pro shop. A path across the street leads to four more courts (the so-called "Doubles Courts" because they can be booked only for doubles on summer mornings). Finally, there are 4 hard courts next to the midrise towers on the beach side of the development. All the courts were resurfaced in 2010, the hard courts getting a coat of U.S. Open blue, while the clay courts were either laser graded or rebuilt as needed. The devotion to tennis also shows in the courtside Smith & Hawken teak furnishings and new landscaping. Court fees: None. For more information about the Sea Colony tennis offerings, visit seacolonytennis.net.

Ratings

(967 Reviewers)
Tennis Overall
4½-Ball Rating Tennis Staff
4½-Ball Rating Instruction
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Game Matching
4-Ball Rating Junior Tennis
4-Ball Rating Tennis Complex
4½-Ball Rating
Cuisine
2½-Ball Rating Lodging
3½-Ball Rating Spa & Fitness
4-Ball Rating
Dollar Value
4½-Ball Rating Other Recreation
4½-Ball Rating Setting
3½-Ball Rating
Kids' Programs
4½-Ball Rating Romance
4-Ball Rating Solo Travelers
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Sea Colony Tennis Camp Ratings
( 491 Reviewers)
Tennis Overall
4½-Ball Rating
Tennis Staff
4½-Ball Rating
Instruction
4-Ball Rating
Junior Tennis
4½-Ball Rating
Dollar Value
4½-Ball Rating


Elite Tennis Travel


Ratings

(967 Reviewers)
Tennis Overall
4½-Ball Rating Instruction
4-Ball Rating Tennis Complex
4½-Ball Rating Lodging
3½-Ball Rating Spa & Fitness
4-Ball Rating Dollar Value
4½-Ball Rating Kids' Programs
4½-Ball Rating Solo Travelers
4-Ball Rating
Tennis Staff
4½-Ball Rating Game Matching
4-Ball Rating Junior Tennis
4-Ball Rating Cuisine
2½-Ball Rating Other Recreation
4½-Ball Rating Setting
3½-Ball Rating Romance
4-Ball Rating


Sea Colony Tennis Camp Ratings
( 491 Reviewers)
Tennis Overall
4½-Ball Rating Instruction
4-Ball Rating Dollar Value
4½-Ball Rating
Tennis Staff
4½-Ball Rating Junior Tennis
4½-Ball Rating

Other Recreation

Beach. Sea Colony fronts ½ mile of Bethany Beach, a broad boulevard of soft sand washed by the Atlantic Ocean. A free shuttle takes guests from Sea Colony West (where the tennis center is) across Route 1 to the beach.

Fitness Center. A short walk from the tennis center is a multi-use fitness center with indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a snack bar, basketball court, and a workout room containing roughly a dozen pieces of cardiovascular equipment, Paramount weight stations, and free weights. classes vary with the season but in summer include kick boxing, tai chi, Pilates, yoga, and drop-in basketball and volleyball.

And ... Bike paths lace Sea Colony West making it easy for kids to get from houses and townhomes there to the tennis courts, fitness center, or marketplace (though to reach the beach they have to cross busy Route 1).

Children's Programs

Children's tenis programsThe summer children's programs vary slightly from year to year but typically include such activities as Dinner & a Movie, Teen Meet & Greet, bonfires, sandcastle contests, junior lifeguards, swim meeting, money hunts, junior tennis clinics each weekday afternoon, a junior tennis academy three days/week, and more.

Lodging

One of several house stylesLodging at Sea Colony ranges from one-bedroom condos to four-bedroom homes, all of them privately owned and decorated. Prices vary partly with location and partly with the category of the units: Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze. There are nine different types. All have fully equipped kitchens, washer/dryers, central air conditioning, and cable TVs with VCRs. Be aware that a bronze unit, while functional, may not meet your personal criteria for elegance and comfort. Some have readier access to swimming pools than others. Check the website for details.

Restaurants

The Marketplace at the entrance to Sea Colony has two restaurants: Gary's Beach Cafe, which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner; and the Chalkboard Tavern and Grille, which serves seafood and steaks. Locals, however, are much more likely to suggest places like Sedona and the Parkway (both with big city cuisine and big city prices), and DiFebo's (Italian), all in Bethany Beach; and the Grove Market, a shack in Bishopville, Maryland so popular for its superb fish—some smoked on the premises—duck, and seafood pasta that this tiny place can book out weeks in advance in summer.

See Also

Among the other tennis resorts similar to Sea Colony are:

Rates and Reservations

Lodging consists of 1-to-5 bedroom condos and houses, some oceanfront, others near the tennis complex. During the summer, one-week bookings are required.

Visit the website for current rates

Sea Colony
33546 Marketplace
P.O. Box 480
Bethany Beach, DE 19930
302-539-6961
Toll-free: 800-732-2656
Web Link: Sea Colony


Travel Essentials

Seasons. Year-round thanks to its indoor courts.

Travel Instructions. The nearest major airports are Baltimore Washington International Airport (BWI) and Philadelphia International Airport (PHL), each roughly a 2½-hour drive from Bethany Beach. The alternative is to fly into Wicomico Regional Airport (SBY) in Salisbury, MD, which is approximately 45 minutes' drive south of Bethany Beach and is served by US Airways and United.

General Tourist Information. Apart from other reasons to visit Bethany Beach is the fact that Delaware does not charge sales tax. Rehoboth, 14 miles north of Bethany Beach, has some 140 factory outlet stores along a two-mile stretch of Route 1 to help you better take advantage. For general information about travel within Delaware, visit the Delaware Tourism Office website or contact them at 99 Kings Highway, Dover, DE 19901. Phone: 302-739-4271 or toll-free 866-284-7483. For specific information about the Bethany Beach area, visit the Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce website or contact them at Delaware Rte. 1, Bethany Beach, DE 19930-1450. Phone: 302-539-2100 or toll-free 800-962-7873.

©2017 Roger Cox

Ratings

(967 Reviewers)
Tennis Overall
4½-Ball Rating Instruction
4-Ball Rating Tennis Complex
4½-Ball Rating Lodging
3½-Ball Rating Spa & Fitness
4-Ball Rating Dollar Value
4½-Ball Rating Kids' Programs
4½-Ball Rating Solo Travelers
4-Ball Rating
Tennis Staff
4½-Ball Rating Game Matching
4-Ball Rating Junior Tennis
4-Ball Rating Cuisine
2½-Ball Rating Other Recreation
4½-Ball Rating Setting
3½-Ball Rating Romance
4-Ball Rating


Sea Colony Tennis Camp Ratings
( 491 Reviewers)
Tennis Overall
4½-Ball Rating Instruction
4-Ball Rating Dollar Value
4½-Ball Rating
Tennis Staff
4½-Ball Rating Junior Tennis
4½-Ball Rating


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Elite Tennis Travel



©2017 Roger Cox