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Photo of Sea Colony, Bethany Beach, DE
©Roger Cox

Sea Colony

Bethany Beach, Delaware

More than 30 people were already on the teaching courts when I joined one of the morning drop-in clinics Sea Colony runs on weekdays. It was approaching July, when every one of some 2,200 condominiums and homes fill up with summer guests and homeowners. While the beach is unquestionably the biggest draw, tennis with 34 hard and clay courts, 6 of them indoors, could easily lay claim to being the No. 2 reason people opt to vacation at Sea Colony. In fact, many owners told me that the deciding factor in their purchase of a home At Sea Colony was the quality of the tennis, both for them and their kids. Apart from those midweek clinics, Sea Colony's summer roster lures players to the courts with Live Ball and Cardio sessions, doubles clinics, Nike Adult Camps, Sea Colony's own tennis camps, custom-designed tennis getaways with optional mental-toughness component, social pro-run round robins, and a mix of junior programs running the gamut from drills and games for 4- to 7-year-olds to Nike tennis camps and tournament tough training. And the year is otherwise peppered with exhibitions, junior tournaments, demo days, and more. 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. All of this is designed to keep tennis in the forefront of people's consciousness.
empty pixelSea Colony dates to the early 1970s and has something of a split personality. Route 1 divides two completely different neighborhoods. On one side is the beach—a broad boulevard of soft sand bordered by dunes over which looms a phalanx of frankly rather stark 10-to-14-story towers, their harshness somewhat relieved by long dune-fronting boardwalks, broad patios, and the occasional swimming pool, one of them indoors. On the opposite side of the highway, a tiny marketplace of shops and restaurants marks the entrance to a leafy and altogether tranquil community of residential streets with low-rise condominiums and homes, lakes, ponds, swimming pools, and a $7.5 million fitness and aquatics center, linked to one another and the beach by trams and dedicated bike paths.

Tennis Features

Pro Shop: 302-539-4488
Email:

Having a great tennis facility—it is a three-time winner of the USTA outstanding facility of the year, most recently in 2022—and a broad range of programs is an obvious asset, and it's one Sea Colony enhances with friendly, always-happy-to-help staff. Long-time director Thomas Johnston has moved up to become Director of Athletics Alejandro (Alex) Justiniani, Director of Tennis, Sea Colony, Bethany Beach, DEreplaced by former assistant director Alejandro ("Alex") Justiniani. Born in Guadalajara, Mexico, he received his early tennis training as a junior at the Van Der Meer Tennis Center on South Carolina's Hilton Head Island, and then went on to play ITF and Futures tournaments before opting for a career in teaching. He has a staff of 10 pros in summer, college or former college players, nearly half of them women.

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. And during the summer months of June to August there are two or three NIKE adult tennis camps each month (ALERT: these tend to sell out early). Beyond that, Sea Colony offers tailor-made weekend camps for small groups.
empty pixelOn 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.
Tennis aside, Sea Colony has also made the move into pickleball with four permanent courts and blended lines on 14 of the tennis courts and an additional 4 permanent courts, a total of 8 with lights. Certified pickleball instructors are available for clinics and private lessons, supplemented by pickleball and hybrid tennis and pickleball camps for adults (including some for advanced pickleball), and NIKE camps for juniors. Instruction aside, Sea Colony stages pickleball clinics, social round robins, and a variety of morning and evening Open Plays sessions for all levels. Court Complex. Although there are four lighted hard courts at the beach, the real tennis action takes place at the main tennis center. It comprises six indoor hard courts with sandwiched between another six outdoor courts and 14 Har-Tru courts. There are and additional four hard courts in the trees across the road, two of those now sporting blended lines to accommodate pickleball. Grand Central Station for tennis is the pro shop on the ground floor of the indoor building. Above it, a long viewing area overlooks the indoor courts and has a bar for use in special events. It opens in back onto a broad deck with a panoramic perspective on the Har-Tru courts, where The Vacasa Pro Women's Open, a $25K Pro Circuit event, takes place in May. Although the pro shop closes at 7 p.m., those well-lighted indoor courts remain open on a first-come, first-served basis until 10 p.m. Court fees: None, not even for the indoor courts.

Ratings

(586 Reviewers)
Tennis Overall
5-Ball Rating Tennis Staff
5-Ball Rating Instruction
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Game Matching
4½-Ball Rating Junior Tennis
4½-Ball Rating Pickleball
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Cuisine
3-Ball Rating Lodging
4½-Ball Rating Spa & Fitness
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5-Ball Rating Other Recreation
5-Ball Rating Setting
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Kids' Programs
4½-Ball Rating Romance
4-Ball Rating Solo Travelers
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Sea Colony Tennis Camp Ratings
(8,092 Reviewers)
Tennis Overall
5-Ball Rating
Tennis
Staff
5-Ball Rating
Instruction
5-Ball Rating
Junior Tennis
4½-Ball Rating
Pickleball
5-Ball Rating




Ratings

(586 Reviewers)
Tennis Overall
5-Ball Rating Instruction
5-Ball Rating Tennis Staff
5-Ball Rating Lodging
4½-Ball Rating Spa & Fitness
4-Ball Rating Dollar Value
5-Ball Rating Kids' Programs
4½-Ball Rating Solo Travelers
5-Ball Rating
Game Matching
4½-Ball Rating Junior Tennis
4½-Ball Rating Pickleball
5-Ball Rating Cuisine
3-Ball Rating Other Recreation
5-Ball Rating Setting
4-Ball Rating Romance
4-Ball Rating


Sea Colony Tennis Camp Ratings
(8,092 Reviewers)
Tennis Overall
5-Ball Rating Instruction
5-Ball Rating Tennis Staff
5-Ball Rating
Junior Tennis
4½-Ball Rating Pickleball
5-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 $7.5 million multi-use fitness and aquatic center with indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a snack bar, gymnasium, and a well-equipped workout room. Personal trainers are available as are a variety of classes, including spinning, Zumba (both aquatic and dry land), yoga, Barre toning, and water aerobics.

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

Colony Kids and Club Sea Colony take kids for 2 and 4 hours respectively for a mix of swimming, games, crafts, and other diversions./p>

Restaurants

The Marketplace at the entrance to Sea Colony has two restaurants: several restaurants, Fin's Ale House and Armand's Pizza among them, but there are numerous other choices within easy driving distance in Bethany and Fenwick Beaches.

See Also

For similar tennis resorts, also check out:

For other top pickleball resorts, take a look at:

Rates and Reservations

Sea Colony

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.

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 Salisbury Regional Airport (SBY) in Salisbury, MD, which is approximately 45 minutes' drive south of Bethany Beach.

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. For specific information about the Bethany Beach area, visit Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce.