Rehoboth Beach Weekend Guide
There are people who love to park themselves on the beach for a week, content to stare at the waves, bob in the ocean and eat sandy sandwiches. Rehoboth Beach, DE, works perfectly for devoted sun worshippers -- but also for those who like to stray away from the surf every so often. This is one beach town that never feels boring, embracing families, party types and the LGBT community by offering a little something for everyone under the sun.
Where to Stay
A couple of blocks from both the beach and just off the main drag of Rehoboth Avenue, The Bellmoor serves as a peaceful European-style retreat, complete with 2 libraries with fireplaces, games and an irresistible jigsaw puzzle that guests can tinker with into the wee hours. A full-service day spa, the gorgeous courtyard garden, a hot breakfast buffet and afternoon tea with cookies sweeten the deal. Two pools -- one for families and one for adults, plus an adults-only floor of the inn -- are thoughtful touches for romance-seekers in this kid-friendly town.
Hotel Rehoboth embraces the boutique trend with its modern rooms (which often feature shades of the same sunny hue found on the hotel’s exterior), plus a plush lobby with a fireplace and a baby grand piano. Among the amenities are a heated outdoor pool, an evening wine and cheese spread and -- perhaps the most welcome beach-town amenity -- an open-air beach shuttle with complimentary chairs and towels for guests. There is also a business center, but do yourself a favor and resist the urge to use it.
If you must stay on the beach -- and why not get as close to the main attraction as possible? -- check into the Boardwalk Plaza Hotel, a dusty-pink Victorian-style edifice just steps from the ocean. Two pet birds in the lobby let you know you’re in for a unique experience. The adults-only concierge level features rooms with antiques and access to the rooftop Jacuzzi and sun deck. All beachfront rooms have balconies; and if you’re tired of the sand, there’s a heated indoor-outdoor soaking pool open to families during the day and adults only in the evenings.
Where to Eat
There’s no shortage of good food in this tiny town, but a(MUSE.) chef-owner Hari Cameron is one of few fusing traditional and molecular methods, resulting in exciting flavor combinations and textures. Summer’s bounty may bring a gorgeous pickled vegetable spread, an inventive composition of smoked snow peas with radishes and fava beans, and perfectly fried sweetbreads with celery and blue cheese. Service is passionate and cocktails are expertly crafted, yet the atmosphere feels like a casual neighborhood spot. We could eat here every night.
Salt Air bills itself as having a “beach picnic” vibe, which it delivers with big baskets of sweetened cornbread, Mason-jar glasses and the kitchen’s whimsies, like the entrée of salmon in baked beans or a blueberry buckle for dessert. But make no mistake: There are upscale touches in the sophisticated décor as well as the menu, where you might find a beautiful beet and pistachio salad or an elevated poblano, corn and crab chowder. Portions are more than generous, including dishes from the kids menu, which are a great value and fairly healthy.
We are committed fans of Touch of Italy, the place to pick up Italian grocery items like olives, authentic Italian meats and cheeses, as well as sweets like melt-in-your-mouth pignoli cookies and coconut macaroons dipped in chocolate. Subs brimming with cold cuts, meatballs, sundried tomatoes and the like come on fragrant semolina rolls that bring to mind Boston’s North End. The original owners have sold the business and opened up shop across the street as Frank & Louie’s Italian Specialties, turning Baltimore Avenue into a (very) Little Italy.
What to See & Do
No sales tax, reasonable prices and the amazing variety of shops on (and off) Rehoboth Avenue make an afternoon of shopping a must. Check out the funky jewelry and hipster frocks at Downtown Cowgirl; beach home accessories with a modern spin at Mod Cottage; city-worthy beachwear at Quiet Storm; and the ultimate toy and bookstore in one, Browseabout Books, where kids can enjoy a story hour or play with the train table while you pick your beach read. Outlet shopping up Route 1 is a popular way to spend rainy days.
The Rehoboth Bandstand on Rehoboth Avenue hosts dozens of events over the course of the summer season, with some visitors planning their vacations around them. Rock, blues, jazz, cover bands -- they are all free and family-friendly. Tourists and locals alike gather at this bandstand near the beach to dance in the streets. To continue your night of good, clean fun, head to the boardwalk for a Kohr Bros frozen custard, an obscenely large bucket of Thrasher’s boardwalk fries or some wonderful chocolates from Candy Kitchen. Relax on a boardwalk bench and watch the throngs of interesting people walking by.
A trip to Rehoboth Beach is truly not complete without some time spent at Funland, whether you’ve got kids in tow or not. With no set closing time during the peak season, late-night fun can be found in a quick game of Whack-A-Mole, a spin on the Teacups, a turn in the bumper cars or a ride on the Ferris wheel-like Paratrooper, which has views of the ocean at the top. The thrill of winning tickets from arcade games never gets old, no matter your age, and there are tons of toddler-friendly games and rides if you arrive earlier in the day. This slice of Rehoboth is delightfully retro, and we hope it never changes.