Our beaches are always popular destinations, but they also offer plenty of opportunities to enjoy local food, art, handmade items and performing arts. So take in the salt air and local culture with these tours through our “coastal ways.”
Nestled on the the Delaware Bay as it meets the Atlantic Ocean, historic Lewes, Delaware (known as the first town in the first state) is home to world-class restaurants and boutique shopping.
Start with breakfast at Surf Bagel or Arena’s Deli, both are local favorites, followed by a trip to Cape Henlopen State Park, where you can be inspired by the beautiful beach and walk off breakfast on the famous walking sand dunes.
After your beach visit, head to Second Street and grab lunch. It might be a tough choice with so many great restaurants including Agave (definitely need advance reservations, Kindle, Striper Bites, Nectar, Rose and Crown or stop by Touch of Italy for Italian favorites or grab some cheeses to go.
Take in local art at the Cape Artists’ Gallery and Peninsula Gallery. Ready to shop? Second Street has many boutiques brimming with jewelry, handmade items, home decor and books. Check out this complete list of shops in Lewes.
Rehoboth Beach, DE
Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, ranked by USA Today as one of the best coastal small towns in the US, offers downtown charm and uptown sophistication with its iconic landmarks of yesteryear, award-winning one-mile Boardwalk, upscale eateries, art galleries, and specialty boutiques.
Start your day at Goolee’s Grille with a fantastic, home-style breakfast or grab a cup of your favorite Fair Trade coffee and a tasty baked good at The Coffee Mill (located at The Shops at Rehoboth Mews. Venture a few steps away to Browseabout Books, one of the nation’s best independent bookstores, to find the perfect “beach read” then head to the boardwalk or relax for a few hours on the beach.
Lunch like a local at The Summer House, serving classic American cuisine or at Nicola Pizza for their signature dish, a mouth-watering “Nic-o-Boli.” Next, indulge in a traditional beach treat – caramel corn at Dolle’s, frozen custard at Kohr Brothers or those famous Thrashers fries!
Then off to explore some of Rehoboth’s unique boutiques, specialty shops, art galleries and museum. Looking for the perfect summer dress? So many beautiful choices to be found at Coral Cove, Carlton’s or The Pink Crab! Don’t miss the contemporary artwork of regional renowned, established and emerging artists at Gallery 50, hand-made jewelry at Heidi Lowe Gallery or Elegant Slumming or the photography gallery of Delaware native Kevin Fleming, recognized by Reader’s Digest as “America’s Best Observer.” A stop at the Rehoboth Beach Museum is a history and beach lover’s dream.
On to local watering hole The Pond for some liquid refreshment and awesome wings as a precursor to enjoying one of the many diverse, cutting-edge eateries in the bustling downtown district. Choices range from elegant French cuisine at Fable to Baltimore Ave’s newest upscale tavern, The Pines to the handcrafted spirits and scratch-made menu at Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats where live musical experiences abound on their state-of-the-art stage. If a show is more your style, check out the Clear Space Theatre schedule or if an outdoor concert is your preference, stroll down to the Bandstand adjacent to the boardwalk to enjoy the cool summer breeze while listening to a free concert under the stars many summer evenings from May-August at 8:00 p.m.
Bethany Beach, DE
Enjoy a day in Bethany Beach, Delaware and experience all the area has to offer! Start your day with a walk on the beach, after a breakfast of coffee and pastries from McCabe’s Gourmet Market. Stroll down Garfield Parkway to browse the many unique boutiques that line Bethany’s main drag – be sure to stop in Bethany Beach Books to find a perfect beach read. Head a few miles inland to visit local favorites Jayne’s Reliable, and Creative Concepts, to find one-of-a-kind pieces for your home.
Once you’ve taken full advantage of Delaware’s tax-free shopping, enjoy a round of golf at Bear Trap Dunes, a 27-hole course in Ocean View. After the game, head to lunch with a water view. Visit Big Chill Beach Club for an ocean-front lunch, or Hammerheads Dockside for a bay view.
After lunch, explore the area’s many state parks. Fish, enjoy the surf, or relax on the beach at Delaware Seashore State Park; Bike along the Assawoman Canal trail; or birdwatch and kayak at James Farm Ecological Preserve.
Choose from one of the area’s many award-winning restaurants for dinner. Enjoy bar food, and an energetic outdoor atmosphere at Bethany Boathouse; feast on barbeque delights from a local favorite, Bethany Blues; or enjoy a fresh catch from Northeast Seafood Kitchen, a part of the popular SoDel restaurant group.
End the day at the Bethany Beach Bandstand, listening to live music and watching the sunset over the town. Make it a weekend and book a room! Check out Bethany Beach Ocean Suites or the Bethany Beach Holiday Inn Express for lodging just steps from the beach.
Fenwick Island, DE
Fenwick Island is a small town, rich in history, local tradition, and water views. Begin your day here with breakfast at Warren’s Station, a local staple. Do some tax-free shopping at the infamous Seaside Country Store, the most unusual store at the shore, before visiting the Fenwick Island lighthouse where you can learn about the town’s history. Next, enjoy some family fun at Viking Golf and Thunder Lagoon Waterpark, where you can enjoy mini-golf, go-karts, and waterslides. Once you’ve worked up an appetite enjoy coastal Mexican cuisine at Papa Grande’s.
Spend the afternoon on the (regular sized) greens at Bayside Resort Golf Club for a round on the Jack Nicklaus Signature Course. Enjoy a drink at the clubhouse restaurant, The Cover Bar & Grill, before indulging in a delicious seafood meal at Catch 54 for dinner. End the day with a show at the Freeman Stage, where you can find local performers, or Grammy-nominated artists.
Ocean City, MD
Start your day in Ocean City with a visit to the Farmer’s Market on 142nd St. (Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays). Shop the fresh and local produce. Or try yoga on the beach at the Princess Royale on 91st St. Have breakfast at the Dough Roller and enjoy the many varieties of pancakes (even gluten free!) Visit the OC Center for the Arts on 94th St. bayside, home of the Art League of Ocean City. Browse the monthly exhibits featuring local artists. Shop in the artist’s studios for handmade gifts. Drop-in on a class like pottery, painting, glass, and more.
Break for lunch at Macky’s Bayside Bar & Grill on 54th St. and enjoy the beautiful views.
Head downtown and look for the handpainted utility boxes by the Ocean City Development Corporation that decorate Baltimore Avenue. Make your way to the Ocean City Lifesaving Museum at the inlet to see the historical exhibits. Then, head to 9th Street on the boardwalk for happy hour at Backshore Brewing where you can sample local craft beer and fresh brewed Hoop Teas. Cap off your day with a sunset view and dinner at Fager’s Island where your dinner will be accompanied by the 1812 Overture.