How to Spend the Perfect Day in Delaware’s Beach Towns
Here's your summer itinerary for Bethany, Dewey, Fenwick Island, Lewes and Rehoboth.
King's Homemade Ice Cream in Lewes will help finish your day at the beach on a sweet note.//photo by Deny Howeth
Frequent visitors to the Delaware resorts often stick to the same restaurants, shops and beaches. Even locals can get in a rut. Add some adventure to a weekend with these mix-and-match suggestions, whether you’re staying in one town or exploring several of them.
During the season, there is metered parking in the historic district and city-owned lots, including the large one at Lewes Beach. You don’t need a permit to park in the residential areas. Be respectful and don’t block driveways. If you’re coming from outside Lewes, consider the Lewes Transit Center, a hub for buses going into the city and points south.
347-349 Coastal Hwy., Lewes • 652-3278 • dartfirststate.com
Olive & Oats by Azafran in Lewes is a great place to grab breakfast or a picnic lunch for the beach.//photo by Deny Howeth
For a quick a.m. fix, pop into the intimate Olive & Oats by Azafran for breakfast sandwiches, baked oatmeal, yogurt parfaits and bagels. Order some sandwiches to go for a beach picnic. Top pick: the Café Panini, made with Serrano ham, olive tapenade, marinated goat cheese and basil.
113 Market St., Lewes • 313-4701
When it comes to beaches, you have options. Lewes Beach—which is on Delaware Bay—is a long, scenic stretch with calm waters. Cape Henlopen State Park offers the bay and ocean, but you need a park pass.
Willing to walk? Use the beach near the Fort Miles Museum. (The museum is worth a visit if it’s open.) It’s not as crowded as the sections near the bathhouse or Herring Point.
15099 Cape Henlopen Drive, Lewes
Kindle in Lewes makes a great spot for lunch, with outdoor seating perfect for people watching.//photo by Deny Howeth
In summer, Kindle’s patio is a lovely location for a weekend lunch. Sip rosé and try the moules frites, a classic preparation with Chardonnay, shallots, leeks, parsley and fries.
111 Bank St., Lewes • 645-7887
For a waterfront view, the best seats are at On the Rocks Dockside Grill in the Cape May-Lewes Ferry terminal. The food is casual, but it’s relaxing to watch the white ferries glide across the bay.
43 Cape Henlopen Drive, Lewes • 644-6028
If the rain chases you off the beach, there’s always shopping. The historic district is a hub for boutiques, but Kings Highway has a burgeoning retail scene spearheaded by The Brush Factory on Kings. You’ll find a stylish collection of antiques, candles, reclaimed wood, shabby chic, clothing, home accessories—even produce and plants. The Brush Factory has a parking lot, as does The Station on Kings, which has exquisite baked goods, bath and body products and home and garden accessories.
830 Kings Hwy., Lewes • 703-7715
Judging by the year-round bar crowd, Fish On is the place to be, mainly because the discounts are from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. and include $7 tacos, $8 wings, $4 Troegs draft beer—along with other items. Part of the appeal is the free parking.
17300 N. Village Main Blvd., Lewes • 645-9790
A rainbow captured above the Cape May-Lewes Ferry Terminal.//photo by Deny Howeth
Harvest Tide Steakhouse, which opened in 2018, brings upscale dining to the Lewes Beach area, but it’s also family friendly. Try the lively Thai lobster bisque before digging into your T-bone. The restaurant has a parking lot.
410 E. Savannah Road, Lewes • 644-2600
After dinner, the bar in Bethany Blues on Del. 1 features live bands on a raised stage with a professional sound system. Try the bourbon crushes. If you want a late-night snack, this is the place to get it.
18385 Coastal Hwy., Lewes • 644-2500
As with Lewes, consider the Rehoboth Park and Ride to avoid a parking headache.
Del. 1 and Shuttle Road, Rehoboth Beach • 577-3278 • dartfirststate.com.
Otherwise, use ParkMobile for metered parking. Permits are needed to park in the surrounding streets. You can also park in the outlets and bike into town by Revelation Craft Brewing and onto Church Street, which hits 1A (Rehoboth Avenue) above the canal.
For brunch with a beach view, it’s hard to beat Victoria’s in the Boardwalk Plaza. (Note that the buffet is no longer offered; it’s all a la carte.)
2 Olive Ave. and the Boardwalk, Rehoboth Beach • 227-7169
From Victoria’s, you can walk right onto the beach. To beat the crowd that likes to settle near the boardwalk, go to the Gordons Pond side of Cape Henlopen State Park. The park has a lot, but there’s a fee. Sunbathe in the shadow of the fire towers or bike the Gordons Pond Trail to Herring Point to the north.
61 Ocean Drive, Rehoboth Beach
Even if you have a Kindle, slip into Browseabout Books, which frequently hosts authors and book signings. There are sections for books, games, cards and gifts. You just might spot presidential candidate and former VP Joe Biden among the customers.
133 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach • 226-2665
Don’t neglect the shops on Rehoboth Avenue closer to the canal. Jane & Georgie near the circle has been selling clothing to fashionistas since 2011.
419 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach • 727-5135
Gus & Gus Place is a Rehoboth Beach landmark.//photo by Deny Howeth
For lunch, experience a unique Rehoboth institution: Gus & Gus Place. The corner restaurant with a beach view opened in 1956, and it’s a luncheonette, coffee shop and a Greek diner all in one. The fried chicken, cheesesteaks and burgers are good bets.
15 S. Boardwalk, Rehoboth Beach • 227-3329
Obie’s by the Sea offers an ocean view and a relaxed ambiance. Expect a new menu. The Big Fish Restaurant Group now manages the restaurant.
1 Olive Ave., Rehoboth Beach • 227-6261
Stay at Obie’s for happy hour or drive or bike to Big Fish Grill on Del. 1, where the menu in the tiki-themed bar goes beyond the usual finger foods. Try the smoked salmon napoleon, served with crispy wonton chips, the sushi, $1.25 oysters, $6 pots of mussels or blackened fish medallions.
20298 Coastal Hwy., Rehoboth Beach • 227-FISH
You can crave seafood and go global thanks to Rehoboth Beach’s culinary melting pot. Confucius, arguably one of the best Chinese restaurants in the state, offers crispy halibut with ginger and scallions, whole black seabass, Scottish salmon and a variety of shrimp and scallop dishes.
57 Wilmington Ave., Rehoboth Beach • 227-3848
Locals are enthusiastic about Indigo, the Indian restaurant that opened in 2017. The section for seafood includes lobster cooked in a creamy coconut-flavored sauce.
44 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach • 212-5220
Then, of course, there is The Cultured Pearl, which is known for its fresh sushi, romantic second-floor deck and live weekend entertainment.
301 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach • 227-8493
No matter where you eat, plan your evening around entertainment. The action typically starts at 6:30 at Cuvée Ray Wine Bar & Restaurant, which has a revamped bar menu.
236 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach • 567-2942
The Purple Parrot Grill always brings the fun factor. Croon your favorite tune during karaoke on not one but four nights: Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Monday.
134 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach • 226-1139
If you’re craving a bite after all that mic action, The Ice Cream Store is often open until midnight. There are more than 100 flavors, all made by Woodside Farm Creamery in Hockessin.
6 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach • 227-4609
ParkMobile is available in the heart of the town. You’ll need parking permits for the residential streets, which you can buy at Dewey Beach Town Hall (105 Rodney Ave.). Jolly Trolley also moves between Dewey and Rehoboth.
644-0400 • jollytrolley.com
The Starboard is best known for its nightlife, but the Sunday brunch is rave-worthy. Maybe that’s because of the Bloody Mary bar, where you might find beef broth in the eclectic mix, or perhaps it’s because the menu has about 40 items.
2009 Coastal Hwy., Dewey Beach • 227-4600
Since Dewey is on a slender strip between Rehoboth Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, all the beaches are within walking distance. Those who prefer a more sedate scene opt for Cullen Street. (The du Pont mansion listed at $11.5 million is on this street). Dickinson Street is closer to shops, bars and restaurants.
The Tower Road beaches—either the bay or the ocean side—are gems within Delaware Seashore State Park. Choose the ocean for the bathrooms and concessions, and the bay side for water sports and, later, the sunset.
The Dewey advantage: You can walk from the beach to just about any restaurant. If you haven’t tried the crab cakes at Woody’s Dewey Beach Bar & Grill, then your choice is easy. The lumps are so large that a touch of the fork breaks them into nuggets.
1904 Coastal Hwy., Dewey Beach • 260-9945
On weekends, Hammerhead's happy hour runs from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., but this centrally located hotspot has been known to hold happy hours all day on Mondays. Come back after 10 p.m. for piles of tots or fries, a cheesesteak, salads and even PB&J on Texas toast. If you want happy hour with a view, go to Hammerhead’s sister location, Hammerheads Dockside.
1818 Coastal Hwy., Dewey • 227-7325
Two Seas Restaurant, which has been owned by the Carr family since 1987, keeps a low profile, and frequent diners like it that way. The main draw is the view from the third-floor deck. While you eat, you can view the Atlantic on one side and Rehoboth Bay on the other.
1300 Coastal Hwy., Dewey Beach • 227-2610
If you like to sip your dessert, try the espresso martini at Starboard Raw.
2000 Coastal Hwy., Dewey Beach • 227-9000
For nighttime festivities, the tried-and-true—including The Starboard—will rarely let you down. The rockin’ trinity also includes The Bottle & Cork, which is a platform for national acts and local favorites. (You must be 21.)
1807 Coastal Hwy., Dewey Beach • 227-2322
The Rusty Rudder combines live music with a full menu and bayside seating.
113 Dickinson St., Dewey Beach • 227-3888
Mama Celeste’s pizzeria is conveniently located near these venues for late-night slices.
2001 Coastal Hwy., Dewey Beach • 227-4482
Bethany Beach/Ocean View
Parking is tight within the town limits. You’ll need to pay, and Garfield Parkway, the main street, has a two-hour limit. Most of the businesses west of Del. 1 and in Ocean View have parking lots.
Locals come to the Bethany Diner for the Belgian waffles and omelets—there are 20 different kinds.
792A Garfield Pkwy., Bethany Beach • 616-1117
Once you’re well fed, relax on the beach. The Delaware Seashore State Park beach south of the Indian River Inlet Bridge has parking, concessions, bathrooms and amazing views of the ocean and the Indian River Inlet.
But there’s another reason to go to Delaware Seashore State Park: Big Chill Beach Club. The al fresco restaurant, located atop the concession stand, serves burgers, salads, sandwiches and, best of all, tacos from Taco Reho, a food truck in the same hospitality group, and some of the best waterfront views in Delaware.
27099 Coastal Hwy., Bethany Beach • 402-5300
After lunch, leave the beach behind and explore the 3,100-acre Assawoman Bay State Wildlife Area, which has two crabbing piers, a boat ramp and a floating pier. You can hike, bike, kayak, horseback ride and drive through the area.
37604 Mulberry Landing Road, Frankford • 539-3160
If you’d rather shop than paddle, check out Japanesque, a funky downtown shop with women’s clothing, Hello Kitty accessories, gifts and jewelry, most of which have an Asian flair.
16 Pennsylvania Ave., Bethany Beach • 539-2311
You don’t need to get gussied up for Mango’s No Shower Happy Hour. (You do, however, need a shirt and shoes.) The beachfront restaurant can accommodate a crowd. There are two bars and two cocktail areas. Happy hour is from 1-6 p.m., daily. Try the $4 mango margarita.
97 Garfield Pkwy., Bethany Beach • 537-6621
There’s a reason that Sedona, founded in 1993, is still serving guests in Bethany Beach, and like many of the older restaurants, it should not be overlooked. The concept has evolved since the days when it served Southwestern cuisine. Today, Sedona’s small plates rule the menu. However, entrées such as grilled beef tenderloin and duck breast are available for traditional diners.
26 Pennsylvania Ave., Bethany Beach • 539-1200
Venture inland a few miles to NorthEast Seafood Kitchen, which is tucked in a strip center off the tourists’ radar but still minutes from downtown Bethany. Lobster rolls come hot or cold, and the landscaped patio is pleasant in warm weather.
29 Atlantic Ave., Ocean View • 537-1785
Save room for a sweet finish at Maureen’s Ice Cream and Desserts, where you might find strawberry mousse or strawberry ice cream on any given evening. For kicks, try the Moosetracks, vanilla ice cream with fudge swirl and peanut butter cups.
99 Garfield Pkwy., Bethany Beach • 539-5530
Those who stay in Fenwick Island have it easy; the town is so narrow that you can walk just about anywhere. Parking on the residential streets requires a permit. If you’re visiting, most of the businesses have lots.
Start your day at Dirty Harry’s Family Restaurant, which touts its breakfast, coffee and cocktails. (It’s also open for lunch and dinner.) Insider tip: Get the homemade sticky buns.
100 Coastal Hwy., Fenwick Island • 539-3020
If you’re not staying in Fenwick, the best beach bet is the 344-acre Fenwick Island State Park, which has a bathhouse with showers, changing rooms and a food concession. You can rent umbrellas and beach chairs, and surf fishing is allowed.
Another option for breakfast, lunch or dinner is the family-friendly Warren’s Station, where classic seafood dishes and, surprisingly, turkey, rule the roost. Think turkey salad, turkey soup and turkey dinners. What’s with all the poultry? Original owner, Warren D. Johnson, was a turkey farmer.
1406 Coastal Hwy., Fenwick Island • 539-7156
Matteo’s Salsa Loco will deliver to the beach if you’re between Atlantic Street in Fenwick and 142nd Street in Ocean City. Delivery hours are between noon and 4 p.m. But Matteo’s is worth a visit for the tequila, fish tacos and late-night snacks, including a sampler with tacos, poppers, wings and all the trimmings.
305 Coastal Hwy., Fenwick Island • 541-4911
For retail therapy and beach food, explore Village of Fenwick Shoppes.
300 Coastal Hwy., Fenwick Island • 537-5555
Or, stroll down the Fenwick Boardwalk. Stop in Tidepool Toys and Games for LEGO, hula-hoops, puzzles and crafts. (There’s also a location in Bethany Beach.)
100 Coastal Hwy., Fenwick Island • 581-0241
Need a swimsuit? Body Double specializes in providing the perfect fit. If you haven’t been in some time, new owner Liz Welsh has renovated the shop.
1010 Coastal Hwy., Fenwick Island • 537-1444
For happy hour, dinner or music—all with a bayside view—Harpoon Hanna’s covers all the bases. The large venue has a tiki bar, sports bar and dining room. The restaurant is also family-friendly.
39064 Harpoon Road, Fenwick Island • 539-3095
Head west on Del. 54 for more fun at the Lobster Shanty. The seafood restaurant, which overlooks Assawoman Bay, is owned by the Twining family, who also own Nantucket’s Restaurant on Coastal Highway. In addition to steamed lobster, there’s live music at the outside bar.
37310 Lighthouse Road, Fenwick Island • 436-2305
Farther down 54, Smitty McGee’s Raw Bar & Restaurant is a regular meetup for Fenwick Islanders, who can chat into the wee hours. It’s open until 1 a.m.
37234 Lighthouse Road, Selbyville • 436-4716