I decided to take my family to a new beach. We usually visit Virginia Beach, but it had been several years since we visited the Delaware beaches. Some friends recommended that we try Rehoboth Beach. We arrived the week before the July 4th holiday and I was surprised at how busy the area was mid-week.
The beach is very clean in the day and there’s a ton of unique shells. Some hotels have umbrellas you can rent, but we brought own chairs with canopies. There were lots of families visiting, which was awesome.
My daughter made sand castles and played paddle ball with some new friends. The sand was filled with shells and stones, while the odd crab swept across our toes. The surf is strong like any ocean beach, so being vigilant with children is key. The coolest sight was a pair of dolphins seen in the early morning hours.
Lifeguards are on duty from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. This was surprising to many families who filled the beach as early as 8 a.m. It was quite full by 10 a.m. and then didn’t start emptying out until dinner time. In the evenings, volleyball nets were hung and kites filled the sky.
Nighttime is when the boardwalk is at its peak. Police presence ensures added safety and the many visitors are friendly. However, I did not like the fact that I counted at least three arcades, which were placed in close proximity. This meant a crying kiddo because she wanted to play games more than spend time in the sand. The only arcade I recommend is Funland because it combines arcade games with amusement park rides.
Ticket books are only good for the rides and depending on the number of children in your household, you can buy 50 tickets for $15 or 100 tickets for $25. Rides range from 1-6 tickets per person and ticket books never expire, which is great if you plan a return visit to Rehoboth Beach. There are over a dozen rides for all ages such as little boats, a carousel, spinning tea cups, bumper cars and the Sea Dragon boat.
The Haunted Mansion within Funland, opens in the evenings and has long lines. There is no age limit to ride and while I saw brave 4 year olds boarding the cars, my 9 year old and her 10 year old friend were spooked. I appreciated that it was kitschy, but the children didn’t care for the darkness, water spray and loud honking noise, which only lasted a second. As for the arcade portion, most games are $1 to play. Some of the games like Skee Ball, allow you trade in small items for bigger prizes. It’s easy to spend your money because there are so many games. The upside is that you don’t need to earn a lot of tickets to get some decent prizes.
Take a break from the beach and check out the local scene. Browse About Books is a gem of a bookstore. The store is filled with more than just books of which they have a unique selection of guided reading books. There are also puzzles, games, art kits, stickers, stuffed animals and beach toys. A train table in the kids’ section is a big hit with the younger set. They offer children’s story time and special events every week.
Stockley Street Park is a neighborhood park located at Stockley Street and Scarborough Avenue. Try to avoid the area from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. as residential permits are required if you park here. I saw the police ticketing several cars. The tot lot has a nice playground and the pedestrian bridge over Silver Lake is filled with turtles, fish and geese who make their rounds for bread crumbs.
It was too hot to try, but for $8 a person, Shell We Golf offers a tropical themed mini golf course. Above the sign is a giant shark jaw and the adjacent Sea Shell Shop has great children’s gifts, huge hermit crabs for sale and shark teeth for your marine enthusiast. There are also a few waterparks, but all of these activities are a 5-10 minute drive from the main beach area. If you want to stay in the town, try Ryan’s Rooftop Mini Golf located on the boardwalk.
While we didn’t have time, Cape Henlopen State Park in nearby Lewes makes for a great day excursion.
Our dining experiences were less than stellar as we followed recommendations from locals. Prices were quite expensive compared to other touristy places I have vacationed at. We picked up fresh fruit, milk and bread from an adorable little grocery store called Lingo’s Market, but there are a few establishments that serve breakfast if you want to dine out. We had an okay lunch at Dos Locos Mexican Restaurant and decent dinner at Go Fish for British fish and chips. I heard Jake’s Seafood has fabulous crab cakes. If all else fails, there’s a Five Guys and Subway here too.
A visit to any Delaware beach is not complete unless you have tried Grotto Pizza. You can’t miss them as there are numerous locations. Having been to Bethany Blues BBQ in Bethany Beach, my family made it a point to visit their Lewes location, which is less than 15 minutes from Rehoboth. The onion frizzle app and mac and cheese are delicious. The BBQ comes naked allowing you to dress it to your liking, and the complimentary cornbread makes this restaurant our favorite.
There’s no shortage of ice-cream parlors along with funnel cake counters and candy stores. I’m partial to Dolle’s Candyland and Ibach’s by the Sea for their dozen varieties of popcorn and the fact that they make white chocolate non-pareils on the premises. My daughter loved Snyder’s for their selection of gummies.
There are plenty of options for lodging, but we specifically wanted a hotel near the water. The Admiral on Baltimore is an older hotel meaning it had room keys as opposed to swipe cards. The parking garage was very narrow and the balconies were communal but I appreciated that the hotel was non-smoking. The room was clean and had everything we needed including a television, fridge, microwave and indoor pool. The bonus was the coastal view and the fact that it was a mere 60 feet from the boardwalk.
If you are going to the beach for the day, parking on Baltimore Avenue by the hotels is easy to find. Visitors walked several blocks carrying their gear to get to the beach. The main drag is Rehoboth Avenue where some meters only offer limited parking. On this road, there are also change stations if you want to use coins, but the meters also accept credit cards. Parking cost $2 an hour with a max of 12 hours allowed on some streets. Parking is strictly enforced at the beach, including residential areas.
We spent 3 days and 2 nights at Rehoboth Beach making it an expensive family vacation. While I wouldn’t return for an overnight stay, Rehoboth Beach would make a fun day trip.
Photos by Kathleen Molloy.