Delaware

Small towns, big fun

Beaches like Rehoboth retain their quiet charm while expanding their offerings of activities

May 14, 2008|By Stephanie Shapiro | Stephanie Shapiro,Special to The Sun

For those who enjoy boardwalk frivolity and beach serenity in equal measure, Rehoboth Beach, even as its commercial appeal rapidly expands, remains a reliable vacation choice.

Some visitors may choose to spend their days reading on the beach and evenings playing Scrabble on the screened porch of a rental home. Others may bob in an ocean of retail possibilities by day and haunt the amusements of Funland by night. Or they may opt to kayak beyond the breakers, brave Dewey Beach's youthful nightlife and meander through nearby historic Lewes.

Rain or shine, Delaware beach communities present an ever-growing melange of activities for all ages and sensibilities, while preserving their amiable, small-town personalities.

Hotels

Ranging from luxurious to cozy to basic, Delaware beach accommodations serve wedding parties, business travelers and families.

Hotel Rehoboth, 247 Rehoboth Ave., 302-227-4300; hotel rehoboth.com. Opened in March with 51 guest rooms and one executive suite, the hotel has a high-end vibe. Rates: $159-$399.

Delaware Inn Bed & Breakfast, 55 Delaware Ave., 302-227-6031; delawareinn.com. Free morning yoga, hot breakfast and an easy stroll to the beach. Rates: Two-night minimum stay costs $360-$460.

Bellmoor Inn, 6 Christian St., 302-227-5800; thebellmoor.com. Elegant lodging close to the beach with spa service, a terrace, gardens and pool. Garden room rates: $155-$435.

Restaurants

Beach lovers cannot live on pizza, french fries and frozen custard alone. Here's a selection of new and coming places in which to chow down, from white-tablecloth formal to ultra-casual. And note a new wave of Hawaiian-themed destinations.

Spiaggia Cucina Italiano, 247 Rehoboth Ave., 302-226-2240; spiaggiarehoboth.com. This upscale restaurant scheduled to open in early summer below Hotel Rehoboth promises seaside butternut squash ceviche and mashed balsamic chick peas. Entrees: $16-$22.

Nalu Hawaiian Surf Bar & Grille, 1308 Coastal Highway in Dewey Beach, 302-227-1449; nalu surfbar.com. Just opened in late spring, Nalu promises dishes such as coconut shrimp and guava-glazed ribs. Entrees: $11-$23.

Ponos, 1306 Coastal Highway, Dewey Beach, 302-227-3119; ponosfinedining.com. Ponos, a "Hawaiian fine dining" experience, is another new Dewey hot spot. Entrees: $19-$34.

Fisher Bay Gourmet Foods, 3323 E. Chesapeake St., Lewes, 302-644-4747; fisherbay gourmet.com. Featuring lots of fancy sandwiches ($7-$10), salads and a recommended chili.

Dewey Beach Club, 1205 Highway One, Dewey Beach, 302-227-0669. Specializes in burgers, ribs and fresh seafood. Participate in a Thursday night trivia contest. Entrees: $6.95-$24.95.

Nightlife

For those who come to life later in the day, the Delaware shore offers an abundance of nightlife and entertainment.

Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats, 320 Rehoboth Ave., 302-226-2739. Craft beers and house-distilled spirits along with a mix of bands Fridays and Saturdays.

Arena's Deli and Bar, Village by the Sea Shoppes, 302-227-1272; arenasdeliandbar.com. A place with plenty of local ambience, sandwiches and nachos galore and a continuing roster of live acts.

Purple Parrot, 134 Rehoboth Ave., 302-226-1139. Karaoke on Fridays and Saturdays and Sunday night drag shows.

Frogg Pond, 3 S. First St., 302-227-2234. Friday night jazz, other live music and dance parties Saturdays.

Fun

Rainy days, sunburns and beach fatigue are not a problem. More information at beach-fun.com.

Art League, 12 Dodds Lane, 302-227-8408, rehobothart league.org. Activities for adults and kids, including classes, exhibitions, concerts and lectures.

Jungle Jim's Waterpark, 8 Country Club Road, 302-227-8444, funatjunglejims.com. Besides featuring the usual bumper boats, go-karts and putt-putt courses, expansion plans this year call for a 10,000-square-foot "sprayground" for kids.

Rehoboth Beach Museum, 511 Rehoboth Ave., 302-227-7310. Admire an exhibit of swimsuits over the ages as well as artifacts and maps at this new landmark.

QUEST Fitness and Kayak, 302-644-7020; questfitness kayak.com or Coastal Kayak, 302-539-7999; c-kayak.com. Ocean and marsh kayaking, including paddling camp for youths, eco tours and rentals.

Cape Henlopen State Park, 42 Cape Henlopen Drive, Lewes, 302-645-8983; www.destate parks.com. Biking, bird-watching, disc golf course, dog-walking (on leashes) and fishing.

Shopping

With the proliferation of shops and boutiques, it's easy to forget that Rehoboth has an ocean.

Pineapple Princess Swim and Resort Wear, 301 Rehoboth Ave., 302-227-8705. Swimwear and accessories for men and women. Alterations offered on premises.

Cleo's Boutique, 247 Rehoboth Ave., 302-227-6840. A swank women's clothing, accessories and jewelry shop that just opened.

Mod Cottage, 247 Rehoboth Ave., 302-227-7277. Modern home accessories.

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