On Vacation, It's Good To Be Late

Deals Available On Rooms, Food, Entertainment At Md., Del. Resorts

August 02, 2009|By Liz F. Kay | Liz F. Kay,liz.kay@baltsun.com

Procrastinators get rewarded this year when it comes to beach travel.

Not only are hotel rooms still available - and discounted - at the Maryland and Delaware shores, but many restaurants and stores are offering deals to lure dilly-dallying travelers.

"There's a trend ... to wait until closer to departure" to make reservations, said Donna Abbott, a spokeswoman for the Ocean City Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Ocean City is having a good summer, she said, perhaps because some travelers are choosing to vacation closer to home during the recession. Some may be shortening their visits and taking advantage of midweek rates, which are less expensive than on weekends.

Specials - particularly package deals - will be more abundant Mondays through Wednesdays as well as later in the fall, said Carol Everhart, CEO and president of the Rehoboth Beach-Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce.

To stretch your tourist dollars, take advantage of free activities offered by beach towns. There are lifeguard programs and children's arts and crafts, as well as bonfires and skimboarding.

Ocean City offers free activities every night except Saturday, such as the beach olympics on Tuesday and movie nights on Mondays and Fridays, Abbott said.

"We recognize these are challenging times for families, economically," Abbott said. "We wanted to add value to the vacation."

Everhart recommended that tourists check the chamber's Web site, www.beachfun.com, as well as pick up the local paper for last-minute activities.

In Ocean City, Abbott said bargain hunters can check the visitor's center for coupons to save on dining, shopping and more.

If you're still dragging your feet on getting to the shore, here are some last-minute deals to get you going:

Ocean City

* Try the Castle in the Sand Hotel's Procrastinate Rate. Arrive in Ocean City after 5 p.m. without a reservation and present a Procrastinate Rate Coupon from castleinthesand.com and get 50 percent off the rack room rate for the first night's stay.

* The Princess Bayside Beach Hotel is taking 15 percent off Sunday-to-Thursday night stays through Aug. 27. Rooms must be booked online at princessbayside.com (select "hot deals").

* Check in at Factory Brand Shoes at the Ocean City Factory Outlets on U.S. 50 for a free discount shopping card and shopping tote.

* Take $5 off the adult buffet price at the Embers Restaurant, 2305 Philadelphia Ave. The restaurant opens at 2 p.m., and the special is available all night, every day.

* Ocean City Weekly Rentals is offering 35 percent savings on last minute reservations, including an oceanfront boardwalk one-bedroom unit that sleeps six for $800 a week. Must be reserved within 48 hours of arrival date. Call 800-851-8909 or visit ocwr.com.

Rehoboth Beach

* Enjoy happy hour from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays at Dogfish Head Brewings and Eats, 320 Rehoboth Ave. Pints, Dogfish spirits and appetizers are $1 off.

* Chow down on $5 burgers Mondays at Crabby Dick's at 18831 Coastal Highway. More $5 specials offered during the week.

* Free wine tastings on Fridays, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Bin 66, Fine Wine & Spirits, 301 Rehoboth Ave.

* Hotel Rehoboth, at 247 Rehoboth Ave., is offering a one-night "Best Friends Forever" package that includes wine, spa services, breakfast, parking and accommodations, starting at $438 plus tax. The offer is available through Sept. 6. Call 877-247-7346.

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