“Not all who wander are lost.”
In the southeast portion of the little state of Delaware are the best beaches you will find in the mid-Atlantic region. If you’re looking for a vacation spot with LOTS of choices and lots of charm, Rehoboth Beach is for you.
Whether you’re looking for quiet, busy, kid-friendly, or wild and crazy, Rehoboth has it all.
The main road into Rehoboth is Coastal Highway. The highway has almost everything you need (except Target!). Chain restaurants, local restaurants, fast food, grocery stores, banks, hotels, gas stations can all be found on the highway, as well as 3 Tanger outlet centers.
If you need a gas and convenience store, the place to stop is Wawa (there are two: 30155 Veterans Way and 35436 Wolfe Neck Road). Locally, we say if Wawa had french fries, we wouldn’t need to go anywhere else. Wawa has a coffee bar, soda machine, subs, hot foods, salads, and premade foods (including fruit, hummus, sandwiches, veggies and dip, and desserts).
ON THE HIGHWAY
Before you get into the actual town of Rehoboth, there are a few places on the highway worth visiting.
Rosenfeld’s Jewish Delicatessen (18949 Coastal Highway) is so authentic, you will forget you are in Delaware. The sandwiches are delicious and the menu is extensive. There are tables for eating in or you can get an order to go.
Right next to the Rosenfeld’s is Mudslinger’s Drive-Thru Coffee (18969 Coastal Highway). There is a walk-up window, or just drive right up! So cute!
Make sure you get to Fractured Prune (20214 Coastal Highway) before they close at 3 pm daily. They offer freshly made donuts with a variety of glazes and toppings. They have premade selections like Key Lime Pie (key lime glaze with graham crackers and powdered sugar) or you can make your own. Inside, you’ll enjoy the colorful, hippie décor. Even if you aren’t crazy about sweets, you will love these donuts.
Big Fish Grill (20298 Coastal Highway) is the sister restaurant to Summer House (in Rehoboth) and is one of my two favorite places to eat. Make sure you have time to wait in the summer, as it is one of the most popular restaurants. The atmosphere is casual and has a coastal theme with big fish everywhere! Their original recipes have earned them “Best of Delaware” awards for many years. The best items on the menu include the bruschetta (enough for 3 people), the spinach salad with hot bacon dressing, Neva’s potatoes, and the pecan-crusted Alaskan halibut. There’s lots of seafood to choose from – the steamed shrimp is also a good choice. If they have the pumpkin crab soup when you are visiting, make sure you try it!
Liquid Surf and Skate Shop (19406 Coastal Highway) is a cool place to shop for surf and skate gear and you can grab a taco on your way in at the Taco Reho food truck. Even cooler, check out Liquid’s website – one of the coolest I have seen!
Next to Liquid you will find Big Chill Surf Cantina (19406 Coastal Highway) where you can grab an adult beverage (adults only!) to go along with your taco. They have light fare but the menu is limited. There’s a cute outdoor patio and bar, but the inside is just as cute and quaint. Check out the live, local music on summer weekends for fun and relaxation!
Shell We Golf (19366 Coastal Highway and 119 Rehoboth Avenue) is one of several miniature golf courses and has a substantial gift and souvenir shop. It is a cute shop with LOTS of stuff – souvenirs, shells, and household items.
Jungle Jim’s (36944 Country Club Road) is one of two water parks on the highway, with Midway Speedway Park (18645 Coastal Highway) being the other. Jungle Jim’s is a bit more expensive but is much nicer. Offering a large water park with a lazy river, bumper boats, batting cages, and mini golf, the kids are bound to have a great day.
For those adult events, check out Kid’s Cottage (35488 Wolfeneck Road) for drop-in childcare (located behind Wawa). The kids will be entertained with various activities!
If you are coming from the north, as you head down Route 1, you will see signs to head into the town of Rehoboth and you will bear left off the highway.
The main road in Rehoboth that heads straight to the Atlantic Ocean is Rehoboth Avenue and contains a variety of shops and restaurants.
The town of Rehoboth Beach uses ParkMobile, which is incredibly convenient. Download the app to make parking a smooth process. There is also parking behind the Rehoboth Convention Center (229 Rehoboth Avenue). Parking meters are in effect from just before Memorial Day through the second Sunday after Labor Day. Just a warning – parking is difficult year round!
Public bathrooms are located in the middle of Rehoboth Avenue in the first block off the ocean, as well as along the boardwalk. They are usually well kept.
If I could afford to live in Rehoboth, I would. But, real estate is VERY expensive, as you would expect in a popular beach town. As part of your stay, check out the local architecture. There is an interesting mix of old cottages and new, chic homes. There are many cute homes in town but for the larger homes, check out Henlopen Acres on the north side.
Additionally, there is a road between Rehoboth and Dewey (just south of Rehoboth) with a flat bridge (Bayard Avenue/Silver Lake Drive). On the ocean side, you will see several mansion-sized homes that are quite impressive.
On the ocean side, there are several quaint side streets and most have beach access. It is a great walking town, so take advantage by strolling around.
WHERE TO EAT
There are so many places to eat in Rehoboth, from walk-up windows for ice cream and fries to gourmet, top-notch restaurants. Here’s a run-down of my favorites that are sure winners.
Whether you stay for a day or a week, a cannot-miss spot on your list should be Nicola Pizza. Their stromboli, called the “Nicoboli,” is delicious and unique. You will never forget a Nicoboli! You can even get them frozen to go. Their menu includes pizza, sandwiches, and classic Italian foods. They have two locations around the corner from each other – 71 Rehoboth Avenue and 8 North 1st Avenue.
Another Rehoboth classic is Thrasher’s Boardwalk Fries (26 Rehoboth Avenue). For a quick snack, they are guaranteed to be the best fries around!
Another pizza and sandwich option is Grotto’s. Be prepared – Grotto’s pizza is different. There isn’t much in between – people either love it or they hate it. I have been told by an inside source that they use cheddar cheese mixed in with the mozzarella but it definitely has a unique taste. There are other options on the menu including salads, pizza, wings, and sandwiches. There are multiple locations and they offer carry out. You can grab a slice to see if you like it before making the commitment of eating an entire meal there. Their salads are generous and very good.
For American lighter fare, check out Arena’s. They have a location in Rehoboth (149 Rehoboth Avenue) and on the highway in between Rehoboth and Dewey (20312 Coastal Highway). They have classic cheesesteaks, fries, nachos, soups and salads. My go-to is the Buffalo Chicken Cheesesteak but they have many sandwich options. The outdoor seating on a beautiful summer day only makes the food experience better!
My absolute favorite in Rehoboth Beach is Summer House (228 Rehoboth Avenue). The owner has another restaurant in between Rehoboth and Dewey, Big Fish Grill, that is tied for my favorite. Their menus vary slightly but the food is excellent. The Neva’s potatoes (a hash brown casserole) is a must, as is the filet and the caesar salad. I’ve eaten there hundreds of times and have never had a bad meal. Locals enjoy the large bar area with several large televisions (always sports!).
For excellent sushi, the place to go is The Cultured Pearl (301 Rehoboth Avenue). They have a rooftop deck with gazebos and a Koi pond. The sushi is incredible and they have been voted Best of Delaware for years.
If you plan to spend the day on the beach and want to take a cooler with you, swing by Grub Grocery (305 Rehoboth Avenue). If you don’t have time to hit The Cultured Pearl, you can pick up some of their sushi here Friday through Tuesday. They have lots of breakfast and lunch sandwiches to choose from, and recently added a hot bar with soup and chili.
One last high-end restaurant to try is Stingray Sushi Bar and Asian Grill (59 Lake Avenue). They have a great bar area and offer indoor and outdoor seating. Known for their fresh rolled sushi and sashimi, they have some unique items on the menu, such as Coconut Curry Crab Soup (yummy!) They are open until 1am on Friday and Saturday and have a late-night menu. Definitely worth checking out!
WHERE TO STAY
There are a lot of chain hotels, but for local flair, check out one of my top three picks.
Closest to the beach is The Boardwalk Plaza Hotel (2 Olive Avenue). The hotel is unusual, as it has a Victorian theme. It’s not very beachy but the hotel is very nice, with lots of amenities if you are looking for something nicer than a chain hotel. Right on the beach and a couple blocks from Rehoboth Avenue, you can’t beat the location.
Next closest is The Bellmoor Inn and Spa (6 Christian Street). A couple of blocks from the ocean and Rehoboth Avenue, the hotel is also very convenient. The rooms are beautiful with an elegant, coastal vibe and the spa is small but reasonably priced. Just a note – the spa is for overnight guests only.
The Hotel Rehoboth is a luxurious boutique-style hotel. The Rehoboth Avenue location makes everything within walking distance. The hotel offers a shuttle service to the beach with complementary towels and chairs. You can’t go wrong with this hotel!
WHAT TO DO
So, the obvious answer is the beach. In the summer, the beach can get very crowded, especially near Rehoboth Avenue. You can always find a spot, but you will have a pretty close neighbor. There are umbrellas available for rent and they are pretty reasonable. You can find a comprehensive list of beach rules and regulations here.
Funland is a cool, old-fashioned amusement park and arcade, and is a must-see, even if you don’t have kids. Opened in 1962, I have many childhood memories of Funland and it hasn’t changed much at all since I was a kid. They have rides, games, an arcade, and bumper cars. They open for the season in mid-May and generally open at 10 am for games and 1 pm for rides. They are extremely reasonably priced – a toddler boat ride can be as little as 30 cents, depending on the ticket book you purchase.
Rehoboth’s boardwalk has a lot of selection including restaurants, t-shirt shops, ice cream walk-up windows, miniature golf, arcades, and Funland. Benches line the boardwalk so you can people-watch, or flip the back around to take in the ocean views. Make sure you take a quick look at Rehoboth’s rules and regulations to make sure you don’t commit a boardwalk no-no.
Ryan’s Mini Golf (1 Delaware Avenue) is one of several in the area but is unique in that it is located on top of a building with sweeping views of the boardwalk and the ocean. Like Funland, it has been around for a long time and is the location of many childhood memories. It’s not fancy but is very inexpensive.
Penny Lane Mall (42 Rehoboth Avenue) is charming, european-inspired open air shopping area located between Rehoboth Avenue and Wilmington Avenue. You are sure to find an upscale souvenier here at one of the clothing or jewelry stores. Make sure you check out Fun For All Toys for their unique toys and vintage candy selection.
Finally, for a true beach experience, make sure you take a surf lesson or paddleboard lesson from Rehoboth Beach Surf Boarding School (20717 Coastal Highway). They offer various lessons, camps, and excursions.
I hope you enjoy your visit and fall in love with Rehoboth Beach!
BonVoyage! – Kristin