Weekend trip to Rehoboth Beach!
April 4, 2013

Weekend Trip to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

When we think of the beach we typically think sun, swimming, sand and waves—not to mention crowds, traffic jams, and sunburn. One way we have discovered to avoid the less pleasant beach-day memories is to go when no one else is around. The seashore in wintertime exposes a completely different ecosystem, uninterrupted by the smother of beach towels. Fall and spring—when the wind is bound to be a bit less blustery and the temperature a little more moderate—are even better.

This past week we took advantage of the spring break holiday to take our kids slightly further afield, to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Though a trip to Rehoboth is about an hour longer than the journey to the Jersey Shore, the continued cleanup from Hurricane Sandy has made some of our favorite spots there off limits for now.

As an outdoors getaway, Rehoboth offers up beach and boardwalk, but it also borders Cape Henlopen State Park, established in the seventeenth century as one of the first public land areas in the United States, and the starting point of Delaware’s Coastal Heritage Greenway. The park is also the terminus of the American Discovery Trail, the United States’ only transcontinental hiking trail.

Town and Park

Like many beach towns, the focal point of life in Rehoboth is the boardwalk. Though during the summer the boardwalk is jammed with tourists, in the off-season it’s practically empty even during middle of the day. The boardwalk runs one mile from end to end, and features numerous exit stairways to access the beach.

Once you hit the beach you will notice tall cement towers rising to the south. If you are up for a long walk these towers are great landmarks, both for a walk and in historical terms. They were constructed during World War II as lookout towers to spot German ships and submarines and are about 1.5 away from the boardwalk. The walk to the towers will lead you out of Rehoboth into Dewey, a much tinier beach town on Rehoboth’s southern border.

Heading north from Rehoboth, walking along the beach, you will arrive in Cape Henlopen State Park. The park is open from dawn to dusk and entrance is free during the off-season (May 1 to October 31). The park is a popular fishing spot (it features a fishing pier and anglers can also fish off the beach), and certain areas of the pine tree-covered dunes are open to camping from the beginning of March to the end of November.

If your kids enjoyed the Nature Center at Orchard Beach, which we covered in previous blog post, they will also enjoy the Seaside Nature Center at Cape Henlopen. The Center runs year-round environmental education programs, hikes, birding expeditions, guided nature walks, as well as aquariums natural history exhibits.

Urban Hiking, Beachstyle

A thriving and eclectic town, Rehoboth is also a great place to walk.  The sidewalks are wide and clean: perfect for pushing strollers or strolling with elderly relatives.  To get the lay of the land, walk from the beach up Rehoboth Avenue, which is the two-way main drag. The pavilion at the top of the street is a great place to let little ones run around. Follow the street running one block west of the boardwalk to its southern end and you will arrive at Silver Lake. Though the lake is not open for swimming or boating, it is a great spot to witness the migration of water birds or the sunset.  

Logistics

The two best options for reaching Rehoboth from New York City are renting a car, or taking Amtrak to Wilmington and renting a car in the train station there. The drive from the city is about four hours, and the drive from Wilmington to Rehoboth is about an hour. 

Hotels abound throughout town, and most have vacancies during the off season.  There are also many houses and condos to rent, again with greater availability and lower prices any time other than summer.  And there are many dining options in all price ranges. 


 

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