An Atlantic Oceanfront city, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware is one of the USA’s old vacation destinations with a wide, sandy beach and an award winning boardwalk. Known to residents of Washington, D.C. as “The Nation’s Summer Capital“, this small town of 1300 people swells to around 20,000 in the thick of summer. It can get crowded here and is used as an alternative to Ocean City, Maryland which is more developed. If you want to see Americana this year, come to Rehoboth Beach.
History buffs may be interested to know that Rehoboth got it’s name from a preacher bnack in 1873 and was first known as the Rehoboth Beach Camp Meeting Association. The people of the Methodist church wanted a Christian oriented vacation spot and the small town was born. Rehoboth actually comes from the Old Testament and is listed three times meaning “a place for all.”
But let’s concentrate on the main Rehoboth Beach located right in the city limits. What is fun and striking about the one and a half mile long beach is the great old boardwalk here. There are many shops and the stroll with the ocean at your side is pleasant and peaceful. From a Campmeeting location to the current gay and lesbian owned businesses here, Rehoboth Beach is a popular getway for them. In fact, an area down near “Queen Street” called Poodle Beach is where they gather.
We were curious about the many “rules” posted along the beach, but this keeps the small township under some sanity. One of the most interesting is you can’t feed the seagulls. Another is you can’t change clothes in your car on any public streets (nor in the “comfort stations.”) And for Rehoboth, no pets on the beach.
This is a free beach, meaning no fees for using the beach, but you’ll want to have change for the parking meters which currently are at $1.50 an hour. There are change machines on Rehoboth Avenue.
This beach is family oriented, even more so than nearby Ocean City. Playland Amusement on the boardwalk has great arcade and other games for kids and it’s economical, too. Have fun on the beach in the day and then come back after dinner for a wonderful time along the boardwalk.
Since this is a summer destination the high season is from Memorial Day (last Monday of May), to Labor Day (first Monday in September), with the heaviest crowds around Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, and Labor Day. Parking can be hard to find during these holidays. Locals say the best times here are in June and August. Remember by August the ocean water has warmed up and the local bars and restaurants have worked out the kinks of new hires, menus, etc.
A seasonal beach patrol watches over Rehoboth Beach with lifeguards starting Memorial Day into fall. The ocean can get rough but with the gentle sloping it’s near perfect for kids. And we can’t forget the fun festivals the town holds, such as the Sea Witch Halloween and Fiddler’s Festival, the Rehoboth Beach Autumn Jazz Festival, and the Rehoboth Beach Independent Film Festival.
Just recently the city passed a smoking ban on parks and playgrounds but OK at the beach and boardwalk.
Rehoboth Beach, Delaware – Beach Index:
- Old American beach town with boardwalk
- Can get very busy and crowded during the summer
- Reserve hotels as far in advance as possible, but check walking proximity to the beach
- Full facilities
- Family beach
- Look at Lewes and Bethany Beach (quiet) as alternates. Dewey Beach will be somewhat crowded, too.