If you're ready to relax, unwind and enjoy white sandy beaches set in a family-friendly, small-town atmosphere, then head straight to the Delaware beaches.
Made up of Lewes, Rehoboth, Dewey, Bethany and Fenwick Island, each town has a distinct personality offering something for everyone.
Lewes has its vast history, while Rehoboth is known as the "Nation's Summer Capital" because of its popularity with the Washington crowd. Dewey Beach is remembered for it's laid-back way of life and as the East Coast skim boarding capital while Bethany Beach and Fenwick Island are known as the quiet resorts.
And best of all, these beaches collectively include some of the finest seashore dining around with chic boutique shopping, fun-filled boardwalks and plenty of recreation.
Here's a guide to help you decide on just where to head when visiting the Delaware beaches.
There's so much to choose from when it comes to staying at the Delaware beaches. Everything from national hotel chains to boutique and historic establishments to affordable efficiencies with fully equipped kitchens await your arrival. Here are a few suggestions:
Best Western Gold Leaf, 1400 Highway One, Dewey Beach, This hotel is undergoing renovations to enlarge the rooms. It's scheduled to reopen Memorial Day weekend or in early June. Rates: $160-$250.
Boardwalk Plaza Hotel, 2 Olive Ave., Rehoboth, 302-227-7169; boardwalkplaza.com. Victorian design with modern hotel amenities, indoor/outdoor pool and an oceanfront location. In season rates: $269-$569
Holiday Inn Express, 39642 Jefferson Bridge Road, Bethany Beach, 302-541-9200; holiday-bethany.com. Less than three blocks to the beach, this hotel offers a free hot breakfast buffet, outdoor pool and in-room refrigerators, microwave and coffee maker. Rates: $100-$160.
Hotel Blue, 110 Anglers Road, Lewes, 302-645-4880; http://www.hotelblue.info. A boutique hotel in historic Lewes with rooftop pool. In-season rates range from $225-$295.
The Delaware beaches are becoming known as the "Culinary Coast" because of the wide array of restaurants and culinary-related events. With so much to choose from, we've provided a sampling to get you started. Restaurant week in Rehoboth Beach is June 6-12, when participating restaurants offer menus with $30 or $20 prix-fixe dinners.
Bethany Blues, 6 N. Pennsylvania Ave., Bethany Beach, 302-537-1500, and 18385 Coastal Highway, Lewes, 302-644-2500; bethanyblues.com. Great barbecue dining at two beach locations. Entrees: $14.99 and up.
Catch 54, 39381 Madison Ave., Fenwick Island, 302-436-8600; catch54.com. With family-friendly waterfront dining and "classic beach food," this restaurant is a must-do. Entrees: $17-$28.
Nalu Hawaiian Surf Bar and Grille, 1306 Coastal Highway, Dewey Beach, 302-227-1449; nalusurfbar.com. This open-air surf bar has festive island decor with affordable Hawaiian cuisine and casual food, including burgers, salads, sandwiches and tacos. Entrees: $18-$24.
Dos Locos Fajita & Stonegrill, 208 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth, 302-227-3353; doslocos.com. Combining a fun atmosphere and great food, Dos Locos serves Tex-Mex and American fare that includes stonegrill tableside cooking and great margaritas. Entrees range from the fish and chips for $11.99 to the Stonegrill Land & Sea (lobster tail and steak) for $30.99.
Cape Henlopen State Park, 42 Cape Henolopen Drive, Lewes. 302-645-8983; http://www.destateparks.com. The park attracts thousands of visitors who come to enjoy ocean swimming and sunbathing. There are two designated swimming beaches with lifeguard patrols and a northern swimming area with bathhouse.
DiscoverSea Shipwreck Museum, 708 Ocean Highway, Fenwick Island, 302-539-9366; http://www.discoversea.com. Located above a shell shop. Coins, jewels and weapons of long-lost pirate and sailor fleets. The workers also guide shipwreck dive expeditions. 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. Free.
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, the water park has expansion plans this year that call for a 10,000-square-foot "sprayground" for kids.
Bottle & Cork, 1807 Highway One, Dewey Beach, 302-227-7272; deweybeachlife.com. It's one of the best spots at the beach to catch live music. Local bands as well as nation acts perform. This summer, look for shows from Chuck Wicks, George Clinton, The Bacon Brothers, Citizen Cope, Pat McGee Band and more.
Rehoboth Theatre of the Arts, 20 Baltimore Ave., Rehoboth, 302-227-7303; rehoboththeatreofthearts.com. With a new look and a new name, the Rehoboth Theatre of the Arts has gone through a transformation. It is home to live entertainment as well as BASE (Baltimore Avenue Studios En Masse) with working artists' studios and artwork on display.
Rusty Rudder, 113 Dickinson St., Dewey Beach, 302-227-3888; deweybeachlife.com. Deck parties and live entertainment — just what you want when you're at the beach.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun