Every summer, vacationers bond with the familiar-the beach, the sand and the boardwalk. But each season brings in new places to explore.
The restaurant scene continues to grow along the Delaware coast, offering a range of dining options. A new hotel sits on the boardwalk in Bethany Beach. And a distillery with a tasting room satisfies the public's thirst for artisan drinks.
Whether you're a seasoned beach-goer or a first time visitor, Delaware's beaches have a lot to offer, from the old to the new.
Dining and nightlife
Beach Time Distilling, 32191 Nassau Road, No. 5, Lewes, 302-644-2850, beachtimedistilling.com. Opened at the end of last summer, the distillery makes small-batch spirits from natural ingredients and has a tasting room.
Blackwall Hitch, 52 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach, theblackwallhitch.com. With branches in Annapolis and Alexandria, Va., the restaurant will re-create a classic shore tavern and specialize in new American cuisine. A summer opening is expected.
Chesapeake & Maine, 316 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach, dogfish.com/eats/chesapeake-maine.htm. The new restaurant, owned by the local Dogfish Head Brewery folks, focuses on seafood from Maine and along the Chesapeake Bay. It's located next to the brewer's other restaurant, the popular Dogfish Head Brewing & Eats.
Crooked Hammock Brewery, 36707 Crooked Hammock Way, Lewes, 302-644-7837, crookedhammockbrewery.com. The brewpub, which opened last fall, offers a fun atmosphere with a beer garden, corn hole, a playground for the kids and, of course, hammocks.
Dewey Beach Club, 1205 Route 1, Dewey Beach, 302-227-0669, facebook.com/deweybeachclub/. The name pays homage to the original Dewey Beach Club, which closed in 2009. The new rendition is a "laid-back restaurant and cocktail bar," according to its Facebook page.
Heirloom, 212 Savannah Road, Lewes, 302-313-4065, heirloomdelaware.com. A farm-to-fork restaurant delivers impressive fare in a beautifully restored 1899 home. Baltimoreans may remember executive chef Jordan Miller from his French Kitchen days at the Lord Baltimore Hotel. It opened late last year.
The Starboard Raw, 2000 Coastal Highway, Dewey, 302-227-4600, facebook.com/StarboardRaw/. Formerly Scully's Ocean Side Café. The owners of the town's popular Starboard Restaurant and Bar opened a raw-bar offshoot with 20 craft beers on tap.
Surfside Bar & Grill, 1705 Coastal Highway, Dewey Beach, 302-227-7000, surfsidedewey.com. The new, family-friendly beach dining spot is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, starting Memorial Day weekend, specializing in gourmet burgers, overstuffed tacos and frozen drinks.
The Avenue Inn, 33 Wilmington Ave., Rehoboth Beach, 800-433-5870, avenueinn.com. The hotel recently added an addition with state-of-the-art rooms and updated the interior of its main building.
Bethany Beach Ocean Suites Residence Inn, 99 Hollywood St., Bethany Beach, 302-539-3200, bboceansuites.com/hotel. The oceanfront hotel, part of the Marriott chain, opened last summer on the boardwalk. It has 112 suites, each with its own private balcony.
The Resort at Massey's Landing, 20268 Long Beach Drive, Millsboro, 302-539-3666, masseylanding.com. The new pet-friendly, RV resort and campground offers a private beach, a pool with an adult-only swim area, a fitness center and camp store and deli.
Cape Water Tours and Taxi, 107 Anglers Road, Lewes, 302-644-7334, capewatertaxi.com. The former Cape Water Taxi shifts its focus toward tours, cruises and private charters, including a new Delaware Bay lighthouse cruise.
Cinema Art Theater, 17701 Dartmouth Drive, Dartmouth Plaza, Lewes, 302-645-9095, rehobothfilm.com. The Rehoboth Beach Film Society has a new home. The new venue with a 104-seat main theater and a screening room allows expanded programming and films year-round with ample parking.
Escape Rehoboth, 20245 Bay Vista Road, No. 206, Rehoboth Beach, 302-344-6125, escaperehoboth.com. Southern Delaware has its first escape room, providing a one-hour race to get out of a "locked" room by solving a series of puzzles and clues related to a storyline.
Lewes Historical Society, 110 Shipcarpenter St., Lewes, 302-645-7670, historiclewes.org. "Brotherhood and Determination: The Story of Beebe Healthcare," tells the story of the local hospital's 100 years. The free exhibit continues until October.
Zwaanendael Museum, 102 Kings Highway, Lewes, 302-645-1148, history.delaware.gov/museums/zm/zm_main.shtml. A new exhibit, "Wine and Spirits in Delaware," traces the state's involvement from the time of European settlement to the present.
Rules and resources
Delaware State Parks — including Fenwick Island State Park, Delaware Seashore State Park and Cape Henlopen State Park — will waive admission fees on June 5 to celebrate the state park system's 65th anniversary.