Millions of people from throughout the mid-Atlantic and beyond visit tiny Delaware every year, spending billions of dollars annually. And Sussex County is responsible for the lion's share of these visitors (9 million in 2016, according to data from the Delaware Tourism Office).
And with 26 miles of Atlantic coastline and five great beach towns, it's no wonder why tourists continue to flock to Delaware's southernmost county.
But today, we want to look at what is widely considered to be the hub of coastal Delaware. It's the area that has the largest number of restaurants, the most hotels, the most well-known boardwalk and the biggest selection of entertainment options, particularly during the warm weather months.
We're talking, of course, about the "Nation's Summer Capital" of Rehoboth Beach. Once a mecca for Washington politicians and elite (thus the nickname), Rehoboth is the municipality that pops into most people's minds when they hear "coastal Delaware."
The actual city of Rehoboth Beach is only around one square mile, anchored by Rehoboth Avenue and extending both north and south. But then there's greater Rehoboth, which includes busy Route 1 and all of the shops and businesses that flank the area's most well traveled north-south highway.
At the Oldfather Group, we know and love all of coastal Delaware and also coastal Maryland (read our earlier report on Ocean City here). But our headquarters are in Rehoboth Beach; it's our home base, it's where we began our business back in 2004 and it's where we sell a good number of our properties annually.
So today, we want to tell you about some of our favorite places in beautiful Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Some of these highlighted areas have been chosen by members of our team, others are just ones that we, as a group, love to frequent.
But all help comprise the small town charm that is Rehoboth Beach.
Our CEO Dustin Oldfather kicks off this special feature with a one-minute video tour of the beach and the community.
Okay, so how do we do a feature about our favorite spots in Rehoboth Beach without it turning into a book? Well, that could easily happen if we didn't set some pretty strict parameters.
So, while there are literally dozens of places in Rehoboth that we know and love, we simply can't feature them all here in this blog entry.
What we can do is hit on a few of the big events and locations, while letting members of our staff tell you about their favorite places in the "Nation's Summer Capital."
And that's where we'll begin. So here we go - favorite places in Rehoboth Beach, as named by members of the staff and sales team at the Oldfather Group of Ocean Atlantic Sotheby's International Realty.
We begin with...
Browseabout Books (Steph Moyer). One of the finest independent book stores in the United States, Browseabout Books has been a fixture on Rehoboth Avenue since 1975, when Steve and Barbara Crane first opened in coastal Delaware.
A local favorite ever since, Browseabout holds a large number of book signings every year and has played host to many famous authors and celebrities, including former Vice President Joe Biden and Hollywood icon Kathy Lee Gifford.
Featuring a huge selection of books, as well as gifts, games, and a selection of food items, Browseabout Books is located at 133 Rehoboth Avenue, just a short walk from the Boardwalk.
Just look for the green awning and enjoy your visit!
Sunshine Octopus (Richard DeCore). Located at 149 Rehoboth Avenue, in the Village by the Sea Shops plaza, the psychedelic shop that is Sunshine Octopus takes you back to a time when peace and love ruled the world.
Open seven days a week from April through November, and Fridays through Sundays year-round, this one-of-a-kind shop has been around since 1987 and has become a favorite in Rehoboth Beach.
Popular items at the "groovy" store in downtown Rehoboth include incense, tapestries, tie-dye items, hemp products, bandannas and much more.
So hop in your Volkwagon bug (or use your imagination) and mosey on down to "the Octopus" for some special items that you won't find anywhere else in coastal Delaware.
Salt Air (Linda Rosatelli). There's no questioning the fact that Rehoboth Beach has one of the most eclectic and lively restaurant scenes in the area, and Salt Air is certainly one of the best the city has to offer.
Featuring what the owners refer to as "hand crafted food," this eatery located on Wilmington Avenue offers farm to table fresh cuisine in an upscale atmosphere.
The owners and chefs take advantage of fresh seasonal produce, sustainable seafood and organic meats and poultry to create their mouth-watering creations. It's a great example of coastal Delaware's unique food scene, and one we highly recommend.
Popular dinner items include Grilled Scottish Salmon Panzanella, Eastern Shore Crab Cakes, Seafood Stew, the Un-farm Double Stack Crab Cake Sandwich and the Salt Air Fire Grilled “Barrel” Rib Eye.
Bring your appetite and choose your favorite dish any day this summer. Trust us, Salt Air will not disappoint.
Thrasher's French Fries (Julie Seymour). When you think of "beach food," one of the first things that pops in your mind is probably the unique taste of Thrasher's French Fries.
Best served with a side of vinegar, these delicacies are a hot item during the summer season on the Boardwalk in Rehoboth Beach. Long lines often await, but most people don't seem to mind waiting for their "reward" while at the beach.
Located in the middle of the boardwalk, Thrasher's is a "must have" during any trip to the beach. Just don't forget the vinegar!
And now, for some of our favorites as a group. Many of these are extremely well known throughout the region, and beloved by residents and visitors alike.
We'll kick things off with Funland, unquestionably one of the best places for family fun in Rehoboth Beach.
Funland (on the Boardwalk). For amusement rides, Funland in Rehoboth Beach is the place to go. Still featuring affordable ticket prices for all of their rides, along with video games and games of skill, Funland is a great place to take the family for a break from the sand and the surf.
The park features 18 rides, 13 midway games, an electronic shooting gallery, redemption games and redemption center and an arcade with video and pinball machines.
The park has been family owned and operated since 1962 and is open from Mother’s Day weekend through Labor Day.
Dolle's (on the Boardwalk). There is no more iconic symbol in Rehoboth Beach than the Dolle's sign that towers over Rehoboth Avenue and the Boardwalk. It's large cursive orange letters are one of the first things people see when arriving for a visit in the "Nation's Summer Capital."
Dolle’s Candyland was established in Rehoboth Beach in 1926, moving to its present location at the corner of Rehoboth Avenue and the Boardwalk in 1927 after the co-founders, Thomas Pachides and Rudolph Dolle, purchased the old YMCA building for $30,000. It was here that the legendary candy store was born.
Dolle's is still widely known today for its wide selection of yummy treats, including salt water taffy, fudge and a wide selection of flavored popcorns.
It is, and always will be, a treat for the entire family!
Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats (Rehoboth Avenue). Today, Sam Calagione’s Dogfish Head Brewery is known throughout the region as one of the top microbreweries on the east coast of the United States.
But it all started at the company’s brewpub on Rehoboth Avenue, which was torn down in 2017 to make way for the new and improved Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats.
Known for its “original beer, original food and original music,” Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats offers a wide selection of the company’s signature brews, as well as specialty pizzas, seafood entrees and original sandwiches.
It's located on Rehoboth Avenue and is open year round for visitors and tourists alike.
Penny Lane (Rehoboth Avenue). Featuring access on both Rehoboth Avenue and Wilmington Avenue, Penny Lane is an open air mall that features a wide selection of shops in the downtown resort area.
Just a few steps from the Boardwalk, Penny Lane has something for everyone and is a unique shopping area in Rehoboth Beach.
Popular stores at Penny Lane include the Old Salt Gift Shop, Archie's Ice Cream, Sea Finds, Fun for All Toys, Bed of Roses and many more.
For a fun shopping experience in the downtown resort area of Rehoboth Beach, check out Penny Lane.
(a) MUSE (Baltimore Avenue). Open since 2012 on Baltimore Avenue, a(MUSE) is one of the creations by renowned local chef Hari Cameron and is one of our favorite restaurants in downtown Rehoboth Beach.
The restaurant offers a comfortable bar, a cozy main seating area and, when the weather is warm, 23 seats outside. There’s a Happy Hour from 4 to 6, and drink and food specials throughout the year.
Popular menu items at a(MUSE) include Duck Scrapple, New Jersey Torn Scallops, Maryland Rockfish and Grass Fed Hanger Steak.
And don't forget the Pot Brownie for dessert! Your taste buds will thank you later.
As mentioned above, this is just a small sampling of things to see and do in the fabulous resort town of Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.
We have many other favorites, many of which you can read about on our blog page.
The area also has several local festivals each year that are fun for the entire family, including the fabulous Fourth of July fireworks, the Rehoboth Beach Chocolate Festival, the early February Polar Bear Plunge and the always fun and entertaining Sea Witch Halloween & Fiddlers Festival in October.
So get out there and have a great visit in fabulous Rehoboth Beach. And if you want to purchase a home and stay here full-time, be sure to give us a ring at 302-260-2000.
There are some great properties currently on the market and we'd love the chance to introduce you to all that Delaware's coastal region has to offer.
Click below for more information about our agents that are featured above. All are experts on Rehoboth Beach and the surrounding areas.
And if you'd like to check out some of the places we've mentioned above, but aren't exactly sure how to get there, check out the handy map below. Locations appear in the order they were mentioned in the main copy above.