Year-Round Beach Town

Rehoboth Beach is a great place with a great location. This Mid-Atlantic coastal town is just a two hour drive from Baltimore, Philadelphia or Washington, D.C. With a combination of old-fashioned charm and contemporary amenities, downtown Rehoboth Beach has it all.  Along with our boardwalk, beach and ocean views, Rehoboth Beach is the Restaurant Capital of Delaware, a signature town for spas and relaxing vacations, a marvel of upscale (tax-free) boutiques and an amazing place for family fun or romantic getaways. Oh, and we have taffy, t-shirts and beach memories, too. 



This section covers everything you need to know about visiting, shopping and dining in downtown Rehoboth Beach!  Did you know that there is no off-season? Rehoboth is a year 'round beach town with events all through the calendar not just the busy summer season.   Help support downtown and make your mark with an engraved brick paver!  Enjoy your virtual visit and then come see us in person. There's a great vacation waiting for you in Downtown Rehoboth Beach.  

Years ago, beach resorts bustled in the summer and shuttered their doors for the rest of the year. Things have certainly changed!

Summer sizzles at the beach, arcades and ice cream parlors. Rehoboth has bandstand concerts, a Farmer’s Market, miniature golf, amusement park rides for the kids, beach volleyball, cotton candy, pretzels, t-shirts and flip-flops, outdoor dining under the stars, a fantastic boardwalk and beach - and of course, July 4th Fireworks over the ocean. Rehoboth Beach is the Nation’s Summer Capital – our hotels, B&Bs and rentals await the gang for a hot summer/cool time!


Fall is packed with special events and glorious weather. Come for the Jazz Fest, Sea Witch Halloween Festival, Sidewalk sales, Pet Costume Parade, Greyhound Weekend, Independent Film Festival, outdoor dining, walks on the beach, 10-k races, and all the tax-free boutique shopping you can pack in as we head toward the holidays. Fall is fantastic in Downtown Rehoboth Beach.

Downtown Rehoboth Beach History

The earliest settlers to this area were Native Americans who traveled to the beach in the summer months to enjoy the cool breezes and abundant seafood. Between 1650 and 1675, English and Dutch settlers put down roots here as the area became home to farmers and members of William Penn’s earliest legislatures. Later owners participated in the Revolutionary War.

According to information from the Rehoboth Beach Historical Society, in 1872, Reverend Robert W. Todd, of St. Paul’s M.E. Church in Wilmington visited a Camp Meeting area on the Jersey Shore. He soon pursued the idea of starting a camp area here, on the Delaware coast. In 1873, on 414 acres purchased from local farmers, the Rehoboth Camp Meeting Association was formed.

The grounds were laid out in a fan-shaped design, with wide streets, parks and specific building lots. That design remains largely intact today.

 

While the Association discontinued its formal meetings by 1881, other groups utilized the site for services until about the turn of the 20th century. In 1891, Delaware’s General Assembly established a municipality for the territory, naming it Henlopen City. It was soon renamed Rehoboth Beach.

The Boardwalk, now a mile long, was originally built in 1873 on high ground between the beach and Surf Avenue, which ran the full length of the ocean front. Many storms have changed the configuration over the years, but in 1879, the original Henlopen Hotel was built on the site now occupied by a hotel of the same name.

With the coming of the railroad – which ran right down Rehoboth Avenue – the second block of Baltimore Avenue became the new center of camp meetings and city life. Many of the original tent houses (small, one-room buildings surrounding a center structure) were moved there, with new ones constructed as well.

In 1925, a paved highway was completed from Georgetown, DE to Rehoboth. It helped link the resort with the paved roads towards Washington, D.C., and many legislators, diplomats and government employees began to visit and vacation here. It wasn’t long before Rehoboth Beach came to be known as the “Nation’s Summer Capital.”

From it’s beginnings as a spiritual center, to the public’s embrace of the seacoast as a mecca for leisure activity, Rehoboth has developed as a close knit seaside town. It’s a nod to the past that the city’s present day charter includes words that are nearly identical to several words from the 1872 charter of the Camp Meeting Association.

Downtown Rehoboth came of age in the era of Victorian influences and evolved throughout the twentieth century to change with the times. Both the residential and commercial area, despite their growth and maturation, have retained the warm and friendly charm and ambiance that reflect Rehoboth Beach’s historic past.

Check out our NEW Rehoboth Beach Museum in the old Ice House building just over the canal at the Northern entrance to the city. The exhibits are being designed and the collection grows daily. Check it out!

Also, be sure to see the newly added Verrazzano Monument at Olive Avenue and the Boardwalk that commemorates Giovanni da Verrazzano.

Winter boasts holiday lights and sing-a-longs, parades and tax-free shopping! After New Years get set for our Mardi Gras & Gumbo Cook-off, legendary restaurant specials, sports bars to root for your teams, luxurious spa treatments and exquisite accommodations. There are restaurants and rooms for every budget, art galleries and our new museum, receptions and exhibits -  everything from cutting edge contemporary to traditional oils and watercolors by regional and local artists. Celebrate the holidays, banish winter doldrums, or treat your valentine to a cozy fireplace, wonderful meal and an unforgettable get-away.
 

Spring bursts with life with our Chocolate Festival, kite flying events, live music, boardwalk and beach strolls, Easter bonnets, candy bunnies, fashion shows, 10k walks and Restaurant Week. Rent a bicycle for one, two or a whole family in our beach carriages. See what new menus our dozens of gourmet chefs have designed or greet the warming weather with hot dogs, pizza, fries and custard. Dig in to a seafood feast or toast to a joyous occasion. Spring at the beach is a breath of sea air.