Before I returned to my full-time day job from maternity leave, we took a trip up to the Delaware coast and DC in March. This was Asher’s first road trip and how perfect that his first vacation was to our country’s first state. We stayed in our friend’s beach house in Bethany Beach about 5 minutes from the sandy shore and it was the perfect little retreat.
You can stay at their beautiful house yourself by booking it right here on Airbnb. Our friends are wonderful hosts and you’ll love their home!
The southern part of the Delaware coastline is dotted with charming beach towns each with their own kitchy vibe. You’ll find shops, store fronts and restaurants lining a boardwalk area that leads you to the ocean. Naturally, we had to visit each one and stop to eat along the way.
The week before our trip, temperatures had been in the 70s. We were hopeful this trend would continue. Unfortunately, as our luck would have it, this was the week that the Northeast, including DC and Delaware got hit by a freak snowstorm dumping several inches of snow in the city and leaving the Delaware beach bitter cold and wet. The week before our trip, Asher had also started sleeping for 8-9 hour stretches. We were also hopeful this trend would continue and that the trip wouldn’t totally screw up his schedule. He is a traveling champ and barely uttered a cry during a long 16 hour day of driving. However, our second night in was one of his worst nights of sleep ever. He laid there kicking his legs for HOURS. After those first few nights though he was back to his old self, sleeping really well. Phew. But that one night was a doozy.
Despite the cold weather and precious little sleep, we still had a great time! One thing I’ll note though is if you are visiting the Delaware coast in the off season like us, a lot of things are still closed for the season or have limited hours, so double check their open times before heading out. We went in search of an open Kohr Bros for frozen custard one day and turned up empty handed (sadly), so we will have to try again next time we visit.
Because it was so bitterly cold, we spent most of our time eating! We did try to sight-see some, but could only bare the cold for so long before ducking indoors. This just meant more time for puzzles and movies while relaxing at the house.
First, we headed up to Rehoboth Beach to eat at the Dogfish Head Brewpub where they serve up craft beer flights and tasty gastropub cuisine.
Next door to the Brewpub is their new seafood restaurant, Chesapeake & Maine.
Inside here is where you will also find their retail shop and tasting room.
You can purchase DFH logo items, beer, and spirits to take home.
Dogfish Head beers only recently became available in our area, so most of their beers were new to us, but what we’d had in the past had been tasty. Remington was excited to try more of their brews and I was surprised to learn they also craft some fine spirits, including a couple of gins that were quite good.
So he enjoyed a beer flight where he got to hand select four tastings of the brewery’s draft beers that day. Left to right is their Lemon Sorachi, Indian Brown, Saison du Buff, and a brewpub exclusive the Dogfish Red IPA. The Indian Brown is a new favorite that we can now purchase in stores near us and that Lemon Sorachi was just so dang interesting.
I opted for a seasonal cocktail with blood orange juice and one of their crafted gins. It was really really good gin and also really strong!
Not only were we excited to try more of Dogfish Head’s brews, but their food menu really drew us in the door! For a starter, we had pretzel bites with beer cheese dip and housemade honey mustard. Perfect for sharing!
Remington got a wood-fired pizza. This one had proscuitto, mushrooms, balsamic, and arugula. It was delicious!
I ordered the fresh crab tacos filled with roasted corn and topped with pickeled onion and microgreens. These were some of the best tacos I’ve ever eaten. So good!
Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats
320 Rehoboth Ave.,
Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971
Every Day: 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 a.m.
Sunday Brunch: 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
For dessert, we stopped at Kaisy’s Delights for Austrian style pancakes. Think fluffy pancake meets a funnel cake meets crispy french toast cooked on a flat top grill.
You can get it topped with savory options, sweet fruit compotes, chocolate sauce, or homemade ice cream. Our friends shared a sweet kaisy topped with cherry compote. Looks amazing.
I enjoyed a small kaisy topped with pistachio ice cream. The cool, creamy ice cream paired so well with the rich, decadent pancake. Even the small size was incredibly filling though. We could have also just shared one.
In need of something warm and a hit of caffeine as a pick me up, Remington also had a Chai Latte. He says it was a tad too sweet for his tastes, but it looked pretty!
We stopped at the Beach Break Bakrie & Cafe for fresh baked pastries, including this lemon poppyseed muffin that was HUGE!
And this cinnamon roll that was the size of my son’s head! It was pretty tasty too! Definitely recommend stopping in here for baked goods! There is VERY limited seating though, so it’s a good place for grab and go options.
123 Garfield Pkwy
Bethany Beach, Delaware
Call (302) 537-3800
We stopped in the Penguin one morning for a hearty breakfast! They have a pretty large and varied menu with options to make just about anyone happy, including items with fresh seafood. None of us tried it, but apparently their french toast is to die for. It’s made using thick cut Brioche and you can also ask for it encrusted in granola.
Remington tried the Huevos Rancheros, a generous plate of crispy tortillas topped with Mexican chorizo, black beans, cilantro, eggs, crema and a homemade salsa on the side. If you want a super filling breakfast, then order this!
I had the Baltimore omelette – three eggs get stuffed with lump crab meat, sautéed diced tomato and baby Swiss cheese. Omelettes come with home fries and your choice of toast or you can get an English muffin or bagel for a $1 more. Somehow I always end up choosing whatever is more. LOL. I’m not usually big on omelettes, but this one was actually very good. The eggs were cooked well. My beef with omelettes is that usually the eggs get too overdone and the flavors just don’t meld.
While we noted that the prices seemed a bit steep for breakfast, the portion sizes are extremely generous and we all left with very full bellies!
105 Garfield Pkwy, Bethany Beach, DE 19930
Matt’s Fish Camp has two locations in Bethany Beach and Lewes. We checked out the Bethany Beach location for an early dinner. Word of caution, it is tucked off the road a bit and easy to miss because of the row of trees just before the parking lot hiding it from view until you are right by it.
I would describe this place as upscale meets beachy casual. Many of the menu items are on the higher end likely due to their use of fresh fish and local produce, but they also have a fish sandwich for $14.
Their menu features fresh local seafood options including salads and sandwiches, hearty main dishes, and seasonal specials. They offer a kids menu and happy hour specials daily from 3-6 at the bar. You do have to sit at the small bar area to enjoy the happy hour specials though.
Not sure if they run those weekly features all year long, but at least in the off season being one of the few places open all week, they offer something unique every night except for Saturday. Sunday is their Supper special where you can get a pretty sweet deal on a three course meal.
Our friend, Art, ordered the Tuna special, which was a blackened tuna steak served over roasted vegetables and mashed potatoes. Because he has a shellfish allergy, he asked them if they could cook this separately in a clean pan and they were very accommodating!
Christy, tried the pan seared day boat scallops. They are served over a bed of dirty brussels, butternut squash, bacon and a maple mustard vinaigrette. She said the dish was very good and the scallops were perfectly cooked, which is so often not the case.
Remington had the fish and chips, which were really well done. He said they were some of the best he’s ever had! The portion was a heaping pile of fries topped with 4 or 5 large strips of battered cod and a side of slaw. He had leftovers for later!
Since it was my birthday after all, I ordered the whole Maine lobster steamed with drawn butter, mashed potatoes and green beans. I’ll be honest. I was a tad disappointed. I didn’t want to really work that hard for my food and was told that the claws would be cracked for me so that most of the work would be done, but they weren’t really cracked well. The lobster was actually a little overcooked and the mashed potatoes reminded me of what you get at Red Lobster. I think I might have enjoyed a Rock Lobster tail with their mashed potatoes at half the price more than I did this meal. I hate to be so harsh, but when you pay $36 for something you expect it to wow you and this did not.
Would I recommend Matt’s Fish Camp? Maybe. I’d say it’s hit or miss. Half of our food was excellent. Maybe go for the lower priced items so you don’t feel too upset if you spend a lot and walk away unhappy with your meal. The service was good overall, but then again we were there early and it was empty.
Matt’s Fish Camp
28635 Coastal Hwy, Bethany Beach, DE 19930
OPEN DAILY 11:30AM-10PM | DAILY HAPPY HOUR 3-5PM
On our last night in Bethany Beach, we ordered a light takeout meal from Off The Hook, which was just down the road from where we stayed. We weren’t super famished, but wanted something to eat and one last local treat. I’d read that their fried calamari was a must eat, so we got an order to share and a couple of seasonal salads. You guys, this might have been the best meal of the trip! And I wished we had gone to this restaurant the day before for my birthday! This calamari was perfection. It might be the best dang calamari I’ve ever eaten. The squid was so fresh and the buttermilk batter was light, yet crispy. Even enjoying this as takeout, it was still this good. The steam from the container did not diminish the flavor or soften the crunchy coating any! We devoured this entire thing very quickly.
We also enjoyed two seasonal salads from Off the Hook with our delectable calamari. The first one was a roasted carrot salad with microgreens and the second was a broccoli salad topped with romesco, ricotta, and an egg. Delicious. Both of these salads were seriously delicious. Everything was super fresh, the flavors were clean and bright, the vegetables were cooked to just crisp tender and the eggs were beautifully poached. We fought over last bites.
Off The Hook
769 Garfield Pkwy, Bethany Beach, DE 19930
You can’t go to the Delaware coast without making a stop at Fisher’s Popcorn. Apparently Thrasher’s Fries and Kohr Bros Frozen Custard are also must eats, but we missed out this trip because Thrasher’s had very limited hours and Kohr Bros were still closed for the season. But we did manage to try Fisher’s! We got a bucket of caramel mixed with cheddar, but we also tried the Old Bay seasoned.
There are multiple Fisher’s locations along the coast, so it’s super easy to load up on fresh, tasty P-corn! You’ll find the same great recipes, made fresh in Bethany, Rehoboth, and Fenwick Island, but the Ocean City location is the original and run by different members of the same family.
200 S Boardwalk, Ocean City, MD 21842
That’s a wrap on our long weekend to the Delaware coast! We can’t wait to return…just maybe when the weather is a tad warmer. Northern East coast beach towns are definitely charming, but pretty chilly in the winter! If you are visiting in the off-season too, then be sure you plan ahead and know the seasonal hours for businesses because a lot of places close early, close certain days of the week, or just close for the season until the weather warms up.