Whenever I travel, I feel like a salesperson for the state of Delaware. Small but mighty, one of our most beautiful bragging rights lies in the jewel of the state, the Delaware beaches. Between Cape Henlopen State Park in Lewes, the towns of Rehoboth and Dewey, the quieter Delaware Seashore State Park, and Fenwick Island, there are plenty of places to enjoy the sun, surf and sand. Our dogs have to travel wherever we do, and I was glad to find many pet friendly stops on our weekend getaways.
Some Delaware beaches, like Rehoboth and Dewey prohibit dogs from May until October. Dewey does allow dogs on the beach after 6 pm, but you must register for a permit with the town. However, the surf fishing beaches in Cape Hen and Delaware Seashore allow leashed, well behaved pets throughout the day and only require you clean up after them. There is also a stretch of beach in Fenwick that permits furry friends. My favorite spots are Key Box Road and Conquest Road (both surf fishing beaches) in the Delaware Seashore Park, about 10 minutes from the heart of Rehoboth. They’re less populated than many of the other beaches, and have plenty of space for dog owners to spread out.
In Rehoboth, there are a ton of pet friendly restaurants that are happy to give your dog a bowl of water and a snack. Try Beachside Grill, Arena’s (only the Rehoboth Ave. location), Grotto’s Patio near the boardwalk, or Hobo’s for brunch or an early dinner. In Lewes, The Buttery allows dogs at a corner table, or there’s Striper Bites, Kindle and Irish Eyes. Side note: in my biased opinion, Lewes and Rehoboth have the best food in the world. In party town Dewey Beach, your pet is welcome at Sharky’s Grill, and was at Ed’s Crab Shack until someone crashed into it this summer and burned it down. RIP Ed’s.
Most of the hotels in the Delaware Beaches are pet friendly upon request, but might require a deposit. I highly recommend Air BnBs and VRBO rentals if traveling with a pet; there’s much more room and privacy in a rental or condo than a small hotel room.
Travel tips for the beach:
Invest in a sun shade tent. When I just took my one dog, Reggie, we were comfortable with an umbrella and sand mat. But for two dogs, I bought a $50 sun shade that worked wonderfully all summer. It was easy to put up and kept them cool. I layered sand mats and towels inside to keep it somewhat clean, and it also provided a place to store water and snacks.
Speaking of, bring plenty of water and some snacks. For a full day, I froze two large reusable bottles of water, and packed two more with ice. I filled up the travel bowls once we set up, and let the frozen ones melt in the sun for refills. I also made some homemade dog treats to have on hand, and packed sandwiches to split with the dogs.
Bring toys. Yes, you like to lay out all day but your dogs need movement. A small ball or frisbee will help stave off boredom and restlessness.
Always have your dogs leash, collars, identifying information and vet numbers on hand, just in case something happens.
Be wise. Dogs paws can easily get burned on hot sand or asphalt. Don’t take them when it’s too hot- they’re better off at home in the AC.
And above all, make your friends love and care for your dogs as much as you do 💖