A summer afternoon in Rehoboth Beach.

Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

Rehoboth Beach is a city along the Atlantic Ocean in eastern Sussex County, Delaware. A coastal city in Delaware's growing Cape region, it is known for its extensive boardwalks, high-quality clean water, and attractions such as hotels, shopping opportunities, impressive cuisine, and various amusements. Rehoboth has a population of roughly 1,400, but visiting tourists can make this number feel much higher in peak season.

Geography Of Rehoboth Beach

Rehoboth Beach
Homes by the sea in Rehoboth Beach.

The city is approximately 4 square kilometers in area. The Atlantic Ocean borders it to the east, Henlopen Acres and Cape Henlopen State Park to the north, and Sussex County to the west. To the south of the city is the well-known Dewey Beach. 

History Of Rehoboth Beach

The first known people to live in this area were indigenous Lenape, or Delaware people; Sikkonese; Assateague people; and the Nanticoke. The region was thought to have been an important fishing village, one of the largest on the mid-Atlantic coast.

Eventually, the expansion of English and Dutch settlements forced the native people from their land, causing them to migrate north or inland. Most of the indigenous people left completely. However, the Nanticoke, though generally forced out of their beach settlements, remained in the region.

Rehoboth Beach and the surrounding area were then later ruled by the Duke of York as part of the take over of the then Dutch colony in the area. English rule then transitioned into British America, including the colonies named New York, Wilmington, New Castle, and the Province of Pennsylvania. The land itself was split up into various holdings until the 18th century.

Rehoboth Beach Museum.

In the 19th century, these landholdings were primarily used as farmlands, though it was discovered that the sandy soil was not very conducive to most crops. 1873 saw the official founding of the town, then known as Rehoboth Beach Camp Meeting Association. Rev. Robert W. Todd established it in conjunction with the Methodist Episcopal Church of Wilmington, Delaware, as a spiritual resort town. The association disbanded in 1881, but it was not until ten years later that the area was officially incorporated and called "Cape Henlopen City." It remained that way until 1893, when the town was renamed Rehoboth Beach. 

The first boardwalk was built in 1873 and became an early staple of the beach town. In 1878, a railroad line was constructed that ran from Lewes to Rehoboth Beach, which brought passengers and goods to the area with ease. This railroad greatly increased the town's popularity, and it soon became a popular tourist destination for those coming from northern Delaware and Pennsylvania.

The first major hotel, Henlopen Hotel, was then built in 1879. Tourism and traffic continued to increase, and in 1925 a paved road was created, which led from Georgetown to the beach. Over the years, the town grew into a city and became increasingly popular as a tourist destination, transitioning fully into a modern-day resort town.

Visiting Rehoboth Beach

Boardwalk at Rehoboth Beach in Delaware
Boardwalk at Rehoboth Beach in Delaware. Editorial credit: Ritu Manoj Jethani / Shutterstock.com

The self-proclaimed "Nation's Summer Capital" is a popular beach getaway for those from nearby states. This charming town has many draws and activities for day trips and overnight vacationers. 

The Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk is one of the most popular attractions in the area. It runs for 1.6 kilometers and is a traditional wooden boardwalk overlooking the beach and ocean. It is also home to many shops, restaurants, and other attractions keeping everything in an easily accessible area.

There are also a number of stores and restaurants along the town's main street and a much-frequented outlet mall just outside of town. Shopping is a huge draw for the area due to Delaware's lack of sales taxes.

Kids and families love the Funland amusement park, which is also on the boardwalk. It was first opened in 1962 and is an exciting attraction for younger visitors.

The town is both family-friendly and very open and accepting of all people. Rehoboth Beach is a particularly LGBTQ+ friendly neighborhood, especially in the Queen Street area and south end of the boardwalk, known as Poodle Beach, where many LGBTQ+ owned businesses operate.

Attractions In Rehoboth Beach

The beach itself is the greatest attraction in the city, and is both the namesake and the most popular part of the community, but there are a number of attractions, venues and recreational spaces to enjoy.

Sea Witch festival rehoboth beach
A green witch float on Seawitch Festival parade and the marchers on the street. Editorial credit: Khairil Azhar Junos / Shutterstock.com

Festivals are common in the community, such as the Rehoboth Beach Independent Film Festival, the annual Rehoboth Beach Autumn Jazz Festival, and the Sea Witch Festival. The Rehoboth Theatre of the Arts also hosts a variety of theatrical performances put on by the local company. Another major attraction near the boardwalk is the Rehoboth Beach Bandstand. This space is often used for open-air concerts, events and performances throughout the warmer months. It has been an active part of the community since 1963. There are also several notable restaurants and eateries, including the famous Dogfish Head Brewery and Grotto Pizza for those visiting to enjoy. Whether walking along the boardwalk, sunning on the beach, or taking in some of the local cultures, Rehoboth Beach is a charming beach town that makes for a great escape from the nearby cities. 

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