Looking for a beach vacation with your dog? Delaware’s Delmarva Peninsula offers an ideal pet-friendly beach vacation in the off-season.
Delaware has plenty of beaches that draw tens of thousands of visitors each summer. For visitors that want to bring their dogs along for fun, Fido can visit the towns, but not always the beach. However, most beaches are open to dogs on a leash from October 1st to April 30th, and that’s a great time for a pet-friendly beach vacation.
One might even dub this off-season the Dog Season due to the number of visitors who love bringing their canine pets. My wife and I love both Lewes and Rehoboth Beach during Dog Season. The crowds are considerably smaller, traffic is lighter, and our German Shepherd Sophie gets to tag along.
Planning a Pet-Friendly Beach Vacation in Rehoboth Beach
I travel the Mid-Atlantic a lot in my travel writing work and fun. It’s hard to find a more dog-friendly town than Rehoboth Beach. A walk along Rehoboth Avenue, the main drag, will be fantastic for dogs. Numerous shops put water bowls on the sidewalk in front of their shops. Grotto Pizza steps up the welcome mat with water and a bowl full of dog cookies.
The ultimate doggy treat in Rehoboth has got to be Salty Paws, an ice cream shop for just dogs. After a romp on the beach, we took Sophie into Salty Paws for a well-deserved treat. She had never been inside a shop for ice cream and was more than ready to try it out. We ordered the peanut butter flavor, and I sat at a table to feed the frozen treat to her. Sophie was instantly in heaven, licking and biting the cup full of doggie ecstasy.
Where to Stay for Your Pet-Friendly Beach Vacation in Rehoboth
Another great reason to visit Rehoboth Beach is the Canalside Inn. The new owners, Brian and Kristin Deptula, have made some significant changes like keyless code entry similar to checking into an Air BnB. The rooms are clean and well-appointed and even come with doggie perks like a blanket to put on top of the bed if you like your dog to sleep with you, a food bowl, and poo pickup bags. Across the street from the hotel is a perfect dog-walking area, and you can walk to the beach in about 15 minutes.
For breakfast, we tried Egg and loved it. Located one block from the Canalside Inn, this breakfast hotspot has about 15 to 20 outside tables and plenty more inside. The lemon curd crepes were delicious, probably due to the homemade lemon curd. My wife had the Croque Monsieur, and it was the best I’d ever tasted. This sandwich is the best version of a ham and cheese sandwich and comes with a sunny-side-up egg and home fries. Poor Sophie had to watch from just outside the glass door on the patio as it was too cold for us to eat outside.
Planning a Pet-Friendly Beach Vacation in Lewes, DE
If you like a quiet downtown for a getaway, Lewes provides that and all the amenities most visitors want. The Hotel Rodney is a 1926-built boutique hotel in the middle of the historic part of Lewes. The Rodney is our choice for lodging when we don’t bring Sophie along. For a Fido-friendly hotel, the Dogfish Inn is a winner. With a name like Dogfish (a craft beer company), you pretty much have to be dog-friendly.
A Day at the Park in Lewes and Rehoboth
Another great thing about Lewes and Rehoboth is access to Cape Henlopen State Park. A 5+ mile-long trail through the park connects the two towns and makes for a great dog walk, bike ride, or birding hike. Cape Henlopen charges $5 per day for in-state vehicles and $10 per day for out-of-state cars. With a museum, fishing pier, swimming beach, camping, and more, you’re sure to get your money’s worth. Note that from December 1st to February 28th, there are no entrance fees at Cape Henlopen.
Lewes has three of my favorite restaurants within walking distance to the above hotels. For fine dining, either Rääs Indian restaurant or Heirloom are excellent choices. Rääs has outdoor tables on the front porch where Fido can join you for dinner. Nectar Café and Juice Bar is excellent for its juice bar and full breakfast.
Planning a Pet-Friendly Vacation in Easton, MD
While you won’t find a beach in Easton, you will find one of the best-preserved downtown core areas on the Delmarva Peninsula. Sophie and her humans love staying at the Hummingbird Inn, a Victorian home bed and breakfast. Eric, the owner, will watch your dog for $10 per hour while you go out to eat or to a show at the Avalon Theater.
Ask Eric to suggest dog-friendly restaurants when the weather is conducive to outdoor dining. We love Sunflowers and Greens for lunch for the fabulous salads and service. The wait staff there is exceptional and always brings Sophie a water bowl while we eat. Great dinner choices abound in Easton. Try Scossa Restaurant & Lounge for Italian fare, Bas Rouge for fine dining, or Out of the Fire for pizza and vegetarian options.
Take a Hike on the Delmarva Peninsula
For a nice walk, take a hike on the Rails-To-Trails path, a 3-mile-long trail through town with access to parks, destinations, restaurants, and more. The trail also is suitable for biking or jogging. Easton hosts the Waterfowl Festival in November. Sophie had so much fun there watching the jumping dogs flying into the pool, the duck hunting dogs retrieving duck dummies, and hanging out with all the visitors.
Planning a Pet-Friendly Vacation in Cape Charles, VA
Way down south, near the tip of the Delmarva Peninsula, is one of the best-preserved towns in the Mid-Atlantic region. What started as a train shipping town in the 1880s has become a vacation hotspot for both humans and dogs. We stayed at the Hotel Cape Charles due to its location, comfort, and dog-friendly nature. The Hotel Cape Charles is close to a great place to walk Fido when nature calls and near several dog-friendly restaurants.
The Shanty has a good selection of seafood and an accommodating deck where Sophie likes to watch the birds and boats. Kelly’s Gingernut Pub has delicious lamb burgers, shepherd’s pie, and crab cakes. On the edge of town by the water’s edge, find The Oyster Farm for lunch or dinner. Sophie liked the outdoor patio where seabirds entertained her, and her humans enjoyed the seafood-centric menu.
For the Love of Ice Cream
The highlight of any dog’s visit to Cape Charles is either the beach or Brown Dog Ice Cream. Sophie loved the Tailwagger ice cream while we enjoyed the human varieties. Not far from Brown Dog Ice Cream is the beach where dogs are allowed in the off-season and during specific times during the summer season. It’s best to check with your hotel’s staff about the current dog restrictions on the beach.
A bit further outside of Cape Charles is Sunset Beach Resort. At Sunset Beach, Fido gets his own beach called Sandy Paws. This off-leash beach gives dogs the chance to romp and swim if you, the owner, are there with them. Sunset Beach also has a large RV/camping area for overnight or more extended stays, and a beachfront restaurant.
Three Tiny Towns for Your Pet-Friendly Beach Vacation
Along with the other towns that beckon on the Delmarva Peninsula, there are three tiny towns that you might find ideal for your pet-friendly beach vacation. Small town charm is evident in all three of my favorite Delmarva dog-friendly places.
Whitehaven is a tiny waterfront village near Salisbury, Maryland, and has a vintage hotel-turned bed and breakfast. Appropriately named The Whitehaven Hotel, this circa-1810 inn overlooks the Wicomico River. The town of Whitehaven offers peaceful streets to stroll a collection of Victorian homes and country roads with light traffic. Don’t miss taking a free ride on the historic Whitehaven Ferry and visiting Bordeleau Vineyards or several micro-breweries in the area. This is a great example of the fine Maryland wines I’ve discovered throughout the state.
Another dog-friendly, tiny waterfront town is Oxford. Stay at the Robert Morris Inn with your pooch and enjoy walking the town. We love having lunch or dinner at Capsize, and ice cream at Scottish Highland Creamery, where delicious Frosty Paws ice cream is waiting for Fido. Dogs are welcomed on the historic Oxford-Bellvue Ferry, in operation since 1683. The current rate for car and driver is $22 round trip with an additional $2 per passenger.
Rock Hall, MD
Rock Hall is similar to Oxford in many ways, from its waterfront location to pet-friendly amenities. We love the dog-friendly lodging in the quarterdeck room at The Inn at Osprey Point. I still remember how much our dog Sophie enjoyed the quarterdeck room and the comfy armchairs with a protective pad that allows dogs to lounge with their humans. Several restaurants will tempt you plus Rock Hall also has a good ice cream shop, Get the Scoop. Enjoy outdoor dining at Waterman’s Crab House and quiet streets to walk your dog during your visit. I loved the murals depicting local scenes throughout the town and encourage you to find them all.
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Your Pet-Friendly Beach Vacation on the Delmarva Peninsula
I hope you explore these dog-friendly places for a short or long getaway. Each of the above locations holds special memories for us. My wife and I like the off-season best, as the crowds and prices are significantly less than in summer. I hope you find your own memories and reasons to visit the Delmarva Peninsula. Check out more ideas on Wander for pet-friendly travel and other beach vacations.