It’s easy to love the Boardwalk on warm summer days, but you can also enjoy local nature spots, theatre and restaurants with a lot more breathing room now that the warm weather crowds are gone. Coastal Delaware is enjoyable for the locals during the “off season.”
Take a Walk in Nature
One favorite outdoor spot for locals and visitors is Cape Henlopen State Park, where on a cool day you can stroll on the beach for miles in relative solitude. The park also has abundant trails offering vast views of marshland and forests and wildlife and the Fort Miles Museum and historical area. You can see a lot of it on foot or via bike – even a bike you borrow at the park.
You can also get a peaceful vibe by heading up Route 1 North and hanging a right at the Route 16 intersection. Almost immediately you’ll see beautiful forests lining a country road that leads to the spectacular Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge. With more than 10,000 acres of salt and freshwater marshlands, ponds and forests, it’s a vast sanctuary for migratory birds that ends at a long beach on the Delaware Bay that’s especially peaceful for those who enjoy solitary walks on cool days.
Another scenic spot located just off of Route 1 is the Thompson Island Preserve, with a trail that winds through forests and marshland and ends at an overlook near the Lewes and Rehoboth Canal. It’s beautiful and feels surprisingly remote, and once you’re there you’ll hear and see nothing of the nearby highway. The entrance to the trail is on Bay Road, just off of Route 1 at the canal bridge, so you can do your outlet shopping and take a long walk through nature shortly afterward.
Another spot for relaxation and exercise if you’re willing to drive an hour is Trap Pond State Park in Laurel, with nearly nine miles of canoe and kayak trails amid towering Baldcypress trees that are especially beautiful with the changing foliage of late Autumn.
If you don’t want to drive as far, check out the Assawoman Bay State Wildlife Area, with 3100 acres of natural beauty and walking trails just beyond Fenwick Island.
Take Time for a Great Show
The fall and winter months are also fine times to enjoy local theater and film venues. Go to Rehoboth’s Clear Space Theatre for performances of Scrooge! from November 26 through December 19.
Another fun venue for up-close music, stand-up comics and films – including those produced by locals – is the beautiful and historic Milton Theatre in downtown Milton, which also has a full-season this year.
In addition to watching popular films at the Movies at Midway on Route 1 you can find fascinating offerings through the Rehoboth Beach Film Society. Screenings are primarily at the Cinema Art Theater on Dartmouth Drive just outside historic Lewes. The group also holds numerous film festivals spotlighting independent films along with themes related to art, music, and ethnic themes.
If you’re a fan of classical music, check out Coastal Concerts, which produces live performances at Bethel United Methodist Church in Lewes. It’s an intimate venue with terrific acoustics that hosts soloists and small ensembles along with pre-concert enrichment lectures.
And if you’re looking to enjoy cocktails or a meal with your music, you can find live bands and other types of performances at more than a dozen restaurants between Milton and Bethany. Locals tend to love Irish Eyes in Lewes, Dogfish Head in Rehoboth, The Rusty Rudder and Starboard in Dewey, 99 Sea Level, the Bethany Boathouse in Bethany, and Bethany Blues in both its Lewes and Bethany locations. Check out the Cape Gazette’s Dining Guide to learn who’s on stage.