After the worst winter in recent memory, who isn’t ready for some beach time? The new summer season is already underway in Rehoboth Beach, Del. Here are 10 of our favorite places to go and things to do in D.C.’s very own gay beach getaway.
1. Visit CAMP Rehoboth, 37 Baltimore Ave. From poker tournaments and film festivals to AA meetings and mental illness support groups, Rehoboth’s LGBT community center, which turns 20 this year, has something for everyone.
2. Have dinner at Blue Moon, 35 Baltimore Ave. You’ve been there a million times for happy hour and karaoke, but did you know the Moon is also one of the best restaurants in town?
3. Enjoy live music or a DJ at the Frogg Pond, First & Rehoboth Avenue. The Pond isn’t just a popular lesbian bar. It’s a welcoming place for everyone and home to regular live music performances and DJs.
4. Hit the beach. Poodle Beach, at the south end of the boardwalk, is popular with gay men, but don’t forget North Shores and the state park a short drive away (destateparks.com). It’s quieter and, if you know a local with a four-wheel drive, you can ride right onto the sand (with the proper permit) with your cooler, grill and fishing pole.
5. Margaritas at Mariachi, 14 Wilmington Ave. After a hot day on the sand, there’s no better way to cool off than with a margarita on the second-floor outdoor deck at Mariachi. Owner Yolanda and her attentive staff will take good care of you. Be sure to request the corner table with unobstructed ocean views.
6. Rent a bike and get out of town. Most visitors never leave the town of Rehoboth, but there’s more to see. Rent a bike, cross Route 1 and explore the bay and marshes. Or ride one of the several trails, like the Junction & Breakwater or nature trail at Gordon’s Pond. Dewey Beach is just a mile or so down Route 1 and Lewes is a short ride with its own restaurants and quaint shops.
7. Happy hour at Aqua, 57 Baltimore Ave. The outdoor deck and shirtless servers attract crowds throughout the season. Get there on the early side, because a long line forms most weekends.
8. Shop, shop, shop. Rehoboth’s many and varied shops are the other main attraction besides the beach. This year saw the closing of Lambda Rising, but another LGBT store has opened across the street, Proud Bookstore, owned by former Lambda employee Jocques LeClair (on Baltimore Avenue in Village by the Sea). There are home decorating, clothing, art and other shops (many of them gay-owned), so spend time perusing the locally owned stores before hitting the outlets on Route 1.
9. People watching and Bloodys at Purple Parrot, 134 Rehoboth Ave. The gay-owned Parrot is popular all week, but our favorite time to go is Sundays. Grab one of the six-top tables in front along with a Bloody Mary and watch the beachgoers on Rehoboth Avenue. The good food, friendly service and always-upbeat music make for a memorable way to end the weekend.
10. Have your photo taken by Tony Burns. If your photo hasn’t appeared in Letters from CAMP Rehoboth, then you’re not going out enough. Tony has been documenting Rehoboth’s social scene for 30 years and will be honored this weekend for his dedication — and for the donation of his incomparable photo collection to CAMP Rehoboth.