Sometimes you just have to get away — but not that far away. Philadelphia is a three-hour drive or train ride from so many places. You can go, spend a day and come back that night. No hotel required. This summer Billy Penn will highlight the best places to go for these “Day Trips” every Friday.

While Rehoboth Beach is a quaint seaside town on the coast of Delaware with less than 1,500 yearlong residents, it boasts some of the cleanest beaches, best restaurants and most shopping of the shores in our area. And while you may get more out of your trip to this Delaware town if you stay for a few days, you can make a day trip here to the (free) beaches work — if you travel smart.

Here’s how to day-trip Rehoboth Beach:

How to get there

It takes two hours and 15 minutes to drive to Rehoboth Beach… without traffic. Seeing as not hitting summer weekend traffic is a figment of everyone’s collective imagination, you should carve out some more time if you plan to drive from Philly down Route 1 in Delaware. Here’s a map of how to do it if you’re driving:

Lucky for you, public transportation is also an option. One of the best choices in that regard is taking SEPTA Regional Rail from Philadelphia (Jefferson Station, Suburban Station, 30th Street, etc.) to Wilmington — a trip that’ll run you less than $10, depending on where you get on.

From Wilmington, you can catch a DART Bus that picks up at the Wilmington Train Station and runs in the summer months to Rehoboth Beach. The one-way cash fares are $11.50 from Wilmington.


Thank you, Delaware! Beach passes are not a thing like they are in New Jersey. You can access a public beach for free in Rehoboth. But parking meters, which charge $2 an hour, are in effect all summer.

Beach guide

Rehoboth Beach

Of course, the actual Rehoboth Beach is the main beachfront location where you can stroll the mile-long boardwalk, relax in the sand and swim in the ocean. Worth noting: The ocean along Rehoboth Beach is one of the cleanest in the country, with Rehoboth receiving a five-star rating from the Natural Resources Defense Council for clean water quality.

Also, no drinking or open containers are allowed on the beach, but don’t worry: there are plenty of bars and alcohol consumption options nearby within city limits.

Other beaches that are close by:

Dewey Beach: Located just South of Rehoboth, this beach used to be exclusively for families but has since attracted a much younger, rowdier crowd.

Cape Henlopen State Park: Love seashells and collecting sea glass? Go here (where the Delaware Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean) in the mornings for some great exploring.

Fenwick Island State Park: Situated in between Bethany Beach and Ocean City, Md., Fenwick is a quieter beach and allows for a getaway from the more crowded beach locations.

What to do other than the beach

If you love to shop, Rehoboth beach is your place. The Tanger Outlets and the areas surrounding them offer hundreds of established stores and local shops that are perfect to hit up on a cooler day or rainy day. The outlets start at 36470 Seaside Outlet Drive.

Have kids? Take them to Jungle Jim’s theme park for water rides and kids’ games. It’s located at 36944 Country Club Road.

Check out the kayaking and rowing scene at Coastal Kayaks, and rent one for the day. Located at 36840 Coastal Highway.

Hit the links: Snag a golf package and check out one of Rehoboth’s several public golf courses.

Top restaurants and bars

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery – This microbrewery based in Milton, Del. first opened as a brewpub in Rehoboth and is now, well, Dogfish Head. Check out the brewery and snag some eats at the location on Rehoboth Ave. 320 Rehoboth Ave.

Big Fish Grill – Get great fish and seafood specials and a beachy dinner here. 20298 Coastal Hwy

Jake’s Seafood House – Swing by for one the best crab cakes you’ll pretty much ever have. 19178 Coastal Hwy

Nicola Pizza – This place is home to the famous Nic-o-Boli, AKA a bangin’ stromboli feature and good spot for a casual dinner. 8 N. 1st St.

Purple Parrot – Check out this bar for fun drinks, food, karaoke and weekly drag shows. 134 Rehoboth Ave.

Rigby’s Bar and Grill – Stop by for outdoor seating, drinks, bar food, bands and weekly karaoke. 404 Rehoboth Ave.

Anna Orso was a reporter/curator at Billy Penn from 2014 to 2017.