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Beach, Boardwalk, Downtown Charm & History –All the Reasons That Rehoboth Beach is a Beloved American Destination

Posted on March 30, 2023
A cute shopping street in Rehoboth Beach
Penny Lane Mall | DC Travel Magazine

Charming Rehoboth Beach! Known for its mile-long boardwalk, tax-free shops, great eateries and quaint homes – no wonder vacationers and locals alike love it here. It's nicknamed “The Nation’s Summer Capital”, and for good reason--much of the visitors there hail from Washington, DC.  It only makes sense that President Biden maintains a residence here, too!

Below, we talk to Cindy Lovett of Rehoboth Beach Main Street.  She fills us in on modern-day Rehoboth, and its fascinating history, as well. 

A Q&A with Cindy Lovett

Built Story Tours: Tell us about Rehoboth Beach!  What is your favorite thing about this community?

Cindy Lovett: Downtown Rehoboth is a very walkable, bikeable town.  You can park your car when you arrive and not restart it until you leave us.  We are a very inclusive community, welcoming all.

BST: What is something unique about Downtown Rehoboth Beach?

People walking along the beachside boardwalk in Rehoboth Beach
The boardwalk in Rehoboth Beach | Delaware News Journal

CL: We have an ocean at the end of our main street and a boardwalk parallel to the Atlantic Ocean!!  Not many towns can say that. 

BST: The Rehoboth Beach history is fascinating.  Is there a particular story that stands out to you? Or one that particularly shaped the city?

A black and white historic photo of a hotel from the 1870s.
William Bright’s hotel. Hugely successful in the 1870s and 1880s—dancing, card-playing and alcohol consumption was allowed. | Rehoboth Beach Museum

CL: The name Rehoboth has a biblical root, it means “room for all”.  Reverend Todd, a methodist minister, founded Rehoboth as a camp meeting location.   Unfortunately it didn’t work out that well and the Sinners took over from the Saints in 7 years, allowing card playing and dancing (Gasp!!).

BST: A wonderful way to experience stories like this is to tour Rehoboth Beach. Tell us a little about your self-guided tour.

A historic photo, depicting men in suits and women in long dresses, walking along the boardwalk in Rehoboth Beach
“Boardwalk South from Horn’s” | Rehoboth Beach Museum

CL: Learn how the town grew from its religious start to a resort visited several times daily by trains carrying tourists from 1878 through 1927.  Many beautiful hotels were built and then burned down or washed out to sea in storms.


Things to do in Rehoboth Beach

Experience the history of this coastal city with Rehoboth Beach Main Street’s Rehoboth Then & Now walking tour.  Self-guided, enjoy the route on your own time, and at your own pace.

Along fourteen tour stops you’ll see how and why the town evolved from Methodist Summer Camp to the Nation’s Summer Capital. Hear about events and some interesting people with different visions that shaped this community. From the Lenape Tribe of Native Americans--which are also integral to the nearby Bordentown, NJ area, as well; to the religious summer camp—with interesting parallels to Martha’s Vineyard's Summer Camp; to modern-day Rehoboth.

Finding yourself in the area in the winter? This tour is among the great things to do in the Rehoboth Beach off season, too!

Preview the Rehoboth Then & Now Self-Guided Walking Tour.

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