Got an ocean breeze on your mind?
Maybe it’s time for a trip to the Delaware beaches.
But before you head out, make sure you know what to expect and pack for your trip. We’ve got you covered.
If you’re planning a beach visit the weekend of June 25, this guide will help answer your questions ranging from whether you need to wear a mask to where you should eat to what the parking rules are in your favorite beach town.
To mask or not to mask?
There is no mask mandate in Delaware.
Fully-vaccinated people do not have to wear masks in most outdoor and indoor settings. All Delaware beach towns have also lifted any local mask requirements.
The state says unvaccinated individuals should continue wearing masks, but it has no way of enforcing that without knowing who is vaccinated and who isn’t.
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Still, it’s recommended that you bring a mask with you because individual businesses can establish their own mask-wearing rules. Beachgoers will notice some stores – ranging from gift shops to the outlets to grocery and liquor stores – continue to post signs that ask customers to wear masks while inside.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also advise people to continue wearing masks when traveling by public transportation and in other areas such as doctors’ offices, hospitals and long-term care facilities.
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An extra tip: If you’re still looking to get the COVID-19 vaccine, pop-up clinics are happening around the beaches for residents and visitors. In Rehoboth Beach, people can stop by the City Hall to get vaccinated or tested every Thursday from noon to 6 p.m. through July 15.
What to expect in restaurants and bars
Visitors will notice that restaurants, breweries and bars are filling at a quick pace as restrictions have loosened and more people are vaccinated.
The biggest piece of advice? Have patience.
With many restaurants short-staffed, you may experience slightly longer waits or notice that the servers are covering more tables than normal. Since these businesses are in the process of hiring, some of the employees may also still be in training.
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The widespread staffing challenge means some restaurants may also change their hours or suspend certain services. It may be wise to make early reservations, follow your favorite spots on social media or call ahead to stay updated.
There are also no more capacity limits or social distancing requirements in restaurants.
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As a reminder, Delaware businesses – including restaurants and bars – can still choose to require masks or social distancing for their employees and customers.
Something else visitors will notice: People no longer have to be seated at bars, and dance floors can open without a plan pre-approved by the state Division of Public Health.
Outdoor dining remains popular, and several restaurants have added seating in parking lots, sidewalks or additional patios and decks.
In Rehoboth Beach, restaurants can continue to use public sidewalks for outdoor dining through Oct. 31. As of early May, nearly 50 businesses registered to offer dining or retail racks on Rehoboth sidewalks.
Parking and transportation at Delaware beaches
All resort towns from Lewes to Fenwick Island have their seasonal parking rules in place.
Parking is free after 4 p.m. every Monday in Rehoboth Beach.
Lewes has several free non-metered parking lots listed on its website, as well as metered lots and spaces on side streets.
When visiting Delaware State Parks like Cape Henlopen, parking is included in the entrance fee.
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In Dewey Beach, parking is free in all permit-only and metered spaces Monday through Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. only. All other days and times, you must pay to park on public streets.
Fenwick Island and South Bethany mostly require permits to park, but Fenwick offers free parking on its side streets after 4 p.m.
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In Bethany Beach, all spaces are either metered or require a permit through Sept. 15.
Many of these towns and cities offer payment through the ParkMobile app.
For more about parking (or State Park fees), visit each beach town’s website:
Want to forget about parking and take a bus to the beach? Parking is free at the park and rides in Lewes and Rehoboth Beach.
These routes to the local beach areas and boardwalks are now available, as well as the 305 Beach Connection from Wilmington to Rehoboth Beach.
The cost to ride the bus is $2 per trip, $4 for a daily pass, $16 for a seven-day pass or $60 for a 30-day pass. Information will be updated on DART’s website, and people can download an app to purchase rides or keep track of schedules.
If traveling around Bethany Beach, the town also offers a trolley with a single route that runs from 9:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. and costs only 25 cents per trip.
This weekend’s weather
It’s looking like great beach weather this weekend.
There is a slight chance of showers Friday afternoon, but the rest of the day should be partly sunny, according to National Weather Service forecast for Rehoboth Beach.
Saturday and Sunday promise the return of sunny skies and warmer temperatures with highs near 81 and 82 both days.
Emily Lytle covers Sussex County from the inland towns to the beaches. Got a story she should tell? Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 302-332-0370. Follow her on Twitter at @emily3lytle.