After two months of photocopying documents and faxing reports for senators, congressmen and lawyers at your internship, it’s time to treat yourself to a weekend of down time. D.C. puts shore-goers in driving distance of several beaches in Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. Each will give you the sun (hopefully) and sand you’ve been waiting for, plus a variety of daytime excursions off the beach and party scenes to last throughout the night.
If you want to enjoy the ocean in a more active setting, Virginia Beach’s Back Bay Getaways (757-721-4484) will take you on kayak and mountain bike guided tours of the protected coastal and marsh habitat off Sandbridge Beach in Virginia Beach. This summer they also added Sea Doo personal watercraft rentals to explore Back Bay.
But if you prefer to be a spectator rather than a participant in the water sports scene, the 42nd annual East Coast Surfing Championships will be held in Virginia Beach Aug. 25-29. Surfers themselves can hit the water south of Dewey Beach, Del. at the Indian River Inlet on Route One.
The Rehoboth Bay Sailing Association rents all types and sizes of sailboats for half-days, including smaller sunfish sail boats, catamarans and day sailors – a larger boat accommodating four to five people. For the smaller boats, it’s $45 per person for half-days and $60 for larger boats. From 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. RBSA gives sailing lessons to patrons. They are located about a quarter mile South of Dewey Beach on Route One and offer plenty of free parking. It’s also within bike riding distance from both Dewey and Rehoboth Beaches.
In Dewey beach, boards are not meant for walking but for riding, i.e. windsurfing, surfing, skate boarding and kiteboarding – a sort of fusion of parasailing, windsurfing and wake boarding. At the East of Maui surf shop (on the corner of St. Louis Street and Route One, 302-227-4703) you can rent your standard water gear, like windsurfing, or take kiteboarding lessons. Kiteboarders stand on a four-foot board, similar to a wake board, and cruise the waves as they’re propelled by the wind caught in a large kite controlled by the surfer that flies from a 30-meter high line. Two-hour lessons cost between $150 and $200. Lessons for windsurfing are a little less expensive, at $125 for a two-hour lesson.
For those who aren’t quite so daring, the Carousel Hotel (117th Street and Coastal Highway, 410-524-1000) in Ocean City has its own year-round indoor ice-skating rink – a perfect alternative for a rainy day or anyone sick of the surf. Or take a short drive to Delaware on Route One and let the shopping begin at the Rehoboth Outlets, which boast over 140 factory outlet stores including Coach, Donna Karan, Eddie Bauer, GAP, Lauren by Ralph Lauren, Liz Claiborne and Nike.
Once the sun goes down, summer nights draw thousands of young adults and underagers to boardwalk attractions, bars and clubs. The girls exchange their bikinis for sexy tube tops revealing fresh tan lines and the guys pop the collars on their pastel Lacoste. It’s a singles paradise.
The best boardwalk scene – with ferris wheels, roller coasters, games and funnel cake – is marked by a sea of neon lights in Ocean City. But beware of the swarms of seniors – high school seniors, that is – who roam the boardwalk just about every night of the summer, especially in June and July. OCMD is the summer spot for new high school graduates from Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania who spend Senior Week at the beach.
But OCMD also has ideal party venues for twenty-somethings. First grab your pint of Guinness and enjoy a boardwalk view of the ocean from the deck at Shenanigan’s (Fourth Street and Boardwalk, 410-289-7181), where they play authentic Irish music all night. There’s also the Purple Moose (109 S. Boardwalk, 410-289-6953) and The Greene Turtle (116th Street and Coastal Highway, 410-723-2120). Bayside has Fager’s Island Restaurant and Bar (201 60th St., 410-524-5500), another reliable OCMD venue featuring live entertainment and a deck. And Seacrets, also on the bay (49th Street, 410-524-4900), is a hot spot known to just about anyone who knows anything about OCMD. It features a DJ and live music, plus a spring-loaded, diamond-plated steel dance floor. Although Seacrets only caters to the legal-drinking crowd, clubs H20 and H20 2 (410-289-7102) are a pair of under-21 dance clubs below the boardwalk on Worcester Street and have recently undergone renovation. Voted one of OCMD’s hot spots four years in a row, H20 has Saturday night foam parties and the only downer is the $20 cover. But get in line before 8:30 p.m. for half-price admission.
In a short strip of Atlantic Avenue between 17th and 24th Streets vacationers will find Virginia Beach’s best nightlife. Among numerous bars, you’ll also find Peabody’s (209 21st St., 757-422-6212) where there’s a dance party every Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Thursday’s are 18-and-over nights and ladies are free, and there’s no cover on Fridays with a college ID. With “manager discretion,” those under-21 can usually find a way into the club Fridays and Saturdays too.
Hot Tuna Seafood Grill (2817 Shore Dr., 757-481-2888) is a local favorite with acoustic bands starting at 10:30 p.m. Wednesday to Friday. It’s outside deck and bar features a dozen beers on tap and a late night food menu until 1 a.m. The Edge (2108 Atlantic Ave. between 21st and 22nd Streets, 757-425-8541) offers great happy hour specials, making it one more place to add to the Virginia Beach bar tour.
Delaware beaches might have the tamest of the area beaches nightlife, but don’t rule it out as a place to party. Rehoboth offers a quieter bar/restaurant type scene with softer acoustic style and Irish music entertainment at places like Rams Head (15 Wilmington Avel, 602-227-0807) and the Summer House (228 Rehoboth Ave., 302-227-3895). Dewey Beach night life is dominated by the college crowd in the area of town known as Greater Ruddertowne. Although the scene seems to revolve around only a handful of dives, there’s enough to do after the sun sets to fill a long weekend.
The Bottle & Cork (1807 Hwy. 1, 302-227-7272) is the alt-rock club for a 21-and-over crowd, which has featured bands like Matchbox 20, the Dave Matthews Band and the Goo Goo Dolls. Already this summer, performances have included Vertical Horizon, SR-71 and Jimmy’s Chicken Shack (remember that catchy hit, “What would I do …?”). The Rusty Rudder (113 Dickinson St. and the bay, 302-227-3888) offers live calypso music every weekend throughout the summer outdoors while the sun sets. Later in the evening, the scene is a bit more clubby with a dance floor and live DJs and bands. Friday evenings include its famous Taco Toss, a sort of happy hour deal plus a taco bar. But Dewey’s only true dance club is the northbeach (Dagsworthy Street and the bay, 302-227-9292) featuring two large dance floors and guest DJs from D.C., Delaware, New York and Philapdelphia.
To top off an evening well spent at Dewey Beach, head to The Starboard (2009 Hwy. 1, 302-227-4600) to indulge in their weekend Bloody Mary smorgasbord. Choose from one of 18 brands of vodka, which bar tenders pour into a 16 oz. mug. Then you can build your own Bloody Mary with over 700 ingredients to choose from. Come back at night for live music, more drinks and most importantly – no cover.