Several months ago, we wrote a blog entry here on theoldfathergroup.com that featured several of our local hotels/motels that allow pets to stay indoors with their owners.
It was one of our most read and shared posts ever, and the couple of times we’ve rerun it since have repeated those same results.
It has been and continues to be one of the most well read and shared items on our blog page, so we're going to take the hint and run with that theme again here today.
We know that pet owners love bringing their animals with them when they visit coastal Delaware, and we also realize that those who live here full-time are very active in the community and love to share information as well.
So today, we thought we’d take that “pet friendly” philosophy one step further and feature some of the other things you can experience with your four-legged friends here at the Delaware beaches.
We’ll give you the rundown on local pet shops, pet friendly beaches, some fun events and even places where you can eat with your “fur baby.”
So let’s take a look…
We won’t really go into this topic again as we’ve covered it in the past. If you want to know where you can stay in coastal Delaware when you have your pet with you, check out our blog entry on that very subject HERE.
Hyatt Place Photo
It’s a favorite destination among humans in coastal Delaware, so why not pets too right? Everyone wants to go to the beach, and nearly every state park and municipality in our area allows pets, even if there are a few restrictions during certain times of the year.
Let’s discuss the state parks first. Pets are allowed in Cape Henlopen, Delaware Seashore and Fenwick Island State parks during the offseason, but animals are restricted during the heavy tourist season from May 1 to Sept. 30.
This isn’t to say they aren’t allowed in the parks at all, or even on some of the beaches. But pets are prohibited from what the state refers to as “swimming and sunbathing beaches” during those five months of the year.
There are other restrictions as well that cover topics including nature trails, picnic areas, park buildings and more.
Visit the Delaware State Parks website for more information.
Now, let’s talk about our towns and municipalities. As with the state parks, the May 1 to Sept. 30 time frame is dealt with much differently than the rest of the year. Generally speaking, pets are not allowed on the beach, or on the Rehoboth and Bethany boardwalks, during the “high season.”
There are certain exceptions, however, such as Lewes and Dewey Beach allowing animals on the beach in the evening and early morning hours, even during the warm-weather months.
If you want to be certain of your town’s rules, check with town hall before visiting with your pet.
There are many, many restaurants and eateries in coastal Delaware that allow you to bring your pet with you, especially if you sit outside on the deck or patio.
We won’t even attempt to compile a list here because we’re sure to miss several if we do. But with all of the locally owned and operated small restaurants at the Delaware beaches, it’s safe to say you can find a nice collection of places to eat, even with your pet in tow.
Our suggestion is to pick a restaurant, then visit their website and/or contact them via telephone to see what their policies are. Or, if you’re already at the beach, take a walk and ask individual hosts or hostesses about their policies.
Trust us – most of our beach towns are very pet friendly in this regard and you’re not going to have a problem finding a place to eat with your pooch. Just ask around and find a nice spot for all!
There are many shops in coastal Delaware and around the region that welcome pets to enjoy the shopping experience with you. Some are more well known like PetSmart and other national and regional pet stores, but there are others you might not be aware of.
Now we obviously can’t contact every store in the region to learn their pet policies, so this list certainly won't be comprehensive. But here are some that we know allow animals in their stores…
- DJ’s Pet Depot (Lewes):17644 Coastal Highway; 302-703-2222
- Critter Beach (Rehoboth Beach): 156 Rehoboth Avenue; 302-226-2690
- Yuppy Puppy (Bethany Beach): 123 Garfield Parkway; 302-537-0171
There are several local events geared toward pets and their owners, and most are very well attended.
Here are a few of our favorites…
Golden Jubilee (May and October in Dewey Beach). These events, as the name implies, are centered around golden retrievers and their owners and are held on and near the beach in Dewey.
Check out the video below, taken by a participant in 2013.
Bark on the Boards (October in Rehoboth Beach). This event has been held since 2010 and all proceeds benefit homeless shelter pets.
Sea Witch Festival Pet Parade (October in Rehoboth Beach). Held on the Sunday afternoon of the popular Sea Witch Halloween & Fiddler's Festival, this 1.5 mile walk features pets in their Halloween best. Registration fee is generally $5 per dog.
Cape Gazette Photo
Greyhounds Reach the Beach (October in Dewey Beach). An event for greyhound and their owners held every Columbus Day weekend in Dewey Beach and Rehoboth Beach. The event celebrates greyhounds, creates awareness of the need for foster and adoptive homes and raises funds to support greyhound adoption. There is a similar event centered around greyhounds in April, also in Dewey Beach.
Doodles in Dewey (April in Dewey Beach). This popular event brings together “Doodles” and their owners for a fun time at the beach. Also called labradoodles and goldendoodles, this event features the breed of dog that is a cross between labrador retrievers or golden retrievers and standard poodles.
As you can see, April and October are very popular months for pet-focused events in coastal Delaware. And let us tell you that these events are just a ton of fun, for both humans and pets alike.
We also want to throw one more item in this category, and that’s the popular “Yappy Hour” at Irish Eyes in Lewes, located at the Lewes Harbor. This annual event is held every February, with proceeds donated to pet-friendly local causes.
The number of fantastic walking trails in and around coastal Delaware is already widely known, but what may not be as well known is that these trails are certainly open to pets as well. It’s just asked that you clean up after your pet, though we know that responsible pet owners already do this.
So the next time you’re taking a stroll in Cape Henlopen State Park, at the James Farm Ecological Preserve, on the Junction and Breakwater Trail, or any of the other great walking trails in Sussex County, take your four-legged friend along for the fun.
Delmarva Life Photo
DOG PARKS/OPEN SPACES
Opened in August 2016, Lewes Unleashed (the Lewes Dog Park), located just off New Road, is a great place to take your pooch for some fun in the sun, where he or she can also interact with other dogs and have plenty of room to run around and enjoy the day.
To use the 4.5 acre park, however, you must purchase an annual membership at the price of $60.
Cape Gazette Photo
Just across town, at the Cape May Lewes Ferry terminal, there’s also a fantastic open area where dogs can run free and enjoy themselves. And when they’re good and tired out, take them along with you to On The Rocks, located outside of the terminal, where dogs are more than welcome to join their owners for a nice lunch by the water.
Incidentally, the Cape May Lewes Ferry also allows dogs on the outdoor decks of their ships, so you may want to consider taking your pet for a relaxing trip across the Delaware Bay and back.
We’ve already told you about all of the great motels and hotels in the area that allow you to bring your pets with you on vacation. But, if you do need to leave your pet for a day or two, there are a few kennels in the area that would be more than happy to watch after your “fur friend” for a short time.
- Doggies at the Beach (Rehoboth Beach): 18806 John J. Williams Highway; 302-644-8200
- Savannah Animal Hospital and Hotel (Lewes): 33818 Wescoats Road; 302-645-8757
- Neverland Kennel & Cattery (Lewes): 34377 Neverland Road; 302-645-6140
Are you a pet owner? What do you like to do with your pets when you’re in coastal Delaware? We’d love to hear from you and maybe add to this list in the future, or possibly write another blog entry entirely.
Let us know what you think…