For many women throughout Metro D.C., Rehoboth Beach is the number one vacation destination for Memorial Day weekend. There’s an almost tangible magic in the air. Rehoboth has become a safe haven for the queer community, offering sunny beaches, LGBT-owned businesses, and beachside activities that are sure to thrill. Whether you’re looking to retire, fall in love, or just have some fun in the sun with friends, Rehoboth Beach is the place to kick off the summer season.
“The influx of people is huge,” remarks Nancy Himsel, volunteer coordinator of the Gay Women of Rehoboth Meetup Group. “You measure it by the number people on the street, on the beaches, on the trails. It’s a notable difference.”
Locals welcome tourists in this booming retirement and vacation community. Rehoboth has built a safe, welcoming space for the LGBT community to bask under the sun in shorts and Speedos.
Two of the area’s best-known attractions are Poodle Beach and Gordon’s Pond. Just a brief walk south of the boardwalk is Poodle Beach, a male-dominated portion of the beach where Speedos and swim trunks abound. Similarly, the women have historically congregated at Henlopen State Park, commonly referred to as Gordon’s Pond. Simply drive down First Street and follow the ocean to a small parking lot. Lesbians of all ages and interests gather at this beach for fun in the sun.
“It’s not a bad bike ride,” Himsel points out. “You can pay $8 for a day parking pass, but they usually close the parking lot by 11 a.m. or 12 p.m. because they can only accommodate so many people.”
The best bet is to pack your beach chairs, enter Henlopen State Park into your GPS, and get there early!
Restaurants and Nightlife
Chances are that no matter where you end up at the end of the night, you’ll be in a gay-friendly or LGBT-owned business. Favorites among both locals and tourists include Rehoboth Ale House, The Purple Parrot, and The Pond (formerly known as The Frogg Pond).
“The Seafood Shack is a smaller venue, but they sometimes have a DJ or live entertainment,” Himsel adds. All of these places keep the good times rolling long after the sun goes down.
Rehoboth Beach offers a vast array of activities that extend beyond the beach and the bar. “I’ve seen people put up volleyball nets and play. You can rent kayaks and paddleboards; you can go to the bay. And, a lot of locals will jog or bike the trails. There’s really something for everyone here,” notes Himsel.
From shopping along the boardwalk to renting bikes and taking a scenic oceanside tour, residents and tourists alike find ways to connect with the community’s beautiful atmosphere, to make the most of their vacation. Just visit www.rehoboth.com for more information on daytime events, nightlife, community, and accommodations.