Looking for a late-summer beach getaway that’s fun for both you and your pooch? Check out southern Delaware’s Culinary Coast. A strong agricultural scene reflected in local menus and the short driving distances between towns make this mid-Atlantic area an easy choice. Factor in multiple beaches that accommodate four-legged visitors, and it’s easy to see why this part of Delaware is a canine getaway of choice for regional pet parents in the know.
Appetites: Need an elevated meal splurge somewhere Rover can relax? Good Earth’s market location in Ocean View comes with a dog-friendly dining patio featuring a view of the farm and an on-site herb garden used in their artisanal cocktail selection. The menu presents local ingredients with flair and has something for every price point and schedule. This makes it possible to pick and choose according to both your canine’s energy level and your personal budget.
A number of smaller plated snacks start at less than 10 bucks, while dinner mains can run more in the $30 range. Some of the tastier tidbits to consider for a quick stop are the marinated olives, roasted tomato soup or old-world bread with organic butter and jam. Got a little more time? Kick back with an order of salmon or shrimp and grits while enjoying the view.
For decadent desserts, two items in particular are worth the calorie expenditure: a peanut butter pie guaranteed to make your eyes roll back in your head, and something their culinary team has dubbed the brownie. Technically a flourless torte with ganache and salted Marcona almonds, it’s a must try for chocolate fans. Priced at $7 each to go, you can also enjoy them in-house with an organic vanilla ice cream add-on for 11 bucks.
Matt’s Fish Camp in the town of Lewes is an affordable local favorite for wings and seafood, and they welcome well-behaved dogs on their outdoor patio. For a unique, full-flavor side you won’t easily find elsewhere, I’m a huge fan of the dirty Brussels and gourmet mac and cheese. Their homemade sodas are a tasty addition and bring a bit of retro-style fun to the dining experience. Fork and Flask is also a fun spot for elevated casual food with a local farm focus.
Mid-range starters and artisanal cocktails served in actual glass flasks are a great way to end a day of exploring. Happy hour offers extra value with select shareables ringing in at $2 off the regular price.
Does your canine companion have a pampered palate? Consider treating Pookie to a trip to Salty Paws in Rehoboth. A dog-friendly ice cream parlor with topping bar, this place lets dogs hop up in a chair and enjoy their frozen treat at the table if they want. Prices are comparable to gourmet ice cream shops for humans, and serving options include cones, waffle bowls or regular cups. The ice cream recipes are made of ingredients friendly to the canine digestive tract and include fab flavors like peanut butter, maple bacon and more.
When it comes to pet-friendly activities along Delaware’s Culinary Coast, there are a number of hidden value options available for adult beverage fans. Many of the winery, distillery and brewery establishments are canine accessible. A fair number of them offer food trucks and complimentary live music as well. This means for the cost of a pour you can leisurely lounge with Max while enjoying a stop on what is essentially a free concert circuit. If you’re like me and prefer consumable souvenirs instead of purchasing more clutter, picking up a bottle or two from your favorite venues lets you come home with a stocked bar that extends the vacation memories.
For a Fido-friendly outing with a heavy metal Viking vibe, hop in the car and head on over to Brimming Horn Meadery in Milton. With plenty of outdoor seating, and live music with food trucks on the weekends, this place is officially too cool for school. In addition to their mead selection, Brimming Horn also offers ciders. Tasting flights for adult beverage start at $8, and the autumn fire pits make a visit here especially relaxing for four-legged fur babies.
Wineries more your speed? Salted Vines has weekend food trucks with complimentary live music and four-glass tasting flights for $15. Dogs with responsible owners are welcome on the patio, or on the lawn where you can bring your own blanket or lawn chairs. Salted Vines also offers a for-fee concert series on certain evenings. If distilleries are your jam, Beach Time Distilling in Lewes has a number of spirits in fun flavors. Tasting samples are a buck a pop, and Fifi is welcome to come in with you while you make your purchase selection.
Another activity category for southern Delaware is farm tours. While the local agricultural community is significantly represented in the restaurant scene, many farms also offer tourism experiences on site. A pet-friendly one can be had free of charge at Lavender Fields, an agritourism venue in Milton with historical ties to William Penn. Well-behaved dogs on leashes are welcome to visit with their owners and explore the labyrinth and grounds of this farm, steeped in the heritage of the area. Their gift shop is worth a visit as well. It features a variety of culinary and body care items such as lotions, teas, wardrobe sachets and homemade soaps. Prices per item start as low as $5, making this an affordable place to pick up souvenirs you can enjoy when you return home.
For those who prefer a guided excursion, Delmarva Discovery Tours offers multi-stop shuttle experiences, including a variety of themes such as agritourism, beer gardens, antiques and more. In accordance with current travel concerns, Delmarva is not comingling tour groups. Minimum private group size is eight persons, with packages starting as low as $59 per person.
Making quality memories with Max means finding a place to stay that’s equally relaxing for both you and your dog. For a chilled-out coastal farm vibe with canine enrichment built into the experience, check out The Lazy L. Located on Willow Creek Road in Lewes, this bed and breakfast venue offers shower stations and towels for your pet, a fenced area for off-leash play and dog-friendly access to most parts of the property. This includes the outdoor patio with fireplace and grill, game room, pool deck and on-leash dining room access. The venue also sits along a stretch of private marsh with plentiful birdlife. Kayaks are available to paddle into the marsh as well, if you want to take Rover on an outdoor adventure. Pet fees here are only $30 per total stay with no size restrictions, and room rates start at $200 with gourmet breakfast included.
Beach access is another facet of pet accommodation the Culinary Coast gets right. A number of local area beaches allow dogs to unwind with their paws in the sand. Anyone who travels regularly with canines knows this isn’t necessarily the case with every waterfront destination. A word to the wise: Area beaches have various times for canine visitation. Some are based on the hour of the day, and some have seasonal restrictions. The pet-friendly section of the Visit Southern Delaware website is a helpful resource for navigating these parameters. The site also has info on kennel facilities if you’re interested in an activity that doesn’t happen to be dog-friendly.
If you’re looking for a place where agriculture meets elegance, all wrapped up in a dog-friendly, blue jean beach vibe, Delaware’s Culinary Coast delivers. Coastal farm destinations are some of my favorite places to visit. This one offers a high-value price point while still feeling bespoke. The fact it’s in such easy reach for anyone making their way through the mid-Atlantic is just icing on the travel cake.
Dogs can enjoy an ice cream parlor just for them while experiencing southern Delaware’s Culinary Coast.
Dogs relax on a dock after a waterfront swimming adventure along southern Delaware’s Culinary Coast.
Tagline Info: Lifestyle and travel expert @MyschaTheriault blends thrift and luxury to live well for less around the world.