For some, cheap eats by the shore mean warm beer and sand in your hot-dog bun; but for others, the particular tastes of the beach and boardwalk have a potent, almost atavistic allure. The ultimate coastal food mecca is Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, a beachfront spot that’s been attracting D.C.-area weekenders for decades. The first stop on the roughly 2 and 1/2-hour drive from Dulles should be at Jimmy’s Grille in Bridgeville. Don’t miss the crab cakes – or the stunning array of pies. Once in Rehoboth, break up a day at the beach (or at the legion of local outlet malls) with Thrasher’s fries – perfect with a little vinegar and sandy fingers – or satisfy your sweet tooth with the caramel corn at Dolle’s. For dinner, enjoy a local specialty: crabs drenched in Old Bay seasoning, best eaten roadside at Ed’s Chicken & Crabs in Dewey Beach. Check in to one of the town’s many hotels and B&Bs (try the low-key Rehoboth Guest house). And get your taste buds worked up for a Nic-o-boli at Nicola’s pizza, a peculiar and irresistible kind of calzone, deservedly “world famous” – at least to those with enough stamina to wait for a table.
DETAILS Rehoboth Guest House, 302-227-4117 (rooms start at $105); Jimmy’s, 302-337-7575; Ed’s Chicken & Crabs, 302-227-9484; Nicola Pizza, 302-227-6211.