The 2,825-acre Delaware State Seashore has been ranked among the cleanest beaches in the country. Tan, swim, or read at Rehoboth's free public beach. Rent umbrellas and beach chairs from the concession stand near the Rehoboth Avenue entrance (from $5); during the sun's peak, stroll the mile-long boardwalk for arcade games and saltwater taffy.
Rent a board from Bethany Surf Shop ($25 per day) and find the break just north of the Indian River Inlet Bridge. Consult the tides before you go beginners should avoid the stronger waves that hit at high tide.
In the afternoon, stash the longboard and hit Dewey Beach, consistently rated one of the best skim spots on the East Coast. Take an hour-long lesson with Alley-Oop Skim Camp ($75 plus rental) to help you avoid beginner pratfalls like bruised shins.
Bring your dog (and a leash) to the designated stretch of Seashore State Park just north of the surfing beach. On Dewey Beach, your pal can play in the waves before 9:30 a.m. and after 5:30 p.m. In the meantime, leave them at Doggies at the Beach, a no-cage kennel with open-air play areas and a doggy day spa ($25 for full day).
Get a permit from the Dewey Town Hall (105 Rodney Avenue, 302-227-6363; $30) a day before your beach bonfire (quantities are limited). Pick up firewood and s'mores supplies at the Food Lion supermarket on Highway One. BYO sweatshirt.