247 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach; 302-227-4300
We love the staff at this hotel on the main drag—relaxed, friendly, attentive, and helpful. The rooms are comfortable and contemporary, and you couldn’t ask for a more convenient location. Summer rates: $320 to $469.
105 Savannah Rd., Lewes; 302-644-8292
The hippest stay in the area can be found at the Dogfish Head brewery’s retro-rustic inn near Lewes’s main beach and Henlopen State Park. The former motel’s rooms aren’t lavish, but perks abound: chicory coffee, a nightly bonfire, mini-fridges stocked with local treats, free bikes, and beach-ready canvas chairs. The staff is eager to help with anything from kayak rentals to brewery tours. Summer rates: $249 to $495.
2 Olive Ave., Rehoboth Beach; 302-227-7169
The dark Victorian colors and patterns might not scream summertime, but if you can snag a room with a view, you won’t be complaining. The hotel is 20 feet from the beach, and that first morning glimpse of the Atlantic is stirring. Summer rates: $349 to $679.
6 Christian St., Rehoboth Beach; 302-227-5800
This quiet hideaway is plush, serene, and a little bit quirky—laze with a book in the garden and you might see a mother duck tending to her eggs in a flowerpot. While many rooms are snug, the sheets boast a high thread count, and we’re drawn by such amenities as a beach shuttle, free hot breakfast and afternoon tea, and two pools. Summer rates: $299 to $679.
99 Hollywood St., Bethany Beach; 302-539-3200
While it wasn’t yet open at press time—it debuts August 1—this all-suite hotel right on the shore looks to be one of the more elegant places to stay in laid-back Bethany. All the suites have kitchenettes and either balconies or porches, and most overlook the lapping waves. Summer rates: $489 to $839.
This article appears in our August 2015 issue of Washingtonian.