Escape Washington DC on Independence Day — Go to Cape Henlopen Beach & Lewes, Delaware

Updated: Dec 12, 2019

I wanted to stay out of DC for Independence Day weekend. DC on America’s birthday is swarming with people and Chris and I weren’t really in the mood for people. You know you get those days where you just want to be alone and spend time getting a tan, reading a book, exploring some old city streets, having a cocktail and not body slamming tourists on the metro? RIGHT SIDE PEOPLE, STAND ON THE RIGHT! Well DC was going to be filled with partisan politics, thunderstorms and crowds. So DC was a no-go-zone!

I had done a bit of research on where I wanted to visit, but as with most of my well thought out plans, we improvised the whole way. Here is a list of stops we took while visiting the Delaware beaches on July 4th. If you're in the same mindset we were, hopefully this will give you an idea of what you too could do!

Stop 1: Rehoboth Beach Just kidding, Cape Henlopen

The traffic out of DC all the way to Belltown, Delaware wasn’t all that bad. I thought it was going to be busy and was pleasantly surprised at how calm the roads were… that was until… Westcoats Corner. All my dreams of clear roads and smooth driving came crashing down when we were in the middle of a farmer’s backroad, bumper to bumper, inching our way forward. I think we may have been 5 miles away from Rehoboth Beach and it was a parking lot. Chris and I looked at each other and thought, “NAH,” did a U-turn and headed to Cape Henlopen instead. This area was much more pleasant. Still very busy but at least we weren’t sitting in traffic.

Tip 1: Shop at East of Maui, a really cool surf shop with cute clothes and great outdoor gear for beach type activities.

Tip 2: They may make you park at the initial entrance, I would try to avoid doing this. Chris and I “parked” as directed, and decided to change our plans and keep driving further into the state park. We actually ended up finding parking right next to the beach instead of having a ridiculously long walk in the heat of the day.

Tip 3: The weather during the 4th of July is SCORCHING hot. Bring an umbrella, bring sunscreen, bring a hat, be prepared. The sun will cook you and so will the hot sand.

Tip 4: The earlier you get there, the more space you’ll get on the beach.

Stop #2: Lewes, Delaware

We stayed around for a little bit at Cape Henlopen, but I wasn’t prepared for the heat. I’m not going to make this pretty for you, Delaware beaches at this time of year are disappointing (in my opinion). They’re waaayy too hot and muggy. You really couldn’t see out to the ocean because of how much air pollution there was. Each inch of the beach was taken up by trucks, Jeeps and SUV’s “fishing” and the water was kinda gross and murky. I don’t know… maybe I’m just being picky, but I wasn’t impressed. After my hopes of spending the day at the beach floated away out to sea, we got back into the Jeep and headed to the town of Lewes.

As you can tell, the first day of the long holiday weekend were a bunch of hard passes. We weren’t really having much luck.

Lewes, Delaware came as a refreshing respite in an otherwise disappointing hot day. Lewes is a super cute little sea side town right near Cape Henlopen. The side streets are fun to wander down and take pictures of the architecture, the main street has great boutique shopping and the marina is full of white sail boats swaying in the ocean breeze. Chris and I grabbed a bite at the 2nd Street Tavern while watching the world go by. It was a nice way to spend the afternoon.

Stop #3: Annapolis, Maryland

As the afternoon came to an end, Chris and I had one last stop — Annapolis. My boss lives here and gave raving reviews, so we actually made an effort to stay the night. Driving back into Maryland we were hit with one of the craziest thunderstorms. Chris claims, besides some tornadoes he has seen in the midwest, this was one of the worst east coast storms he’d encountered… I hope you don’t run into anything like this, but just check out these photos and video!! (This probably won’t do it justice.)

If you’re interested in what we did in Annapolis, read “The Annapolis Adventure — 8 things to do” to help you plan your next trip!



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