Delaware/Maryland Beach Vacation Recap
Last week, my husband Rod and I were in South Bethany Beach, DE vacationing with his family. Staying in South Bethany Beach is awesome as the homes are all on a system of canals. It’s quieter than the other beaches in the area and has great streets to walk on since they’re all on the water. Also, with our two dogs, the beach at the north end of Fenwick Island State Park allows dogs in the high season which is a rarity in the area.
I took this gorgeous sunset photo over the bay on our last night!
We go every summer and it’s really encouraging to see the vegan options in the area continue to multiply. Just 5 or 6 years ago, every meal out meant settling for a sad vegan option. This year there were more options than ever. Food is a strong source of joy for me and I want to have great meals on my vacations! I think food is a big part of vacationing to a lot of people.
Like what I experienced at the beach years ago, traveling while vegan can be really difficult and isolating sometimes but it gets easier with experience. A little planning goes a long way too. If possible, getting lodging with a kitchen can allow you to have a backup option for meals if the restaurant choices are underwhelming.
I wanted to lay out where we ate on this trip for anyone considering traveling to the area, and the process I use to find vegan options in general when we travel.
www.happycow.net is the current gold standard online directory for vegan-friendly restaurants around the world. I usually start there to compile a list of restaurants that sound interesting and then check out their menus online. For restaurants that don’t have their menus posted or I feel I need clarity, I message them on Facebook. That usually gets me in touch with a manager, owner, or someone who is well informed about their plant-based offerings. I also search on Facebook for local vegan groups to get restaurant recommendations and further insight from the local vegan community. In Ocean City, for example, there’s an “OCMD Vegans” group that talks about restaurants in the area and new vegan offerings.
Below are all of the restaurants I’ve found vegan options in the DE/MD beach area and the dishes they offer.
1. Grandpa Mac in Rehoboth Beach, DE. https://www.grandpamac.com/
A fast-casual mac and cheese restaurant with vegan options. Options include soups, salads, paninis, make your own mac and cheese with a vegan cheese sauce as well as vegan mozzarella and two protein toppings of vegan chicken & hot dogs. My favorites: vegan Caesar salad, Old Bay pasta salad, and I make my own mac and cheese with small elbows, spinach, tomatoes, hot dogs, breadcrumbs, and Cholula hot sauce.
2. Dewey Beer Company in Dewey Beach, DE. https://deweybeerco.com/
A brewery with a vegan and vegetarian menu section and awesome craft beer. This was my first year trying this place out and it was one of my favorite meals. My favorite: Vegan Sausage: "Beyond" Sausage, Sauteed Peppers & Onion Mix, Teese Vegan Nacho Cheese, Beer Mustard on a Toasted Hoagie Roll
3. Mother’s Cantina in Ocean City, MD. https://linktr.ee/motherscantina
A Mexican restaurant with 2 locations with a vegan menu and vegan cotija-like cheese available. Most menu items can be veganized. Rice, black beans, and pinto beans are all vegan. Great margaritas! My favorites: guacamole (order without cheese), vegan Mother’s Burrito with spinach, and vegan spinach enchiladas. The 78th street location has a huge outdoor patio.
4. Liquid Assets in Ocean City, MD. https://la94.com/
A high-end wine bar and retail liquor store. Has a kale salad that can be ordered without ham, French Riviera olives appetizer, and vegan Cacio e Pepe pasta. Market vegetables and fried cauliflower may be able to be made vegan-- ask your server. My favorites: kale salad and vegan Cacio e Pepe. The pasta is decadent!
5. Schmagels’ Bagels, multiple locations. https://shmagelsbagels.com/
Local bagel shop with a few locations serving vegan cream cheese and a handful of vegan sandwiches. I have only tried the vegan cream cheese. A solid breakfast option.
6. Ba Roos Ice Cream and Coffee in Bethany Beach, DE. https://baroosicecream.business.site/
Has 2 vegan ice cream flavors. Sugar cones should be vegan but double-check. Also has acai bowls-- but I haven’t tried them! Their caramel ice cream is out.of.this.world. I went twice during this past week!
7. Rise Up Coffee, multiple locations. https://riseupcoffee.com/
Has a vegan “Happy Cow Burrito” with Deep Fried Potatoes, Marinated Tofu, Pico de Gallo & Avocado. Comes with green salsa on the side. It’s a little bland but an easy breakfast or lunch, given how many locations are around. My Favorites: An iced chai with oat milk + Happy Cow Burrito.
8. Green Man Juice Bar in Rehoboth Beach, DE. https://greenmanjuicebar.com/ Also has a location in Lewes, DE.
Has many vegan breakfast and lunch options like porridge, breakfast bowls, tofu scramble, salads, vegan sandwiches, and a Beyond Burger. Fresh juices and smoothies. They offer fruit salad, a side salad, or power slaw as sandwich sides. I’ve never seen only healthy options as side choices in the past--kudos to them! The dietitian in me was so impressed. Clearly labeled vegan and vegetarian options on the menu. The Rehoboth location has a large sidewalk seating area and a great shaded porch. My favorites: The Mean Green sandwich with a side of power slaw and Cantaloupe Kiss juice.
9. Nectar Juice Bar and Cafe in Lewes, DE. https://www.cafenectar.com/
A really cute cafe serving breakfast and lunch with some vegan and veganizable dishes like an acai bowl, soup, salads, and three vegan sandwiches. My favorites: the Tu “No Fish” Sandwich with a side of Kale Chips. No outdoor seating but despite being busy they quickly prepared our food for carry-out.
10. OC Wasabi in Ocean City, MD. https://ocwasabi.com/
OC Wasabi used to be a staple of my beach vacations but this year the food was a bit lackluster for the prices. However, its Japanese cuisine has the staple vegan options like cucumber, avocado, veggie, and asparagus rolls and it’s a great backup option when in downtown Ocean City. My favorites: their miso soup (double-check that it contains no fish), avocado roll, vegetable roll, and tofu teriyaki. The tofu in the teriyaki does come fried and it seems unnecessary. See if you can order the tofu fresh!
11. Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats in Rehoboth Beach, DE. https://www.dogfish.com/restaurants/brewpub/menu
There aren't a lot of vegan options here-- the beer is really what to come for. They do have dairy-free pizza crust and are happy to make pizza without cheese. They also have a Beyond Burger patty but double-check whether the buns they have are vegan. My favorites: The Dignity of Movement pizza which has black garlic oil, crispy garlic chips, and red pepper flakes. Order without cheese and add San Marzano tomato sauce and exotic mushrooms.
I know traveling and trying to find vegan options can feel overwhelming at first. I’d love to hear what other questions you have about how to navigate this. Let me know in the comments below!