What to Do When There’s Rain at the Beach: Lewes, Delaware

What to Do When There’s Rain at the Beach: Lewes, Delaware

Thanks to our guest author Karen Schwarz of Essaymom.net for sending us this story about her family’s trip to Lewes, Delaware.

Rain at the Beach: Lewes, Delaware

There’s no getting around it: rain at the beach puts parents on the spot. They have to manufacture fun and pass the soggy hours as if precipitation were the ideal weather for a seashore visit.

A recent rainy weekend in the seaside town of Lewes, Delaware, put us to the test. Lewes is a tiny town (pop 3,000), and is the northernmost beach community on the Delaware shore. Its neighbor, Rehoboth, has the traditional beach boardwalk with wash-off tattoo shops, french fry stands, and block after block of bikini dealers. Lewes, on the other hand, cleaves to its history, dating back to 1631.

There are lovely beaches to explore in Lewes, but if you’re there on a rainy day, they will hold little to no attraction for you or your kids. But if you know how to spin a yarn you can lead your kids across the centuries, and have a great time.

Pirates! Death! Destruction!

Head out Savannah road which dead ends at the beach. (And, oh yeah, there’s a Dairy Queen there). Picture 32 Dutch settlers coming ashore here in 1631 to hunt whales, only to be massacred by a local tribe a year later.

Next, tell your kids to imagine bloodthirsty pirates like Captain Kidd and Blueskin sailing past Lewes, terrifying the townspeople who had heard stories of their violent ways.

Turn back towards the pretty town and imagine it engulfed in flames. British soldiers burned it to the ground in 1664, just a year after the Dutch had come back and built a settlement.

 

Flowers! Safety! Security!

Now take a quick walk to Zwaanendael Park, where kids can roam free among gorgeous flowerbeds and visit the 18th Century cabin known as the Fisher-Martin House. On your way there, ask them to picture a single candle burning in the top floor windows of these old houses. That was the sign for runaway slaves that they would be safe and cared for there.

Get in the car for the six-minute drive to Herring Point in Henlopen State Park. Kids can explore Battery Herring, built in World War II to protect the coast from German subs that never arrived.

Herring Point Cape Henlopen State Park

Battery Herring, Cape Henlopen State Park

Quirky and Fun!

More cool stuff in Lewes: There’s a pirate’s treasure chest in the Maritime Museum, a creepy merman in the Zwaanendael Museum, and half a dozen enormous cannons (suitable for climbing) in Memorial Park that were used to defend the town from the British ships that pummeled the town with 800 projectiles for 22 hours during the War of 1812.

Zwaanendael Museum

Zwaanendael Museum

Ice Cream! Coffee! Puzzles!

Need a break? There’s King’s homemade ice cream, Nectar’s for lattes and smoothies and a really great puzzle shop on Front Street for some hard-earned quiet time out of the rain.

For more information and more great sites in Lewes, visit Historiclewes.org and Leweschamber.com.

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rain at the beach lewes delaware

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park

Thanks to our guest author Karen Schwarz of Essaymom.net for sending us this story about her family’s trip to Joshua Tree National Park.

We’re just back from a great spring break trip to Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California with our daughter, and wanted to spread the word about this fun and fascinating family destination that will not suck your wallet dry.

 

A family trip to Joshua Tree National Park article by Karen Schwarz

This is truly nature’s playground, where kids and parents can spend a relaxing couple of days clambering over enormous but do-able piles of boulders that dot the park’s beautiful 60 by 30 mile desert landscape. Each boulder formation has a unique and otherworldly look, depending on the volcanic action that created it millions of years ago. Our faves were Skull Rock and Hidden Valley, where nineteenth century cattle thieves grazed their stolen herds.

a view of Skull Valley at Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua trees grow nowhere else in the world and they dominate vast stretches of the park, equidistant from each other, as if a landscaper planted them on a miles-wide grid. It’s a bizarre sight. Take the 20-minute drive up to Keys View for a quick lesson on earthquakes. From this perch you’ll see a portion of the infamous 700-mile San Andreas Fault. Also visible is Signal Mountain, which is 95 miles away in Mexico!

Joshua Tree National Park is 45 minutes from the airport in Palms Springs, and 2 ½ easy hours or less from airports in Ontario and Burbank, California. As you traverse the desert, you’ll pass 4,000 windmills that churn out enough energy to power the entire Coachella Valley. Find out how that works on a tour with Palm Springs Windmill Tours or Best of the Best Tours.

Planning a trip to Joshua Tree National Park

For value and local feel, rent an AirBnB in the town of Joshua Tree. Locally owned restaurants are good, friendly and inexpensive. They get crowded, though, so try to be early for breakfast and dinner. For lunch, pack a picnic to enjoy in the park, as there’s no food available inside.

Inexpensive chain hotels and fast food joints are plentiful in Twentynine Palms. For the shortest wait entering the park, buy your car pass (just $20 for a week) at the Visitor Center the day before you plan to tour the park. Enter the park through the North Entrance in Twentynine Palms, which tends to be less crowded. Access to the popular sites is just as easy as from the more heavily travelled West Entrance in Joshua Tree.

the rocky landscape of Joshua Tree National Park