I spent last weekend in Delray Beach, Florida celebrating my Dad’s birthday. My family has been visiting Delray for over 30 years, and the seaside town has become a lively tourist destination with beaches, shopping, and plenty of restaurants. My parents go down to Delray Beach for a couple of weeks each winter, and this year my siblings and I decided to crash their vacation since my Dad would reach a landmark birthday during their trip. It took six weeks of careful planning, but we were able to sneak attack my father while he reading on the beach (the photo below is moments before the sneak attack). It was a fantastic weekend and I thought I would share some of it with you.
In the past the entire Graham Fam would stay with my Dad’s best friend, but now that we have significant others in the mix and there are five “kids” instead of three, we thought we should find our own place to stay. I turned to Airbnb (this was my first time using it) and found a small cottage with a pool within walking distance from the beach. It was an affordable alternative to staying in a hotel, and much more fun that everyone staying in separate rooms.
We spent most of the days at the beach, and since we had a kitchen in the cottage we were able to make sandwiches to take with us. We went to the grocery store and stocked up on a few essentials: eggs, bread, deli meat, cheese, beer, wine, and a few snacks. It was much less expensive than five people buying breakfast and lunch everyday.
Here are my favorite places to eat, drink, and shop, plus what to do and where to stay. No, I didn’t go to all of these places in one weekend, this list is compiled based on the many trips I have taken to Delray Beach.
Where to Eat:
Tramonti – This Italian restaurant is known for being a snowbird hangout. It’s certainly one of the more popular restaurants along Atlantic Avenue. We wanted to go to a nicer dinner to celebrate the trio of birthdays happening the week of our trip (my Dad’s, Charles’, and my Dad’s best friends’) and Tramonti was the obvious choice. The large menu has a good amount of seafood, meat, and pasta dishes. I had pappardelle with a garlic cream sauce (unfortunately the lighting was bad and it didn’t photograph well).
Sazio – A pizza joint with two Atlantic Avenue locations, one by the beach where you can pick up slices, and a full restaurant further down the avenue on the other side of the bridge.
Sandwiches By The Sea – I have been going to this place for almost 20 years. It’s a great place to grab a sandwich on the way to the beach. We stopped here as soon as we arrived in town, on our way to the beach to surprise my Dad.
Popbar – This small shop sells gelato popiscles with a selection of toppings. It’s genius. You pick a popsicle and you have the option to have it dipped in sauces and toppings. I liked the almond gelato dipped in caramel milk chocolate and chocolate sprinkles.
Dada – As someone with an MA in Art History, I have to love a restaurant named after an art movement. This funky restaurant in a historic home, is decorated with an eclectic and ever changing collection of art. Dadaists were non-conformists, and this inspires the menu which includes items like Berber tanginess Spiced Eggplant and Blueberry Grilled Cheese.
Sundy House – A more upscale restaurant, inn, and botanical garden fit for a special occassion, this is my favorite restaurant in the Delray area. The menu emphasizes local seafood, but has plenty of options for meat eaters.
Luna Rosa – This is my favorite place for brunch. The menu is big, and I love their Eggs Benedicts.
Shea’s Bakery – You can’t celebrate a birthday without cake! We ordered a massive and delicious vanilla cake with chocolate frosting from Shea’s Cakes.
Where to Happy Hour:
Boston’s on the Beach – A Boston themed bar/restaurant just across the street from the beach (beside Luna Rosa) with live music at night, Boston’s is a casual place for a drink, and a fun place to go late night.
Atlantic Grill at the Seagate Hotel – Located just about 4 blocks from the beach on Atlantic Avenue, the Seagate Hotel has a lovely terrace and a large bar inside.
Luna Rosa – Drinks are half price at the bar from 3-6pm, and it’s conveniently location by the beach makes it the perfect place to stop before dinner.
Deck 84 – This bar/restaurant has a large terrace overlooking the water just beside the bridge, making it a fun place for drinks at the end of the day.
Where to Shop:
Dock Square Clothiers– My first job was at the original Dock Square Clothiers in Kennebunkport. This shop (owned by a close friend) has a nice mix of everyday clothing and tees and sweatshirts saying Delray Beach.
Snappy Turtle – If preppy clothing is your thing, this is the place for you.
J.McLaughlin– Located on the ground floor of The Colony, this store has a nice selection of both men’s and women’s clothing.
What to Do:
Go to the Beach – This is the obvious answer, but this beach is one of my favorites. It’s clean, it’s big, the water is warm(ish) and clear, and the weather is usually agreeable in March. It was in the high 70s and sunny during our trip, and the waves were perfect for body surfing.
Delray Beach also has lots of activities this time of year. Check out the St. Patrick’s Day parade if you want to join in on a rowdy day drinking event that shuts down Atlantic Avenue. Or go to the Bacon and Bourbon Fest.
Where to Stay:
The Colony – They have a beach club with a pool and restaurant right on the beach, so according to friends this is the place to stay in Delray Beach. The Colony is also one of a handful of businesses with locations in both Delray Beach, and my hometown, Kennebunkport, Maine.
Airbnb – Here is a link to the cottage where we stayed. It was a little cozy for 5 people, but it worked out just fine since we are all family. The pool area was especially nice, and we had an impromptu pool party on a day that was too windy to spend at the beach.
Have you been to Delray Beach? It seems to be one of those places that everyone has been to! The town has changed so much since I first remember visiting and it has become a place with a bustling restaurant scene and nightlife. If you have any Delray Beach suggestions please share them in the comments!