Delaware opens summer beach season at Seashore State Park [photos]

State tourism leaders are hoping to continue the success of Delaware’s $3.1 billion tourism industry this summer.

Hundreds of thousands of visitors make a trek to Delaware’s beaches and other attractions during the year, helping support hundreds of jobs. Gov. John Carney, D-Delaware, joined tourism and environmental leaders as they unveiled a new restaurant and bar at Delaware Seashore State Park south of Rehoboth.

“Through the dedicated and effective work of the Delaware Tourism Office and Delaware State Parks, we continue to position Delaware as a leading vacation destination, and attract even more visitors and growth to our great state,” Carney said.

The new eatery, called the Big Chill Beach Club, is built on top of the existing bathhouse. It offers 360-degree views of the Atlantic Ocean, Indian River Inlet and Indian River Bay via a large rooftop deck. The restaurant also features a fire pit, game room and other amenities.

DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin said Big Chill is one of the largest public/private partnerships and capital investments in state history. “The partnerships we celebrate today will help beachgoers experience the extraordinary beauty to be discovered at Delaware Seashore State Park,” Garvin said.

The eatery is run by La Vida Hospitality Group, which also owns Fork & Flask at Nage in Rehoboth Beach and Crooked Hammock Brewery in Lewes. “By increasing the park’s visibility and providing new services and conveniences, DNREC’s Delaware State Park, the Delaware Tourism Office and La Vida Hospitality Group are helping to ensure visitors to the beaches keep returning year after year,” Garvin said.

Big Chill is expected to open later this month.

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