Two thoughts converged upon us today. The first is that this morning’s cloudy, rainy weather was abysmal; and the second is that the roller coaster Mother Nature takes us on is equal parts impressive and frustrating. Its par for the course though, particularly since it is technically still winter and Delmarva weather is notorious for being unpredictable. One minute it could feel like it’s May, the next you’re flashing back to February. Such is life on the Eastern Shore. Nonetheless, spring is on the way and with it comes some of our favorite springtime activities and events. Since we are currently stuck inside rather than enjoying a photo op on the beach or typing away on our laptops on the patio, there is no better time than now to forecast the top eight things we are looking forward to the most about spring on Delmarva:

Visiting the Salisbury Zoo

One thing we typically do every year on the first warm and sunny day of spring is make a trip to the Salisbury Zoo. Much like us locals, the animals at the Zoo spend the winter hibernating. As the days get longer and the sun starts to shine, the animals can be found sunbathing and enjoying the springtime weather. It’s the perfect chance to see the animals out and about, especially before the summer heat sends them back into the shade. There’s also a host of spring events happening at the Salisbury Zoo over the next few months, including Earth Day (April 16), Zoo Stampede (April 16), Beekeeping Class (April 30), and the return of Bunk with the Beasts (first up, May 13th).

Hiking in our Local Parks

Despite a few snowfalls, we’ve had a fairly mild winter here on Delmarva, so we’ve already spent a good portion of 2016 exploring our local parks. However, spring brings our parks to life in the most magical way. Greenery, flowers, native wildlife, and favorable temperatures make spring the perfect time to do some local exploring. For those of you who suffer from allergies as much as we do, we suggest stocking up on some local honey! Pocomoke River State Park, Assateague Island, Cape Henlopen State Park, Trap Pond State Park, and Pemberton Historical Park are just a few of our favorite places for enjoying the outdoors on Delmarva.

Boardwalkin’ for Pets

Boardwalking for Pets capitalizes on two of our favorite things: dogs and long walks on the Ocean City Boardwalk. Last year was a bit cold for our liking, but it was a terrific turnout nonetheless with tons of happy pooches parading up and down the boardwalk for the annual event. This year’s Boardwalkin’ for Pets, which is a major fundraiser for the Worcester County Humane Society, will be held on April 23 at 9am. Pre-registration is available by clicking here.

Pork in the Park

Our spring calendars are overflowing with local events, festivals, and fundraisers, but one event we never miss is the annual Pork in the Park at Winterplace Park in Salisbury. We’re foodies after all, so when given the chance to attend an event that involves taste testing and stuffing our faces all day…we will. The two day barbecue festival includes fun for all ages, with rides, games, live music, craft vendors, and delicious food. Admission is just $3 for adults, with kids 12 and under gaining free entry. And don’t forget to catch the Eastern Shore Wing War, the Inflatable Park, and the Pig and ‘Hot Dog’ Races. New this year are the Pork Wars, where you’ll get to sample four pulled pork and beer pairings before casting your vote for the best pulled pork!

Outdoor Dining

Dinging al fresco is typically reserved for the summertime when the nights are warmer, but that doesn’t mean we won’t be getting our fill of outdoor dining this spring. Whether you’re out for lunch, dinner, or a quick happy hour bite, we highly suggest taking advantage of outdoor dining as often as possible. In Salisbury, there’s Brew River or Marketstreet Inn; in Berlin, enjoying sitting outback at Blacksmith or on the porch of the Atlantic Hotel; in Ocean City, the options are seemingly endless, but we’re looking forward to being back at Fish Tales, Ropewalk, Sunset Grille and Macky’s for some spectacular sunsets. Delaware has too many fantastic outdoor dining spots to count, so we’ll give nod to The Starboard (opening this weekend), 99 Sea Level (Bethany), Bethany Boathouse, Back Porch Café (Rehoboth) and Lula Brazil (Rehoboth) to get you inspired.

Local Festivals

Festival season is upon us! Spring and fall seem to be the busiest times of the year on Delmarva when it comes to local festivals, which means we have a busy few months ahead of us. What’s in store? For starters, there’s the Soft Shell Spring Fair (May 29) and Strawberry Festival (May 14), both in Crisfield, the Spring Celebration (April 9) and May Day Play Day (May 13) in Berlin, the Spring Fling (April 9) and Beer Festival (May 14) in Cambridge, Springfest in Ocean City (May 5-8), and the Lewes Tulip Festival (starting April 8) in Delaware. That’s just the tip of the iceberg of course so stay tuned for more!

Spring Restaurant Week(s)

Year-round, we love getting out and enjoying lunch or dinner at our favorite local establishments, but our local Restaurant Weeks afford us with the opportunity to get out and enjoy a few dining deals as well. Salisbury and Ocean City both have Restaurant Weeks planned for spring, which means plenty of food photos coming your way. In Ocean City, Restaurant Week runs for two weeks, with this year’s Spring Restaurant Week scheduled from April 17 through May 1. In Salisbury, SBY Restaurant Week will be held from April 11 through April 17. Of course, we will be sure to keep you posted on the participating restaurants as we move into April.

Riding Bikes on the Boardwalk(s)

Whether you’re in Bethany Beach, Rehoboth, or Ocean City, a beautiful spring day is best spent riding your bike (or a rental) on the boardwalk. Between the sun in your face, the smell of the ocean and Thrasher’s French Fries wafting through the air, and the backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean, it’s the unofficial cure for all your woes. We prefer escaping from the office for mid-week rides, but any day of the week will do! But please, please, PLEASE be polite when riding and navigating other bikers and pedestrians who are also trying to enjoy the boardwalk.