penny more, but I'll get a commission that helps me run this blog. Please see my DISCLOSURE for more information.
Aaah, summer! The time of year that many of us take vacation in an effort to unwind from the rat race of our everyday lives.
The sand in your toes, the sun on your skin, the salt in the air, and the sound of waves crashing and seagulls squawking…there’s nothing like it!
Those of us who live in and around the Washington, DC, area are lucky to have Ocean City – Maryland’s #1 beach – just a 3 hour drive away.
For years, Ocean City was a quiet fishing village. Then, in 1875, the Atlantic Hotel began welcoming guests and its been a popular vacation ever since. The beach stretches 10 miles from the Inlet to the Delaware State Line.
Visitors can enjoy relaxing in the sun on the white sand beach; swimming, splashing, and cooling off in the water; playing frisbee or volleyball with friends, or commemorating their visit with a souvenir “telescope” picture taken by one O.C.’s roaming photographers.
Flanking part of the beach is Ocean City’s famous wooden boardwalk, which stretches for 3 miles. The boardwalk features a variety of shopping alternatives from jewelry stores and boutiques to t-shirt and souvenir shops.
Over the years, Ocean City’s boardwalk has received many accolades including:
- Best Beach Boardwalk (The Travel Channel)
- Top 10 U.S. Boardwalks (National Geographic)
- Best Boardwalks for Food (USA Today)
On any given day, you’ll see people walking, riding bikes, or rollerblading along the boardwalk. You’ll also see the tram, which runs from the Inlet up to 27th Street.
If you walk along the Boardwalk between 1st and 2nd Streets, you’ll see several beautiful sand sculptures created by artist Randy Hofman in front of the Plim Plaza Hotel. These religious sand sculptures have been an Ocean City tradition for over 35 years.
In addition to the shops, the boardwalk offers enough food options to satisfy everyone’s appetite! First time visitors should definitely indulge in some of the boardwalk’s most iconic treats:
- Delicious French Fries from Thrashers
- Chewy salt water taffy from Dolle’s Candyland
- Creamy soft ice cream from Kohr’s
And of course, you can’t visit the Eastern Shore without having some delicious steamed Maryland crabs!
THINGS TO DO
Ocean City isn’t just about the beach. There is truly something for everyone.
- Golfers can play 18 holes at one of the area’s 17 championship courses
- History buffs can explore historic Berlin
- Fisherman can charter a boat; go on a guided excursion; or fish from the end of the pier, from the beach, or on the bay
- Families can play a round of miniature golf, drive go-carts, play games at an arcade, or ride the Ferris wheel or rollercoaster at an amusement park
- Music lovers can catch a live band at a local bar; a free concert on the beach or attend a concert at the Convention Center
- Bargain hunters can peruse the offerings at the weekly flea market in the Convention Center parking lot
- Adrenalin junkies can rent a jet ski or go paragliding
- Outdoor enthusiasts can go canoeing, kayaking, standup paddleboarding, or surfing
Ever since I was a little girl, I have enjoyed strolling barefoot along the beach by the edge of the water, searching for the perfect seashells to take home with me.
I’d walk and walk, stopping periodically to examine the shells, filling up my pockets until they were both bursting at the seams with my new treasures.
Fast forward a LOT of years and I STILL find myself collecting shells every time I go to the beach…any beach. I find this a very relaxing and nostalgic activity.
Now that I’m older, I like to combine collecting seashells with watching a beautiful sunrise. Heaven on Earth to me!
PLANNING YOUR TRIP
Most people head to the beach during the summer for the weekend or longer. If you are planning on heading down, be sure to take into consideration the following.
For the best rates on hotels, visit before Memorial Day (once it’s warm enough) or after Labor Day (when the weather is still warm, but the beach is not as crowded since kids are back in school.)
Ocean City is the site of many special events that may also affect how easily you can find lodging. These events include:
- Rolling Thunder (Memorial Day weekend)
- Beach Week for various graduating high school seniors (typically at the end of May/early June)
- Firemen Convention
Check with the tourism office or convention center for information about upcoming events that may affect your ability to find a place to stay.
Consider a lodging alternative such as Airbnb, Homeaway, or something similar.
Traffic can be really bad on the weekends, especially Friday afternoon and Sunday night. If you want to avoid the backup before the Bay Bridge and along Route 50 East, try to head down and come back at off hours.
According to the Bay Bridge website, the best times to travel during the summer are:
- Fridays – Before 10am and after 10pm
- Saturdays – Before 7am and after 5pm
- Sundays – Before 10am and after 10pm
There is a toll to cross the Bay Bride, but its only charged when you cross going East. Be sure to either have cash on hand or an Easy Pass; credit cards are not accepted at the toll booths.
Also, pay attention to the sign above the toll booth lanes so you go in the correct lane. Some are CASH ONLY, some are EZ PASS ONLY, and some are both.
[su_gmap height=”300″ address=”Ocean City, Maryland”]
Get a list of DC's FREE Museums
With more FREE museums than probably any major city in the U.S., DC offers locals and visitors alike a budget-friendly way to enjoy art, history, and culture.
Get a list of DC's free museums (complete with their address and link to their website) so you can plan your 1st - or next - visit to Washington, DC!