Ocean City, Maryland Vacation Planner:
Having visited Ocean City as a child, than as a parent, and now living here with my grandchildren, it has given me a unique look at what Ocean City has to offer. From a day trip to an annual vacation, I’ll offer my advice on things I’ve enjoyed over the years.
Things have changed over the course of 50 years, but not as much as it seems. Gone are the sand dunes and nature that existed north of 60th Street when I was a child. They have been replaced by high-rise condominiums, shopping centers, hotels, restaurants, and residential buildings of all possible configurations.
The boardwalk now stretches from the Inlet at the southern end of Ocean City to 26th Street. Most of the “action” is from 4th Street-south. If you want to stay where the action is, I recommend that you stay on the boardwalk. This is a great area if you have teenagers or you just like a hustle and bustle environment. Even the boardwalk can be further divided by the amount of action you want. The further you go from the inlet, the more relaxed the boardwalk becomes. Check out my article, Where to Stay, for a complete list of what each area of Ocean City looks like.
While not everyone likes the same entertainment, I’m going to assume that the main reason for coming to Ocean City is the ocean. Our beaches are fairly consistent throughout Ocean City with fairly wide expanses, very clean, and lifeguards stationed on each block with communication systems connecting the entire beach. The only major exception to this is from the entrance to approximately 6th Street; this area has an extremely wide beach area with volleyball and play areas. This is good for daily visitors and children, but difficult for the elderly and the disabled. Access to the beach from the north end of the boardwalk is limited to trails made through the sand dunes at the end of each street. Chair, umbrella and surfboard rentals are available at each block entrance to the beach (at the time of writing). There are plenty of lunch spots along the boardwalk, but make other lunch plans if you stay away from the boardwalk.
To get away from the action and have a more relaxed day at the beach, I recommend Assateague Island State and Assateague Island National Park. Although the actual park starts in the cove, you have to drive about 15 minutes to reach the park entrances. Take Route 50 West, then Route 611 South. Route 611 ends at Assateague Island. Here you will find the State Park and the National Park. The State Park is a bit more expensive to enter but has a snack bar. I personally prefer the National Park because it has more to offer. While the State Park is limited to a snack bar, the National Park has canoe rentals; excursions, a crabbing pier and an exclusive area for 4×4 vehicles (permit required). Fires are allowed on the beach at night from the low tide mark to the high tide mark. Both areas offer patrolled beaches, picnic tables, grills, restrooms, and showers. Camps are available at both parks, but advance reservations are almost always required.
The entertainment doesn’t stop at the beach.
The boardwalk offers attractions, games, galleries, shops and, of course, food for the child in all of us. Here again, the action is centered from 1st Street to the inlet. To entertain the kids and the kids at heart, I would suggest Splash Mountain at 30th Street and Coastal Hwy. There are several types of waterslides, a lazy river, a wave pool, bars, and my favorite Rain Forest. Rain Forest is fun for everyone; It has oversized squirt guns to shoot people as they pass by (my favorite: I get into battles with people ages 6 to 60), water slides, a giant pirate hat that slowly fills up and pours its contents over everyone who They are below, and jets of water at you from everywhere. Trust me; This giant water version of a jungle gym is worth the price of admission on its own. It’s so much fun that lifeguards wear hats and rain coats.
There are numerous race tracks for all ages and miniature golf courses offering something for everyone. For a complete list of fun things to do, visit our entertainment page.
For adults, there are nightclubs for all age groups and bars with different themes. Seacrets is so popular with young adults that it has its own radio station, while Fager’s Island is popular with the more sophisticated crowd. In the middle there is everything from karaoke to beach bars.
It can be a rainy day; go to the movies, go shopping, visit the indoor pools located at many hotels, sit on your balcony overlooking the ocean, take a day trip to historic Berlin, Maryland, or simply enjoy a long lunch at one of the restaurants across the street Sea.
Dinner in Ocean City for most of us is like a family fight. There are so many options and no one feels the same at the same time. My family begins discussing dinner plans early so that reservations can be made if necessary. During peak season, be aware that the lines at popular restaurants can be long (even if the food is so-so). My personal recommendations are:
1-Marina Deck, excellent crab chowder and seafood dishes, and it’s on the water
2-Waterman seafood restaurant, very good crab and seafood feast
3-Nick’s Original House of Ribs, very good ribs and veal
4-Harpoon Hanna’s, very good seafood and on the water (somewhat slow service)
5-The Crabcake Factory USA, the best crab cakes,
6-Higgins Crab House, very good crabs and good seafood,
7-Bull on the Beach, excellent beef and good meat dishes,
8-Adolofo’s Italian restaurant, excellent Italian dishes (expensive),
9-Embers restaurant, very good seafood and ribs buffet,
10-Ponzetti’s Pizza, my favorite pizza,
11-Lombardi’s, another good pizza and Italian restaurant,
12-Sakura, excellent Japanese steakhouse,
13-Phillip’s Crab House, good seafood (worth a visit, but not the best seafood in Ocean City anymore),
14-Outback Steakhouse, the same food you have at home but it’s good when you get tired of trying new places.
These are my favorite restaurants. There are many great options and many different ideas about what good food is. For me, a good restaurant is a combination of very good to excellent food with reasonable prices, good service and a varied menu for the whole family. Leave reviews on the restaurants you visit during your stay to help others choose a good restaurant.
Hope this article gives you a general idea of what the small resort town is like. We hope you enjoy your stay and return year after year. Perhaps you will join a growing number of people who have decided to invest in our community by buying a summer place or even moving to Ocean City for a great lifestyle.