A Long Weekend in Ocean City, Maryland

Travel Advisor Karyn Pavich in a lovely shirt on the water with sail boat in the distance.
Curated By

Karyn Pavich

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  • Adventure Travel

  • Active Travel

  • Beaches

  • Digital Nomad Travel

  • Entertainment

  • Shopping

  • Sightseeing

outdoor pool at a beach front hotel
Curator’s statement

Ocean City, Maryland is the epitome of a classic East Coast beach destination. With its iconic Boardwalk and an impressive 10-mile stretch of golden sand, it's the ideal place to bask in the sun and frolic in the refreshing waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Beyond the beach, Ocean City offers a plethora of attractions and activities for all ages. From thrilling amusement and water parks to exciting mini-golf courses and go-kart tracks, the entertainment options are endless. Outdoor enthusiasts can indulge in bike riding, kayaking, or paddleboarding, taking advantage of the city's natural beauty and waterways. When it comes to dining, Ocean City boasts a diverse culinary scene, with an array of restaurants offering delectable seafood and other mouthwatering cuisine. The city also prioritizes safety, ensuring a secure environment for families to relax and enjoy their vacation. Furthermore, the calendar of events in Ocean City is brimming with festivals, concerts, and other exciting happenings, ensuring that there's always something new and enjoyable to experience. All these elements combine to make Ocean City a superb destination for families seeking an unforgettable vacation experience.

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Where to stay in Ocean City, Maryland

Hyatt Place Daytona Beach - Oceanfront

his oceanfront hotel offers contemporary accommodations, stunning views, and direct access to the pristine sands of Daytona Beach.

Courtyard by Marriott Ocean City Oceanfront

Conveniently located on the Ocean City’s 3 mile Boardwalk, this summer getaway offers ocean views and spacious rooms.

DoubleTree by Hilton Ocean City Oceanfront

Just 10-minute walk to the Ocean City Boardwalk, this comfortable hotel offers swimming pools and large rooms with ocean views.

Travel Advisor Karyn Pavich in a lovely shirt on the water with sail boat in the distance.

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Things to do in Ocean City, Maryland

A resort view of Maryland

Boardwalk

Explore the iconic three-mile stretch of the Ocean City Boardwalk, brimming with shops, restaurants, and attractions. Enjoy thrilling amusement rides, challenge yourself at arcade games, indulge in local treats like caramel popcorn and saltwater taffy, or even get a custom-made Ocean City t-shirt. In the afternoon and evening, hop on one of the many trolleys pulled by colorful Jeeps for just $5 per person, per direction.

Amusement Parks

Jolly Roger Amusement Park offers a wide array of entertainment for all ages, including a Ferris wheel, exhilarating rides, go-kart tracks, and mini-golf courses. Trimper's Rides, another iconic amusement park, delights visitors with classic rides, carousel horses, arcade games, and even a haunted house.

Water Parks

Ocean City, Maryland is home to several fantastic water parks where you can beat the heat and have a blast. Splash Mountain and Thunder Lagoon feature thrilling water slides, lazy rivers, wave pools, and exciting kiddie play areas. Additionally, Maui Sands Water Park offers a mini-golf course right next door. Conveniently located across the street from the beach, all three parks make for a fun-filled day of aquatic adventures.

Wild Horses

Just a short drive south of Ocean City lies Assateague Island National Seashore, a protected area renowned for its untamed beauty, diverse ecosystems, and free-roaming wild ponies. Explore nature trails, indulge in birdwatching, and relax on the pristine beaches while observing the unique wildlife.

Watersports

With its coastal location, Ocean City offers a plethora of watersports activities. Rent jet skis, paddleboards, or kayaks to venture into the coastal waters and explore the scenic surroundings. The city's beaches also provide favorable conditions for surfing, especially during storm swells. Whether you're an experienced surfer or a newbie looking for lessons at a local surf school, catching some waves in Ocean City is a great activity to add your itinerary.

Biking

Start your mornings by renting a bike that can accommodate the whole family and pedal along the boardwalk. Biking in Ocean City allows you to soak up the coastal atmosphere, enjoy the fresh air, and take in the scenic views. Whether you choose to ride along the bustling Coastal Highway or explore quieter scenic routes, biking is a fantastic way to experience the area.

Golf

Ocean City is renowned for its excellent golf courses. If your family enjoys golfing, consider playing a round or two at one of the many beautiful courses available. Additionally, mini-golf courses are plentiful, offering a fun-filled experience for all ages.

Life-Saving Station Museum

The Life-Saving Station Museum offers an immersive journey into the history, bravery, and legacy of life-saving services. Housed in a building that dates back to 1891, the museum showcases the maritime heritage of Ocean City and highlights the importance of safety along the Atlantic coast. Originally a U.S. Life-Saving Service Station, it transitioned into a U.S. Coast Guard Station in 1915, further solidifying its historical significance.

Day Trips:

Historic Lewes, Delaware

Just across the state line in Delaware, you'll discover the charming town of Lewes, celebrated for its rich history and scenic beauty. Immerse yourself in the past as you explore historic sites, visit museums, and wander through unique shops. Indulge in delicious seafood at waterfront restaurants that offer stunning views. For an added day trip adventure, Lewes also provides ferry rides to Cape May, New Jersey.

Salisbury, Maryland

Located approximately 30 miles west of Ocean City, Salisbury is a vibrant city brimming with cultural attractions, shopping centers, and an array of dining options. Spend a day at the Salisbury Zoo, marvel at the incredible wildfowl art collection at the Ward Museum, or take a leisurely stroll through the picturesque Salisbury City Park.

The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park

Situated about 60 miles northwest of Ocean City in Church Creek, The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park is a significant destination to explore Tubman's extraordinary life and her fight for freedom. Begin your day trip at the Visitor Center for an immersive experience, delving into Tubman's courageous journey and her efforts to liberate enslaved individuals. Traverse the byway, which winds along scenic roads and stops at important sites associated with Tubman's life, including the Bucktown Village Store, where she sustained a head injury while protecting another enslaved person. The park offers guided tours that provide deeper insights into the history and significance of the Underground Railroad, leading you to additional sites like the Brodess Farm, Tubman's birthplace. Bring along a picnic lunch or enjoy a meal at a local restaurant in the Cambridge area.

Places to eat & drink in Ocean City, Maryland

yellow umbrella at hotel pool

The Bayside Skillet:

The Bayside Skillet offers creative breakfast and brunch dishes in a cozy and welcoming atmosphere with outdoor dining and scenic bay views. It's known for its signature Skillet Benedicts, omelets, pancakes, and French toast. They even have gluten-free and vegetarian options.

The Dough Roller:

With multiple locations along the Boardwalk, The Dough Roller is a family-friendly pizzeria and restaurant. It serves New York-style pizza, pasta, sandwiches, and breakfast items. It's a convenient option for a quick and casual meal while exploring the Boardwalk.

Dumser's Dairyland:

Dumser's is an Ocean City institution known for its delicious ice cream and classic American diner fare. It's a great spot to treat the family to tasty sundaes, milkshakes, or a hearty meal of burgers, fries, and sandwiches.

Fish Tales:

Located on the bay side with a sandy beach area and playground, Fish Tales is a popular family-friendly restaurant. It offers a relaxed atmosphere and serves a variety of seafood dishes, burgers, and sandwiches. Parents can enjoy a refreshing drink from the tiki bar while kids have fun playing in the sand.

Seacrets:

Seacrets is a popular waterfront restaurant and bar complex, known for its vibrant Caribbean atmosphere. It offers a diverse menu with options like seafood, sandwiches, and tropical-inspired dishes. Families can enjoy live music, tropical drinks, and the unique experience of dining on a waterfront deck.

The Greene Turtle:

The Greene Turtle is a family-friendly sports bar and grill that offers a casual and relaxed atmosphere. The menu includes a variety of American favorites like burgers, sandwiches, and wings.

Fractured Prune:

Fractured Prune is a beloved donut shop in Ocean City, where you can customize your own warm and freshly made donuts. It's a fun and delicious stop for families looking for a sweet treat.

Local Seafood Markets:

Ocean City is known for its fresh seafood. Consider visiting local seafood markets where you can purchase fresh seafood to prepare at your beach rental.

Need to Know

Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out my guide, 3 Days in Puerto Rico.

Travel Advisor Karyn Pavich in a lovely shirt on the water with sail boat in the distance.

Travel Advisor

Karyn Pavich

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Maryland.