Ocean City, MD is a favorite vacation spot for mid-Atlantic residents as well as tourists from around the globe. Located on the Delmarva (Delaware/Maryland/Virginia) Peninsula, it is a barrier spit that connects to the mainland at its northern end on the Maryland and Delaware border. This narrow strip of land forms a barrier between the Atlantic Ocean on its east side and the Isle of Wight and Assawoman Bays on its west side.
At the Southern end is the Ocean City Inlet, which separates Ocean City from Assateague Island, home of the famous wild horses.
This famous resort town contains ten miles of sandy beach and a two-plus-mile boardwalk packed with food, entertainment and shopping establishments. Whether a long weekend or a full week, there is something for everyone to enjoy at this bustling, family getaway spot.
There are three points of access that connect Ocean City to the mainland. On the northern end is Lighthouse Road, just north of the Maryland and Delaware border. In the middle is the Assawoman Bay Bridge on the Ocean City Expressway (Route 90), which passes over the Isle of Wight. On the southern end is the Harry W. Kelly Memorial bridge on Ocean Gateway, the eastern terminus of the coast-to-coast Route 50.
The 2.3-mile boardwalk stretches from South 2nd Street on the southern tip and ends at 27th Street. The streets continue north to 146th street at the Maryland and Delaware border. The numbered streets provide an easy reference point for finding your location. Most of the tourist activity is clustered at the southern end, in contrast to the northern end where there are more condos. Along the boardwalk are hundreds of hotels, shops, restaurants, amusement parks, arcades, rentals, excursions, mini golf courses, a skate park and other tourist attractions. Trimper’s Rides, Ripley’s Believe it or Not!, Jolly Roger Amusement Parks and Northside Park are some favorites. There’s a convention center for business conferences, and several golf courses nearby on the mainland. Note that some of the outdoor activities are open only during the summer season.
Food choices are abundant and, like most beach towns, Ocean City offers a wide range of price points and quality. You never have to leave the boardwalk to find a great meal. Maryland is well-known for its fresh seafood, particularly the Blue Crab, and this coastal resort town offers a bountiful variety. But it’s also the street snacks that grab significant attention. Stop at the boardwalk for a bucket of the famous Thrasher’s French Fries and Dumser’s Dairyland for a good, old-fashioned ice cream or malt.
The boardwalk itself provides a smooth, flat path for walkers, joggers, strollers and dogs. Bicycles and surreys are available for rent up and down the boardwalk, but check the beach rules for allowable times.
The free, public beach extends for 10 miles from the southern tip of Ocean City, Maryland to the Delaware border. Whether soaking in the sun, reading a book, building a sand castle, hunting for seashells, taking a long walk, or flying a kite, the beach is an ideal place to let go of your cares and relax. Check the hours, rules, restrictions and lifeguard availability here, and events here.
Whether ocean side and bay side, Ocean City offers a multitude of water activities, especially in summer when the water is warm, including swimming, jet skiing, boogie-boarding, surfing, boating, fishing and water excursions. Check here for rentals and bookings, and check here for more on rules and restrictions.
There are plenty of places to fish on the ocean and bay sides in Ocean City. You can fish from a public pier, a boat, or from the surf. More information can be found here.
There is also the Ocean City Fishing Pier, part of the Jolly Roger establishment, located at the southern tip. There’s a small shop at the pier where you can rent fishing equipment or purchase gifts and refreshments. If you don’t want to fish, you can access the pier as a spectator for a small fee.
Ocean City contains several birding hotspots, including the Ocean City Inlet and Northside Park. Explore eBird for more information, particularly the bar charts that show the months of the year you can expect to see certain species of birds. Or read more about our adventure with seagulls here.
Ocean City, Maryland is a heavily commercialized resort town. If you need a break from the hustle and bustle, and want to get back to nature, take a drive just south to the Assateague Island National Seashore.