Ocean City Maryland has long been one of America’s best east coast beach destinations. In my family, ocean city beach trips were a mandatory part of every summer vacation. Eventually, my father bought a condo there and now lives in the beach town full-time. There are so many fun attractions in OCMD, so we put together a list of the best things to in Ocean City Maryland.
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Ocean City Maryland Travel Tips
Before jumping into the list of the best things to do in Ocean City Maryland, here are a few other tips to plan your trip.
How to Get Around Ocean City Maryland
Getting around OCMD can be a daunting task, especially in the summer months when the population of the town swells! Expect to sit in traffic on your way to the beach and once you’re in town during the summer months.
Public transportation is available to cut down your travel headaches. This is a great option to get around in the summer due to parking and traffic conditions. Here is the full Ocean City Transportation Schedule. Note that the schedule is different in the winter months. The boardwalk tram, coastal beach bus, and the park-n-go bus can make it much easier for you to get around. Single fares and day passes are available and can be purchased with a credit card or cash.
Uber and Lyft also operate in the Eastern Shore region. Fares usually begin at $7.60 and you can select UberX, Uber Comfort, and UberXL rides. Of course, these rides come with a premium (especially at 2 a.m.) and they don’t have the ability to use the bus lanes – so you’ll get around faster on the bus.
Should You Book a Hotel or Airbnb in Ocean City Maryland?
The good thing about where you stay in Ocean City Maryland is, there are plenty of options. Hotels line the coastal highway from north to south so it’s easy to find something to match your preferences.
Personally, I love a group house on the beach whether I’m visiting with family or friends. When I’m traveling with just Mike, we tend to book a hotel.
We put together a list of our favorite OCMD Airbnb properties HERE. This list has a range of properties in the uptown, midtown, and downtown areas with bayside and ocean front homes.
You should also check out our detailed comparison of each one in this post on the 17 BEST Airbnb Rentals in Ocean City, Maryland.
Booking with Airbnb over VRBO is that you’ll deal with the owner of the property who has only one place to manage. You’ll also find that pricing is dynamic and changes based on demand – so you can find great deals if you’re booking offseason or months in advance.
Parking in Ocean City Maryland
Parking is a detail that often gets overlooked in the planning process. Carefully review the parking provisions of the hotel you select. The same is true if you choose to book a home rental. Their parking capacity should be easy to find in the listing.
For overflow parking, you may be able to park on certain streets in off-peak season or you can purchase a parking pass. This can add a hefty expense to the trip, so try to carpool on your way to the beach.
Another option is to utilize the West Ocean City Park-N-Go. There you’ll find the cheapest and most available parking and can take the bus into OCMD. Abandoning your car for a week or weekend will also mean ditching the stress of parking and traffic.
Where to Stay in Ocean City Maryland
Preferences vary for where to stay in Ocean City, Maryland. You have three distinct zones of the city. From north to south, they are the uptown, midtown, and downtown areas.
The uptown is a little quieter, less built up and the highest concentration of bars and activities are downtown. This also includes the iconic Ocean City, MD boardwalk, and amusement park.
Ocean City’s midtown is popular for being close to everything (and it’s where I like to stay most of all). There are a lot of restaurants, bars, and things to do in Ocean City Maryland within steps of midtown.
If you decide to stay in the downtown (low street numbers) of Ocean City Maryland, you’ll be surrounded by people. It’s undeniably the busiest part of the town with the boardwalk activities attracting hoards of visitors.
Finding the perfect place is a matter of preference – from busy to quaint you can find where you fit and book lodging there.
When to Visit Ocean City Maryland
There’s no bad time to visit Ocean City, Maryland. It’s, of course, a northeast beach destination – so the best weather is from May through September. That’s also the peak season so prepare to pay a premium for lodging and other expenses.
The shoulder season (spring and fall) is incredible for visiting Ocean City, MD. The crowds are lesser and there are still all kinds of things to do in Ocean City Maryland during these months. You’ll also find great deals, especially on lodging during these months.
Even in the winter, you will have no shortage of things to do in OCMD. The chamber of commerce keeps a full calendar of events and it’s more than just the Christmas parade. An offseason winter trip to the beach gives you a slow pace, peaceful experience.
The Top 15 Things To Do in Ocean City Maryland
Some are obvious must-do activities, others are hidden gems in Ocean City Maryland but they’re all fun things you can’t miss. When available, we also give you the websites and booking information. Our hope is that we make your trip planning an Atlantic ocean breeze and as easy as a walk in Northside Park.
The Must-Do Ocean City Activities
We’ll start this list with the classics. These might seem like the most obvious activities but they’re also the most fun things to do in Ocean City, Maryland. Best of all, these are free activities that you can enjoy in any type of itinerary.
1. Enjoy the Ocean City Boardwalk
The boardwalk is easily the most iconic attraction in Ocean City, Maryland. It stretches three miles from the inlet at Ocean City’s southernmost point to 27th Street. It’s full of boutiques, cafes, restaurants, bars, and it’s just magical. You have all the fun in the world on one side of you and the beautiful sand and surf on the other side.
You can ride your bike on the boardwalk during the offseason and before 11 am during the summer. You can rent bikes throughout the town and a few places on the boardwalk. One of the coolest things to do is rent a surrey, a large pedal bike that can fit a whole family or group.
Some of the best places to visit are Thrashers for fries, Fisher’s for popcorn, and Dolle’s Candyland for saltwater taffy. If you do nothing else, spend a night satisfying your snack cravings on the boardwalk.
2. Check Out the Ocean City Life-Saving Station Museum
813 South Atlantic Avenue, Ocean City, Maryland
At the end of the boardwalk on the inlet, you’ll find a charming old building that houses the Ocean City Life Saving Museum. It’s a historic structure containing exhibits on life-saving, shipwrecks, sand from around the world, and storms.
Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for youth, military, and seniors, and free for children under age 12. The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. May through October and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. November through April.
Additional information and virtual tours are available on the Ocean City Life-Saving Station Museum website.
3. Get Out on the Beach
The most visited attraction in Ocean City, Maryland is always the beach! It’s free to get on the beach – no stupid beach tags or annoying choke points to enter. The ten-mile long beach is open to the public daily from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. You cannot sleep on the beach and shouldn’t be on it after 10 p.m. because it’s maintained overnight.
You can also expect entertainment on the beaches. A full calendar of events includes movies on the beach and even concerts and dance parties. No trip to Ocean City, Maryland is complete without spending time on the pristine beach.
4. Visit Northside Park
200 125th St, Ocean City, MD
The most popular park in Ocean City Maryland is the 58-acre Northside Park. It’s located in uptown Ocean City right on the bay with courts, picnic areas, and an indoor gym facility.
The park is a wonderful location for a family picnic, a lovers’ stroll, or a scenic dog-walking excursion. I used to ride my bike through it when I was a kid but these days I prefer to jog in the park. It’s also got perfect fishing and crabbing docks where you can spend the afternoon or watch the sun set over the bay.
Enjoy a Foodie Tour of Ocean City Maryland
I gave you some suggestions for boardwalk snacks – but there are all kinds of delicious foods to try in Ocean City, Maryland.
One of the coolest ways to experience the food scene is with a dedicated tour. Here are a few options for booking an Ocean City, Maryland food tour. They all cost less than a high-end meal but involve a full culinary experience led by an expert local foodie.
5. Bay Hopping Ocean City Foodie Tour by Boat
Learn about the history of Ocean City, Maryland while sampling delicious food at waterfront restaurants. You’ll board the OC Bayhopper boat and cruise to three restaurants for a tasting and cocktail before heading. toa dessert tasting at Dolle’s Candyland.
6. Chauffered Vineyard Food & Wine Tour
This amazing three-hour tour begins at “Waves” at the nearby Ocean Downs Casino in Berlin, Maryland. In a limo-bus, your group is taken around to four locations for wine and food pairings. The highlight is a visit to Windmill Creek Vineyards, an 1858 farmhouse and winery.
7. Downtown Boardwalk Foodie Tour
This tour is super cool! It takes place entirely on the boardwalk where you walk from one legendary Ocean City, Maryland eaterie to the next. Visit the oldest bar in OCMD, enjoy the best bay view in town, and local delicacies like hard shell crab and deep-fried Oreos.
8. Ocean City Midtown Foodie Tour
During this three-hour Tastes of Ocean City tour you’ll sample delicious tastings at the best spots in Midtown. Come hungry and wear comfortable shoes for this tour that includes everything from Mexican cuisine to Maryland crab and saltwater taffy.
Visit the Ocean City, MD Amuseument Parks
If you’re looking for things to do in Ocean City Maryland with kids, there’s no way you can skip the amusement parks. They’ll be entertained for hours and you can make all kinds of family memories there.
9. Trimper's on the Boardwalk
700 S Atlantic Ave, Ocean City, MD
Trimper’s is a gem – a total vintage amusement park with a nostalgic vibe that you’ll love with or without kids. The carousel, Ferris wheel, and kids rides are incredible. It’s also the oldest continuously-operated, family-owned amusement park in the world!
10. Jolly Roger Amusement Park
2901 Philadelphia Ave, Ocean City, MD
The Jolly Roger is complex with all kinds of family fun. It’s a pay-as-you-go facility with a go-kart course, water rides, and a Ferris wheel you can’t skip. The park has a roller coaster, an antique train, games, and food vendors.
11. Jolly Roger at the Pier
401 S Atlantic Ave, Ocean City, MD
The Jolly Roger at the Pier park is precisely what it sounds like, a scaled-down version of Jolly Roger as a pier-based amusement area. The highlights are a two-level Venetian carousel and another classic Ferris Wheel.
Enjoy a Performance or Excursion
Some of the best things to do in Ocean City Maryland involve some tickets, equipment, or planning. Here are some other ways to inject fun into your time in OCMD.
12. Get in a Round of Golf
Up and down the Delmarva peninsula you’ll find some of the east coast’s best golf courses. From OCMD you can head north to any of the Delaware courses or play in Ocean Pines, Berlin, and even Salisbury. You won’t have to drive far to enjoy some golf and if you’d rather stay in town and work on your putting game – there are plenty of options for mini golf in Ocean City, Maryland.
13. Catch a Performance at The Ocean City Performing Arts Center
4001 Coastal Hwy, Ocean City, MD
The Ocean City Performing Arts Center is the site of the Convention Center at 40th Street. It attracts performers, comedians, musical acts, and more. There are year-round events starting with their New Year’s Eve celebration (or maybe ending with it depending on when you begin counting).
You can check the calendar of events on the Ocean City Convention Center website and book a show during your trip.
14. Enjoy Some Time Fishing
Fishing is one of the best Ocean City Maryland activities you can take up. There are great fishing spots on piers and docks all over Ocean City. If you want to cast your rod into the Atlantic, head to Ocean City Fishing Pier (401 S Atlantic Ave). For a bayside pier that’s great for crabbing and fishing, try the scenic 9th Street pier.
Take One of These Day Trips From Ocean City Maryland
One really cool thing to do in Ocean City Maryland is to explore the nearby area. The eastern shore and Delmarva peninsula are great regions and some of the other destinations are begging to be visited during your vacation.
15. Ride North to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
Another great beach town that’s not far from OCMD is Delaware’s Rehoboth Beach. It’s a great destination for tax-free shopping, dining out, and has another picturesque boardwalk. There’s a large waterpark called Jungle Jim’s and another kid’s amusement area called Funland. Gay Rehoboth Beach is also one of the most popular LGBTQ beach destinations in the country with a vibrant community and nightlife.
16. Visit Assateague Island
Just south of Ocean City is another barrier island that’s beautiful and undeveloped. The northern two-thirds of the island is in Maryland and the lower portion belongs to Virginia.
This unspoiled area of the Delmarva Peninsula is known for its herds of feral horses and pristine beaches. The 30+ miles of shoreline is accessible by bridges but no road runs the entire course of the island. You can plan your own trip or book an excursion by road or boat at any number of locations in OCMD.
17. Learn About Bee Keeping in Salisbury
Book one of the most unique excursions around with this beekeeping day trip to Salisbury. About 30 minutes away you can spend the day exploring the quaint town of Salisbury and meet a beekeeper to learn about local honeybees. Then you’ll taste local honey from the colony of bees you get to know during the two-hour experience.
Final Thoughts on Things To Do in Ocean City, Maryland
There’s no denying that you will not be bored in OCMD, even without this guide. It’s hardly necessary when you have limitless restaurants, bars, family attractions, and natural beauty all around you. A destination as wonderful as Ocean City, Maryland needs no guide – but I truly hope this helps you find at least one thing to do on your vacation.
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