Vacation Planner:

Having visited Ocean City as a child, than as a parent, and now living here with my grandchildren has given me a unique look at what Ocean City has to offer. From a day trip to a yearly vacation I will offer my advice on things I have enjoyed over the years.

Things have changed over the course of 50 years but not as much as you may think. Gone are the sand dunes and wilderness that existed north of 60th Street when I was a child. They have been replaced with high-rise condominiums, strip malls, hotels, restaurants, and residential buildings of every possible configuration.

The boardwalk now runs from the Inlet at the southern edge 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 staying on the boardwalk. This is a great area if you have teenagers or just like the hustle and bustle atmosphere. Even the boardwalk can be further broken down by just how much action you want. The further you get from the inlet the more relaxed the boardwalk becomes. See my article, Where to Stay, for a complete listing of what each area of Ocean City is like.

While not everyone likes the same entertainment, I’m going to assume that the major 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 every block with communication systems connecting the entire beach. The one major exception to this is from the inlet to about 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 handicapped. Access to the beach from the end of the boardwalk-north is limited to paths made through the sand dunes at the end of each street. Rentals of chairs, umbrellas, and boogie boards are available on every block entrance to the beach (as of this writing). There are plenty of places to eat lunch all along the boardwalk but make other plans for lunch if you stay off the boardwalk. See beach rules for a list of do’s and don’ts.

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 at the inlet you must drive about 15 minutes to get to the parks entrances. Take Route 50 west, than Route 611 south. Route 611 ends at Assateague Island. Here you will find the State Park and the National Park. The State Park is somewhat 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; tours, a crabbing pier, and a 4 wheel drive only area (permit required). Fires are allowed on the beach at night from the low tide mark to the high tide mark. Both areas offer lifeguarded beaches, picnic tables, grills, rest rooms, and showers. Campsites are available at both parks but advanced reservations are almost always required.

Entertainment doesn’t stop at the beach.                                                                       

The boardwalk offers rides, games, arcades, shops, and of course food for the kid 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 water slides, a lazy river, a wave pool, snack bars, and my favorite the Rain Forest. The Rain Forest is fun for everyone; it has super sized ****** guns to shoot people as they walk by (my favorite-I get in battles with people from 6 to 60), water slides, a giant pirate hat that slowly fills and dumps its contents on everyone below, and water ********* at you from everywhere. Trust me; this giant sized water version of a jungle gym is worth the admission price by itself. It is so fun that the lifeguards wear rain hats and coats.

There are numerous race tracks for every age and miniature golf courses featuring something for everyone. For a complete list of fun things to do visit our entertainment page.

For the adults there are nightclubs catering to every age group and bars with many 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 between is everything from karaoke to beach bars.

A rainy day can be spent; going to the movies, going shopping, visiting the indoor pools located at many hotels, sitting on your balcony watching the ocean, taking a day trip to historic Berlin, Md., or just enjoying a long lunch at one of the waterfront restaurants.

Dinner in Ocean City for most of us is kind of like Family Feud. There are so many choices and nobody ever feels like the same thing at the same time. My family starts discussing dinner plans early so reservations can be made if required. During the peak season keep in mind that lines at popular restaurants can be long (even if the food is just so-so). My personal recommendations are: 1-Marina Deck, excellent crab soup and seafood dishes, and it’s on the water 2-Waterman’s Seafood Restaurant, very good crab feast and seafood 3-Nick’s Original House of Ribs, very good ribs and beef 4-Harpoon Hanna’s, very good seafood and on the water (service somewhat slow) 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 pit beef and good beef entrees, 8-Adolofo’s Italian Restaurant, excellent Italian dishes (expensive), 9-Embers Restaurant, very good seafood and prime rib buffet, 10-Ponzetti’s Pizza, my favorite pizza, 11-Lombardi’s, another good pizza and Italian restaurant, 12-Sakura, excellent Japanese steak house, 13-Phillip’s Crab House, good seafood (worth a visit but no longer the best seafood in Ocean City), 14-Outback Steakhouse, the same food you get at home but it’s good when you get tired of trying new places. These are my favorite restaurants. There are many great choices and many different ideas about what a good meal is. A good restaurant to me is a combination of very good to excellent food with reasonable prices, good service, and a varied menu for the entire family. Please leave reviews for restaurants you visit during your stay to help others choose a good restaurant.   

By: Frank Keller

About the Author:

Ocean City, Maryland – I’ve been traveling to Ocean City for over 40 years and now live here. My name is Frank Keller and I’d like to share my knowledge of the area with everyone interested in visiting or living here. Come visit our site for more articles and a vast variety of interesting things to do and see.

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