Ocean trips are the best in summer, especially when you live in a landlocked area. For residents on the East Coast, heading to the beach can be simple with a vacation to Ocean City, Maryland. Kids can be entertained for a week straight with games, rides and delicious sweets. There’s also plenty for parents to do. Whether you are looking for free fun or can spend some money, there’s something for everyone in Ocean City.
1.) Visit the Boardwalk
Head down to 1st street where you can find the Ocean City boardwalk. Parking is simple. There’s a big lot that is generally not extremely full, especially if you can go at an off time. Double check that you don’t lose your parking ticket though, because a lost parking ticket can be up to a $60 fee.
Walking the boardwalk is a treat for kids and adults. You can look at souvenirs, enjoy the ocean view, and watch the other tourists. Catch a trolley to see what the whole boardwalk has, and get off at the stops where you want to go. The trolleys are a quick and reliable form of transportation that works well for families with kids. More adventurous, athletic couples can rent surreys, fun cycles, BMX bikes, Choppers, regular bikes, and tandems. Try Bike World at 6 Caroline Street in Ocean City to rent bikes on the boardwalk.
Grab A Bite To Eat
On the boardwalk, take old time photos for a special way to remember your trip. There’s also several places to stop for food, including Piezano’s Pizza for a quick slice of pizza. Grab lemonade at numerous places along the boardwalk for a treat to help you cool down. For a real treat, order a pit beef sandwich at Boog’s Barbeque, but don’t attempt to order the ketchup for your Thrasher’s Fries there. Both Boog’s Barbeque and Thrasher’s Fries are Ocean City, Maryland traditions, so visit at an off time when the line won’t be so bad.
Check Out The Sand Sculptures
While walking the boardwalk, check out the awesome, giant sand sculptures. Created with simple tools, artist Randy Hoffman makes the biblical sculptures that you traditionally see on the boardwalk with a plastic knife, water, and glue. To really get the most of the sand sculpture experience, visit OC Sandfest August 23-30, 2015. Master sand sculptors will create sculptures and hold demonstrations as well as lessons. You could join in a family sand sculpting competition, which will give awards to the best sculptures.
As you visit the boardwalk, come prepared with tools to beat the heat, especially in the summer. Wear plenty of sunscreen. Kids will enjoy mist spray fans to make the heat more bearable. Visors, baseball hats, or sunglasses can keep the sun out of your eyes. You can find plenty of benches where you can rest too.
2.) Entertain the Kids with Games and Rides on the Boardwalk
On the boardwalk, you can find lots of arcade games. Since the arcade games are generally in the shade, it’s a great way for the kids to cool off for a few minutes. Another fun place to stop is Trimper’s Haunted House. The haunted house provides a cool ride through dark tunnels as well as a reasonable amount of gore and surprises. Even though kids under age 5 can ride in the haunted house, the carts make really sudden moves that can make it better for kids old enough to hold on tight.
Take A Ride On The Carousel
Visit Jolly Roger at the Pier to get on a Venetian, double-decker carousel. From the second story of the carousel, the view is awesome. You can see all the rides from a bird’s eye view.
Visit Trimper’s Rides
You can try out another carousel ride at Trimper’s Rides, which is a historic amusement park that has been around for over one hundred years. The majestic carousel has stunning lights in the middle and a variety of wild animals to ride, including giraffes and zebras as well as traditional horses. With three layers of animals, you can find animals that move up and down as well as sedentary animals. Strapping kids onto the animals is simple and keeps kids on very well, although you can also join your kids on the ride to ensure little ones’ safety. At Trimper’s Rides, you’ve got plenty of rides that younger kids can enjoy. Some are inside, so you can still enjoy yourself if it rains. Outside, the bounce house is a fun stop. Kids can run through it twice, and they can get on it with other kids. Toddlers can visit the teacup ride, which has minimal turns, unless you want to twist the middle steering wheel to make it turn more.
There are plenty of rides for kids of all heights and ages. Inside Trimpers, there are two separate sections of bumper cars with one for shorter kids and one where older kids or adults could play. Outside, another ride to try is the hot air balloon ride, which is a simple and enjoyable ride for kids old enough to sit still.
One tip for visiting the rides at Trimper’s Rides is that a wristband might be worth the money if you’re going to ride for the whole afternoon. Wristbands cost $26 and are good for unlimited rides for the entire day.
3.) Drive down the Coastal Highway
Although most of your adventures in Ocean City can take place on the boardwalk, venture out and see the rest of the area. You might find more affordable beach condos away from the boardwalk that still have an awesome beach view. Driving down the Coastal Highway can show you a new variety of places to visit.
Dine At The Delicious Restaurants
Try several restaurants. For breakfast, lunch, or dessert, eat at Dumser’s Dairyland Restaurant. You can get delicious blueberry waffles topped with ice cream, or pick up a milk shake. Around Ocean City, you can find two Dumser’s restaurants on the Coastal Highway as well as three ice cream shops on the boardwalk.
Have a hankering for some meat? Abbey Burger Bistro has a most exotic menu, with items that include the Peanut Butter Burger, Lamb Burger, and a Bison Burger. To order white meat, ask for the Chicken Burger or the Turkey Burger. Vegetarian options also look delicious, especially the Fried Green Tomato Burger. With such delectable vegetarian options, the menu has some surprising options that might offend strict vegans. On the Build a Burger menu, you can order wild boar, elk, and even kangaroo. For a special treat, get the top of the line Kobe beef. The cheeses also come in a variety of gourmet styles.
For a traditional meal at Ocean City, pick up a bushel of crabs. The Crab Bag at 130th Street has delicious steamed blue crabs. Your order comes with a mallet to help you eat the crabs the way the true Marylanders do. When you eat in the restaurant, the all you can eat crab meal might be the best deal. Another appealing choice is half an order of crabs with half an order of ribs with a side of baked beans and cole slaw. You can check out my photos from The Crab Bag as well as from playing miniature golf at one of the many mini golf stops on the Coastal Highway on my Instagram page @theresa_reviews.
4.) Head to the Beach
All along the Coastal Highway, you can find beach stops. There’s plenty of free parking. During busy times of the year, there can be some competition for parking spots. The awesome thing about parking is that the spots border the beach so you can jump out of your car in your bathing suit with your beach gear in tow without having to walk far.
The beach is one of the biggest attractions of Ocean City. Because there are so many spots to sunbathe along the coast, it’s unlikely to be too crowded unless you visit on a holiday. Most of the locals bring umbrellas, which you can also rent at the lifeguard stations.
Get Family Pictures
One of the fun traditions at the Ocean City beaches is to get professional photos from Telescope Pictures. The friendly photographers know how to work well with kids and can get even the most active kids to sit in photogenic poses. Getting the photos taken is completely free, so it’s up to you if you want to order any when you visit their storefront location.
5. Visit Assateague Island
About a fifteen minute drive from the boardwalk, you can stop by Assateague Island in Berlin, Maryland. The location is known for its wild horses. Since the beach is animal friendly, you can also bring dogs on leashes. For $15, get a week’s visitor pass to the Assateague Island National Seashore where you can also find camping spots. The National Seashore has a fee that doesn’t apply to the Assateague State Park, which charges individual fees.
If you’re looking for awesome photos of horses during your trip, bring a telephoto lens. A lot of the horses keep their distance from people. Some of the wild horses cool down in the bogs and marshes that are far from walking paths. Even when the horses do wander to your spot on the beach, the regulations require that you keep your distance.
Horses aren’t the only animals you can spot here. Some other wildlife are the Great Blue Heron, the Saw-whet Owl, and Fowler’s toads. You can also see the Northern Diamondback Terrapin, Maryland’s State reptile. Horseshoe crabs and Ghost crabs also scuttle along the beach.
At Assateague Island, the white sands and gentle waves make it a great place to visit. You can fly your kite, surf, or put up a hammock. During your visit, plan some outdoor activities too. Go kayaking and hiking to see more of the barrier island.
Tips During Your Visit to Ocean City
- Book your rental ahead of time. What you think might be an off time could end up coinciding with a large event.
- Bring snacks or stop by a grocery store in Ocean City. With plenty of amazing restaurants, you can stretch your budget by eating some less expensive meals. Alternate between eating out and making small meals at your beach condo.
- Plan for whatever the weather may bring. Take a jacket and jeans in case it is windy or rainy, even in the summer.