Ocean City, M.D., which is located off the Atlantic Ocean about a four hours drive from Shepherdstown, is a beach town that has a lot more to offer than just white sandy beaches. Sure, the beaches are amazing and I always enjoy unwinding on one of them but this is a city that also provides an endless amount of excitement, delicious cuisines, places to visit and things to do.
Nonetheless, Ocean City is not limited to just one age group. Families with children, young people and old folks alike are all frequent visitors year around to this city. Ocean City provides as much fun as you could possibly want and it’s relatively a short distance away. It is the liveliest and at its best during the spring and summer months however, there is nothing wrong with visiting during the fall and winter as well. I like to consider myself a world traveler and an experienced flyer as I have been lucky enough to visit 22 foreign countries, from London to Dubai, and most of the lower 48 United States however Ocean City is a destination that rises to the top of my list and there’s no need to get on an airplane to get there.
Once you get away from the beltway and onto Route 50, traffic congestion dies down, with the exception of the Bay Bridge from time to time, and your trip to Ocean City truly begins. The drive through the Eastern Panhandle of Maryland is enjoyable in its own right.
Once you approach Ocean City, you are met with a breathtaking view of the island and of the skyline of hotels, condos, and businesses which lay upon it. On sunny days, you will find multitudes of boaters sailing and zipping through the inlet and bay. Boating is a staple of Ocean City. Some people have boats for pleasure while others use their vessels for fishing. Since the beach town sits adjacent to the gulf stream, fish such as yellowfin tuna, mahi-mahi, blue marlin, white marlin and bluefish can be found right off shore according to ococean.com.
In addition, trout, flounder and sea bass are abundant in the bay. Ocean City is considered the White Marlin Capital of the world and every year the world’s best fisherman come together to compete for cash prizes and bragging rights in the White Marlin Open. If you are not competing in the event, I recommend making a visit to it, if you get the opportunity, as you can have a great time as a spectator, especially if you enjoy fishing! If you want to do some fishing on your own but don’t have a boat, there are hundreds of miles of opportunity for fishermen or you can simply buy a ticket on one of the many chartered fishing boats that sail throughout the waters around Ocean City.
In my opinion, the Third St. Pier and the Northside Park Pier near 125th street are two outstanding places, both of which are free and don’t require a fishing license, to cast your line into the water and try your hand at some fishing. Finally, if you are looking to partake in some water sports, shops renting jet skis and other water sports equipment are very commonplace in Ocean City.
The sounds of a jet ski zooming by can often be heard on sunny days on the bay. If you are going to Ocean City and don’t have a friend or relative to stay with, there are countless options from condos and beach houses to hotels of all shapes and sizes.
Whether you are traveling domestically or overseas to a foreign country, based on my past experiences, I always recommend finding accommodation at a well-known, name brand hotel and the same is true when it comes to choosing a place to stay in Ocean City.
I would argue, both the Hilton Oceanfront Suites and the Holiday Inn are your best choices when it comes to hotels in Ocean City. Both have undergone renovations in recent years and are situated between Coastal Highway, the primary road that runs from one end of Ocean City to the other, and the Atlantic Ocean. Furthermore, the two hotels find a way to be beach oriented and luxurious at the same time while providing all the expected amenities including restaurants, bars and pools that sit on the beach.
The Hilton, which is my personal favorite, has nearly all its suites overlooking the miles of beach and two elevated pools located on the property, one of which is exclusively for adults and to my delight, is equipped with a fully functional swim up bar. You may be thinking these two hotels would never be suitable for your budget however you would be surprised to find that getting a room at one can actually be affordable.
Rest assured, there are plenty places to stay in Ocean City and you can most certainly find one that fits your needs, your budget and is steps away from sand and ocean. Anyways, you will probably not want to spend much time in your hotel room while you visit Ocean City. There is way too much to do there such as my favorite, unwinding on the ten plus miles of pristine white sandy beaches and taking in the breathtaking ocean views.
Furthermore, go try out one of Ocean City’s many renowned mini-golf courses that can be found all over town! If you are up for a real game of competitive golf, then be sure to visit one of 17 championship golf courses, such as the top rated Deer Run Golf Club or the scenic and challenging Eagles Landing, that are located in and around the city.
Stretching for nearly three miles, the renowned boardwalk, I would argue, is a must visit for every person of any age who goes to Ocean City. USA Today recently named the Ocean City boardwalk one of the nation’s “Top 10 Great Boardwalks” and the accolade is certainly warranted. During the day, the boardwalk is absolutely perfect for a bike ride, a run, a walk or even a ride on the tram that runs up and down it.
If you do not have a bike there are plenty of bike shops that you can rent a bike from to ride down the boardwalk and take in the beautiful ocean views and not to mention, the delicious smells coming from the food vendors. Whether its day or night, there is always something going on at the boardwalk.
For instance, you may come across impromptu musical and street performances and exotic kites soaring in the sky to eye opening paintings and sand sculptures being made by talented artists. I must insist it doesn’t matter if you are a kid or an adult, the arcades and amusement rides on the boardwalk are fun for all ages. If you are looking for a thrill, hop on the new roller coaster and scream your lungs out or you can do what I did by opting for a slower option thats just as fun with the ferris wheel.
The ferris wheel on the boardwalk is one of the largest I have ever seen and the views of Ocean City and the surrounding scenery are simply magnificent. At night, the boardwalk really comes alive as it becomes consumed with music, concerts, bonfires, movies and most of all, excitement. Take my word for it that any hunger you have when you arrive to the boardwalk will quickly subside.
I actually recommend going to the boardwalk somewhat hungry in order to be able to enjoy the overwhelming amounts of delectable fudge, ice cream, funnel cakes, cotton candy, sweet caramel popcorn, salt water taffy, Maryland crab cakes, hot dogs, pizza, chocolate covered strawberries and of course, the famous boardwalk French fries. My personal favorite is a vanilla custard ice cream cone with a handful of sprinkles on it.
The sunsets are beautiful wherever you see them from in Ocean City however, they are noticeably most spectacular when you watch from the bay as the sun sinks along the western side of the island. Another fine spot to watch the sunset and more is Assateague Island National Park. The island sits just a few miles from Ocean City and is famous for being home to countless wild ponies. You can visit this national park year around and take in the many nature trails and wildlife found on the island. Assateague is also a favorite destination for boaters in the area.
Finally, my favorite thing to do anytime I get the chance to visit Ocean City is undoubtedly sampling the various diverse cuisine and dining options found up and down the island. I would argue, Ocean City is actually home to the finest dining in the Mid-Atlantic region which is due, in part, to their fresh seafood that is often caught right off shore. There is not one city or town in this area that rivals Ocean City in this respect and that can boast the vast array of culinary delights that it does.
There are so many different restaurants, bars and other establishments in Ocean City that I would highly recommend however I won’t be able to name all of them due to the space it would take up. Ocean City is known for its unparalleled seafood however, it is also world-renowned for serving up outstanding Maryland blue crabs drenched in Old Bay seasoning.
There are plenty of places you can visit on the island to partake in the popular dining option such as Crab Alley, the Crab Shack and OC Steamers. When it comes to steamed crabs and crab cakes, I feel the Crab Bag is the superior option. There you can find the biggest and tastiest Maryland blue crabs to eat in an unique and inviting environment. Mallets used to crack the crabs and large sheets of brown paper are laid across the table before your crabs come to you with a slew of Old Bay steaming in a brown paper bag.
Eating crabs becomes almost a social event as island residents and visitors alike can be found sitting in places such as the Crab Bag, simply talking and breaking crabs for hours.
Fager’s Island is a town favorite and one of the most well known restaurant and bars in Ocean City. The award-winning and widely popular restaurant is the first restaurant I ate at when I came to Ocean City for the first time.
There you will find a full selection of exquisitely prepared American and Pacific Rim cuisine in an environment that includes outdoor decks on the shore adjacent to the bay, some of the best sunset views on the island and an impressive bar with live entertainment and a full selection of adult beverages.
Located on 54th street next to the waters of the Isle of Wight Bay, is my favorite restaurant on the island, Macky’s Bayside Bar and Grill. If you are hungry, thirsty, and looking for a place to go with a lively and inviting atmosphere after spending the day on the beach, then you must visit Macky’s! The menu there is quite large and it offers a wide variety of options however, it is especially popular for being the best happy hour spot in Ocean City.
Every day, from 3 to 6 p.m. you can find savory food such as juicy sliders or a ½ pound of steamed shrimp that are second to none for just $5.99 while all types of adult beverages range from just $2.00 to $4.00.
Finally, located off Coastal Highway and adjacent to the Hilton hotel is the hidden gem OC Wasabi. It is a must visit for anyone in search of the freshest sushi not just in Ocean City, but in the mid-atlantic region. Additionally, I know for a fact that the OC Wasabi staff puts enormous effort into acquiring the highest quality fish and sushi from only first-rate sources in the region. My favorite options, that I insist you try if you visit, would have to include the delectable grilled ahi tuna or the flavorsome “M and M” sushi roll. In addition, I highly recommend you try an order of OC Wasabi’s mouthwatering fried rice that is second to none. When you visit OC Wasabi, please be sure to say hello to the restaurant’s owner and my personal friend, Kenny. He will treat you like a member of his family and he will ensure you experience is as unique and enjoyable as possible.
No matter where you go in Ocean City, I am confident your experience will also be unique and enjoyable. There is so much that is great about Ocean City that I was unable to mention however, because of this you are going to have to go there for yourself to really understand why Ocean City is incomparable to all the other beach towns.