One of the great things about living in Maryland — particularly in Central Maryland, like those of us in the Annapolis area — is that there are all kinds of vacation options, whether you prefer beaching it on the seashore or camping up in the mountains. But nearly every Marylander has, at some point or another, made a trip to Ocean City. And it’s easy to understand why!
You want touristy? Ocean City is touristy to the max. It’s got tons of stuff to do and memories to be made. And there are options for all kinds of vacationers, whether you’re a single looking for a trip with friends, a family with small children, or empty nesters trying to enjoy some fun.
Want a few recs for fun stuff to do the next time you head to the shore? Here are our picks for the top five things to do in Ocean City, Maryland:
Hit the beach (duh).
You can’t expect us to make a list about what to do around a beach destination without actually mentioning the beach, can you? Ocean City has 10 miles of beach along the Atlantic Ocean, so you’ve got plenty of options as to where you want to park your beach chair and soak up some sun. You’ll also be able to find designated beaches for activities like surfing or launching a kayak or paddleboard. If there’s a beach activity that you want to try, stop by K Coast Surf Shop, where you can rent boards or even enroll in lessons. (K Coast is also a great option if you happened to forget anything at home — the 11,000-square-foot shopping destination has all kinds of surf stuff, including bathing suits, towels, beach chairs, umbrellas, and much more.)
Visit the boardwalk.
Did you know the Ocean City boardwalk is more than 100 years old? It’s been around since 1902. When you walk up and down this 2-mile stretch, you’ll be going past all kinds of restaurants, arcades, shops, and much more. You won’t want to miss some of the great attractions at Trimper’s Rides and the Jolly Roger Amusement Park, both of which have plenty to keep you thrilled and excited for hours with roller coats, Ferris wheels, carousels, swings, bumper cars, and much more.
While you’re doing some shopping, be sure to check out the iconic Ocean Gallery World Center, which has more artwork and poster prints than you could ever imagine. Seriously — no matter what your taste is, you’ll find something new to take home to adorn your walls.
Another Ocean City boardwalk staple is Old Time Photos, which gives you the chance to take antique-looking pics in full costumes, with props, and up against a variety of backgrounds. You might choose to be flappers and gangsters, Victorian gentry, hillbillies, pirates, or Southern belles and gentlemen. The experience of dressing up and taking the photos is tons of fun in and of itself, but it’s great to have a keepsake photo to take home with you.
Play a round of Old Pro Golf.
We know what you’re thinking — miniature golf is a major attraction at the beach? But Ocean City’s Old Pro Golf is a staple for many families, particularly as an active way of unwinding after dinner or killing time between other activities. There are also indoor options that are perfect for rainy days (or unbearably hot days). Each putting course boasts impressive themes with creative obstacles, including mechanized figures. Choose from putting back in time with the dinosaurs, under the sea, on a safari, on a Caribbean adventure, or even at a Renaissance castle.
Enjoy some of the city’s signature tastes.
There are some restaurants and food vendors in Ocean City that have achieved legendary status — whether it’s your first vacation or your 50th, you just can’t go to Ocean City without enjoying some of the famously fresh french fries from Thrasher’s Fries (there’s a reason people stand in line for hours to get a bucket of these!) or tantalizingly sweet ice cream from Dumser’s Dairyland (where ice cream is made onsite every day and often sold within mere minutes of its manufacture). Be sure to hit up The Dough Roller for pizza or subs and The Fractured Prune for delicious homemade doughnuts. And before you head home, be sure to stock up on plenty of sweets from the famous Candy Kitchen, with its 11 locations all over Ocean City. This family-owned business has homemade confections like hand-dipped chocolates, creamy fudge, pretzels, gummies, and — of course — its famous saltwater taffy.
Visit Northside Park.
Maybe you’re tired of the beach, but you don’t want to spend the trip inside. Or maybe you need to squeeze in a workout before you hit the sand. Whatever the reason, Northside Park is your go-to option for all kinds of activities. This 58-acre complex maintained by Ocean City Recreation & Parks has athletic fields, baseball fields, a lagoon with fishing piers, picnic areas, a gazebo, a walking/jogging path, playgrounds, and much more to enjoy.