Ocean City Travel Guide
Affordable and kid-friendly too, Ocean City, specializes in the classic American beach vacation. Stroll along the Boardwalk, and you'll find adrenaline pumping amusement park rides, far stretches of powdery sand, scrumptious blue crabs, and plenty of souvenir shops. Bright carnival ride lights twinkle as families frolic to Ocean City Beach; intrepid sun-seekers parasail across the water; and the squeals of children are heard playing inside the arcades to Ripley's Believe It or Not ... continue»
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The best time to visit Ocean City is from late May to early September, just be prepared for average highs in the mid 80s and a little humidity. There will also be a lot of crowds, and hotel rates that are double the cost of visiting in spring, so consider booking several months in advance. Budget travelers might want to consider the winters: Average low temperatures are in the lower 30s, keeping room rates down. But forewarning, local hotels and inns close down for the off-season.Best Times to Visit Ocean City»
Ocean City Neighborhoods
Ocean City's 10-mile beach is accompanied by a three-mile-long boardwalk and attached pier; plenty of hotels, restaurants and shops congregate at the city's southern end. The highly visible Ripley's Believe It or Not! Museum is located at the Boardwalk's pier, as are some amusement park-type rides.
Ocean City Boardwalk
The boardwalk starts at the southern end of the city (which is bounded by the Ocean City Inlet) and extends north to 32nd Street. North of 32nd, Coastal Highway travels through the city and is strewn with shops, hotels and restaurants. Like 32nd, streets that intersect Coastal Highway are numbered and increase as you travel north. Along these streets are a multitude of mini-golf courses, restaurants and more affordable hotels.
Ocean City is also located nearby other car-accessible bodies of water, including the Assawoman Bay to the north and Sinepuxent Bay to the south. Assateague Island, which straddles both Maryland and Virginia, is also a quick drive from the southern part of Ocean City. The area is known for its herds of wild horses, rumored to have first arrived on the Maryland and Virginia shores after a Spanish ship sunk off its coast, centuries ago.
If you're looking for a quieter beach scene, drive a little farther north to Bethany Beach or Rehoboth Beach in Delaware. Both are less than an hour away.
Ocean City is relatively safe, but be sure to use common sense. Keep an eye on all your valuables and walk in groups after dark. At the beach, swim near a lifeguard and pay attention to any warnings that may be raised about the water conditions. One of the biggest things to watch out for in Ocean City is a rip tide, a current of water that churns as it rushes back to sea. These are recognizable by a difference in water color. If you're caught in one, stay calm and swim parallel to the shoreline until you are out of the current's way.
Jellyfish can also make an appearance in Ocean City. If you're stung, wash the afflicted area with salt water (freshwater will only exacerbate the pain), sprinkle meat tenderizer on it and see a lifeguard. Also keep in mind that glass containers, dogs and alcohol are forbidden from the beach at all times.
The best way to get around Ocean City is on foot or by public transit. Most of the top things to do are centrally located on the Coast Highway, an easy 10-mile north-south thoroughfare. The buses and boardwalk trams can get you to the destinations that are farther away -- and at affordable fares. Rentals are available at Ocean City Municipal (OCE) and Salisbury-Ocean City Wicomico Regional (SBY) airports, although most visitors opt to drive to O.C., not fly. If this is you, you might find parking hard to come by; we recommend taking advantage of the park-and-ride program.Getting Around Ocean City»