Ocean City, MD Travel Guide

USA  #5 in Best Family Beach Vacations in the U.S.
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Best Things To Do in Ocean City, MD

The Boardwalk that backs Ocean City is a 3-mile stretch of shops, hotels and restaurants. You'll enjoy some quality family time at the Ocean City Beach and Ripley's Believe it or Not! Or, if would prefer a quick daytrip, venture 10 miles south to the Ocean City Golf Club or Assateague Island National Seashore for some fun and relaxation.

How we rank Things to Do

Updated December 5, 2019

  • #1
    Things to do in Ocean City, MD
    View all Photos
    #1 in Ocean City, MD
    Beaches, Free
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Beaches, Free
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    When the summer rolls around, head to the Ocean City Beach for sun, sand and surf. Running along the entire 10-mile-long east coast of the island, the beach offers the perfect spot to spread your towel. If you're looking for a rowdier atmosphere, recent travelers recommend sticking to the southern end of Ocean City, where the neighboring boardwalk makes for great people-watching and seafront dining. For a quieter, family-friendly stretch of sand, head north past the boardwalk; although there are fewer amenities here, you won't have to deal with the hustle and bustle of passersby.

    Recent visitors applauded the cleanliness of the beach and boardwalk and appreciated the family-friendly atmosphere of both. Perpetual crowds were a common gripe among reviewers. Travelers suggest visiting early in the morning or late afternoon if you don't want to share the sand with too many of your fellow vacationers. You can also save some cash by bringing your own equipment instead of forking over money to rent chairs or umbrellas.

  • #2
    Ocean City Boardwalk
    View all Photos
    #2 in Ocean City, MD
    Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Even if you're only passing through Ocean City, you can't help but spend time on the boardwalk. This kitschy 3-mile long pedestrian route is flanked by soft sand and the Atlantic on one side and a mix of hotels, eateries, souvenir shops, bars and rides on the other. Most of the area's popular sights can be found here, including Ripley's Believe it or Not!, the Ocean City Life-Saving Station Museum and Trimper's Rides and Amusements. Whether you're looking to nosh on famous Maryland blue crabs, see a shrunken head, ride a roller coaster or party the night away, this is the place to go.

    Recent visitors praised the boardwalk as an idyllic vacation spot for kids, citing the arcade games and amusement park rides as particular highlights. Many also said it's a great place for people-watching and suggest grabbing an ice cream and finding a bench to relax on. 

  • #3
    Assateague Island National Seashore
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    #3 in Ocean City, MD
    Natural Wonders, Parks and Gardens, Recreation
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Natural Wonders, Parks and Gardens, Recreation
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    If you tire of tourist-filled Ocean City, you may want to consider a daytrip to nearby Assateague Island National Seashore. This 37-mile-long island – which begins just south of the resort area and stretches on to Virginia – is famous for its herds of wild horses, which are said to have taken over the island after surviving a Spanish shipwreck several centuries ago. Beautiful views of both the Atlantic Ocean and the Sinepuxent Bay make Assateague a popular hiking spot.

    Many recent visitors said the park was a highlight of their trip and not to be missed, praising the beauty of the area, as well as the helpful rangers.

  • #4
    Ocean City Life-Saving Station Museum
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    #4 in Ocean City, MD
    Museums
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    If you're interested in learning a little area history, head to the southernmost tip of the boardwalk to the Ocean City Life-Saving Museum. Housed in a former U.S. Lifesaving Service and Coast Guard building, the small yet interesting museum traces this tourist hot spot back to its days as a small fishing village. Here, you'll see exhibits dedicated to Ocean City's development, as well as local sea life and artifacts recovered from old shipwrecks. The museum also hosts special events and free children's programs (scavenger hunts were a particular highlight for recent visitors), making it a great place to visit as a family.

    Recent museum-goers said the museum was fascinating and informative and highly recommended taking the time to explore. The "Sands From Around the World" exhibit, which features sand from Iceland, Russia, Australia, Hawaii, Iwo Jima and more, was a particular highlight.

  • #5
    Trimper's Rides and Amusements
    View all Photos
    #5 in Ocean City, MD
    Amusement Parks
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Amusement Parks
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Since the late 1800s, Trimper's Rides and Amusements has dominated Ocean City's entertainment scene. With more than 100 rides – both indoor and outdoor – the entertainment complex offers something to suit the whole family. Let your tots fly high on the Airplanes ride, or hop aboard the miniature merry-go-round. Your older kids might enjoy the thrills of the Freakout or the Tidal Wave looping roller coaster.

    Many recent visitors said the park makes them feel nostalgic (in a good way) and said the park is especially fun for younger children.

  • #6
    Outlets Ocean City
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    #6 in Ocean City, MD
    Shopping, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Shopping, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    If the boardwalk doesn't satisfy your need for retail therapy, the Outlets Ocean City should do the trick. Located on the mainland just north of the Ocean Gateway, this sprawling outdoor shopping center boasts popular stores, such as American Eagle, Gap, Nike, Eddie Bauer, Skechers and Adidas. There are several places to eat here, making it easy to spend several hours perusing and purchasing.

    Recent shoppers said there are plenty of stores to choose from and deals to be found, though some found the options limited compared to other outlet malls.  

  • #7
    Golf
    View all Photos
    #7 in Ocean City, MD
    Golf, Recreation
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Golf, Recreation
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    There are plenty of options for Ocean City visitors who prefer to be on the golf course rather than on the beach. In fact, Ocean City features 17 championship golf courses designed by the likes of Jack Nicklaus and P.B. Dye. Among the most renowned courses in the area is the 18-hole Eagle's Landing, offering lovely views of the Sinepuxent Bay and Assateague Island National Seashore. What's more, the course is a certified Audubon Sanctuary. While you're perfecting your swing, keep your eyes peeled for bluebirds, mallards, purple martins and sparrow hawks. Recent visitors raved about the course's beauty and said it exceeded their expectations. Greens fees vary but can range from $40 to $80, depending on day and time.

    The Ocean City Golf Club is also very popular. This massive golf club is actually home to two separate golf courses. The older of the two – the par-72 Seaside Course – was founded in 1959 and is known for its more classic layout, featuring wide fairways and challenging greens. Seaside's newer neighbor, the par-73 Newport Bay Course, is described as both challenging and enjoyable, a perfect combination for players of all levels. Reviewers are particularly impressed by the views of the Newport Bay Course.

  • #8
    Ripley's Believe it or Not!
    View all Photos
    #8 in Ocean City, MD
    Museums
    TYPE
    Museums
    TYPE

    At the Ripley's Believe it or Not! museum – easily recognized by the massive shark sculpture poking out from the front facade – you'll find oddities from around the world. Authentic shrunken heads, two-headed animals and more than 500 other mind-bending exhibits wait for you in the site's 12 themed galleries. You can also visit the museum's Impossible LaseRace and the Marvelous Mirror Maze.

    But recent visitors were torn on whether you really need to see Ripley's to believe it. Some say it's extremely entertaining, but others cite the attraction as place for tourists and complain that the prices are a bit high. Still, reviewers recommend the attraction if you're traveling with kids and need a break from the heat or the rain.

  • #9
    Jolly Roger Amusement Park
    View all Photos
    #9 in Ocean City, MD
    Amusement Parks
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Amusement Parks
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Jolly Roger Amusement Park is spread out across two locations. The amusement park at the pier is home to a collection of traditional theme park rides, including a carousel, bumper cars, a Ferris wheel and roller coaster, among other thrills. Meanwhile, the 30th Street location sits about 10 minutes north of the boardwalk and is home to a water park, mini-golf courses and SpeedWorld, which offers go-karts and other racing-themed entertainment.

    Reviews from recent visitors were mixed on whether or not the ticket price is worth the experience. Most think it's a great place for families with younger kids, especially the water park. If you're hoping to save a bit of coin, heed the advice of reviewers and ask your hotel if they offer discounted admission passes.

  • Baja Amusements
    View all Photos
    Amusement Parks
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Amusement Parks
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Read More »

  • Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park
    View all Photos
    Monuments and Memorials, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Monuments and Memorials, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Read More »

  • Delmarva Discovery Center & Museum
    View all Photos
    Museums
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Read More »

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