Ocean City, NJ Travel Guide

USA  #4 in Best New Jersey Beaches
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Best Things To Do in Ocean City, NJ

Ocean City's attractions all revolve around the family-friendly atmosphere that the New Jersey town aims to promote. Start your visit at the Ocean

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Ocean City's attractions all revolve around the family-friendly atmosphere that the New Jersey town aims to promote. Start your visit at the Ocean City Boardwalk, which is where most of the city's tourist attractions reside. From the boardwalk, you can access the beach, Playland's Castaway Cove and Gillian's Wonderland Pier. When you're ready to venture off the main boardwalk, visit downtown destinations like Glazed Over Studios or the Stainton's shopping mall. For a breath of fresh air away from the sand, head south to Corson's Inlet State Park.

How we rank Things to Do

Updated September 24, 2020

  • #1
    Things to do in Ocean City, NJ
    View all Photos
    #1 in Ocean City, NJ
    Amusement Parks, Entertainment and Nightlife, Beaches, Free, Neighborhood/Area, Recreation, Swimming/Pools
    TYPE
    More than Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Amusement Parks, Entertainment and Nightlife, Beaches, Free, Neighborhood/Area, Recreation, Swimming/Pools
    TYPE
    More than Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    The Ocean City Boardwalk serves as the area's primary pedestrian artery and runs about 2 1/2 miles along the beach. Ocean City's original boardwalk, along with much of the city, burnt down in 1927. The current boardwalk was built immediately after, but sections have been repaired and replaced continuously over time. Currently, the boardwalk hosts amusement park rides, restaurants, stores and more. The Ocean City Boardwalk remains an iconic path to walk, run or bike down.

    Past travelers exulted in the assortment of food that's available along the boardwalk: pizza, fried Oreos, ice cream, popcorn, caramel corn, funnel cake and taffy, to name a few. These recent visitors also praised Ocean City's status as a dry town, and they claimed that the lack of alcohol makes its boardwalk particularly enjoyable for families in the evening. Coupled with the boardwalk's abundance of family-friendly activities, the attraction earns rave reviews from anyone traveling with children.

  • #2
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    #2 in Ocean City, NJ
    Beaches
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Beaches
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    The barrier island of Ocean City advertises 8 miles of coast for visitors to explore. But the majority of visitors will congregate on the roughly 2 1/2-mile stretch of sand closest to the boardwalk in the northeastern section of the island. Like the rest of Ocean City, Ocean City Beach appeals to families thanks to its prohibition of alcohol, fires, barbecues, smoking and vaping. The beach's warm weather and strict rules primarily draw visitors looking for a relatively calm and relaxing opportunity to enjoy the saltwater and sun.

    Past travelers praised the beach's lifeguards, who typically patrol the beach from 10 a.m. to between 5 and 7 p.m. Memorial Day through mid-September, as friendly and watchful. Visitors were also thankful for the clean and spacious public bathrooms located near the boardwalk. Overall, Ocean City Beach represents the city's ideal as a family-friendly destination, so the atmosphere left most recent sunbathers pleased.

  • #3
    View all Photos
    #3 in Ocean City, NJ
    Beaches, Free, Hiking, Recreation, Sightseeing
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Beaches, Free, Hiking, Recreation, Sightseeing
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    A small strip of undeveloped land, Corson's Inlet State Park was established in 1969 to protect its distinct wildlife. This state park appeals primarily to nature lovers, who want a more organic beach experience than the popular city beach. The park boasts hiking trails that weave through sand dunes and beaches for sun-soaking (but no swimming) and other wilderness areas. There is also a boat launch available for anyone who wants to take advantage of a day on the water.

    Past travelers delighted in hunting for hermit crabs, while fishers praised the park's assortment of excellent angling spots. Recent visitors suggested strolling Corson's Inlet State Park's hiking trails to potentially catch a glimpse of interesting wildlife and make the most of a visit to the area.

  • #4
    View all Photos
    #4 in Ocean City, NJ
    Amusement Parks
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Amusement Parks
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    More than 32 rides, including a Ferris wheel, make Playland's Castaway Cove stand out on the Ocean City Boardwalk. The amusement park has been operating for more than 60 years and has developed a reputation for its assortment of thrill-seeking and family-friendly rides. In addition to its numerous rides, Playland's Castaway Cove also operates an indoor arcade on-site as well as two mini-golf locations and a go-kart speedway nearby. Keep in mind: The off-site locations operate on different hours and don't follow Playland's Castaway Cove's ticket system.

    Playland's Castaway Cove earned rave reviews from past Ocean City visitors, who said that the rides are generally fairly priced. They suggest looking into the park's numerous discounted ticket opportunities, especially because tickets never expire. The only controversial ride is the new GaleForce Roller Coaster, which costs $10 or 14 tickets and boasts the most impressive (or frightening) stats of the park's coasters. Still, the park's diverse selection of rides means that travelers from every age group leave satisfied.

  • #5
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    #5 in Ocean City, NJ
    Amusement Parks
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Amusement Parks
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    The history of the Ocean City Boardwalk is woven with Gillian's Wonderland Pier, and the family that owns the park was also heavily involved in Ocean City politics for a time. An initial iteration of the park opened in 1930 following a fire on the boardwalk, and its primary attractions were a Ferris wheel and a merry-go-round. The park has since moved and expanded to include more than 25 rides, which travelers can ride for a variety of ticket prices. Gillian's Wonderland Pier's attractions skew toward younger children, but there are rides to amuse most ages.

    Two rides at Gillan's Wonderland Pier earn the most praise from recent visitors. The carousel was built in the early 1900s and continues to delight children, and the Canyon Falls Log Flume ride provides an adrenaline rush for older travelers. Still, visitors are unanimous that the park could use a refresh. The Ferris wheel proves a particular pain point for past travelers, who say it's impressive to look at, but rarely running.

  • #6
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    #6 in Ocean City, NJ
    Recreation
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Recreation
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Glazed Over Studios offers opportunities to try out pottery, mosaics and canvas walk-in sessions, making it an excellent, impromptu option for Ocean City tourists. Travelers who prefer a more structured learning opportunity can sign up for one of the studio's classes, which are geared toward adults or kids. Past visitors were impressed by the variety of ceramics available. They say that the studio provides an excellent activity to entertain restless children during an errant rainy day. Recent travelers reassured that artistic talent is definitely not required to enjoy an afternoon at this attraction.

    Located on Asbury Avenue in downtown Ocean City, Glazed Over Studios sits between 7th Street and 8th Street. The studio is open Thursday to Monday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Rates vary based on which activity or course you choose, but all pricing options include the necessary instruction and materials. Additional information is available on the Glazed Over Studios website.

  • #7
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    #7 in Ocean City, NJ
    Shopping
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Shopping
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Stainton's Gallery of Shops provides space for more than 70 unique vendors to sell their wares. While it's best to shop at Stainton's without expectations, the wares sold can include jewelry, candles, art, pottery, toys and apparel. Past travelers say that Stainton's provides an excellent place to pick up a one-of-a-kind gift or a memorable keepsake. Additionally, many visitors enjoyed the opportunity to speak with the artists and salespeople, describing them as friendly and helpful. Shopping also proves a satisfying way to spend a potentially rainy or cold afternoon in the New Jersey beach town.

    One of the few attractions in Ocean City that doesn't sit on the boardwalk, Stainton's is located between 8th Street and 9th Street on Asbury Avenue. The gallery of shops is open daily, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. during the summer, but hours are reduced during the offseason. Stainton's website provides additional information on vendors, hours and more.

  • View all Photos
    Amusement Parks, Swimming/Pools
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND
    Amusement Parks, Swimming/Pools
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND

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  • View all Photos
    Golf
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Golf
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

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  • View all Photos
    Museums
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

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