Ocean City is known as the White Marlin Capital of the World, but the bay and ocean waters also offer sea bass, sea trout, flounder, shark, dolphin fish, bluefish, tuna, cod and wahoo. Located on the Atlantic coast, Ocean City is a glittering strip of boardwalks and high-rise condos stretched along wide, white sand beaches. It was designated an "All-American City" in 2001.
If you're coming here to deep-sea fish, the best time is mid April-early November. The quieter waters surrounding Ocean City, the bays of Assawoman, Sinepuxent, and Montego, attract fishermen, sailors, parasailers, and kayakers who like calmer water. The inlet at the south end of the island was created during a fierce hurricane early in the 20th century, thus creating a shortcut to the ocean.
Even if they don't like to fish, visitors love this family friendly destination. Among the major attractions is a 10 mile long beach and a 3 mile long boardwalk filled with fun. Summers are crowded and offer non-stop entertainment. Bicycling on the boardwalk, spending time on the beach and in the surf occupy the morning and early afternoon hours. After that, there is a choice of several amusement parks and fascinating places such as the Ocean City Life Saving Station Museum, the Ocean Downs harness-racing track, and (beginning Memorial Day weekend in 2010) slots at Ocean Downs. Flea markets are held on summer weekends, and an outlet mall is located just outside of town. There is fast food in abundance as well as restaurants in which to sample the fresh seafood!
The boardwalk, which stretches to 27th Street in the oldest part of Ocean City, is crowded with hotels, some of them dating back to the 1920s. Restaurants, ice cream stands, and shops fill in between. It ends at the fishing pier with amusement rides, including a huge Ferris wheel. A second boardwalk is being developed as a Bayside promenade: a 14-foot-wide path running along the west side of Philadelphia Street from the inlet to Talbot Street.
Ocean City is well known as a beach for families with younger children. It has dozens of miniature golf courses with upbeat scenery, water slides, amusement parks, roller coasters, haunted houses, parasailing, kayaking, skateboard parks, laser tag, even indoor ice skating. There are volleyball nets on the beach; soccer, lacrosse and baseball "camps"; batting cages; and a Wild West theme park complete with rodeo and ceremonial dances. There is a 100-mile scenic bike trail that circles Worcester County. Ocean City is home to the largest white marlin tournament in the country. There are two dozen golf courses nearby, and more under construction. The local outlet mall has more than 60 national-brand stores.
5,500-seat Arthur Perdue Stadium, home of the Delmarva Shorebirds, the Baltimore Orioles' Class A South Atlantic League team, is about 25 miles from Ocean City on Route 50. Ocean Downs Racetrack is 10 minutes away and features a June through August racing season. The clubhouse is open year-round, with simulcasts of thoroughbred and other harness tracks.
Ocean City's coves, ponds, and marshes offer shelter to a number of bird species, visible on the Fourth Street mud flats (at the bay) and West Ocean City Pond. Bird-watching charters transport visitors to the Continental Shelf to observe puffins, Wilson's storm petrels, black-legged kittiwakes, and dovekie. There are also whale and dolphin-watching cruises.
There are weekend festivals throughout the summer, including kite flying contests; arts and crafts shows; antique car and hot rod expositions and music festivals, most staged either at the inlet parking lot alongside the Boardwalk or at the Convention Center at 50th. The Party Block (17th Street and Coastal Highway) is a four-club complex offering the younger crowd a choice of music from cover bands to DJ nights. Jam bands are also in evidence. For the Under-21 crowd, there is the H2O Club located near the Boardwalk on Worcester Street. Offering both live bands and DJ's, this is a very safe and inexpensive place for teens to hang out for the evening.
Traditionally, Ocean City was an area of smaller homes rather than summer rental cottages. Now, however, the marina complexes are expanding and updating, adding gift shops and huge family steak-and-seafood restaurants. Palatial new homes are populating the coves in ever increasing numbers, and luxury golf clubs are staking out sections of the more secluded areas on the Sound side of the city. Major upgrades and renovations have occurred throughout the area.
Fortunately, some things don't ever change. The Assateague Island National Seashore and State Park begins just south of Ocean City on a long barrier island facing the Atlantic Ocean. This preserve, in its storybook setting, gave inspiration for the beloved children's book, Misty of Chincoteague. It contains thousands of acres of land and sea and hundreds of untamed ponies. They are herded across the channel each July for auctioning in nearby Virginia (just as they were when the book was written). The reserve is also an important migratory stop for snow geese.
Ocean City may be just a sliver of barrier island less than 10 miles long, but its wide sandy beach, pounding surf, ocean breezes, and stellar entertainment make it irresistible to families looking for an "All American" vacation destination.
Average Monthly Temperatures in Ocean City
Directions from New Jersey
Directions from Central PA / Harrisburg / York