Ocean City, Maryland, is a premier East Coast vacation destination with much to offer! This barrier island has the best beach in the state and is highly affordable and ranked among the best weekend getaways in the South, according to U.S. News & World Report. With 10 miles of coastline, two beautiful bays, a 3-mile boardwalk, and over 200 restaurants, Ocean City, Maryland, has earned its reputation as “Somewhere to Smile About.”
1. Where to Stay in Ocean City, MD
Ocean City, Maryland, has five beach districts along its beautiful stretch of coastline. Historic Downtown is a more lively area with easy access to Boardwalk attractions and the Fishing Pier. In Midtown South, you’ll find great dining and a vibrant atmosphere and still be close to downtown. Midtown North is a little more relaxed and family-friendly, while Condo Row is more of a residential area. And finally, if you want to avoid crowds, Uptown is a great place to stay.
- Historic Downtown (Inlet to 33rd St.)
- Midtown South (33rd St. to 90 Bridge)
- Midtown North (90 Bridge to 94th St.)
- Condo Row (95th St. to 118th St.)
- Uptown (119th St. to DE State Line)
Our Recommendation: We stayed at the Residence Inn by Marriott, located along Assawoman Bay in Midtown South. Everything you want to see and do is within a 5-10 minute drive. Popular Ocean City restaurants and attractions are nearby, and the bay views are absolutely gorgeous. The Residence Inn by Marriott has been named the 2023 “Ocean City Hotel of the Year” and has received the Tripadvisor Travelers’ Choice Award 2023.
2. Things to Do in Ocean City, MD
Whether you’re into watersports, lazy beach days, fishing excursions, amusement parks, nightlife, fine dining, or mini-golf, there are plenty of things to do in Ocean City, Maryland, to keep you entertained! Let’s dive in!
Ocean City Boardwalk
Ocean City’s boardwalk has been named “America’s Favorite Boardwalk” by The Travel Channel, and for good reason. One of the can’t-miss attractions next to the boardwalk is Trimper Rides of Ocean City, an amusement park that has been around since the 1890s. As you stroll down the boardwalk, you’ll find restaurants, bars, souvenir shops, Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, and various other shopping and entertainment options along the -mile stretch. And for those who love mini-golf, multiple locations can be found along the boardwalk.
Ocean City Fishing Pier
Located on the south end of the Ocean City Boardwalk, the pier provides a picturesque setting for casting a line and reeling in a catch. The pier has ample fishing spots, a bait and tackle shop, and gorgeous coastline views.
Ocean City Life-Saving Museum
The Ocean City Life-Saving Station Museum is a fascinating attraction that offers a glimpse into the area’s rich maritime history. Housed in a beautifully restored historic building, the museum showcases the courageous efforts of the U.S. Life-Saving Service, a predecessor to the U.S. Coast Guard.
Upon entering, you are transported back in time as you explore exhibits filled with artifacts, photographs, and interactive displays that tell the stories of shipwrecks, rescues, and the dedicated men and women who risked their lives to save others. From the iconic surfboats used in daring rescue missions to the detailed accounts of past maritime disasters, the museum provides a comprehensive and engaging experience.
Seacrets Distillery Tour
Seacrets Distilling Company is a unique experience that combines the art of distilling in a prohibition-style atmosphere. The distillery produces a variety of spirits, including rum, vodka, gin, and whiskey, using traditional methods and locally sourced ingredients. You can take guided tours to learn about the distillation process and the history behind the company. After the tour, you can savor the distinct flavors of Seacrets’ spirits in the tasting room.
Ocean City Beach
For those looking for lazy beach days, Ocean City, Maryland, has 10 miles of beautiful coastline along the Atlantic for you to relax on. Start your morning with beach Yoga and get your mind and body ready for the day. Then grab your beach tent, chairs, and cooler and head to the cool, calm waters to beat the heat.
Assawoman & Isle of Wight Bays
On the opposite side of OCMD, you’ll find the Assawoman and Isle of Wight Bays. If you’re looking to get out on the water, you can go parasailing, jet-skiing, take a boat tour, or go on a fishing excursion! There are also restaurants along the bays where you can dock and dine if traveling by boat. While there is no beach to lay on, the watersport activities are endless! We highly recommend OC Parasail if you are looking for some excitement!
Assateague Island National Seashore
Visiting Assateague Island is a unique experience that transports you to a serene and untouched coastal paradise. This barrier island is on the eastern shore, where untamed wildlife, sandy beaches, and marshlands can be found. As you approach the island, the sight of its iconic wild horses grazing against crashing waves is incredible! Nature enthusiasts are in for a treat with ample opportunities for birdwatching, hiking, and kayaking through the tranquil bays. If you’d instead like to take a boat tour around the island, check out OC Bay Hopper!
3. Where to Eat in Ocean City, MD
Ocean City, Maryland, has over 200 restaurants for you to choose from! Of course, you’ll find tons of restaurants offering fresh seafood and blue crabs, but there are many other options if you aren’t a seafood lover.
Seacrets is a locally-owned Jamaican-inspired restaurant located on Assawoman Bay. This massive establishment has indoor dining, outdoor dining, a concert stage, and tables in the water! Come in your bathing suit and sit with your feet in the water while waiters bring you cold drinks. If a band plays when you visit, be aware that there will be a cover charge, but it’s worth the experience!
Fager’s Island sits along Assawoman Bay in Midtown and is a popular place to grab lunch or dinner. Upstairs, you will find a more refined atmosphere with indoor and outdoor seating. Downstairs, you will find a more relaxed setting with bars, seating, and live entertainment. Their menu focuses on American and Pacific Rim cuisine, and they have 32 different wines for you to try. There are several parking lots leading up to the restaurant, and we loved the fact that they had a golf cart shuttle service!
We found that the Crab Bag is a favorite among visitors to Ocean City. If you’re looking for a place to do a little crab pickin’ this is the spot! The restaurant it quite large, with indoor seating as well as outdoor picnic tables.
“One of our family favorites is Crab Bag. We love ordering the large crabs and eating outside at the picnic tables. Their crabs are perfectly seasoned and are consistently the biggest crabs around,” says Karen Kelly of Seasonal Cravings.
An Ocean City landmark since 1976, you can find the Fracture Prune donut shops all along Ocean City. Indulge in fresh, made-to-order donuts, or try the Prunewich breakfast sandwich in a donut! With 19 different glazes and 13 toppings, the Fractured Prune is a donut lovers’ paradise!
The Embers Restaurant
The Embers Restaurant is a great place to grab dinner while watching the sunset! Inside, the restaurant is quite spacious as it has an open kitchen concept. You can also enjoy your meal outside with views of the bay. When you’re done enjoying their “pizzas, chophouse classics, and rustic seafood combinations,” you can find intimate seating areas on the deck to enjoy the weather, your company, and the sunset.
Hooked is an excellent farm-to-table restaurant perfect for lunch or dinner. You’ll find intimate indoor dining and a few spots outside to enjoy a fresh, honest, locally grown meal with creative cocktails and a great wine list. Be sure to leave room for dessert! We had the peach cobbler, and it was exceptional!
Longboard Cafe is a great spot to grab lunch! You can sit indoors or outside under a covered area where you can enjoy sandwiches, wraps, tacos, and a refreshing Orange Crush cocktail. And once you’ve finished your meal, stroll around the complex and do a little shopping!
Layton’s Family Restaurant
Layton’s Family Restaurant is a popular spot for a hearty all-American breakfast. While you may see a line outside when you drive by, don’t be deterred! We were seated pretty quickly. However, if you get stuck waiting and hungry, head inside and grab a pastry! Do keep in mind that this is a family-style restaurant that does not serve alcohol. After breakfast, walk across the street and snap a few selfies with the colorful OCMD mural!
Spain Wine Bar
Spain Wine Bar is the perfect place to enjoy a meal in an intimate setting. This rooftop Spanish tapas experience is perfect for date night! The food is absolutely delicious, and we loved the small portions we could share. And, of course, don’t forget to check out their carefully curated wine list, with options from around the world!
Alexandrea Sumuel is a travel writer and the founder of the Wander With Alex travel blog, where she provides vacationers with trip ideas, travel guides, news, and itineraries. She travels to experience, eat, explore, and escape! Alex’s mission is to help peopl find the perfect vacation destination.