Saturday, January 11, 2014

Ocean City Maryland - a Beach Goers Paradise!

So if you live on the East Coast and love to go to the beach, this is the place for you. I know there are die hard Jersey Shore lovers out there, but this is not much farther and is SO MUCH BETTER! (I might lose some readers over that statement). The OC MD as it's called, has everything to offer - HUGE, clean beaches (that you do not have to pay to go on and can bring coolers etc), tons of activities, restaurants for every palate and budget, watersports, name it! So let's dive in!

Where to stay?

 There are a LOT of options in Ocean City. Many of which include condos. Personally this is my favorite way to go. Condos usually have a balcony, kitchen & the all important washer/dryer! You can get ocean front, ocean side, bay front, bayside or anything in between. Condo rentals usually go through realtors, so you can contact Coldwell Banker, Long & Foster , or Holiday Real estate to find something that suits your family and your budget. We prefer to stay around 100th street - the beach isn't quite as wide (but totally wide enough), lots of families with kids up that way, easier access to nearby Bethany and Rehoboth.

Not into a condo? well there are hunderds of hotels to choose from. Too many to list here. They all have different amenities from beachfront tiki bars to indoor pools, happy hours to kids club. Whatever you are looking for can be accomodated. Some have kitchenettes too!

My only advice for staying in Ocean City is to stay further north of the boardwalk during peak summer season. Most of the rentals on or near the boardwalk are dominated by the college kids that come to live and work for the summer. Not very kid friendly.

What to do?

Honestly it might be easier to write about what NOT to do. Of course there is the gorgeous beach. And at many of the access walkways are the beach rentals. You will see them set up as you hit the beach. They rent chairs, umbrellas, etc. daily or weekly. What is nice is they will set up your umbrella first thing in the morning, so you can meander out whenever you choose!

Watersports - OC MD is a mecca for watersports! From fishing, to jet skis, to boat rentals to parasailing. They've got it all! Check out OC Watersports. Action Watersports, or 48th street Watersports for more info. Or check out The Rocket if you really want a thrill. We've never done this but have always wanted to!

Entertainment - you can find just about anything in OC for you and the kidz. There's tons of mini golf, rides, water parks, and more! So much to do both on and off the boardwalk! Check out Old Pro Golf, Jolly Roger, and OC MD Boardwalk.

 The Carousel at 118th street oceanfront has an indoor ice skating rink!! My kids had a blast ice skating at the beach! Don't forget to check out nearby Assateague Island. It is a National Park so there are fees for some parts. Go and walk around, bring a bike, go swimming at their gorgeous beaches and see all of the widlife, including wild ponies!! Or stay and camp right on the beach!

Where to Eat?

Again, this is really based on personal preference and budget, but there is something for everyone in OC MD!  I will only recommend places we have been. But check out OC Restaurants for more comprehensive info.

  • Our favorite boardwalk snack is Thrasher Fries It's really more a meal than a snack. No visit to OC can miss these delicious and famous spuds!
  • Brass Balls Saloon between 11th & 12th street on the boardwalk has the best breakfast on the beach! Get the biscuit & you won't need lunch! YUM!  Sit outside & don't let the name scare you!
  • Lombardi's at 94th street Bayside is hands down the BEST pizza in OC! They've got a great menu but the pizza here is not to be missed!
  • MR Ducks on Talbot street right on the bay has an affordable menu and beautiful views. KID TIP - it can get a rowdy bar crowd so go early or get a sitter & go later!
  • BJ's on the water is our favorite moderately priced restaurant in OC MD! It is bayfront, great food, and excellent service. Enjoy sunset sitting indoors or out - they've got a wall of windows.
  • If you are into the All-You-Can-Eat buffet, there are plenty in OC to satisfy that craving! But our favorite is Embers - TIP wear elastic waist pants!
  • Looking for a little Luck O' the Irish? Look no further than Shenanigans. This falls between Budget and Moderate. They've got a great sandwich menu and more moderately priced entrees. Live music some nights. Outdoor dining oceanfront.
Pricey (but worth it):
  • Harpoon Hannah's is technically just over the border in Fenwick, DE. They've got an incredible menu, bayfront dining and great service. If you pick 1 night to go out for a nice dinner, this is the place. Laid back atmosphere, beautiful sunsets and kid friendly.
  • Jordan's in the Fenwick Inn on 138th street has AMAZING views of all of OC and Fenwick. 
Date Night:
  • The Hobbit at 81st and the bay is the perfect date night. Make a reservation for sunset and be prepared for yummy food and lots of romance!
  • Looking for something more upbeat? Check out Seacrets at 49th street on the bay. Be transported to a tropical island getaway on college spring break!
  • Again, just over the border but worth the extra travel is the Nantucket Great food, beautiful decor and excellent service.  
Farther Away but Worth The Trip:
  •  About 15 minutes north on RT 1 is The Cottage Cafe in Bethany Beach. Totally kid friendly, great happy hour specials, excellent food and service!
  • about 30-40 minutes north is Rehoboth Beach. A must eat (and more importantly drink) stop is the Dogfish Brew Pub. If you are into craft beers, you CANNOT come to the area and miss this. Besides the great brews, they've got a great menu and restaurant that is totally kid friendly!

BUDGET TIP: Go in the off season for great deals! We've been known to go on a warm weekend in February - but we're kinda obsessed. May is gorgeous, but some things on the boardwalk may not be open yet and the water may be too cold to swim. Our favorite is early September. If you homeschool (like us), the first 2 weeks after the kids go back to school is the BEST time to go! Everything is still in full swing, half the crowds, warm ocean water & GREAT DEALS!!!

Like I said, it would be easier to list what NOT to see/eat/do in OC MD! And the surrounding areas are just as great. Check out slower paced Bethany Beach and shoppers paradise Rehoboth for the outlet stores. OC MD gets the WIN for family friendly beach getaway on ANY budget!

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