Ocean City, Maryland is a great option for DC Area families looking for a quick weekend beach getaway this summer. Dependent on where you are coming from in the DC area (and traffic), Ocean City can be as little as a 2.5 hour drive and has many options to keep your family occupied.
The end of the summer might be right around the corner, but Ocean City, Maryland is a great option for a long weekend even into September and possibly October. We all know it can stay hot here in DC!
7 Highlights of Ocean City, Maryland
1. Ocean City Beaches
Obviously getting in beach time is the big draw of Ocean City, Maryland. There are several other beach areas you can visit besides Ocean City, but what we actually have found to like about Ocean City is the density. Wherever you stay, there are likely restaurants and grocery stores within a short walking distance. When on vacation I love not driving and instead walking as much as possible. Also, since Ocean City is a peninsula, and not very wide, odds are wherever you stay you can walk to the beach.
The closer you are to the boardwalk, the more crowded you will find the beaches to be. If you are looking for quieter beach areas, look at staying on the northern end of the peninsula.
2. Bay Area of Ocean City
The beach may be the main draw to Ocean City, but the bay is also lovely to explore. Check out Northside Park on the bay, where you can rent a kayak, or let you little one run wild on the playground. Northside Park also features a nice paved running path.
3. Ocean City Boardwalk
Ocean City’s boardwalk features your typical fair games, as well as rides for both younger and older kids. For the older kids there are rides like roller coasters and the “zipper”, which I am too old to handle! For the younger kids there is a small train ride, carousel, and car rides (located inside, next to the area with the larger outdoor rides). My two year old is still consistently asking to go back and ride “the purple car.”
There is more of a night life the closer you stay to the boardwalk. If you’d prefer something quieter, its easy to access the boardwalk and stay further north on the peninsula. There is a paid parking lot right next to the boardwalk, or many people just use the bus which runs up and down the peninsula.
4. Mini-golf, Go-Karts, and Other Entertainment
Like many tourist destinations, Ocean City has mini-golf and go-kart entertainment galore. There are many options up and down the main strip.
5. Family Friendly Restaurants and Good Eats
More and more restaurants in the Ocean City area are catering to families by providing space for kids to play. My husband and I were blown away by the practically brand new playground at Tailchasers. You can even get a table right next to the playground, so your kids can play while you wait for your food to arrive. Click here to see their menu.
If you are like me and crave seafood while on your beach vacation, check out the Crabcake Factory.
Ocean City is also home to one of my favorite doughnut shops, The Fractured Prune. I’d recommend my personal favorite, the French Toast Doughnut.
And if you feel like grabbing something cold, healthy, and delicious go to Pablo’s Bowls for a smoothie, or Acai bowl.
6. Wild Horses at Assateague Island
Assateague Island is a National Park on the beach that spans across Delaware and Maryland, and you are sometimes able to see wild horses. It is a little bit of a drive from Ocean City (approximately 30 minutes), but it is a great option on an overcast or slightly rainy day.
There currently $20 entrance fee; check the Assateague Island National Park Page to check for current pricing and any closures.
7. Ocean City Library
Not the obvious choice when you are on vacation, but Ocean City library has a very toddler friendly play room (filled with a toy kitchen, matching games, counting games, and bins of toys). On days it rains or if we’ve had too much sun, it’s saved us!
When planning your trip to Ocean City, Maryland, keep in mind holiday weekends will book up. When deciding where to stay, consider what you are looking for. Rentals further from the boardwalk may be better for those seeking a low key, quiet getaway.
For more information on Ocean City Maryland visit their official Visitor Bureau’s site.
For more ideas on quick and close trips you can take with your family, check out our post on Short Summer Vacation Road Trip Ideas.