The College Tourist Guide to Ocean City Maryland: 15 places to dine, shop, and play
Sandy shores serve as the perfect seaside escape for east-coasters
Sometimes a get away doesn’t have to be too far away. For Maryland locals, Ocean City is the prime vacation destination. I’ve spent several summers by the sea enjoying all that this place has to offer. If you’re looking for a fun seaside escape, consider Ocean City. Here are just a few of my favorite things to do there:
Dining, Drinking, and Desserts:
I’m an English major, so I was easily enticed by the literary allusion in the name. This restaurant and bar also happens to feature several varieties of my favorite kind of drink, a margarita. Go for the Godfather margarita. It’s delicious, though really any of them are. I stuck with a regular size, but more daring patrons can order a fishbowl margarita. It’s 47 ounces and served in a plastic fish bowl that you get to keep. If you think you can handle it, go for it! The menu also offers plenty of Mexican dining options.
The Purple Moose:
This bar right on the boardwalk is an Ocean City Staple, and it has been for almost 40 years. If you’re looking for food, you won’t find any here. This saloon is strictly alcohol. Grab dinner beforehand and hit it up for drinks afterwards. I recommend the “Sweettart Shooter.” It seriously tastes just like the candy. The Purple Moose also features music almost every night, whether it’s a live band or in-house DJ.
I studied abroad in Ireland, so I love to scope out area pubs and see how they compare to some of my favorites across the pond. Shenanigan’s offers traditional Irish fare and some Maryland seafood favorites. It’s the best of both worlds in my opinion. The outdoor seating along the boardwalk also makes for some excellent people watching.
If I got to Ocean City, no matter what the weather, I have to get Dumser’s ice cream. There are multiple locations along the boardwalk and Coastal Highway, so it’s easy to satisfy my craving. The homemade and hand-dipped ice cream is just so soft and creamy. I often opt for the Black Raspberry flavor, which is rich in flavor. The prices on the menu may seem a bit steep, but I assure you the portions are generous and well worth the splurge.
Thrasher’s French Fries:
You’ve probably heard of the boardwalk fries chain. Fun fact: it originated in Ocean City. However, the original boardwalk fries are Thrasher’s french fries. The line for these fries usually strentches down the boardwalk, but they’re worth the wait. They’re always hot and fresh in order to keep up with the demand. Top them with vinegar or old bay, and you’ve got the perfect Ocean City snack.
As with any boardwalk, you’ll find plenty of screen-printing t-shirt stores. Ocean City is no exception. They’re pretty much all the same, but it’s fun to browse in them. You’ll also find cheap swimwear and beach accessories. If you’re looking for something fun to take home or a quick addition to your vacation wardrobe, look no further. You’ll find one of these approximately every 10 feet along the boardwalk.
This unique store has two locations in Ocean City. One along the boardwalk and another on Coastal Highway. As the name suggests, they sell kites. However, these aren’t just your standard, flimsy, diamond shaped kites. The kite loft has high-quality kites of almost every shape and size. They also sell fun quirky gifts and toys.
Ocean Gallery is an Ocean City icon unlike any other. The unconventional decor on the outside is just as interesting as the wares on the inside. The inside is packed with pictures, posters, and paintings. It’s great if you’re looking to decorate a dorm or apartment. It’s also just as fun to browse through the collections.
Ocean City is close to two outlet malls, the Tanger Outlets Ocean City and the Tanger Outlets Rehoboth. If a rainy strikes or you just need to get off of the beach, head to one of these outlet centers for some great shopping opportunities. I’ve found some great deals over the years.
Montego Bay Super Thrift:
The name is a bit misleading. This isn’t actually a thrift store. It’s a grocery store. Why did I include a grocery store on the list? This is an overlooked resource. It can be expensive eating out every night. If your accommodations have a kitchen, it can be fun to do some cooking. When I stayed with a few friends for a whole week, we made dinner for each other and packed lunches to take to the beach. This grocery store had great prices.
Ripley’s Believe It or Not:
Several of these “Odditoriums” exist around the country. Maryland is home to two, one in the inner harbour and one in Ocean City. This fun museum features all kinds of wacky oddities. The museum is so packed that every time I visit I notice something new. There’s also plenty of great photo opportunities throughout the museum.
This boardwalk attraction has been in operation since 1902. While a lot of it is kiddies rides, if you venture outside and around the corner, you’ll find a roller coaster and some other carnival-style thrill rides. No carnival themed attraction is complete without some games, as well. Even if you’re too big for most of the rides, it can be nice to check it out for the history point. Fun fact: the carrousel in the main hall is the oldest operating carrousel in the United States.
Life-Saving Station Museum:
I work at the Smithsonian, so it shouldn’t be surprising that I like museums. This house stationed at the end of the boardwalk houses a small museum. It’s only $3 to visit, and I think it’s worth checking out. Some of the exhibits change from time to time, and it offers a great look at the history of Ocean City. I like that sort of thing, so if it’s up your alley, you should definitely check it out and cool off from the beach.
Mini golf is everywhere in Ocean City. There’s even two indoor courses, which are great for rainy days. My favorite brand is Old Pro Mini Golf, which is home to six unique courses throughout the city. However, any of the various mini golf places are great. It’s my goal to play all of them one day.
Can’t leave the beach off of the list! A little sun, sand, and surf are the main draw for Ocean City. While there’s an endless supply of entertainment, the beach can’t be beat. A trip to Ocean City isn’t complete without dipping at least your toes in the water.