As summer travel plans are being made and vacationers begin booking their trips to OC, there are a few important things everyone should know about Ocean City, Maryland, whether you’ve stayed before or this is your first time visiting our coastal town!
There are 146 cross streets that are numbered.
If you ask someone familiar with Ocean City or a local for an address, they’ll likely say something like, “It’s on 17th Street.” People who visit or live in Ocean City will often have a solid familiarity with the area, making it easy to navigate and find your way around.
The town is divided up into 3 sections: downtown, midtown, and uptown.
Downtown encompasses the entire boardwalk part of Ocean City from the inlet to 27th Street. Midtown is from 28th St. to 62nd St. – ending with the Route 90 bridge, and uptown is everything from the Route 90 bridge up to the Delaware line – 63rd through 146th St. Depending on your vacation itinerary, you probably won’t even need a GPS to get around! For instance, some people just follow the smell of Thrasher’s Fries until they find it.
Downtown is a vibrant hub of activity, with plenty of bustling bars and restaurants along the boardwalk and opportunities for people-watching. It’s the perfect choice if you’re seeking out the lively nightlife or to be at the center of the action. For a more relaxed, primarily beach-focused getaway, midtown and uptown offer the same access to vacation fun but with a quieter atmosphere. These areas tend to be more residential, giving you a chance to soak up the sun and enjoy a more laid back environment. Whether you prefer the bustle of downtown or the calm of uptown, Ocean City has something for everyone, no matter what type of vacation you’re looking for.
Ocean City’s seasonal divides.
The dates that define OC’s summer and what we call peak season is between Memorial Day and Labor Day, with most businesses (hotels, restaurants, summertime amusements) open and bustling with happy visitors. However, even during the shoulder months of April, May, September, and October, more vacationers are discovering the charm of visiting. Although some places may not be open during these months, there’s still plenty of fun to be had.
When planning a trip to Ocean City, keep in mind all of the anticipated annual events such as the OC Air Show, SpringFest & Sunfest, PBR Bull Riding, and the Cruisin’ car shows. During these bigger events, the town exudes an energetic buzz for thousands of visitors to take part in. Because of the influx in crowds these events bring, it’s always best to reserve ahead. So keep an eye on our events page, check your calendar, and make plans accordingly. Whether you’re looking for a lively event-filled vacation or a relaxing beach getaway, rest assured there’s a perfect date for you.
Notable event dates:
- SpringFest: May 4th-7th
- Cruisin’ Ocean City: May 18th-21st
- PBR Professional Bull Riding: June 2nd-4th
- OC Air Show: June 10th-11th
- Endless Summer Cruisin’: October 5-8th
- SunFest: October 19th-22nd
The boardwalk rules.
Yes it does. But also, the boardwalk has rules. Ocean City is dedicated to maintaining a safe and enjoyable environment for visitors and residents alike, including:
- A smoke-free boardwalk with designated smoking areas along the beach and boardwalk
- A well-groomed beach, with tractors that sift and rake the sand every morning to ensure safety for beachgoers
- No overnight sleeping on the beach (see previous point)
- Fireworks are prohibited beyond the displays for special occasions, with handheld sparklers allowed
- Responsible drinking policy prohibits consuming alcohol in public
- A pet-friendly environment with a year-round dog park on 94th Street and seasonal access to the beach and boardwalk—furry friends are welcome on the boardwalk from October 1st to April 30th.
Given our name, swimming in the ocean is a memorable part of visiting OC, but it’s important to be aware of weather conditions for a safe and enjoyable experience. During certain times of the year, the ocean temperatures can be invigoratingly cool, reaching below 60 degrees. While this does provide a unique and refreshing experience for those prepared (see January’s Annual Penguin Swim), it’s recommended to stay dry during the late fall and early spring. But don’t worry, there are still plenty of activities to enjoy!
Ocean City has two types of public transportation.
- The main one is the Ocean City Beach Bus! If you want to leave the car at your hotel and avoid the hassle of parking, getting around is as easy as waiting for the bus. For $3, a Ride-All-Day pass allows you to… you guessed it, ride all day. The pass is valid from 6am to 3am the next morning.
- The Boardwalk Tram runs the entire length of the boardwalk from the Inlet to 27th Street, which costs $4 per person one way. This service runs from May to the end of October.
Umbrellas and beach chairs are rentable during the summer.
Every three or four blocks, yellow or blue rental stands are set up along the dunes with dozens of chairs and umbrellas. You can skip lugging your beach gear over the hot sand and have one of the attendants carry your rentals to your spot. Most rental stands rent their gear for half the day or whole days, and some rent by hour or by week.
If you are traveling over the Bay Bridge, check the traffic cameras.
The Bay Bridge is notoriously busy during the summer with hours-long backups from accidents or just regular traffic. Your road trip to Ocean City might take longer than you think if you hit the traffic wrong.
The Assateague National Seashore and its wild ponies are only a few miles away from town.
Just across the inlet, Assateague National Seashore and State Park are a protected wildlife area, home to lots of wildlife and the iconic wild ponies, which were made famous by the novel, Misty of Chincoteague.
This barrier island is full of stunning beach views, wildlife and sea creatures, as well as recreations like camping and hiking trails. It’s a great escape from the busy Ocean City that’s only a few miles away.
Delmarva’s vineyard, brewery, and distillery industry is booming right now.
There are over 40 different vineyards, breweries, and distilleries all within an hour of Ocean City. If you love a good wine tasting or want to try specialty brews or liquors on vacation, you’re in the right place.
No trip to Ocean City is complete without having a crabcake.
If you’ve ever heard or tried of a Maryland Crabcake, you haven’t had a real one until you’ve had one in Ocean City. Crabs aren’t just food in OC – they’re a way of life.
If you are looking for a recommendation, Captain’s Table on 15th Street has one of the best crabcakes in town.
Wake up early for a sunrise at least once.
Ocean City is famous for beautiful sunrises. The peace and quiet with only the waves crashing as a soundtrack – It’s the perfect way to start your day.
Book early to save on your summer vacation.
Last, but certainly not least, you should book your summer vacation early in the year. Many hotels run pre-season specials giving early reservations discounts people would kill for during peak season.
Also, don’t forget to always book direct with your hotel, so you can take advantage of their specials and any rewards or membership perks