Ocean City, Maryland is located in Worcester County and welcomes up to 350,000 weekend visitors during the summer and 8 million visitors yearly. It is second only to Baltimore in terms of popularity. The land was bought by Thomas Fenwick (who has an island named after him very close to Ocean City) and the first cottage rental began in 1869, with people arriving by stage coaches and ferries.
More and more houses popped up after that and it just took off from there. The Atlantic Hotel became the first hotel in 1875, and it was bought in 1923 by the same family who runs it today. It had more than 400 rooms and was very popular. People would eventually come in by way of railroad, especially to pick up fresh fish caught by local fishermen.
A major hurricane destroyed those train tracks in 1933 and created the O.C. Inlet that is seen today, allowing many fishing boats to easily access the open ocean. The inlet originally connected Ocean City to Assateague Island, another relaxing beach spot and home to wild horses. A third of the island is in Virginia, while the majority is in Maryland.
More than 15,000 condos were built by the 1970’s and there have been many beach replenishment projects over the years from the beach width shrinking. Many places stay open until December for various events that happen every year, including Sunfest, Bike Week, and Crusin’ Weekend.
The Ocean City Boardwalk is perhaps the most popular attraction, with lots of shopping, arcades, and rides along it. You can ride a tram if you get tired, because the boardwalk is mighty long. During the off-season, locals use it to get in their morning workouts. Many locals and tourists both love to ride their bikes there as well.
There are many attractions that have been around a very long time, including Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, the ferris wheel, and the amusement park rides. Dolle’s Salt Water Taffy, Dumser’s Dairyland, and Thrashers French Fries are just a few of the long-standing establishments you will find. The boardwalk has been rated as one of the best boardwalks for food. And seeing the tiger shark that was caught offshore is a must, which is located at the very end, close to the inlet.
Along the boardwalk, you will also find Trimper’s Rides amusement park, which was founded in 1893 and houses a famous carousel (built in the 1920’s). It was voted as being one of the best carousels in America and is one of the oldest running ones in the world. It’s really something to see and feel, because you can just sense the history when you walk inside.
Ocean City dodges direct hits from hurricanes thanks to North Carolina’s outer banks, but it can still be vulnerable to tropical storms. It has a subtropical climate that gets very humid during the summer, with a record high of 103. In the winter the record low was -6, but the average temperatures range from 88-28 with the most rain falling in September.
Maryland Route 528, known as the Coastal Highway, runs all along the ocean from Ocean City into Delaware. You will pass Fenwick Island, Bethany Beach, Dewey Beach, going right into Rehoboth Beach. If you started out early, you could visit 5 resort areas in one day, but the drive is very long, straight and boring, so you might want to get some coffee before you head out!
Parking can be a real pain in the summer, so if you don’t want to drive, there is a bus that runs throughout the city 24/7, all year round. There are numerous modes of transportation available, including buses, ferries, and trams. Or you can wait and take your chances on finding a parking spot, but you might have to wait quite a while. But that’s ok, because this historical fun place is well worth it!