Ocean City, Maryland

MrsCobraBubbles

Life's too short to wear pants all the time
Joined
Jul 24, 2013
Just a quick question about hotels in Ocean City--how important is it to be on the boardwalk? We are going to want to visit the boardwalk, I'm wondering about traffic, is it going to be difficult to drive to it and find parking?

If anyone can suggest fun stuff to do in Ocean City, please feel free to share!
 

mikehn

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 5, 2008
Ocean City is a forum onto itself. In the midst of the summer, parking will be difficult any where near the boardwalk. Asking what fun stuff to do in Ocean City is like asking what fun stuff there is to do in Orlando. Haha. For me, fun is going to Seacrets. But Im sure that's not the answer you want.
 

TipsyTraveler

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 9, 2014
I got here today. Traffic hasn’t been bad at all. There are, IMO, ample parking options around the boardwalk and I don’t recall it ever being much of an issue. It’s been years since I’ve stayed at a boardwalk hotel. I did so when I was younger and cash-strapped. The hotels down that way are (or were at the time) cheaper and a little trashier than the hotels and condos up north. Staying on the boardwalk isn’t necessary. Pick whichever hotel most appeals to you and drive down there once or twice during your stay.

I’ve been coming here my whole life but don’t have a ton of recommendations to offer. We usually just spend a couple of days and do the beach, mini golf, dinners out, the boardwalk, and occasionally venture up to Bethany/Rehoboth. Assateague might be of interest to you.
 
  • Irja

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Mar 29, 2019
    If you've got kids of any age I highly recommend the Francis Scott Key resort. We've been twice, once 4 yrs ago and once a week ago. Great both times. They have a beach shuttle that takes you to the boardwalk area. As for other fun things to do we enjoyed the Captive Escape Rooms and a sushi restaurant called OC Wasabi. And the reason we went back was mainly to see the wild horses at Assateague Island, which we had not tried our first time. It was only 15 min drive from the hotel.
     

    MrsCobraBubbles

    Life's too short to wear pants all the time
    Joined
    Jul 24, 2013
    I got here today. Traffic hasn’t been bad at all. There are, IMO, ample parking options around the boardwalk and I don’t recall it ever being much of an issue. It’s been years since I’ve stayed at a boardwalk hotel. I did so when I was younger and cash-strapped. The hotels down that way are (or were at the time) cheaper and a little trashier than the hotels and condos up north. Staying on the boardwalk isn’t necessary. Pick whichever hotel most appeals to you and drive down there once or twice during your stay.

    I’ve been coming here my whole life but don’t have a ton of recommendations to offer. We usually just spend a couple of days and do the beach, mini golf, dinners out, the boardwalk, and occasionally venture up to Bethany/Rehoboth. Assateague might be of interest to you.
    Thank you! "Cash-strapped" is a good way to describe my current situation :) It's going to be a short trip, I'm thinking just 2 nights, mid-week. I'm fortunate that I don't work in the summer so our travel dates are flexible. A while ago I promised my kids the next time we went to the beach we would visit a "real" beach (one on the ocean, not Erie) and they got organized and called me on it when I suggested a quick trip to Erie. So now I'm scrambling to make it work.
     

    MrsCobraBubbles

    Life's too short to wear pants all the time
    Joined
    Jul 24, 2013
    Ocean City is a forum onto itself. In the midst of the summer, parking will be difficult any where near the boardwalk. Asking what fun stuff to do in Ocean City is like asking what fun stuff there is to do in Orlando. Haha. For me, fun is going to Seacrets. But Im sure that's not the answer you want.
    I'm taking my 2 kids and I have a feeling Seacrets isn't a kid place. But thanks for the reply! We are basically just going so that we can spend a couple days on the beach. I haven't been to Ocean City since I was a kid so I know nothing about vacationing there, but my son used to go every summer with some family friends and he wants to visit the boardwalk. I hate driving in traffic in unfamiliar places so I was considering staying at a hotel within walking distance of the boardwalk.
     

    MrsCobraBubbles

    Life's too short to wear pants all the time
    Joined
    Jul 24, 2013
    If you've got kids of any age I highly recommend the Francis Scott Key resort. We've been twice, once 4 yrs ago and once a week ago. Great both times. They have a beach shuttle that takes you to the boardwalk area. As for other fun things to do we enjoyed the Captive Escape Rooms and a sushi restaurant called OC Wasabi. And the reason we went back was mainly to see the wild horses at Assateague Island, which we had not tried our first time. It was only 15 min drive from the hotel.
    it looks amazing, thank you! But according to booking.com there isn't much availability. I'll keep an eye on it, maybe someone will cancel and some dates will open up.

    Was Assateague fun? It's been on my bucket list since reading Misty of Chincoteague.
     
  • Neesy228

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 9, 2008
    I have a home in Ocean City, and spend most of my summers there as well as holidays year around...I’ll try to help here, but I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have if you want to message me too.

    I wouldn’t recommend staying on the lower part (below about 12th Street) because of noise. You can find some ok places to stay in the lower blocks, but many will be slightly run down and filled with college/high school kids. There are some nicer, newer hotels on the bayside that are great for sunsets - like the Hampton Inn. If you don’t mind driving about five minutes to the beach, the area of West Ocean City (the same area as the Francis Scott Key Resort) has several very affordable hotel options. Many of them quite new.

    Also, parking down by the boardwalk is not a big deal - there is a huge lot at the inlet where you can park for $3.00/hour. I’ve seen it busy, but never full. There are also many side parking lots, but the inlet is easiest to find and will put you right down in the midst of the games/rides/arcades/shops on the busiest part of the Boards.

    There is a crazy amount of things to do in OC - mini golf, amusement parks, water parks, zip lining, go karts, boats, jet skis, parasailing, countless restaurants....if you’re in need of specific recommendations, let me know.

    Assateague is beautiful, but not much different than OC beach-wise. If you want to go see the horses, then yes, it’s worthwhile. You will need to pay if you want to go into the National Seashore side of the island, but it’s approx. $7 for a week long pass. You may just be able to go over the bridge and see horses without ever reaching the pay booth. It’s about a 20 minute drive from the Route 50 bridge to Assateague.

    Hope that helps. Enjoy your trip. :)
     

    Christine

    Would love to be able to sit on
    Joined
    Aug 31, 1999
    Neesy228 has great advice. My family also owns several condos there. Rather than try for a hotel, you may want to look at some of the OC real estate sites. Many places offer "mini weeks" and those are good. You will probably get more value with a condo owned by a person than at one of the hotels.

    The boardwalk is an exciting area but not sure I'd want to stay there. I personally like "midtown" around 50th Street with 10 number blocks in either direction. Those places were probably built in the 60s/70s. There are no high rises there so the beach itself doesn't get horribly crowded. If you go further up to 80th Street and North, the high rises are there (all nice) but the number of people on the beach increases and that can be tough during high season.

    With younger kids, you definitely want to avoid staying on the bayside of OC. While lovely, it's not for the faint of heart getting across Coastal Highway on foot.

    Parking can be an issue. If you rent a condo, you will get an assigned parking spot (so will the hotels). But driving somewhere can be tough but there's usually plenty of places to park at the inlet in the evening to go to the boardwalk.

    My daughter's friend drove there on July 4th (very crowded) and drove around for 2 hours before she could find a parking spot that she could pay for--it was that crowded (she was in a panic too). Otherwise, you shouldn't have that problem.

    A fun thing to do is to rent bikes on the boardwalk early in the morning and ride the boardwalk and have breakfast there.
     

    amcnj

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 10, 1999
    We have stayed at hotels on the boardwalk, but not right near the southern end where the rides are. It is nice to have just a short walk to the beach, and not have to think about parking. At night we would walk down the boardwalk, and if tired catch the tram ride back north.

    But if you can find a better deal off the boardwalk, I am sure you will make it work just fine.
     

    jerseygal

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 1, 2008
    I have a home in Ocean City, and spend most of my summers there as well as holidays year around...I’ll try to help here, but I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have if you want to message me too.

    I wouldn’t recommend staying on the lower part (below about 12th Street) because of noise. You can find some ok places to stay in the lower blocks, but many will be slightly run down and filled with college/high school kids. There are some nicer, newer hotels on the bayside that are great for sunsets - like the Hampton Inn. If you don’t mind driving about five minutes to the beach, the area of West Ocean City (the same area as the Francis Scott Key Resort) has several very affordable hotel options. Many of them quite new.

    Also, parking down by the boardwalk is not a big deal - there is a huge lot at the inlet where you can park for $3.00/hour. I’ve seen it busy, but never full. There are also many side parking lots, but the inlet is easiest to find and will put you right down in the midst of the games/rides/arcades/shops on the busiest part of the Boards.

    There is a crazy amount of things to do in OC - mini golf, amusement parks, water parks, zip lining, go karts, boats, jet skis, parasailing, countless restaurants....if you’re in need of specific recommendations, let me know.

    Assateague is beautiful, but not much different than OC beach-wise. If you want to go see the horses, then yes, it’s worthwhile. You will need to pay if you want to go into the National Seashore side of the island, but it’s approx. $7 for a week long pass. You may just be able to go over the bridge and see horses without ever reaching the pay booth. It’s about a 20 minute drive from the Route 50 bridge to Assateague.

    Hope that helps. Enjoy your trip. :)
    Never been to OC, but I have researched the Hampton Inn Bayside for a leasurely drive down to Orlando as one of our stops on our way down. We want to check out the area for a two week mid July to end of July stay next year. We would also be interested in staying same time of year in Rehoboth. Have been to neither, but we like and know good beaches, lol! Thanks for any suggestions or ideas that you could provide as to a condo for next summer!
     
  • Hikergirl

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 28, 2016
    Assateague is beautiful, but not much different than OC beach-wise. If you want to go see the horses, then yes, it’s worthwhile. You will need to pay if you want to go into the National Seashore side of the island, but it’s approx. $7 for a week long pass. You may just be able to go over the bridge and see horses without ever reaching the pay booth. It’s about a 20 minute drive from the Route 50 bridge to Assateague.

    Hope that helps. Enjoy your trip. :)
    Assateague is $20 for a pass for the week for the National Park, (as of last summer, could be more).
    The State park side is per person, but I can't remember how much, and I don't know about a week pass there, we only went over to eat at the restaurant there.

    OP, we have gone the last 3 summers and stay at an RV resort about 10 minutes from OC. Traffic can be congested going over to OC but we have never had an issue with parking. We have always gone later in the day to the Boardwalk because we prefer the beach at Assateague over OC.
     

    sjrec

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 31, 2016
    We have a place in north OC and venture up to the boardwalk a couple times a year. Except for July 4 and festivals parking isn’t a problem. As someone suggested, look at places away from the amusements-we just drove by one of the old motels called the Flamingo and remarked how well kept it seemed.
    With only two days, I wouldn’t worry about activities-all day on the beach and one night doing rides and another playing mini golf is plenty of fun. Look for those free tourist brochures-they always have coupons for mini golf.
    Paesanos on the boardwalk has great pizza, Harrison’s at the end of the inlet has good food-if they have rockfish I highly recommend it! And Thrashers French Fries is an institution. Dumsers for ice cream. I’m not too familiar with places downtown because we’re far north, but that’s only a 20 minute drive.
    If you don’t have an umbrella or sand chairs you can rent them.
    Have fun! We love OC :)
     

    Christine

    Would love to be able to sit on
    Joined
    Aug 31, 1999
    We have a place in north OC and venture up to the boardwalk a couple times a year. Except for July 4 and festivals parking isn’t a problem. As someone suggested, look at places away from the amusements-we just drove by one of the old motels called the Flamingo and remarked how well kept it seemed.
    With only two days, I wouldn’t worry about activities-all day on the beach and one night doing rides and another playing mini golf is plenty of fun. Look for those free tourist brochures-they always have coupons for mini golf.
    Paesanos on the boardwalk has great pizza, Harrison’s at the end of the inlet has good food-if they have rockfish I highly recommend it! And Thrashers French Fries is an institution. Dumsers for ice cream. I’m not too familiar with places downtown because we’re far north, but that’s only a 20 minute drive.
    If you don’t have an umbrella or sand chairs you can rent them.
    Have fun! We love OC :)
    Dumser's boardwalk location near the Thrasher's fries is the only place I can find a cherry diptop cone. For some reason, that's a nostalgic favorite of mine.
     

    china mom

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 15, 2010
    I personally prefer to be as far away fro the boardwalk as possible and just pop down there for an evening here and there. A couple of things to consider when looking for a place is how wide the island is where you are looking, hence, how far do you have to walk to get to the water. I find that the beach in the are of the boardwalk is very wide.

    I have a condo at 123rd, Bayside and crossing Coastal Highway is not a bother at all but I would not let kids traverse it alone when they were young. You will save money by staying bayside if that is a concern.

    Ocean City has a system of buses which run up and down coastal highway 24/7 and you can ride all day on a $3 ticket.

    When we were younger and still enjoyed the nightlife and boardwalk, we would take the bus down to the boardwalk, restaurants or bars so we didn't have to worry about a designated driver.

    There are tons of activities both on and off the water. There are amusement park rides at the pier and at the Jolly Roger
     

    billlaurie

    Disneyfan
    Joined
    Jan 22, 2012
    We also have a place in midtown. I would avoid staying on the boardwalk. It is noisy and not as family-friendly but is fun to visit. Also, the beach is more crowded by the boardwalk. Mini golf, Thrashers fries, Fractured prune donuts and Dumsers ice cream are must dos. Ropewalk and Dead Freddies are fun kid places to eat but a bit pricey. Assateague has a nice free museum. You can park in the museum lot and ride your bikes over to the island to see the horses, all free. Pack the bug spray though! Movies on the beach are also free. Just watched one with the grandkids last week. On the bayside, you can rent kayaks, paddleboards, jet skis. You can also parasail, take tour boat rides. And get some Maryland steamed crabs!
     

    whatname

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 20, 2010
    We went last summer and stayed around 55th street. It's cheaper to stay one street away from the beach toward the bayside. No beach view from the room, but you only have to cross the street and walk a short distance to get to the beach. We used the bus to go everywhere. We parked our car at the hotel and didn't move it until we left The bus is inexpensive. They come pretty frequently and will take you right to the boardwalk. We usually drive when we are there and can usually find parking near the boardwalk somewhere. But, we really liked the convenience of the bus and will probably use it in the future. In the past, we have rented a condo much further north than 55th street. We've never stayed at the boardwalk, but we always go for an evening or two to walk around. Last year to make our trip even more budget friendly, we stayed about 30-60 minutes outside of OC on the way down. It was much cheaper. We left for the beach in the morning and the hotel allowed us to park there before check in. We still got plenty of beach time that day. Have fun! We are hoping to get there for a few days in August.
     

    firefly_ris

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 25, 2015
    Just a quick question about hotels in Ocean City--how important is it to be on the boardwalk? We are going to want to visit the boardwalk, I'm wondering about traffic, is it going to be difficult to drive to it and find parking?

    If anyone can suggest fun stuff to do in Ocean City, please feel free to share!
    I grew up going to OC every summer until I was about 21. And I was just there again 2 weeks ago. If a hotel is ON the boardwalk I will not stay there. In fact I would rather stay at least 90th street and up and drive back down to the boardwalk. There is meter parking nowadays on side streets (used to be free) or just park at the inlet for 5 or 6 bucks. The beach is less crowded the further away you go.

    Being right on the boardwalk is personal preference but it can be loud, and more young partiers in those areas. Personally I prefer condos there.
     

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