Ocean City 101

When was the last time you laid out in the sand, listening to the waves crashing a foot away, and finally opened that new book you’ve been meaning to get to?  Or took a break from calorie counting and work deadlines to have a weekend trip away with friends?

You don’t have to go far for great beaches, restaurants, and that well-deserved summertime break you know you need.  Only two and a half hours outside D.C., Ocean City offers it all.  Join the over eight million visitors streaming across the Bay Bridge annually to find out why Ocean City, Maryland is one of the best beach vacation spots around.

We’ve rounded up local’s picks for the best foods, restaurants, bars, and upcoming events across this ocean-side town.  Whether you’re looking for a romantic trip to the shore or a fun weekend out with friends, enjoy Ocean City’s ten-mile coastline of sandy, free beaches during the day, and we’ve got you covered for everything else.

See what’s unique at OC

If you really want to experience Ocean City right, be sure to check out these good old-fashioned food favorites, from the fries and soft-serve ice cream to the crabs and candy every Ocean City-goer has come to know and love.  These are the old-time traditions that the city is known for and that visitors keep coming back to time and again.           

Fisher’s Popcorn – located at 1 Talbot Street on the Boardwalk; http://www.fisherspopcorn.com/

Head to Fisher’s Popcorn for a bucket-sized helping of caramelized popcorn, or any of the other gourmet popcorn flavors Fisher’s has been serving up since 1937.  It’s a perfect souvenir of the beach to bring back to coworkers or friends, but be warned, it’s so good you just might want it all for yourself.

Thrasher’s French Fries – located at The Pier, at 2nd St & Boardwalk, and at 8th St & Boardwalk; http://www.thrashersfrenchfries.com/

Since 1929 Ocean City visitors have walked and biked up and down the wooden boardwalk for rides, arcade games, and for the original Thrasher’s Fries.  A staple in OC, try them with vinegar for a local twist or enjoy them just as they are.  You’re sure to love them.

Dumser’s Dairyland and Kohrs Brother’s Frozen Custard – Dumser’s located at 49th St, 124th St, and three boardwalk stores; http://www.beach-net.com/dumsers/

Kohr Bros. located at 410 S. Boardwalk and 112 S. Boardwalk; http://www.kohrbros.com/index.html

When the weather gets hot, Ocean City-goers know how to cool down with a frosty treat from one of these old-school ice cream shops.  Try the traditional vanilla with chocolate swirl or switch things up with a flavor like orange creamsicle or peanut butter, or add a hand-dipped chocolate shell to any cone.

-Fractured Prune Donuts – located at 127th St, 81st St, and 28th St; http://www.fracturedprune.com/index.php

You’re on vacation, go ahead and splurge on a box of these hot decadent mini donuts hand-dipped and topped to your specifications.  With flavors like Carnival, Peppermint Patty, and Caramel Bliss it’s no wonder these donuts have earned a cult following in OC.

Salt Water Taffy – available at all Candy Kitchen locations; http://www.candykitchens.com/

Call it old-fashioned, but good old salt-water taffy is one treat that will never go out of style down in OC.  With a Candy Kitchen on nearly every block, be sure to stop in to try some of the classic candy while you’re there, and feel yourself drift back in time.

Maryland Steamed Blue Crabs – available at numerous crab houses on the coast, such as The Crab Bag at 130th St; http://www.thecrabbag.com/; or Higgins Crab House on 31st St and 128th St; http://www.higginscrabhouse.com/

You wouldn’t be in Maryland without their famous crabs, and there’s no better time to try out the odd delicacy than at the beach.  Crab Bag and Higgins are among the best spots for local crabs, with their picnic bench seating and plenty of alternative entrees for the non-crab enthusiast.

Best OC Restaurants

That takes us right into the question on most vacationers’ minds: where to go for dinner?  OC caters to all appetites, with restaurants specializing in everything from Chinese to Mexican cuisines, to the classic crabs and fresh-caught seafood the seaside town supplies locally.  Here are our picks for arguably the best restaurants in the city:

Hooked – located at 80th St; http://hookedoc.com/

Having just opened this season, Hooked joins nearby sister restaurants Just Hooked and Off the Hook in a trifecta of fine Ocean City cuisine.  The restaurant uses fresh-caught seafood and locally grown produce to create fresh and original entrees ranging from rockfish to burgers.  Fresh summer salads and flatbreads are great for starters.

Catch 54 – located off Route 54 in Fenwick Island, DE; http://www.catch54.com/

After burning down in a kitchen fire two years ago, Catch 54 is now back and fully renovated in everything from its look to menu.  A great choice for the seafood enthusiast, the beautiful space offers a view of Fenwick Island while serving up seafood stews, oysters, lobster pasta, and more. 

The Hobbit – located at 81st & Bay; http://www.thehobbitrestaurant.com/

For a special night out seek out this upscale restaurant, as enjoyable for its fine seafood entrees as it is for its wide-window bayside views of the sunset, if you catch it at the right time. 

Blue Fish Restaurant and Sushi Bar - located at 94th St; http://www.bluefishoc.com/index.html

If you’re seeking a different style of food from the rest of the city’s seafood dishes, or just need to get your sushi fix, try Blue Fish for fine Chinese and Japanese cuisine.  Available for eat-in or carryout. 

Tequila Mockingbird – located at 130th St; https://www.octequila.com/menu.php

Every night is a fiesta at the fun-loving Mexican restaurant Tequila Mockingbird on 130th St at the Montego Bay Shopping Center.  Whether you’re in the mood for a heaping burrito or fajita with a large side of guacamole, or just coming for the fun-flavored margarita fishbowls, you’re sure to have a good time.

Liquid Assets – located at 94th St; http://www.ocliquidassets.com/

If it’s a cooler night or you decide to visit OC in the off-season, we recommend this wine bar and restaurant.  The darker atmosphere combined with unique takes on classic hearty dishes, such as their crowd-pleasing gourmet grilled cheese, will warm you up in no time (and a few glasses of wine also helps).

Best OC Bars

For some of the best OC nightlife, you don’t even have to leave the restaurant.  Head to these spots for a great combination of food and bars, or stop by after dinner for drinks and often for live music.

Macky’s Bayside Bar & Grill – located at 54th St; http://www.mackys.com/

A favorite of locals and visitors alike, Macky’s offers a relaxed setting by the water to eat and drink anytime during the day or night.  If you’re just looking for drinks, stop by for happy hour, every day from 3-6pm or come by after dinner for one of their all-night themed parties.

Fager’s Island – located off of 60th St; http://www.fagers.com/

With a beautiful outdoor pier and dining section on the bay, you can watch the sunset and then stay late into the night as live bands take to the stage and turn the restaurant into a fun-loving bar-scene.

Seacrets – located at 49th St; http://seacrets.com/ocean-city-md-homepage

There’s a good reason this bar was named one of the best on the East Coast.  With over 18 bars, four stage areas, an indoor nightclub, restaurants, and extra tables and rafts right in the bay, the giant beach bar offers nonstop daytime and nighttime partying.

Other OC Attractions

So you’ve been to the beach, you’ve walked the boardwalk, you’ve tried all the local foods, and you’ve even ventured a round of mini-golf---what else is there to do?  Plenty!  Check out http://ococean.com/ for the full list of upcoming events and attractions in OC.  Otherwise, here are our top picks:

Shop at the Outlets at Tanger or Queenstown – Tanger located at 12741 Ocean Gateway; http://www.tangeroutlet.com/oceancity; Queenstown at 441 Outlet Center Drive Queenstown, MD; http://www.premiumoutlets.com/outlets/outlet.asp?id=99

When the weather’s bad or you’re heading back home, the outlets are always a fun stop.  And with summer discounts on already low prices at your favorite stores, now’s the time to shop.  From J.Crew to Banana Republic and Under Armor to Hollister, the outlets have stores for everyone whether you’re shopping for kids, men, or women.

Movies on the Beach – Mondays and Fridays at 8:30pm on 27th Street on the beach

Nowadays the beach isn’t just for tanning and reading.  Come out to lie on the sand under the stars and watch a family-friendly movie any Monday or Friday throughout the summer.  Or if the weather’s bad, head to a nearby theater, such as at the Fox Sun and Surf 8 Cinema off 143rd St or at the Fox White Marlin Theaters at 114th St to stay updated on the newest summer releases.

Local Festivals

Ocean City sponsors dozens of local festivals throughout the summer to help you get outdoors and reconnect with friends and family down at the shore.  Choose your weekend! Come down for the Greek Festival from July 29th to August 1st at the 40th street convention center and celebrate Greek heritage with traditional food and music. Or come down for the end of summer “Sunfest” from September 22nd to 25th and enjoy the end of the season with food, crafts, and popular entertainers such as The Beach Boys. 

Local Concerts

The Freeman Stage in Fenwick, DE, just a few miles past OC, features big name acts like Cheryl Crow and Pat Benatar.  Go to http://www.freemanstage.org/ to book a concert now and see all the upcoming performances.


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