In Ocean City, especially during the summertime, it’s nearly impossible to be bored. But even though there’s always something going on here in OC, the best way to see your vacation reach its fullest potential is to explore the peninsula a little bit and discover the beauty of Ocean City’s surrounding regions.
If you’re only in town for the weekend, you might not want to venture outside the 2.25 miles of the boardwalk. That’s understandable. However, if your stay is a bit longer or you’re planning an upcoming vacation, try stepping outside your comfort zone for a day, or even just a few hours–there are nearby beaches, islands and historic towns that are just a hop, skip and a jump (or: bike ride, drive or a boat ride) away. We’ll start with some of the popular spots for day-tripping in Maryland, then move on to Virginia and Delaware (those are still close too, I promise).
If you feel like venturing away from the barrier island for an adventure, Ocean City is only minutes away from the scenic Assateague National Seashore, where you can spend a day hiking or kayaking while immersed in nature and wildlife.
Of course, the Assateague beach is beautiful too, just wilder. In fact, OC and Assateague were once the same island, until the infamous storm of 1933 formed the present-day Ocean City Inlet and separated the two beaches. Now, Ocean City is known as the more bustling tourist’s beach, while Assateague is the home of about 150 wild ponies and a favorite of all nature lovers.
Say hello to the horses, catch some rays and then go kayaking on the bayside. You can check out this and other Worcester County Parks by clicking here.
Berlin and Snow Hill
The historic towns of Berlin and Snow Hill both sit miles from Ocean City and offer unique antique shopping and small town dining opportunities.
We’ve said it a thousand times, but it’s worth repeating that Berlin is still, to many, America’s Coolest Small Town. From exploring the town’s abundant art scene to checking out the antique stores and other local businesses, there’s lots to do in Berlin.
Snow Hill is another great little town, located on the south banks of the Pocomoke River with ample opportunities to shop or enjoy nature. It’s also the home of Furnace Town, an outdoor museum that gives visitors the authentic experience of being in a 19th century village, and it’s well worth the day trip.
The Furnace Town Living Heritage Village in Snow Hill is one of my favorite spots for a day trip from Ocean City. The recreated 19th century town should be a mandatory stop for all history buffs, as this little piece of Eastern Shore history is a super engaging educational opportunity for adults and kids alike.
Shopping mall? Check. Abundant restaurants? Check. A Maryland University of National Distinction, just in case you decide you love the town so much that you want to spend two to four years there earning your degree? Check.
If that’s not enough for you, Salisbury is also home to the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art, an internationally renowned museum with the world’s largest collection of decorative and antique decoys, as well as the free Salisbury Zoo.
Travel down Route 113 far enough, and you’ll find yourself on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. But don’t cross that state line right away-first, make sure you stop to experience all the beauty and charm that is Pocomoke City, Maryland. It’s possible you’ve only ever heard the town referred to as “Pocomoke,” because that’s what most locals call it.
Pocomoke is a riverfront town that is home to the Delmarva Discovery Center–a museum dedicated to all things local culture. Art is always worth exploring, so you can download the Beach & Beyond Art Guide to start your artistic wanderings. Pocomoke City is dubbed “the friendliest town on the Eastern Shore,” so don’t be afraid to stop by!
Tangier and Smith Islands
Tangier and Smith Islands are some of the only inhabited offshore islands in Maryland and both offer amazing experiences in their own right. Board a ferry in Crisfield (about an hour from OC) and take a scenic cruise, rent some kayaks or feast on some of the best crabcakes and seafood known to man. If you make it to Smith Island, don’t forget to indulge in a Smith Island Cake, Maryland’s official state dessert.
Tangier Island is actually located in Virginia, so here we’ll segway into the fun, nearby day trips available in the “va” part of “Delmarva.”
Ocean City is just a short drive from the NASA Flight Facility at Wallops Island, which is one of only four major rocket launch sites in the US.
Chincoteague Island is a gateway to Assateague (the southern third of Assateague is actually in Virginia), so that means that there are ponies here, too, and even an annual Pony Swim, where thousands of spectators have been gathering for almost 100 years to watch the wild horses take to the water.
Chincoteague also offers cruises, a thriving fishing scene and even hang gliding. The island itself is gorgeous, so it’s definitely worth checking out all of their dining, shopping and lodging options.
And now for Delaware, the first third of “Delmarva.”
Bethany, Dewey and Rehoboth Beach
Travel down Coastal Highway far enough and you’ll soon find yourself in Bethany, then Dewey and then Rehoboth Beach. Each of these beaches is a unique experience in its own right, and each has phenomenal options for shopping and dining and, of course, beach. Instead of rambling on about how all three of these beaches would make for a super fun day trip, I’ll just lead you to our Coastal Delaware guide for more information.
Other things to do
If you feel like staying local, the Casino at Ocean Downs is located right in Ocean Pines, just a short drive through West Ocean City away. At the casino, you’ll find over 800 slots, video and virtual games and live horse racing.
If craft beer is your pleasure, the Ocean City area is home to nearly 21 craft beer breweries, so grab a designated driver or hop on a bus to tour and taste the best beers on the Shore.
If you don’t mind jumping in the car to check out some world class beauty, then check out the scenic byways that traverse our county and the Delmarva Peninsula.
With so much activity, natural beauty, and fascinating culture located around Ocean City, the day trip possibilities are practically endless. Below you will find information and ideas to help guide your next day trip from Ocean City.
Day Trips from Ocean City