The leaves are changing color, the summer crowds have thinned out and the sand is cold beneath your feet – it’s autumn in Ocean City. It’s the perfect time of year to experience everything the town has to offer, now with just with a slight chill in the air (and did I mention that the crowds have thinned out?). Summer may be the reigning season for free family activities, but there’s still plenty to do come fall. Why not book yourself a hotel room at an off-season rate and come enjoy the festivities many of which you can do with little expense?
Take a photo adventure on Assateague
Treating myself out to a day of photo adventuring for an off-season afternoon on Assateague. First off, because it is so nice to get out to the ocean, even when it is chilly. Second off, because it is a great excuse to parlay the day at the beach into a Happy Hour Adventure.
Celebrate the end of one season and the start of the next at Sunfest, an Ocean City tradition that’s over 40 years old. Enjoy live entertainment, local food and vendors, games for the whole family, and hopefully copious amounts of sunshine. Be sure to check out Sunfest’s Kite Festival while you’re there, and see hundreds of colorful kites soaring across the sky.
If you’re 18 or older, you can participate in this treasure hunt and dig up prizes like jewelry, diamonds, gemstones and gift certificates. Registration is free with a donation to Believe in Tomorrow’s Children Foundation.
As evidenced by our last photo contest on Instagram (share your favorite #ocoffseason photo to win tickets to OC Screams), just because tourist season is over doesn’t mean there’s nothing left to do in Ocean City. The so-called “off season,” is, in my opinion, the best time to visit.
Sunset Park overlooking Assawoman Bay will once again be the setting for a fabulous Shore Craft Beer celebration of the local breweries who are producing world class beer. You can’t beat the beauty…
Great Pumpkin Race
If you’re bringing your dog to Ocean City, you’ll want to make sure they have just as much fun on vacation as you do. The dog playground on 94th street is the only outdoor area within town limits where dogs are allowed off-leash on public property, and it’s also the only dog park within a 25-mile radius.
Build your own race car and then bring it to the boardwalk to compete in a festive downhill race, followed by an awards ceremony where prizes are awarded in each division for speed and creativity.
Everyone loves a good spook-out. Bring the family (in costume!) for a day of hayrides, games and arts and crafts at Northside Park.
After Halloween, celebrate the holiday season a little early:
Winterfest of Lights
11/16 – 12/31
It’s never too early for Winterfest of Lights – this year, the show starts in mid-November, so after you grab a steaming cup of hot cocoa, hop in a trolley to see the elaborate light displays blinking along to classic holiday tunes. Admission is free for kids 11 and younger.
Those of you who don’t know are welcome to swing by Northside Park or check out the photos of the annual Ocean City Christmas Parade, but you also might just take my word for it: Ocean City is really into Christmas. The people and institutions enjoy it as an event as much as as a holiday.
More lights! Plus vendors, tree lighting, kids’ crafts, games and prizes, gift drawings, and maybe even an appearance from Santa Clause himself.
Holiday Shopper’s Fair
11/24 – 11/26
Get your holiday shopping out of the way at the Shopper’s Fair, where you can find unique gifts for your family and friends or just come for the kids’ activities and a photo-op with Santa.
Details for these events, as well as a complete free and ticketed event listing, can be found here.