Ocean City is filled with tradition, in fact, it kind of is made up of an admixture of tradition, nostalgia and a love for the beach. People have their favorite places to visit for when they come to town and their favorite foods and things to do. When a trip to Ocean City is based around a holiday, though, the tradition and nostalgia aspects are highlighted all the more.
1. Make a New Tradition, or Celebrate an Old One
Building and Ocean City Thanksgiving tradition is a relatively easy thing to do. It starts, as it always must, with planning a meal. There are two ways of doing Thanksgiving, going out or staying in. For people who are more the staying in types, many of the better hotels have packages that include dinner. Lots of local restaurants are open as well, but whether you’re staying at the hotel or just coming to dinner, you should check this out:
2. Winterfest, obviously
It would be a shame to let the Thanksgiving weekend come and go without spending some time in the Winter Wonderland created by the town as part of its Winterfest Village. Even if you can’t make it down for Thanksgiving, Winterfest experience alone is worth the trip, but there’s no need to miss it if you’re in town for the holiday. Get some cocoa, take a train ride, meet the big guy. You know, the usual.
A Winterfest Excursion – Things to Do in Ocean City Maryland It was a cold night as we drove along the Route 90 into Ocean City. From the bridge, you could see the array of lights set along the coastline, illuminating the buildings all around town.
3. Expand your Thanksgiving Menu
Thanksgiving or not, you really should include fish in your meal, especially here. Joe from the Shrimp Boat stays open during the holidays to deliver (or have people pick up) some of their favorite seafood. Is oyster dressing a big part of your dinner, for example? It’s a pretty significant tradition among some of the watermen. Shrimp, obviously, is something people love when entertaining. The point is, if fish isn’t part of your tradition you can make it one. If it is, we know a guy:
Summer has been winding down for months and as we approach November, Joe White still is keeping busy serving crowds at the Shrimp Boat. Traditionally there have been peaks and valleys in Ocean City, with insanely busy summers followed by deadish falls and winter doldrums, but that hasn’t been White’s experience in recent years.
4. Get out and enjoy all nature has to offer
It is so quiet on the beach during Thanksgiving. That means it is a great time to get out and do some exploring, maybe have a photo adventure or just walk along and enjoy the quiet.
What follows is a photoblog by reader Kandi Stuller. She was in town for Thanksgiving and was kind enough to share some of the photos she took by the beach. Many of these are stunning. Every so often we publish a collection of photos from different reader’s submissions but this is the first time we’ve run so many of just one photographer.
5. Find a new place to stay
People with summer homes in the area often come to town as a last great hurrah. They have their Thanksgiving celebration, pack up the house for the winter and spend one last family weekend of reverie at the house. If a house at the beach is something on your shortlist, maybe now is the time to start checking it out.
It’s time to make your favorite vacation spot your home. Ocean City proves false the old adage “the grass is always greener on the other side” because, well, the grass here really is greener. The shine doesn’t dull once you put down roots here – in fact, you’ll probably come to realize that it only …
…And one reason to visit OceanCity.com
If you’re out of town but wish you weren’t, you can connect with other Ocean City lovers on our Forum. Recently we were talking about traditions there, so feel free to join the conversation.
Your family has probably created their own traditions without even realizing it, but if you’re an OC newbie, it’s never too late–in the year, in life, or in general–to start making those special Ocean City memories.
This article was originally published on Nov. 3, 2017 and was updated for the 2019 season –ed.