The award-winning Ocean City Boardwalk is the 3 mile long, newly boarded home to Trimpers Amusements, Thrashers Fries, Jolly Roger Amusements, Fishers Popcorn, Dolles Candy, Kohl Bros. Ice Cream, Dumsers Ice Cream, Candy Kitchen, and many other businesses, attractions and eateries, both old and new. High above the boardwalk, you will see grand dame hotels like the Plim Plaza next to the newer high rises and condo buildings like the Grand Hotel, the Courtyard by Marriott, the Hilton, the Holiday Inn, the Howard Johnsons and the Days Inn. The aroma of caramel popcorn, french fries with vinegar and Old Bay, and fresh baked pizza waft through the air as children’s laughter, the click-clack of the roller coaster, calls of hawkers trying to lure you into one of the game booths, the electronic sounds of the arcade, and the horn from the boardwalk tram tooting to clear it’s path echo in the background. While strolling the boards you can buy t-shirts and gold jewelry or get your hair braided or a new henna tattoo. There are luxury hotels and fine dining as well as budget motels and casual fare. Whatever your pleasure, your Ocean City vacation isn’t complete without a stop at the famous wooden boardwalk. It’s interesting, it’s reminiscent of days gone by, and it offers lots of entertainment, shopping and dining experiences that will leave your whole family exhausted, yet still wanting more.
Ocean City Boardwalk History
The Ocean City Boardwalk dates back to 1902 when several hoteliers decided they and their guests needed a way to walk easily between their places of business while enjoying the view of the ocean. The result was a wooden walkway that was removed at high tide and stored on the hotel porches. In 1910, a more permanent boardwalk was created for the visitors and residents of Ocean City. It originally ran 5 blocks, but was extended to 15th Street the following decade. When the boardwalk was destroyed in the great storm of 1962, it was rebuilt to its current length, running from the inlet through 27th St., ending just before the Dunes Manor Hotel. In 2012, the Ocean City Boardwalk underwent a complete renovation whereby the old splintering and rotten boards were replaced with new wood, while retaining the old-fashioned feel of it’s historic past.
Ocean City Boardwalk Hotels:
Hotels, motels, condos, and even a B&B overlook the ocean along the boardwalk. The Grand Hotel & Spa, the Park Place Hotel, the Boardwalk Hotels, some of the Harrison Hotels, the Safari Motel, as well as the Dunes Manor, which sits just beyond the terminus of the boardwalk, are just a few of the oceanfront hotels you can choose for your Ocean City vacation. If you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the boardwalk, there are also numerous hotel options just off the boards on the ocean block. For a complete list of these hotels, click here. If you would like book online directly with us — and receive free money saving coupons– click here.
Ocean City Boardwalk Shops:
You can’t take more than 3 steps on the boardwalk without encountering enticing shopping options. Starting at the inlet, you will find stores that offer specialty items for your pet, museum stores, jewelry stores, many t-shirt shops, surfing stores, and much more. For a complete list of stores and shops, click here.
Ocean City Boardwalk Amusements:
The most famous boardwalk amusement can be found inside Trimper’s along the inlet parking lot. The Trimper’s Carousel has been giving children and adults rides since 1912, making it the oldest continuously operating carousel in the country! The two-tiered Herschel-Spellman Venetian style merry-go-round was built in 1902 with elaborately painted animals, both fixed and undulating, as well as benches for the young or old. All will love the mirrors, decorations, and whimsy of this beautiful icon of Americana, making it well worth the trip — and the price!
Trimper’s may be one of the main attractions, but there are also of other amusements and activities for the whole family. The old Pier Amusements is now operated by Jolly Roger and is home to many famous rides — including the Slingshot, 1001 Nights, Tornado, Looping Roller Coaster, Giant Ferris Wheel, Hurricane, Crazy Dance, Morbid Manor 3D, bumper cars, Bear Affair, Rockin’ Tug, Family Himilaya, and Ripley’s Mirror Maze. If you’re not in the mood for rides, you can enjoy the midway games or souvenir shops as you stroll along the inlet area. Ripley’s Believe it or Not, marked by the giant shark mechanically emerging from the buildings destroyed siding, caps the end of the building where Jolly Roger and Trimper’s are located. For a list of Boardwalk Shops and Businesses, click here.
Ocean City Boardwalk Restaurants & Bars:
For a dining or drinking experience you wont forget, try one of the many restaurants along the boardwalk. Starting at the inlet, you will immediately locate the Frog Bar, a bar/restaurant with a spectacular view of Assateague, the working harbor and the famous Ocean City inlet which was opened by a huge storm in 1933 and now serves as the primary gateway to the Atlantic Ocean. Harrison’s Harbor Watch is another local and visitor favorite because of it’s beautiful view of the inlet and it’s amazing raw bar — one of the best in Ocean City. Conners Beach Cafe & Sail Loft Deck Bar has an amazing view and is located in (and behind) the Park Place hotel. Boog’s Barbecue, which features former Baltimore Oriole Boog Powell’s award-winning recipes, is located along the inlet parking lot, just around the corner from the world famous Thrasher’s French Fries. Craft beer lovers can find Ocean City’s first brewery, Shorebilly Brewing Company, on 10th street and sample it’s unique local offerings that are brewed daily. For a list of boardwalk restaurants, click here and for a list of bars & nightclubs, click here.
Famous Ocean City Boardwalk Landmarks:
This oak carving of an Assateague Indian was presented to the people of Maryland by the artist, Peter Toth, in 1976. The artist has donated totem carvings to each of the 50 states over the years. The tree from which Peter carved this member of the Assateague Indian tribe, a subset of the Nanticokes who still live in this area, was over 100 years old.
United States Coast Guard Tower
Construction on this tower begain in 1934 to stand watch for the life-saving station and to watch for German U-boats during World War II. While not open to the public, this five-story structure stands sentinel to the Ocean City Inlet and adjacent to the Ocean City Life Saving Museum.
Ocean City Life Saving Museum
Take a tour of the Ocean City Life-Saving Station Museum for an exciting look at Ocean City’s unique history. The original life-saving station was built in 1878 between North Division Street and Caroline Street. In 1890-1891 a larger building was constructed in front of the original station, which was used to house a life-saving boat. After being abandoned mid-century, the building was slated for demolition, but was saved in 1977 and moved to its current location. It was carefully restored and now houses museum exhibits that portray the history of the U.S. Life-Saving Service and the history of the town. The interior retains much of the original trim features including the beaded board walls and ceiling. There is an admission fee. Exhibits include:
- The Boardwalk of Yesterday,
- Davy Jones’ Locker
- Sands of the World
- Surf’s Up!
- Aquariums featuring local marine life
Ocean City Pier Building
This building which was constructed in 1926 where it replaced a building finished 1907. The second floor was originally a ballroom. The original building contained a dancing pavilion, skating rink, bowling alleys, pool room, and refreshment booths.