From Sunsets to Surfing: 10 Free Things to Do in Ocean City, Maryland

When it comes to outdoor activities in Ocean City, there’s no shortage of things to do, and you don’t always need to spend a lot of money to enjoy them. From watching stunning sunsets to catching some waves on a surfboard, here are 10 free activities to try during your visit to Ocean City.

Watch a Sunset at Northside Park.

Danny Ivancich – Sunset at Northside Park

Northside Park is one of the best places in Ocean City to watch the sunset. The park is located on the bay side in North Ocean City and is best known as the location for Winterfest of Lights.  The view from here is simply breathtaking. Enjoy the facilities with indoor gyms, classes, team play and more and then pack a picnic and enjoy the sunset with your loved ones.

Take a Walk on the Boardwalk

Plan to walk the boards in Ocean City. It’s a great way to enjoy the resort without spending a dime – unless you want to, of course!

Ocean City’s iconic boardwalk is a must-visit spot. The boardwalk is more than two miles long, and it’s the perfect place to take a leisurely stroll or a bike ride. You can also check out the street performers, grab some snacks, or just people-watch.

Visit Assateague Island National Seashore

Lots of surfers enjoy Assateague when the waves are good – and even when they are not

Assateague Island is a beautiful barrier island just a short drive from Ocean City. The island is home to wild ponies, and you can also enjoy the beach, hiking trails, and wildlife watching.  The State beach has camping, concession stands and shower rooms while the National Seashore has bathrooms and camping options.  Check out our Assateague Guide for more information.  

Catch Some Waves 

Surfing in Ocean City is a fun way to spend the day.

Ocean City is a popular spot for surfing, and there are several beaches where you can catch some waves. Bring your own board or rent one from a local surf shop and hit the waves.

Explore the Ocean City Center for the Arts

With a chandelier by Jeffery Auxer in Berlin to constantly changing shows, and multiple gallery spaces, the Art League is a must see, is open 7 days a week, and it costs nothing to visit.

The Ocean City Art League’s gallery is located in North Ocean City, Maryland, and it’s a must-visit spot for art lovers. The gallery is housed inside the Ocean City Center for the Arts,  a beautiful building that’s located on the bay.  Just look for the water tower with their logo on the bayside at 94th Street.  Turn there and head to the bay where you will see their building on the right.  Step inside and you’ll find a wide variety of artwork created by local artists. The gallery is spacious and features multiple rooms filled with paintings, sculptures, photographs, and other types of artwork. The pieces on display are rotated regularly and they host a First Friday reception each month so there’s always something new and interesting to see.

In addition to the artwork on display, the gallery also hosts a variety of events throughout the year, such as artist receptions, lectures, and demonstrations. These events provide a great opportunity to meet local artists and learn more about their work.

Overall, the Ocean City Art League’s gallery is a wonderful place to visit for anyone who appreciates art. Whether you’re a seasoned collector or simply enjoy admiring beautiful artwork, you’re sure to find something to love in this vibrant gallery.

Take a Hike

pine tree in the pocomoke river state park
You can find big pine trees in the Pocomoke River State Park which is not far from Ocean City.

Worcester County is not only home to Ocean City, but is also home to many parks and trails where you can escape from the crowds and the noise and it costs you absolutely nothing.  You can find information on Worcester County here and many of the free things to do near Ocean City, Maryland here.

Go Fishing

a family fishing in Ocean City MD
Michelle Baker Trombetta
– A dad fishing with his girls off the shore at 18th street

There are lots of ways to fish in Ocean City where it doesn’t cost any money.  You will need a fishing license for surf fishing and fishing from the bridge, docks or boats.  If a boat has a license, it covers everybody on the boat.  However, there are a few places to fish in Ocean City without a license:  

  •  the “Oceanic Pier” or “Ocean Pier” as they have a Blanket Pier License.
  • The bulkhead from 2nd to 4th Street (Chicago Ave) and
  • the Northside Park at 125th Street.

According to the Town’s website, “You do not need a license in these two places but you do need a “free registry”. This is free and can also be done over the phone during daytime hours of 7am-7pm at 1-855-855-3906. If you go fishing on a party or charter boat you do not need a license or free registry. You can also go crabbing and clamming in Ocean City without a license.”

Visit the Ocean City Beach

Aerial view in Ocean City Md
Miles of beach are free and fun to walk on.          

Of course, no trip to Ocean City is complete without a visit to the beach. The town has ten miles of beautiful beaches, and there’s no fee to access them. Just pack a beach towel, sunscreen, and enjoy the sun and the waves.  The beach is fun and free in wild weather too.  Watch the waves, feel the wind and sand beat against you, but get off the beach if you see lighting or hear thunder!

Watch the Wild Ponies on Assateague Island

Assateague ponies
You can see the ponies on Assateague from Ocean City if you are really lucky.
Wild Horses at Assateague
The wild ponies of Assateague Island

If you’re visiting Assateague Island which we mentioned above, be sure to keep an eye out for the wild ponies that roam the island. You can often see them grazing or taking a dip in the ocean.  There is an entrance fee to get onto Assateague, but you can buy an annual pass and visit often which keeps your cost low.  Details are available here.  You can also see them from Ocean City by looking across the inlet.

Take a Bike Ride

Bicycles on the Ocean City Boardwalk
Ride with your friends on the Ocean City boardwalk. It’s free and fun.

Riding your bike on the boardwalk is fun and free, but be sure to follow the rules regarding hours that bikes are allowed on the boards.  You can find that information in the FAQs on this site.

These are just a few of the many free outdoor activities you can enjoy in Ocean City. Whether you’re a beach bum or an adventure seeker, there’s something for everyone in this beautiful seaside town. So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your Ocean City vacation today and get ready to explore!

Ann has been with StateVentures since 1999. She moved from Annapolis to Berlin, MD to be closer to Ocean City. She splits her work week between the two locations to help clients and visitors get the best information and value out of our sites. She loves a camera and any excuse to use it.  Her kids are both grown and off adventuring.  Ann loves to travel with her kids and lives with her dog Marley when she's not in Virginia fishing.


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