Imagine yourself seaside. There’s the unmistakable scent of sea salt, hot sand and coconut lotion in the air. Gulls are crying out overhead for your charity. Crashing waves and splashing children drown out the sound of short-wave radios signaling from nearby beach blankets. Adults hand out folded-over sandwiches and water bottles from flip-top coolers to soaked, exhausted and sun-kissed children. And among them, at the back of the beach, floating high above tourists and locals alike, colorful streaks whisk over the breeze, setting the sky alight with bright displays of aerodynamic drama.
If you spent any family vacations seaside, you probably have memories of not only flying a kite but picking it out as well. I certainly do, though the selection in the eighties was nothing like it is today. No matter the interest or hobby, there’s a kite design to capture it. Whether you’re in it for height, spins or just for fun, The Kite Loft is an awe-inspiring playland for these high-flying favors.
The Kite Loft has been part of the Ocean City community since 1975, when the first shop opened on the boards. Since then, they’ve become the premier name in kites. In addition, the stores feature home décor like flags, spinners and garden accessories. Kids will also be in heaven, since the majority of the shop’s shelves are covered with toys, souvenirs and keepsakes to take home.
Forget the shelves, though, because a single glance upward will instantly divert your attention to what The Kite Loft does best: kites. They’re on every inch of every wall, brightening the space into a kaleidoscope of whimsical creatures and themes. Animals, cartoon characters, pirate flags, dinosaurs, mermaids, performance flyers; you name it, they have it. And staff was more than happy to provide ones located a little lower to the ground to inspect and purchase.
From its humble beginnings on a side street off the ocean in downtown Ocean City, Maryland, The Kite Loft now boasts two kite shop retail stores in Ocean City MD, with its headquarters on 5th Street on the Boardwalk.
You will have to bob and weave a bit as you navigate the store. Many of the kites, home décor items and wall hangings have dangling bits, making the shop a jungle of colorful vines to navigate. When you’re surrounded by giggling, excited kids, though, it’s no hardship. And I couldn’t resist playing with the flashing key chains, squeeze toys and dancing figurines right along with them.
Though the shops are seasonal in operating hours, with the boardwalk location open President’s Day weekend into November, The Kite Loft will open its doors for anyone at anytime of year, if you call them. Imagine gifting a trip to the ocean to a child and giving them their first kite as a symbol of anticipation for the trip to come. This kind of service and selection is what you can expect at The Kite Loft.
There are two locations to visit, each with their own stock and supply. The smaller store is located at 67th Street on Coastal Highway, on the southbound side. The larger flagship shop is located on the boardwalk at 5th Street. It’s a beautiful white home nestled between two tan hotels. You can’t miss it; it’s the shop decorated stem to stern with waving flags, flying kites and garden spinners.
And if you see an older-than-average flyer with an otter kite, struggling on the dunes to get it aloft, that’d be me.