Let’s take a trip back to mid-century Ocean City. Because when you take a walk down Ocean City’s Motel Row — from around 15th to 33rd street — you can, to this day, feel like you just stepped out of a time machine.
Mid-Century Motel Mania
After World War II, motels took hold in the U.S. and offered travelers inexpensive lodging where they could pull their cars right up to the door and spend a night or two in an air-conditioned room. Sometimes they’d even come equipped with a color TV, or all the class and comfort of the Magic Fingers vibrating bed!
The motel industry peaked in 1964 with 61,000 motels operating throughout the country. As of 2012, however, there were only 16,000 motel properties still in commission. While motels aren’t nearly as in-demand as they once were, Ocean City, Maryland is a town lucky enough to still have beautifully retro, mid-century modern/Art-Deco style motels open and ready for your reservations.
The first properties to hit Ocean City’s Motel Row — the Sea Scape, the Surf and Sands, the Santa Maria and the Stowaway — were built in the mid-1950s and, unfortunately, have all since been replaced with newer accommodations. However, a number of motels built soon after those original four are still standing in south Ocean City today.
Some of the motels pictured below look like they came right out of a history book, but they’re ready for you to make your reservations now in 2018. Staying in a decades-old Ocean City motel isn’t a bad way to enjoy all the aesthetic draws of a mid-century building with all the conveniences of the 21st century.
Kristin is a writer and photographer in Ocean City, Maryland, and is the content manager for OceanCity.com and other State Ventures, LLC sites. She loves getting reader-submitted stories and photos, so send her an email anytime. She also works part-time at the Art League of Ocean City and the Ocean City Film Festival and lives just off the peninsula with her dog and fiancé. Her photos can be found on Instagram @oc_kristin.