I have many good friends who vacation on an annual basis in “The Outer Banks of North Carolina.” I always ask them why they bother to travel 5- 6 hours when Ocean City is less than 3 hours away. The answer always is, “Oh, Ocean City is so crowded, and it’s so beautiful down there.”
I have been going to OC every summer forever, and I worked there 3 summers in the ’70’s. My answer to them is always the same, “you guys are dead wrong.” I too have been to the “Outer Banks,” the beaches are indeed beautiful, but the rest of it is BORING! I live for the beach, but when the sun goes down, it nice to have CHOICES.
Yes, the wonderful thing about Ocean City is you get choices. If you want a Coney Island atmosphere, when you come off the Rt. 90 bridge into town, turn right and head for the boardwalk. If you want a more Miami Beach type atmosphere, turn left and head for condo row. Or perhaps, might you want to spend time in both environments. Ocean City gives you the option. As for the crowds, I know from personal experience that even at the height of the season you can always find a beach (mostly in the north end) that is uncrowded, and just as beautiful as anything you find in “Et
partem septentrionalem Carolina.”
If you feel like being pretentious and ostentatious, there are plenty of places in Ocean City where you can feel right at home. If you like motorcycles and are in the market for a tattoo, again, there are myriad establishments to assist you. The same goes for eating establishments. Haute Cusine is available everywhere, but so is pizza, funnel cake, boardwalk fries, ice cream type creations, and as Bruce Springsteen like to say, “cold beer at reasonable prices.” Finally, if you are religious about your hard-shell crabs (the ones in Carolina are lousy) Ocean City is Mecca!
The major point is this, where else can you throw an umbrella and beach chair into a car, leave Baltimore, Philly or DC and in less 180 minutes be pulling up in a FREE parking space by the ocean? In addition, once you decide to leave the beach you can hop on a bus and for practically nothing head off to go fishing, ice skating, parasailing, riding a ferris wheel, or kayaking on the bay. Then again, you might not want to do any of those things. You might want to stay on the beach, and revel in the fact while you are enjoying the outer banks of Maryland, your friends are stuck in their cars heading for a place much further away and not nearly has much fun. As Harry Kelley, the late, great Mayor of Ocean City used to always say, “Ocean City is only half a tank away.” Guess what folks, it still is (and the Outer Banks is not).