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Overview of Ocean City, MD
Ocean City, Maryland is about 9 miles long, extending from the inlet to the Delaware border. There is a lot packed into this 9 miles and if you know where to go, you can find exactly what you are looking for, from deserted beaches to the excitement of rides, entertainment, and shopping. Ocean City is expanding across the bridge, too, so for some, West Ocean City is a great choice. We will start with the island first.
Downtown Ocean City
When you think downtown, most people think of the Ocean City Boardwalk which runs from the inlet to to the end of the boardwalk between 27th Street and 28th Street. The more activity you want, the farther south you want to stay. The downtown area has lots to offer on the bayside including fishing charters, jet-ski rentals, and fabulous bars and restaurants. Check out the Angler where you can get the best Goombay Smash in town, a fresh seafood dinner, and you can add a sunset cruise for only $5 per person.
Oceanside, you will find the 3 mile long Ocean City Boardwalk with its rides and arcades as well as many oceanfront hotels, apartments, and shops. The only local brewery actually in Ocean City, Backshore Brewing, is on the Boardwalk at 10th Street.
Midtown Ocean City
If you want to get away from the crowds enjoying the famous Ocean City Boardwalk, but you still want to be close enough to access the boardwalk, Midtown Ocean City is for you. You will find some of the most popular restaurants and bars in this stretch. Running from 28th Street, to the Route 90 bridge at 62nd Street, midtown Ocean City is a popular location for people who like some activity, but don’t want the downtown crowds. One exception for those looking for activity in midtown Ocean City is Seacrets, Jamaica USA. Home to a restaurant, night-club, and even a distillery with over $1 million in relevant antiques and memorabilia from the Prohibition era, Seacrets is a destination in itself if you want live music, a great bay view, and lots to do. The Ocean City Convention Center is at 40th Street and is home to many large meetings and conventions as well as the Ocean City Performing Arts Center. There is ample parking here most of the time.
North Ocean City
Known as “Condo Row” because it boasts the highest concentration of condos and vacation rentals in town, North Ocean City is the quietest place to stay in Ocean City. Running from the Route 90 bridge to the Delaware line, this is the best area if you want a quieter family vacation. There are still plenty of hotels and a variety of restaurants, but the wilder party locations and entertainment venues are mostly farther south. Entertainment is family oriented and the biggest park in Ocean City is Northside Park at 125th Street. You can also catch the OC Bay Hopper water taxi to travel around Ocean City without having to drive. Buses are another good way to travel and keep your car parked.
West Ocean City
Route 50 crosses into Ocean City at the southern end and bridges the area of West Ocean City and downtown. A long boardwalk runs along Route 50 for people who want to travel safely by bike or foot.
Long overlooked, West Ocean City is home to a growing number of hotels and restaurants. You may be able to find slightly less expensive hotel options on the West OC side of the bridge. Many stay in West Ocean City because it has the best access to Assateague Island, home of the world-famous wild ponies, sika deer, and white-tailed deer. On Assateague, people love to fish and enjoy the wide-open beaches more reminiscent of the Outer Banks in North Carolina.
West Ocean City is home to the only outlet mall at the beaches in Maryland. There is a new movie theater and lots of shopping options in a relatively small area. Dining options have expanded as well. There is a drive-through Starbucks, a Chick-fil-A, and several chain options. In addition, you have one of the most popular crab houses located at the foot of the Route 50 bridge which is also home to jet-ski rentals and parasailing options. There are go-carts, paintball, and other entertainment offerings.
West Ocean City is home to a working waterfront where you can watch daily catches of fish and shellfish coming back to dock. Consequently you can find great bars and restaurants here offering waterviews and some of the best fresh seafood options in all of Ocean City.
The West Ocean City Park & Ride is owned by the Town of Ocean City and is where visitors can park for free and take the bus into Ocean City. Greyhound buses drop passengers here as do other bus services in the region.
Berlin is only 8 miles from Ocean City and is home to a downtown dominated by historic brick buildings, many fabulous restaurants, Burley Oak Brewing Company, a meadery, and many shops. You can easily spend hours walking Main Street and browsing through the stores. Berlin is a popular filming location for Hollywood and movie-goers will recognize scenes from Runaway Bride and Tuck Everlasting.