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It’s never too late to start your Ocean City traditions

Your family has probably created their own traditions without even realizing it, but if you’re an OC newbie, it’s never too late–in the year, in life, or in general–to start making those special Ocean City memories. 

Once in a while I like to peruse our Ocean City forum, sometimes going back through years and years of old threads to find something interesting or something that’ll spark an idea for a story that would be relevant today. 

Of course, we’ve been in the so-called off-season for one or two months now (depending on how you define “off”). There’s less happening here, and sadly that means there’s also less to write about. But sometimes, when I’m deep into forum threads of yesteryear, I find stories by Ocean City lovers that have already been written. 

To keep that “Ocean City” part of your heart warm during these cold winter months, here are some OC-centered traditions, old and new, unique or relatively common, that were shared by forum users back in 2014. These are just a few of theirs. What are yours?

(Nothing says ‘nostalgia’ quite like a vintage OC, MD postcard.)

 Off to the (horse) races

When I was in my early teens, my dad used to take me over to Rosecroft Raceway (later named Delmarva Downs and now Ocean Downs). I started buying a race program early in the morning and studied the races. I used to have a blast having my dad bet on races for me. I think the most I ever won was $30, which was a big night for a 14 year old in the mid/late 80s. For the last two years, my family has started going back to the track. My 11 and 14 year old sons have had fun betting on the horses with me. Lately, that has been our tradition. –Britt4duke

Obligatory donut stop

…Now it’s just the wife and I and our youngest (he’s 10), so many of our “traditions” have slowly fallen by the by the wayside. One thing we’ve been able to salvage, though, is our tradition of making our last stop in town for Layton’s donuts! Generally we have about half of ’em eaten before we hit the MD/PA line, and finish the rest of ’em up after we unload the luggage. –DeanM

Decades of camping out

I nearly forgot about our longest tradition. Camping at Assateague. Something I did with my family all the way back to 1970. I was so glad when my wife put her foot down in 1999 and said no more family trips to the racetrack. We’ve been camping there as a family since 1999 and have built up so many great memories. –flaggerjohn

A night spent shopping

One somewhat odd tradition that my family and I used to have when I was growing up was taking an evening and hitting the malls uptown. This started in the summer of 1989 when I was eight and we stayed at a condo called Discovery off 94th St. We would go to the Ocean Plaza Mall and Gold Coast Mall. Each mall had good bookstores, baseball card shops and a Dollar Store. Sometimes my father and I would go to baseball card shows at the Ocean Plaza Mall. 

When we started staying in West OC in 1993, we still took a night to go uptown to the malls for an evening. This tradition lasted for all of my week long family trips, the last being in 2001. The Ocean Plaza Mall closed soon after. 

However, in the summer of 2007, my folks and I stopped by the Gold Coast Mall one night after having dinner at the Fenwick Crab House. It was in the high 90s at 9 p.m., and was actually too hot for the Boardwalk. —Kds53098

Takeout, rides and a trip to the museum

When we were just coming as visitors – at least one night was takeout from Phillips and another from English’s (now closed). The boardwalk at least a couple of times – Dad would go play bingo and Mom and I did the rides. Several nights we did dinner out – and always tried at least one new restaurant each visit. At least one time we would also stop at the Lifesaving Station Museum at the Inlet to check out the new exhibits. Dad moved back to OC for good in ’82 and I’m still in the area, but I lost both my parents last year – so now I’m getting ready to start someone else’s Ocean City memories & traditions as I get the condo ready to rent – I hope! –ML

Be sure to share your own unique (–or relatively-common-but-special-nonetheless) traditions with us! 

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.

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