This article was updated on 6/7/18 –ed.
It’s that time of year again. The rumbling of Blue Angels and WWII bombers will be constant in Ocean City this weekend, but it’s a great price to pay to see fancy aerial feats over the beach. Heading into its 11th year, the OC Air Show will include the B-2 Spirit, a strategic bomber with stealth technology, U.S. Air Force F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, a C-17 Globemaster III, a P-51 Quicksilver Mustang demo, Para-Commandos and more.
Before tailgating the spectacular plane show, you should consider where you’re going to watch it – and how you’re going to get there. Remember, parking on Baltimore Avenue from 12th Street to 20th Street is going to be closed off on Thursday evening this year instead of Friday morning.
1. The Pier
This one might need some strategic planning and early wake-up calls, but from the fishing pier provides a beautiful perspective of the Atlantic Ocean on a good day. Imagine what it’ll be like with those planes screaming past you while you’re standing literally on top of the ocean! You might want to bring your own shade with this option though.
2. The beach near Ninth Street
The air show is designed for the beach crowd, so of course anywhere on the Boardwalk is a perfect spot. What makes this area so crucial is that it has a comfort station. Presto! No long walks to bathrooms or begging Boardwalk shop owners to use theirs for free. Parking around this area might be congested though, so consider taking the Ocean City bus for $3.
3. On the water
Not a fan of crowds and annoyed by parking logistics? Skip the land route and just go straight to the ocean. Instead of rubbing elbows with complete strangers, you can be a little choosier with your guests and maybe squeeze in a little fishing in between. Hopefully they won’t get scared by the Bombers! Bring a boat or take a trip to one of Ocean City’s several marinas to get a more secluded air show experience. Check out the regulations on where you can drop anchor before you set sail this weekend.
4. Private party in a condo
For a different angle and for a full weekend trip, consider getting the gang together and renting a room someplace. There’s dozens of hotels on the boards or facing the beach – all you really need in this case is good friends and balcony. Better yet, you can crack open a cold one here and not worry OCPD coming after you for violating open container laws.
5. West Ocean City
When the Thunderbirds practice is subject to when they arrive in town, but if you’re lucky, you’ll be able to catch their practice which usually occurs sometime on the Friday before the show. You can usually catch them practicing in West Ocean City, and West O restaurants like the Shrimp Boat and the new MAD Fish make for perfect viewing spots.
6. The Drop Zone
My favorite place to be for OC Air Show weekend! On the beach around 14th Street and 15th Street, jump teams parachute in this area. For $22 passes, visitors also get less crowded experience, professional narration and enhanced sound in this area. Also included are portable bathrooms and food vendors. But most importantly, you’re right in the center of the action. To buy tickets, visit the OC Air Show site here.
Before you pick a place and cruise into town, better plan for traffic! Ocean City Police are warning residents and visitors to expect traffic delays and congestion on June 17-18 from the Route 50 Bridge north to 33rd Street from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.