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Ocean City

Ocean City, Maryland Regulations and Ordinances

It is important that while on your vacation in Ocean City, Maryland that you know the rules of the town. From beach rules to alcohol regulations to pet policies, here is a list of some of the most important information regarding what is and isn’t allowed in the town.


As of May 2015, Ocean City offers Designated Smoking & Non-Smoking areas along the beach. The Boardwalk is a smoke-free zone, which means no smoking or vaping. Designated smoking areas on the beach have waste receptacles, and smoking/vaping must be contained within 15 feet of each receptacle.


  • Use of the beach is free; no beach tags needed, and is open to the public 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. No private vehicles are permitted on the beach at any time. Off road passes are available for Assateague Island.
  • No ball-playing or Frisbee-throwing of any kind  between 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily from May 30 to September 15, by Town Ordinance. This goes for kite flying as well.
  • Sleeping on the beach is absolutely prohibited between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.
  • No one is allowed on the beach or in the water between 12:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m.
  • Glass containers and alcohol are prohibited on the beach at all times.
  • No skim boarding between 10:00 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.
  • No surfing between 10:00 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., unless in designated surfing areas. Two surfing beaches are announced daily. For more information on surf beaches and beach conditions, call any of the area surf shops.
  • The ocean can be rough so please do not swim if there is not a lifeguard around. Keep your feet in the sand til the lifeguard’s in the stand. Beach patrol members are on duty from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily all summer to ensure your safety.
  • Surf fishing is permitted in Ocean City, but be sure you are at least 50 feet away from swimmers between 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Please note that you now are required to have a Salt Water Fishing License.
  • Ocean City now offers horseback riding on the beach during winter, early spring. Permit applications are available to persons wishing to ride horses on Ocean City’s beach. Applications can be obtained from the City Clerk’s Office in City Hall at 301 Baltimore Avenue or online at www.oceancitymd.gov. The cost is $20 for a single-day permit and $50 for a seasonal permit. Horseback riding will be allowed on the beach beginning at 27th Street and extending south to the Inlet jetty between the hours of 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. November 1 to March 30.


  • Drinking is prohibited in public. This includes any street, alley, sidewalk, beach, boardwalk, parking lot or vehicle.
  • Possessing an open container of any alcoholic beverage in public is not allowed.


  • Pets are only permitted on the beach or boardwalk between October 1st and April 30th.  Between May 1st and September 30th our furry friends have to stay away from the beach.
  • All dogs must be kept on a leash when being walked in the Ocean City area.
  • Any handler or owner of a dog must remove any waste deposited on public or private property.
  • The Dog Playground is located at Little Salisbury Park on 94th St. For information call Ocean City Recreation & Parks at 410-250-0125.


Barbecue grills, hibachis, gas fired grills, liquid propane or bonfires are not permitted on the beach or other public property unless you obtain a permit from the Fire Marshal. Grilling is only allowed on public properties that provide grilling areas. Bonfires are permitted on Assateague Island subject to their regulations.


Parking is available in city lots, public lots and on certain public streets unless otherwise noted. Free parking is available at the West Ocean City Park & Ride, where you can take the city bus into Ocean City.

  • Do not park in front of any red painted curbs or in front of any public or private driveways. When parking next to a curb, park with the flow of traffic with your vehicles wheels within 12 inches of the curb.
  • RVs and other oversized vehicles may not park in any municipal lot, public street or alley between May 1 to October 31 of each year by Town Ordinance. For more information, call the Ocean City Police Department at 410-723-6610.
  • Boat trailers may pay to park at the 100th St. Municipal Lot. Boat trailers may not be parked in public streets, alleys or public parking lots from May 1 through October 31.
  • Ocean City offers additional lots and street parking that utilizes the Cale parking system, where you can pay with quarters or credit cards for $2 an hour. Place the parking voucher inside your vehicle so it can be seen in your windshield.


  • The bus/bike lanes on either side of Coastal Highway are not for driving or parking. Please only use these lanes if you are making a right turn.
  • Be mindful of bicyclists and pedestrians when entering or leaving the highway.
  • Please keep in mind that the far right lane on either side of the highway is for municipal buses to travel. They stop at designated bus stops every other block to discharge and load passengers.
  • Motorists must yield right-of-way to pedestrians crossing the street at a crosswalk, at any controlled intersection when obeying the traffic signals and at any non-signaled intersection.
  • Bicyclists must obey the same traffic laws as motorists and are liable for citations for any failure to obey the laws of the road.


  • Cross only at marked crosswalks, please.  It is recommended that you use crosswalks with pedestrian signal lights.
  • Maryland law requires pedestrians use the sidewalks where available rather than walking in the street. Please do not walk or jog in the bus/bike area on Coastal Highway. Hitchhiking is also prohibited in Ocean City.


When visiting Ocean City, people are here to relax and enjoy their vacation, so the town takes its noise regulations seriously.

  • It is unlawful to make, cause or continue loud and disturbing noises that endanger the comfort, health, peace or safety of others.
  • No disruptive noises are to be made that can be heard at a distance of 50 feet from the building from which it is made between the hours of midnight and 7 a.m.
  • Due to the Motor Vehicle Law and Ocean City Town Ordinances, no loud noises are to be made that can be heard at a distance of 50 feet from a vehicle at any time.
  • Additional amendments to the noise ordinances can be found here.


  • Riding your bike or skateboard on the boardwalk is allowed anytime of the day and night in the off-season from the Tuesday after Labor Day to the Friday before Memorial Day.
  • During Springfest and Sunfest weekends (Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday) bike riding and skateboarding is only permitted between 2:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. of that same day.
  • Between the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day, bike riding and skateboarding is only permitted between 2:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. of that same day.
  • Skateboarding is prohibited on any other public street, public way, ramp, public alley, public sidewalk, public lots or any other public property (except for public skateboard facilities and public sponsored or authorized skateboard events) within the corporate limits of Ocean City between April 1 and October 1 of each year.
  • Ocean City provides its skateboarders with a skate park located on 3rd St. and St. Louis Avenue. For information on park hours, please feel free to call the Ocean City Recreation and Parks Department Office at 410-250-0125.


Due to heavy population in the summer months, rollerblading/skating is not permitted during the day on the boardwalk, streets, alleys, sidewalks or public lots. The following is the schedule for roller skates/blades on the Boardwalk:

  • Weekdays
    • April 1 through Memorial Day 6 a.m. to 4 p.m.
    • Labor Day though September 30 6 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Weekends
    • April 1 through May 15 Sunrise to 12 noon.
    • May 15 through Memorial Day Sunrise to 10 a.m.
  • Holidays
    • April 1 though May 15 Sunrise to 12 noon.
    • May 15 through Memorial Day Sunrise to 10 a.m.
    • Day after Labor Day through September 30 Sunrise to 10 a.m.
  • October 1 through March 31: anytime
  • Springfest: Sunrise to 12 noon
  • Sunfest: Sunrise to 10 a.m.


  1. Who do I contact about a vacation property rental being in code violations due to the property we booked thru vacasa having numerous damages within the property such as busted windows being taped with plastic , bathtub has a footlong crack in the bottom so my youngest was not even able to take a bath because the bathtub will not fill up n the stench of mildew n mold throughout the whole property more than likely because all the water when u shower is obviously leaking thru the crack onto the floor below it like this is horrible I’ve been here almost a week also the washer n dryer were not functioning because it was draining all over the bathroom floor which we notified vacasa the same day we arrived n they did nothing about it until after being here 4 days… I’m sorry but I kno this city should have property ordinances just like back home in Pennsylvania because I kno this place would b condemned if I were back home this is by far the worst vacation rental I’ve had in years….

  2. I love our annual trips to Ocean City, but there are 3 increasingly worrisome issues I’m seeing on the beach and they are taking over: the use of pop-up tents all over blocking the view, the scattering of loved ones ashes from the beach (usually by the pier), and the setting up of towels, chairs, etc at sunrise only to leave them unattended for most of the day. I feel that if OC doesn’t enact and enforce some ordinances in regards to these issues, there will be an increase in arguments on the beach and the continuation of an increasing number of inconsiderate people ruling the beach.

  3. My question concerns little kid scooters. My granddaughter has one & it would be wonderful for her if she could use her scooter when she gets tired of all the walking we do while at Springfest, She is very responsible & will be with both me & her Mama the whole time. Can we bring her little scooter please. Thank you & looking forward to Springfest!.I’ve been coming with my sister since 2007.

    • i agree. The Golden Sands has been playing loud music for 5.5 hours so far tonight. started 4:00 still going at 9:30 pm. frustrating

  4. This is my family’s 5th annual Ocean City vacation, and we can no longer enjoy the fresh smell of the ocean breeze. Whether in our hotel early in the morning or late at night, or walking around OC, the smell of marijuana permeates the area. It is sad and disgusting. I have 4 children whom I wish could enjoy the saltwater air smell that once existed here.

  5. The language in the store fronts selling shirts are highly offensive and vile. Ocean City should not permit this for a “family friendly” beach.

  6. Ocean city do they enforce rules apparently not just hot off phone with president of council matt james whom thinks he is doing a goid job and sees improvement ? Where? Beach closed for surfers on busiest day of year 4th of july why ? Inlet surfing closed for 4th surfing 🏄‍♂️ 4-6 surfers 100 beach goers you do the math ! Dogs, smoking, drinking on boardwalk not family place any more ! I agree with prior complaint about all these new tents ⛺️ inconsiderate but sounds like no enforcement in ocean city on any level ! 👎 sad, sad,sad

  7. There should an ordinance regarding use of pop up tents on the beach! We were enjoying our beautiful view of the ocean and beach when two pop up TENTS were set up directly in front of us. These tents were set up side by side with one flip flop between them! These tents were for adults and NOT babies.
    WE were forced to move!

    These tents should be restricted to use within 10 feet of the dune line and placed 6 feet apart.

    They should not be set up where regular umbrellas and chairs are located.

    These are non see through pop up tents! Not canopies.

    Other beaches have these types of restrictions.

    Why should the inconsiderate actions of 2 people be the cause of obstructed views for 100 beach goers?

    Please consider this request!

    Ocean City Property Owner

    • Hey Janet,

      The beach tents are pretty useful for a handful of reasons. It’s especially good for people with children. I’m sorry you had such a terrible time. If you go to Bethany you’re only a few minutes down the road and you may not have that problem. You could do that or move just a few feet to the left or right.

    • I sincerely hope they don’t consider this request. Beaches all along the east coast have been banning these tents under the guise of public safety and courtesy to other beachgoers. The problem with this logic is, they’ve replace these with miles of huge RENTABLE umbrellas and chairs, an inch apart, right along the break/dune line. So we’re expected to believe that these don’t obstruct the view of beachgoers? I suppose it’s okay when the local municipalities benefit from charging people for an unobstructed view? I would even have an issue if they just limited the restrictions to only pop up / ez up style canopy tents. The problems is they include everything but small umbrellas. This means if you own a low level sun ninja style canopy, that would also be banned. So I guess the takeaway here is that people who are disabled, people with small children, people with skin or health conditions aggravated by sun exposure, should be forced under a small umbrella or just plain not be allowed to enjoy the beach. All for the sake of Janet/Karen’s slightly obstructed view.

      • I agree! We use our pop up tent because I am a melanoma survivor. Just because I don’t want to expose myself to the sun doesn’t mean I should be restricted from the beach for my sun protection.

  8. Could someone please tell me the cost of a Bonfire Permit on the beach? I did find where you can apply for one but, not the cost. Thank you!
    A. Grooms

  9. We are having an issue with dog owners not picking up after their pets on our private property. Is there anything that can be done?

  10. Loud boom boxes on the beach becoming a problem. Where do you report them and what is the fine for disturbing the peace on the beach?


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