The best things to do in Ocean City Maryland with kids will depend on the time of year you are visiting. Many Washingtonians visit Ocean City since it is just a 2.5 hour drive away. In this guide, we will break down what to do in Ocean City, Maryland with your kids during the summer as well as the colder months.
Best Things To Do In Ocean City Maryland With Kids In The Summer
The prime season for Ocean City, Maryland is generally considered to be from late May through early September, which coincides with the summer season. This is the busiest time of year in Ocean City and is when the beach, boardwalk, and other attractions are most crowded. The warm weather during this time is ideal for swimming, sunbathing, and other outdoor activities
The Ocean City Boardwalk
The Boardwalk in ocean city is the main spot to go. It is about 2 and a half miles lined with plenty of shops, restaurants, and other attractions. Being on the top of the list, the boardwalk is the spot to go when visiting Ocean City MD since there is always something going on, whether it’s a variety of street performers and live music.
It also provides easy access to numerous hotels and the beach. It is the best place to walk around and enjoy the ocean and beach views while grabbing a bite to eat or some ice cream on a hot day in the summer months.
Marty’s Playland has been a fixture of the Ocean City Boardwalk for decades, making it one of the oldest continuous businesses in the area. Its history stretches back to the 1930s. The arcade features a mixture of classic and modern arcade games. From vintage skee ball machines to the latest video games, there’s something for everyone.
Its prime location on the boardwalk makes it easily accessible to visitors strolling the boardwalk, and its beachfront view is another attractive feature. One of the appealing aspects of Marty’s Playland is its nostalgic feel. While it has been updated over the years, many of the original features and older games remain, giving it a unique charm compared to more modern arcades.
If you and your kids love ice cream, this is great place to visit. Dumser’s Dairyland is an iconic ice cream parlor. It has been a staple in the Ocean City community for many decades and is beloved by both residents and visitors.
Dumser’s Dairyland was founded in 1939 by Gladys Dumser after she took over the original dairy on Somerset Street. The brand has grown significantly since its inception and has been serving the Ocean City community for multiple generations.
The primary draw for most visitors to Dumser’s is its delicious, old-fashioned ice cream. Apart from ice cream, Dumser’s Dairyland also serves a range of other treats, such as milkshakes, sundaes, and floats. Some of their locations also offer a full menu, which includes items like burgers, fries, sandwiches, and other diner-style foods.
Over the years, Dumser’s has expanded, and there are now multiple Dairyland locations along the Ocean City Boardwalk and in other parts of the town. Many of the locations feature retro decor, making it feel like a step back in time, especially for those who have been visiting Ocean City for many years.
Ocean City Beach
Ocean City Beach is a great way to spend your time visiting. With its ten miles of sandy shoreline, it is ideal for building sandcastles, relaxing, and swimming. Ocean City Beach is not far from the hotels or the boardwalk, so it is in walking distance to great spots to eat.
Assateague Island National Seashore
Assateague Island is a great place for families to visit and it is located very close to Ocean City, Maryland. The distance between the entrance of Assateague Island National Seashore and the southern tip of Ocean City is approximately 8 to 10 miles (12.8 to 16.1 km) by road. The drive typically takes about 15-20 minutes, depending on traffic conditions.
Perhaps the most famous feature of Assateague Island is its population of wild horses. Legend says they are descendants of horses from a shipwreck off the Virginia coast. While this tale is charming, it’s more likely that they descend from horses brought to the island in the 17th century. The herds of horses are managed by different federal agencies on the Maryland and Virginia sides, with the Maryland herd managed by the National Park Service and the Virginia herd managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Find A Miniature Golf Course
Mini golf is great for ages 3 and older. There are several mini-golf courses for family fun in or near Ocean City. Here are some of the popular places to play mini golf in the area.
- Old Pro Golf: This is one of Ocean City’s classic mini-golf courses with multiple locations throughout the city. Each course has a unique theme, ranging from a prehistoric dinosaur landscape to an underwater adventure. They also have indoor courses, making it a fun option regardless of the weather.
- Jolly Roger Amusement Park: While Jolly Roger is best known for its rides and attractions, it also offers two mini-golf courses with Treasure Golf and Jungle Golf themes.
- Lost Treasure Golf: This mini-golf venue provides an adventurous experience with its themed courses that take you on a journey with explorers through jungles and caves.
- Embers Island Mini Golf: Embers Island offers two 18-hole mini-golf courses with a volcano theme, complete with cascading waterfalls and adventurous challenges.
- Nick’s Mini Golf: Located on Fenwick Island, just north of Ocean City, this mini-golf course offers a fun and family-friendly experience.
- Golf Down Under: Also on Fenwick Island, this Australian-themed course provides a unique mini-golf experience with kangaroo and other Aussie decorations.
- Viking Golf & Go-Karts: Also located in Fenwick Island, this venue offers not only a Scandinavian-themed mini-golf course but also go-karts, making it a great place for a family outing.
Paradise Watersport is a popular spot for water activities for all skill levels. This is a perfect spot to book an adventure that allows you to explore ocean city from different views.
Paradise Watersports is located right on the bay, which allows guests to enjoy scenic views of Ocean City and Assawoman Bay. Jet skis and parasailing are their main attractions. They offer different heights for parasailing, allowing guests to enjoy breathtaking views of Ocean City from the air.
Oceanic Fishing Pier
Oceanic Pier is one of Ocean City’s most notable landmarks and is a popular destination for both tourists and locals. The Oceanic Fishing Pier extends into the Atlantic Ocean from the southern end of the boardwalk in Ocean City, Maryland. It’s located near the Inlet Lot, which has ample parking.
Fishing is one of the primary activities here. You can fish off the pier without needing a fishing license, as the pier has a license that covers everyone fishing on it. The pier provides an opportunity to catch a variety of species that might not be easily accessible from the beach. It is typically open year-round, and in some seasons, it’s open 24 hours a day, making it a great place for early morning or late-night fishing.
Oceanic Fishing Pier has a bait and tackle shop on-site where you can rent fishing equipment or purchase bait, snacks, and other essentials.
Kayaking In Ocean City & Kayak Rentals
Kayaking in Ocean City, Maryland, can be a peaceful and scenic way to explore the local waterways and get a different perspective on the area. Whether you’re an experienced kayaker or a beginner, it’s a fun activity to include in your visit. There are several tour operators for this activity.
- 48th Street Watersports: Located on 48th Street, they offer rentals for both kayaks and stand-up paddleboards.
- Ayers Creek Adventures: Situated a bit away from the main strip of Ocean City, Ayers Creek offers guided kayak tours, giving paddlers a chance to explore the serene and scenic creeks in the area.
- Odyssea Watersports: A popular destination for water sports in Ocean City, they offer a variety of rentals including kayaks.
- Back Bay Adventures: Located on the bay at 5th Street, they offer kayak rentals among other water activities.
- Bayside Boat Rentals: While they’re more known for their motorized watercraft rentals, they also offer kayaks.
- Under the Bridge Watersports: This is another option where you can rent kayaks and paddle in the bay.
- OC Paddleboard: While they’re more focused on paddleboarding, they also offer kayak rentals.
Parasailing Adventure In Ocean City
Take a thrilling parasailing tour in Ocean City and enjoy stunning views from above the ocean. It is a great place for those who love parasailing or for beginners looking to have a thrilling and unique experience. Here are some of the companies that offer parasailing in Ocean City, Maryland.
- Paradise Watersports: This operator is mentioned above and is one of the most well-known operators in the area. Be sure to book in advance if you want to go parasailing with them.
- OC Parasail: With options for varying heights and durations, OC Parasail is another popular choice for those looking to parasail.
- East Coast Parasail: This company has parasails that can accommodate up to three people at a time.
- Inlet Sea Doos Parasailing & Pontoon Boat Rentals: In addition to jet ski and pontoon boat rentals, this company has parasailing experiences.
Sailing Trip In Ocean City
Ocean City has much to offer, including a peaceful catamaran ride in the Atlantic Ocean. This is a great idea for those looking to relax on the ocean and spot some marine life.
Dolphins can be found off the coast of Ocean City, Maryland. The Atlantic bottlenose dolphin is the species most commonly seen in the area, and they typically travel in pods of approximately 10-30 members. While there are no official dolphin tours in Ocean City, visitors can often spot dolphins from the beach or on wildlife cruises and boat tours that are available.
The Ocean City Sailing Foundation (OCSF) promotes sailing in the Ocean City area. The primary focus of this organization is on youth sailing and instruction and if this is interesting for your kids, you should inquire ahead of time. The organization offer youth sailing camps, adult sailing classes, as well as private lessons.
This is another popular activity to do with older kids in Ocean City. Stick to areas with calm water when it comes to paddle boarding. The Isle of Wight Bay is a popular spot with calm waters, making it ideal for beginners. Another popular location is Assawoman Bay which has a serene and scenic experience.
Trimper’s Rides is an amusement park for all ages. The park has been owned and operated by the Trimper family for over a century. Their dedication to maintaining the park’s historical charm while updating with modern attractions has been a key to its longevity.
Trimper’s Rides has been in operation since the 1890s, making it one of the oldest continuously-operating family-owned amusement parks in the United States. The park was founded by Daniel B. Trimper and his wife, Margaret. It is located near the southern end of Ocean City’s Boardwalk, Trimper’s Rides has been a staple of the Ocean City experience for generations of visitors.
The park boasts a mix of classic and modern rides. One of its most famous attractions is the Herschell-Spillman Carousel, which dates back to 1902 and is one of the oldest operating carousels in the nation. In addition to the carousel, Trimper’s offers a variety of rides for both children and adults, ranging from kiddie rides to thrill rides. Trimper’s also features an indoor section with vintage bumper cars, a mirror maze, and a variety of arcade games. This indoor section allows for entertainment regardless of the weather. The Trimper’s Haunted House is a classic dark ride that has been a favorite among visitors for decades. It’s known for its old-school spooky effects and charm.
Little kids can have fun at the kiddy area with less extreme rides, while the older kids can ride the roller coasters. They also have a ferris wheel that has great views. They offer carnival food like hot dogs and funnel cakes, and they also have plenty of carnival games too. Trimpers is a great spot for the entire family to go and have fun.
Jolly Roger Amusement Park
Jolly Rodger Amusement park has numerous rides and attractions for older and smaller kids. The Jolly Roger brand actually encompasses several different attractions in Ocean City:
- Jolly Roger at the Pier: Located at the southern end of the boardwalk, this site features various rides, games, and attractions, including the iconic Ferris wheel that offers spectacular views of the ocean and town. The most popular rides aside from the Giant Wheel, are the Slingshot and Hurricane.
- Jolly Roger at 30th Street: This is the main amusement park and is located off Coastal Highway. It offers a wide array of rides suitable for all ages, from thrilling roller coasters to kid-friendly attractions.
- Splash Mountain Water Park: Part of the Jolly Roger at 30th Street location, Splash Mountain provides a refreshing way to cool off during the summer months with various slides, a lazy river, wave pool, and kiddie pools. The Rainforest Play Area is perfect for little kids. It has slides, a tree house, and water guns. Older kids can go on the larger water slides such as the Eye of the Hurricane, Aqualoop, and Master Blaster. For those not looking for a thrill, they can relax in the lazy river or wave pool. They also have multiple concession stands for a quick bite for lunch. Splash Mountain is a great spot for children of all ages to have a fun time.
- SpeedWorld: Also located at the 30th Street location, SpeedWorld boasts a broad range of go-kart tracks that cater to different age groups and thrill levels.
- Miniature Golf: Jolly Roger offers two themed mini-golf courses – Treasure Golf and Jungle Golf, providing fun challenges for families and friends.
It is a great spot for families who enjoy amusement parks.
Baja Amusements is located on Route 50 in West Ocean City, just before entering the downtown area of Ocean City. Baja Amusements is particularly known for its go-kart tracks. They offer various tracks suitable for different age groups and skill levels. Baja also has climbing walls, and some popular rides like the Wacky Worm roller coaster.
In addition to go-karts, Baja has bumper boats, two mini-golf courses, and a climbing wall. It’s more of a compact amusement park with a select number of attractions. Baja provides a relaxed, family-friendly environment. It’s less crowded and expansive than Jolly Roger, giving it a more intimate feel. It is not an extreme amusement park but still offers many fun activities that all kids love.
As the name suggests, Frontier Town has a Wild West theme. It provides visitors with a feeling of stepping back into the old Western days. There’s a Western theme park section with Wild West shows, Native American dancing, a replica frontier town, and more. This is different Jolly Roger mentioned earlier which is more of a traditional amusement park with various rides and attractions without a specific thematic setting, though it does have some pirate-themed elements.
Apart from the western theme park, it also features a water park and a campground. There’s also a high ropes adventure park and a zip line.
Frontier Town is located in Berlin, Maryland, which is just a short drive from Ocean City.
Visit Historic Berlin, MD
Berlin, Maryland is a charming town famous for its picturesque downtown streets. It was actually the location of the filming of Julia Roberts film Runaway Bride. Berlin hosts many festivals throughout the year and also has a vibrant shopping and dining scene.
Pirate Adventures Of Ocean City
Pirate Adventures of Ocean city takes you on a pirate adventure. This is a fun-filled experience for the whole family, especially for kids who love face paint and pirates.
Best Things To Do In Ocean City Maryland With Kids In The Winter
Many families can also enjoy Ocean City in the winter. Many of the activities mentioned below are also suitable for the summer.
Candy Kitchen is a great spot to treat kids of all ages who enjoy sweets. They have a unique selection of sweets, chocolates, gummies, truffles, pretzels, and fudges. It is heaven for candy lovers.
Art League Of Ocean City
The Art League of Ocean City (ALOC) is a nonprofit organization established to promote the visual arts in the Ocean City area of Maryland. Founded in 1963, the ALOC has been instrumental in enriching the cultural life of the community and its visitors.
Ocean City Center For The Arts is the home base for the ALOC. It’s located on 94th Street bayside in Ocean City, Maryland. The Ocean City Center for the Arts features monthly exhibitions, displaying the works of both local artists and guest exhibitors. These exhibitions help in promoting the artists and enriching the community’s cultural experiences.
The ALOC offers a variety of art classes and workshops for both adults and children. These classes cover a broad spectrum of art mediums and techniques, from painting and drawing to ceramics and digital art.
Throughout the year, the ALOC organizes several art-related events, including artist receptions, film nights, and special fundraisers. The “First Friday” receptions, held on the first Friday of each month, are especially popular, allowing attendees to meet artists, enjoy refreshments, and experience live music.
Performing Arts Center
The Performing Arts Center is a great place to catch live plays, shows, and musical performances all year round. They have a performance for all ages, just check what is going on during your visit.
Ripley’s Believe It Or Not!
Ripley’s Believe It or Not is entertaining for all ages offering 12 galleries, each with its own theme. Kids will love the cool items from shrunken heads to the bones of rare animals. They also have a life size replica of the world’s tallest man and many optical illusions. Everybody will love learning many new facts and looking at really interesting objects.
Ocean City Life Saving Station Museum
The Ocean City Life Saving Museum is perfect to stop by on a rainy day. Here everybody can learn about the sea history of the area and how the station used to help ships in distress. The building was made in the 1890s and the museum has different aquatic animals and sand types. It is the best way to spend a rainy day for those interested in sea history or the coast guard.
Carousel Oceanfront Hotel Ice Skating
The Carousel Hotel has an indoor skating rink during the winter season. Everyone is welcome, and you don’t need to stay at the hotel to join the fun. This is a great spot for those looking for something to do during the winter season at Ocean City.
Northside Park is a massive park in Ocean City. The park has well-maintained playgrounds with various structures suitable for children of different age groups. There’s plenty of open grassy space for kids to run around, play, and enjoy outdoor activities. There is also a restroom onsite.
Northside Park has multiple sports facilities, including basketball courts, baseball fields, and soccer fields. These are great for older kids and families to engage in sports activities.
If your kids are interested in fishing, there’s a lagoon in the park where they can try their luck.
The park features scenic walking paths, ideal for family strolls or bike rides. Throughout the year, Northside Park hosts various events that can be entertaining for kids.
The Winterfest of Lights (details below) during the holiday season is just one example. At other times, there might be concerts, festivals, or other community events. The park also has picnic areas and pavilions that families can use, making it a good spot for a family lunch or snack time.
Winterfest Of Lights
The Winterfest of Lights is an event in Ocean City during winter. It is where thousands of holiday lights are shown across a park and kids can visit Santa Claus as well.
The primary location for the event is Northside Park on 125th Street in Ocean City. Typically, the Winterfest of Lights begins in late November and runs through the end of December, or sometimes into the first few days of January.
Visitors can take a tram ride through the park, which is transformed into a winter wonderland with more than a million twinkling lights. The ride guides attendees through themed displays, such as fairy tales, holiday scenes, and more.
At the end of the tram ride, visitors typically have the opportunity to meet Santa Claus and take pictures with him. This is especially popular among families with young children. After the tram ride, guests can enjoy hot chocolate, buy holiday gifts, or simply enjoy the festive atmosphere inside a heated tent.
Things To Do In Ocean City Maryland With Kids
Ocean City, Maryland is a prime family destination with a vast array of activities and attractions suitable for kids of all ages. During the bustling summer months, families can explore the iconic Ocean City Boardwalk, offering a variety of entertainment from street performers to local eateries. The Ocean City Beach provides a serene setting for relaxation, sunbathing, and building sandcastles.
Nearby, Assateague Island National Seashore invites guests to witness its wild horse population. For families with older children who are interested in water activities, there are many opportunities to parasail as well as kayak.
There are also many amusement parks in this area. Trimper’s Rides and Jolly Roger Amusement Park are very popular and quite large. Baja Amusements, on the other hand, offers a more intimate setting with its go-kart tracks and mini-golf.
As the winter season approaches, Ocean City transforms with offerings like the Winterfest of Lights, indoor ice skating at Carousel Oceanfront Hotel, and educational visits to the Ocean City Life Saving Station Museum.
Whether you’re seeking art, adventure, or a quiet day at the beach, Ocean City, Maryland promises a memorable family vacation.