All of my childhood, I have gone to the Jersey Shore for vacation. It is often what suburban families living in Pennsylvania do for the summer. It wasn’t until this past summer that I learned that Ocean City, Maryland is far superior to Ocean City, New Jersey. It may be more expensive and (somewhat) further away, but it is worth it.
My friends and I were able to find a cheap and clean hotel close to the beach in May. As like most vacations spots, hotels will always be cheaper during the off season. Our hotel had two pools and the staff laughed with us at our own silliness.
Ocean City, Maryland is simultaneously kid and adult-friendly. There is a boardwalk, amusement park, and mini golf for children to partake in but there are also bars for the adults of the group.
My friends and I were told we needed to go to Seacrets, a bar and restaurant in which you could be served food and drinks on the floating tables of the shallow bay. We were mystified by this option, but unfortunately couldn’t participate because it was too cold in the bay to be wading in it. I imagine this would be fun on a sweltering day, when being waist-high in bay water seemed more appealing. I’m still confused about the physics of it all. How do the waitresses get the food and drinks to your table without dropping it in the bay? I may never know.
Despite not playing in the bay, we had a great time at Seacrets drinking and eating seafood. The great thing about Maryland is that the seafood is fresh and commonplace. The atmosphere was laid back and enjoyable, but it was time to move on. We found a karaoke bar and and our hearts out. My friends and I played pool and palled around with some locals who warmly accepted us into their group. I guess it was that southern hospitality (after all, we were south of the Mason-Dixon line.) Some creep did try to convince us that his friend was a scout for The Voice. He baited us and we weren’t biting.
I enjoyed that there was both the bayside and beachside of Ocean City within walking distance of each other. It was picturesque and relaxing. The beach itself is cleaner than most beaches in New Jersey. We worked on our tans and read books in the morning, swam in the pool after lunch, roamed the boardwalk in the evening, and traveled over to the bayside for drinks at night.
Overall, it was an enjoyable vacation. When given the choice between Ocean City, New Jersey and Ocean City, Maryland for a local vacation, I will always choose Ocean City, Maryland.