Ocean City, Maryland is a popular vacation destination, particularly for residents of Maryland and Washington D.C. Despite the hassle of dealing with beachgoer traffic on the Bay Bridge, many people make the annual summer trek to this 10-mile stretch of beach. The allure lies in the three-mile boardwalk and the refreshing ocean waters, which provide relief from hot and humid summer days.
One of the highlights of the Ocean City boardwalk is the Trimper Rides and Amusement Park. This amusement park has been in operation for 130 years, making it one of the longest-operating amusement parks in America. It serves as a living museum, with rides from bygone years that provide a nostalgic experience. One of the park’s prized possessions is a 1902 carousel, which is claimed to be the oldest continuously operating carousel in the country. Other popular attractions at Trimper Rides include a Ferris wheel, a haunted house, and a balloon ride.
For those interested in maritime history, the Ocean City Life-Saving Station Museum is a must-visit. Originally built in 1891 to respond to distress calls from sea vessels and swimmers, the station was reopened as a museum in 1978. It houses artifacts from its time as a life-saving station and also features a collection of sand from various beaches and a mini-aquarium for children. This museum serves as a time capsule, preserving the history of the boardwalk and the role it played in saving lives.
While the boardwalk offers plenty of attractions, there are also other nearby places worth exploring. One such place is the town of Berlin, Maryland, located about 10 miles west of Ocean City. This town has been named one of the “20 Best Small Towns to Visit” by Smithsonian. Despite its small population of just over 5,000 residents, Berlin offers a variety of experiences. Its Main Street, filled with 60 retail spots including coffee shops, boutiques, restaurants, art galleries, and crafts stores, has been recognized as one of the best towns for shopping by USA Today. Berlin also boasts 47 structures in the National Register of Historic Places, showcasing its rich history.
Visitors to Berlin can also learn about notable figures such as Stephen Decatur, a 19th-century naval hero, and the Rev. Charles Albert Tindley, who composed the hymn “I’ll Overcome Someday,” on which the popular gospel song “We Shall Overcome” is based. Additionally, movie buffs may recognize Berlin as the shooting location for films such as “Runaway Bride” and “Tuck Everlasting.”
For those intrigued by myth and folklore, the Mermaid Museum in Berlin is a must-visit. This museum offers a comprehensive look into the lore surrounding mermaids, with paintings, a timeline of mermaid sightings, and even oddities like a mermaid-shaped Cheeto. Visitors can also purchase mermaid tails at the museum store to immerse themselves further in the mythical world. Although the museum primarily focuses on classical depictions of mermaids, it still provides an enchanting experience.
Those seeking a more natural encounter can head to Assateague Island, which is known for its wild horses. Visitors can walk the trails or ride bikes while keeping an eye out for these majestic creatures. It is advised to maintain a 40-foot distance from the horses to ensure both their safety and yours. The island also features the historic Rackliffe House, built in 1740, which offers insight into coastal plantation life.
When it comes to dining, The Dough Roller is a popular choice with four locations in Ocean City. While it is best known for its award-winning pizza, the restaurant also offers a delectable breakfast menu. Specialties include sausage rolled in buttermilk pancakes and pancakes with mixed-in bacon, shredded coconut, and pecans. The unique combinations make waking up early worthwhile.
As the summer beach season comes to an end, it is hoped that visitors to Ocean City and its surrounding areas have created lasting memories. While sand castles may eventually be washed away by the tide, the experiences and adventures enjoyed in these beachside towns will continue to linger in the hearts and minds of those who visited.