Looking for an affordable, all-American beach vacation for the whole family? Ocean City, Maryland has it all: great public beaches, carnival rides along an epic boardwalk, delicious seafood joints, and water activities galore. With so much to choose from, you and your kids will enjoy a whirlwind of excitement.
To help you plan your trip, it’s useful to know when to visit and what to prioritize. For starters, Ocean City fun peaks during the months of May through September. This seaside destination truly comes alive in the summer season. Keep in mind, summer is also when accommodations and tickets cost more, so if possible, book ahead far in advance.
Now, onto what you came for. Here are 15 of the best things to do in Ocean City with kids. Use this list as inspiration to plan out your itinerary, and waste away the summer days making family memories to last a lifetime!
Have a blast at a boardwalk amusement park.
If there’s one thing Ocean City does right, It’s an epic boardwalk amusement park. You have two fantastic options to choose from right along the OC Boardwalk.
For that classic, vintage amusement park feeling with roller coasters and merry-go-rounds, you’ll want to head for Trimper Rides of Ocean City. This park opens mid-April. For an amusement park that includes a water park, go-karts, mini golf, and a Ferris wheel, check out Jolly Roger Amusement.
Take a tram ride by the seaside.
Kids get really amped about riding in cool vehicles they can stick their arms out of. Well, the Ocean City Boardwalk Tram is just the thing!
This tram is a half-hour ride, which spans the entire Boardwalk from end to end. It starts at the Inlet and ends at the 27th Street north booth, but you can hop on and off at any interesting spot you want. Tram tickets are only $4.
Challenge your kids to a round of mini golf.
Strike up a little friendly competition with your kids by challenging them to a mini golf game! While Ocean City has a plethora of golf courses to enjoy, the city’s mini golf spots can be just as fun for adults, and way more interesting for young ones.
Lounge in the sand or play beach sports as a family.
The beach is what you came for! Enjoy the long sandy beaches of Ocean City beside the Atlantic. The most popular beach, and also the most jam-packed with activities and eateries, is Ocean City Beach. Looking to get a bit more off-the-beaten-path with less crowds?
Fenwick Island State Park has a beautiful 3-mile-long beach a bit further north, on the border of Maryland and Delaware. It’s a great place to enjoy surfing, sailing, crab spotting, and other beachy adventures. You’ll just need a car to get there from Ocean City.
Fly a colorful kite along the beach.
One of the most quirky, beloved establishments along the Ocean City Boardwalk is The Kite Loft! Your kids will love their array of colorful kites, banners, aerial toys, and more. Shopping here is a fun experience in itself, but take it a step further and purchase a kite for the family. Then you can walk over to the beach and see if the kids can get it sailing (Hint: it’s not as easy as it looks!).
Take a boat cruise along Ocean City Bay.
The OC Bay Hopper is one of the premier boat cruise companies in Ocean City. They offer a really nice variety of boat cruises on one of their hoppers, from private charters to sunset cruises to an adventure trip to Assateague Island. Get amazing views of the city from the ocean – your kids will love this unique experience.
Enjoy an ice cream under the summer sun.
Is it even an all-American beach vacation without gorging on delicious ice cream? There are some great places along the Boardwalk to stop for an ice cream when you need to cool down, but one of the most beloved spots is Dumser’s Dairyland.
This has been a family owned and operated business since 1939, and they serve up fresh ice cream handmade daily! Grabbing a Dumser’s ice cream is truly one of the best things to do in Ocean City with kids.
Visit Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum.
Do your kids have a penchant for the odd, bizarre, quirky, and mysterious? They won’t spend a second feeling bored while exploring Ripley’s Believe It Or Not!
This strange museum has a collection of exhibits that highlight odd world records and physical abnormalities, like the World’s Tallest Man and a shrunken head. If they’re up for the challenge, let your kids find their way through the maze of mirrors.
See if your kids are adventurous enough to try blue crab.
Ocean City is serious about their crabs. Due to the bay’s high blue crab population, you can try this local delicacy at one of the many crab houses along the ocean.
A few favorite local crab joints include OCM Crabs, The Original Crab Cake Factory, and Crab Alley. Crab cakes are a MUST when in Maryland. But if your kids aren’t feeling quite that adventurous, they might just enjoy some fried popcorn shrimp with ketchup.
Head away from the beach for some public park fun.
Getting a bit tired of playing on the beach every day? Switch up the scenery and head for Northside Park, Ocean City’s largest urban park. You could spend an entire day just hanging out in this beautiful outdoor space.
There are grassy quads for an afternoon picnic, baseball fields, a playground for the kids, a scenic bridge to stroll, and even a fishing lagoon.
Ride the water slides at Splash Mountain.
If your kids love water parks, there’s nothing better than spending the day at Jolly Roger Splash Mountain Water Park off the Coastal Highway.
This large water park has some adrenaline-pumping water slides like “Stealth” and the “Master Blaster.” But don’t worry, for more timid kiddos, there are multiple kiddie pools and a lazy river to relax in.
Win prizes at a classic arcade.
It’s nearly a rite of passage when on a family beach vacation to spend some time playing in a classic arcade. Introduce your kids to the wonders of vintage Pac-Man, Pong, and Skee-Ball. There are some great arcades along the Boardwalk right by the beach, like Marty’s Playland, Sportland Arcade, and Fun City.
Find your sea-legs on a pirate ship tour.
If you’re looking for an adventurous, immersive experience made for youngsters, you’ll want to take a ride on the Duckaneer pirate ship. The boat, manned by real pirates, will take you on a journey through the bay.
Eye patches, face painting, and buried treasure included! This tour kicks off at Talbot Street, Pier 311. Tickets for adults and kids above the age of 4 are $24, and kids under 4 are $12. You can book this tour online.
Race each other around a go-kart track.
Are your kids little speed-racers in the making? Hit the race track at Grand Prix Amusements in West Ocean City. There are 7 separate go-kart tracks for your family to race each other, bumper cars, and batting cages.
Try the bumper boats for a unique spin on the bumper cars! You can buy tickets for just one activity, or a package deal that gives you access to multiple experiences.
Explore the history of Ocean City.
Operating in the beautiful, historic building along the Boardwalk on Atlantic Avenue is the Ocean City Life-Saving Station Museum. In this accessible space that doesn’t overwhelm children, you can all explore the history of Ocean City and the role of the United States Life-Saving Service.
There are even fun scavenger hunts made for kids! Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for youths, and free for children 11 and younger.
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Amy has been a full time travel blogger since 2012, blogging about couples travel alongside her husband on Two Drifters. Once a baby came into the picture, the travels changed, but definitely did not stop!
Amy is based in Raleigh, North Carolina where she lives with her son Malcolm (the adventuring toddler), her husband Nathan, and two mischievous cats.