116 miles S of Wilmington, 144 miles SE of Baltimore, 130 miles SE of Washington, D.C.
For many Marylanders, heading "downy ocean" or "to the shore" means only one thing: a summer vacation in Ocean City, a 10-mile stretch of skinny barrier island. It's often quite crowded on the beach, in the restaurants, and on Coastal Highway, but it's still Marylanders' favorite place to enjoy the sun and the water. So many visitors arrive that for 3 months of the year, Ocean City is the second-largest city in the state. (Only Baltimore has more people.) Ocean City's entire beach is open to the public.
The 3-mile-long boardwalk, which stretches to 27th Street in the oldest part of Ocean City, is crowded with hotels, some of them dating back to the 1920s. Restaurants, ice-cream stands, and shops fill in the gaps. The boardwalk ends near the fishing pier, which has amusement rides and a huge Ferris wheel.
Out on Coastal Highway, shopping centers, restaurants, hotels, and condos demand your attention and your money. Miniature-golf courses are exceedingly popular: They're all crowded after dark, and there are some dandies. The quieter waters surrounding Ocean City -- the bays of Assawoman, Sinepuxent, and Montego -- attract fishermen, sailors, parasailers, and kayakers.