Ocean City – a great weekend escape for Baltimore beach-lovers!

We decided we needed a vacation (after all it’s summer and we hate being cooped up inside with all the sunshine calling to us) so we headed to Ocean City – a short 2 1/2 hour drive from Baltimore to spend some relaxation in the sun and sand.

There were plenty of highlights from the trip, way too many to blog about here, but here are our favorites.

1. The Beach (of course!) – We are all about lounging about on the sand and getting a nice tan. Plus, we love rough-housing it in the ocean while the waves crash down on us. The water was a bit cold, but after an hour working on our bronze, we didn’t mind the chill to cool off. Some excitement did come later in the week when a riptide warning showed off the skills of the Ocean City lifeguards. (They saved about 5 people in an hour. And when these guards see you in trouble they book it to save you. We were truly impressed with the speed of their response. )

2. The Boardwalk – Not all ocean retreats have a Boardwalk like the one in Ocean City. Spanning 20 blocks, the Boardwalk features more than just the coolest kitschy shops around. You can enjoy roller coasters, thrill rides, a Ripley’s Believe it or Not museum, fun carnival games that give you prizes (we got the cutest stuffed animals – we’re suckers for anything we win and that our family members can be cute and cuddly with), and some of the most delicious food in town. We sampled an Irish Bar – Shenanigan’s and got a quality Pub experience, while Pezano’s Pizza gave us delicious wraps that were too big to finish. (Plus, the Boardwalk has Dippin Dots!)

3.) The food – Ocean City is great because it features so many different types of restaurants. Like Baltimore itself, there is cuisine from every nation, and of all different styles (from high-brow to homey). Our personal favorite is the Dough Roller. An Ocean City staple known for their Pizza, this little restaurant features the best in Italian dining for a fraction of the cost. The pasta dishes leave you craving more, and we found ourselves returning for multiple trips in just one week. Plus, their breakfast is to die for – HUGE omelettes and melt-in-your-mouth pancakes. We also had delicious meals at JR’s Ribs (BBQ ribs that are the real deal – not chain-like), and Bull on the Beach (a mix between a bar and classy sandwich joint). Plus, with the Original Greene Turtle, you can never steer wrong in terms of dining in Ocean City.

4. Ocean Downs – This is a place you can go for some live horse-racing. Now it’s harness racing, so it’s not exactly a Triple Crown race, but we absolutely love coming here and placing bets on our favorite horses to bring home a win. The horses have great names and with harness racing it’s much easier to see if your horse is winning. With a 10-race schedule during the night, Ocean Downs allows you to enjoy more than one race, and to try to win back what you might have lost in those first few tries. And horse-racing is more than just betting on a horse – it’s an experience. You enjoy the ball-gamey food, and the video poker machines, plus you can get rowdy in applause in their outdoor seating. This is a definite must-see when in Ocean City.

5. Mini-golf – If you love miniature golf, then Ocean City is the place for you. With a new course on practically every block, you’ll never run out of places to play. There are so many creative set-ups, magnificent water shows, and light displays, to keep you entertained when you are waiting in lines as the courses get packed at night. We love trying to sink a putt by hitting a ball through a lighthouse, or into the middle of a volcano. And at the end of practically every game, you get to take a shot into a wacky mouth of some creature to try and win a free game. (We love this part, though we’re not so good at actually succeeding in getting ourselves a free game.)

There’s so many other things we love at Ocean City and so much more to do, like shopping, amusement and water parks, and concerts (we got to see the Beach Boys and John Stamos – just as dreamy in person as on TV) that we can’t imagine waiting a whole year to go back. Luckily, it’s close enough we don’t have to! Ocean City makes the perfect weekend getaway and we think it’s one of the best for Baltimoreans to enjoy!

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