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Ocean City With Kids: 12 Things to Do

What started as a small fishing village in 1875 has grown into one of the best family friendly destinations for a quick weekend getaway or week long escape. You will find city life along Philadelphia Ave. and seclusion mixed into one with neighboring Assateague Island. You will find plenty of activities the kids will enjoy, including arcades, mini-golfing, go-karts, theme parks, water parks, wild life, water sports, and swimming, making Ocean City with kids one of the best vacation options on the East Coast.

Ocean City marsh, ocean city with kids
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Photo by Seth Hoffman on Unsplash

Things to Do In Ocean City With Kids

Hit the Beach

Ocean City, a barrier island, naturally has plenty of beach options. Along the Ocean City boardwalk you can find plenty of hotel options that give you direct access to the Ocean City beaches. If your accommodations are not right on the beach, you can find public access anywhere along the boardwalk. Parking is limited and can be tricky, but you can find street parking or the better option park in the Hugh T. Cropper Inlet Parking Lot for $3/hr. From the lot you will have easy access to the boardwalk and beach.

Spend the day building sand castles, jumping in the waves, soaking up the sun, and keeping an eye out for dolphins swimming nearby! There are plenty of food options on the boardwalk and you can find public restrooms on the boardwalk and near the Jolly Roger at the Pier park. There are no fees to use the beach.

Ocean City beach and pier
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Acroterion, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Go Mini-Golfing

Mini-golf courses are abundant and one of the best things to do when visiting Ocean City with kids. You can’t go more than a couple blocks on Philadelphia Ave. without seeing highly decorated, colorful, and bright mini-golf courses that are sure to draw in your little one’s attention. Nick’s Mini golf has several locations with many different themes, including dinosaur golf, beach ball golf, and Maui golf. You will find many discount passes for Nick’s Mini Golf so you can jump from course to course without any worries.

You can find many other options, including pirate mini golf, jungle golf at the Jolly Roger Amusement Park, Viking mini-golf, and more. Tip: These courses do get quite packed in the summer months. Visiting early in the morning or later at night can help you avoid some of the crowds.

Stroll the Ocean City Boardwalk, or Jump Aboard the Boardwalk Tram

Hours can be spent strolling the Ocean City boardwalk, shopping for souvenirs and unique OC apparel, and trying some local, fresh seafood and sweet treats. If visiting with kids you will find playgrounds, “dinosaur bones”, a whale buried in the sand, and giant beach chairs, perfect for photo ops.

The OC boardwalk tram runs throughout the day and takes you from the South end to the North end of the boardwalk. It saves you some walking when the little feet get tired and the ride itself can be enjoyable for the kids, especially at night when the boardwalk lights up. The tram fee is $4 per person.

Ocean City boardwalk, ocean city with kids
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Photo by Kat Keeling on Unsplash

Visit Jolly Roger’s Amusement Park

Kids and adults alike will enjoy a trip to the many Jolly Roger parks and attractions. Jolly Roger’s Amusement Park has two locations- Philadelphia Ave and Jolly Roger at the Pier. Speedworld has many different tracks and options for go-karting for all ages and skill levels.

For younger kids, the Amusement Park on Philadelphia Ave is the better choice. There are plenty of family friendly rides to choose from, classic fair games, a train ride around the park, and a circus show. You will also find classic fair/boardwalk dining options with plenty of sweet treat options. Next door you will also find the Splash Mountain Water Park with water slides, kiddie pools, and a lazy river, Jolly Roger Mini Golf, and Speedworld, Jolly Roger’s go-karting paradise.

For some thrill rides visit Jolly Roger at the Pier, where you can find the Looping Star roller coaster, a slingshot, and more! The Ocean City Boardwalk is right next to the park, so combine your visit to the park with a stroll along the boardwalk or a visit to the beach.

Ferris Wheel at Jolly Roger at the pier, top attraction when visiting Ocean City with kids
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APK, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Explore Frontier Town

Frontier Town is a Western themed park in New Berlin, just outside of Ocean City, with a theme park, water park, and two camp grounds for those who want to make Berlin their base. The main theme park is a replica of a late 1800’s western town with panning for gold, daily shows, gun fights, a train ride, traditional theme park rides, and plenty of dining options. The water park features a splash pad, a wading pool, water slides, and a lazy river. If you are in the mood for more mini-golfing you can find an onsite mini-golf course.

Go Go-karting

With lots of options for go-karting, from tracks perfect for mini go-karters to thrilling courses for adults, go-karting is one of the best things to do in Ocean City with kids. Jolly Roger’s Speedworld offers a number of different tracks, from the Kiddie Grand Prix to the more thrilling Cyclone Cart Coaster.

Baja Amusements is another great option for go-karting, but also offers a mini-golf course, climbing walls, and three kiddie rides. Grand Prix Amusements offers go-karting, batting cages, rock climbing, amusement rides, an arcade, and bumper boats.

Join an OC Foodie Tour

If food is one of the highlights for you when traveling, be sure to check out the Ocean City Foodie tours! You will find three different options, including a Midtown Dining District tour, Downtown/Boardwalk tour, and a Bay Hopping tour.

The Midtown Dining District tour will take you to Ocean City’s local restaurants over a three hour period, with 7-8 stops along the way for tasting fresh and locally caught seafood, cocktails, and a stop at Candy Kitchen for some fudge and taffy and the Fractured Prune deep fried donut. The tour is open to all ages, so it is a great choice even for families with younger kids.

The Downtown/Boardwalk foodie tour will take you along both the bayside and ocean front boardwalk of Ocean City, treating you to fresh seafood, including the popular blue crab, while visiting some of the top sites in Ocean City, including Marina restaurants and bars, the world’s oldest operating carousel at Trimpers Rides, and some of the most popular photographed sites in OC. You will also be treated to some of Ocean City’s best deserts, including funnel cake and deep fried Oreos.

The Bay Hopping foodie tour offers both a North and West OC option. The tour takes you to three Ocean City restaurants, treats you to some of the best seafood dishes, a stop at Dolle’s Candyland, and for the adults some cocktail tastings.

Take a Day Trip to Assateague Island

Assateague Island is a barrier island found South of Ocean City that has been largely preserved and kept in a natural state. The island is only a roughly 20 minute drive from Ocean City, so it makes for the perfect day trip while visiting Ocean City with kids. The main draw of Assateague Island is the wild ponies that can be found roaming around.

Assateague Island is home to both Assateague Island National Seashore and Assateague Island State Park. Both are worth a visit, but if you drive Assateague Island National Seashore you are likely to catch a glimpse of the ponies hanging out and munching in the marshes along the bay side.

The National Seashore also has some great hiking trails that are perfect for families! The Life of the Forest trail is a flat, easy walk that will take you to a boardwalk overlooking the marsh. The Life of the Dunes trail takes you along Assateague’s sand dunes and treats you to more wildlife.

One of the best parts of Assateague Island National Seashore is the pristine white sand beaches where you can relax, soak up the sun, fly a kite, jump some waves, and maybe even catch a glimpse of the wild ponies roaming the shore.

The Assateague Island State Park is right next to the National Seashore and another great option for viewing the ponies, camping, hitting the beach, kayaking, canoeing, and surfing, and fishing.

Assateague Island wild ponies, ocean city with kids
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The Assateague Islands wild ponies.

Find Your Way Out of An Escape Room

An escape room is a fun and challenging way to spend some time in Ocean City with kids. Captive Escape Rooms offers many different options at different difficulty levels, including Pieces of Eight, 13 Doors, and Charlotte’s Attic. Enjoy some thrills as you work together to find clues and escape the room. The minimum age for this experience is 13.

Escapomania is another option that offers six different adventures, including a Sherlock Holmes adventure, Poltergeist, and Mad Scientist Lab. Younger kids can enjoy this attraction with an adult, but may find it scary.

Get Out of the Water With a Kayak, SUP, or Jet Ski

Scattered across Ocean City you will find plenty of rental options for kayaks, SUP’s, Jet ski’s, and canoes. With Odyssea Watersports you can rent jet ski’s (recommended for older children, but teens 16 and older can drive), kayaks, and stand up paddle boards. With Paradise Watersports you can enjoy jet ski rentals or parasailing above Ocean City. Top Gun Watersports offers kayak and jet ski rentals

Be Wowed at Ripley’s Believe It or Not!

Explore the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! museum and have fun with the interactive exhibits and galleries highlighting some of the most odd and unique things and people in the world. Try your hand at the Ripley’s Mirror Maze as you make your way through the maze trying not to walk into yourself (the mirror) while finding your way to the end. Try the Laserace and avoid the lasers while ducking, jumping, and climbing through the maze of lasers. No matter what you choose, you will make some great family memories and enjoy some laughs!

Take Boat Ride to Assateague Island

Mr Ducks Assateague Adventure is another great option for viewing the wild ponies of Assateague Island. Leaving from the Talbot Street Pier, Assateague Adventure takes you out to Sinepuxent Bay and past the marshes of Assateague Island where the wild ponies are often found.

Other than seeing the wild ponies, the boat ride also includes a touch tank on board, where you and your kiddos will be introduced to sea animals, including a horseshoe crab. The boat will pull up to a section of Assateague Island where you can get out and go “netting” for some sea life. We caught a couple jelly fish and it was a big hit with my daughter!

Assateague Adventure boat tour, netting for fish
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“Netting” on Assateague Island

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Beaches, sun, theme parks, go-karts, mini-golf, and more! These are just some of the things to do when visiting Ocean City with kids!
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