Ocean City, Maryland in August 2016

I am late posting about my trip to Ocean City, Maryland. There's nothing like powerful events happening in your life to get your mind going and looking for ways to release emotions and memories. I recently lost my Grandmother, "Nanny". She is now back with her love, my Grandfather, "Pop-pop" or "Pops" (as I called him in my adult years). It was their house in Berlin, across the bay from Ocean City, Maryland that I first think of whenever I think of Ocean City. 

Ocean City is a vault of wonderful memories of both my grandparents, my siblings, my cousins. Due to the amount we moved (military family), it is the only place that I have memories from each stage of my life. It is where, when I close my eyes, I can see in perfect detail. I can hear the lapping of the water against the dock or the birds as they fly over the water back to the trees on land at sunset. I swear I can even smell the salt air.

I will always hold a special place in my heart for our house on Wood Duck Drive and the memories we had there. Rest in peace, my sweet Nanny and our Lucky Buck (Pops).

 View from our backyard in Berlin, looking across the bay at Ocean City.

View from our backyard in Berlin, looking across the bay at Ocean City.

Ocean City in August is hot! I flew on a direct flight from Charlotte Douglas International on a two prop (yes, they are still around) puddle jumper to Salisbury-Ocean City Wicomico Regional Airport. It's a super small, yet easy airport. They even still allow folks to park right out front! Ocean City is about a 30 min drive from the Salisbury airport. They do have Uber in the area now, if you're not interested in renting a car.

Ocean City has done a lot of updating in the last several years. It's really cleaned up and is a beautiful beach community. There are still too many putt-putt places as you drive down the strip, however people can only have so many beach days while on vacation so it's a great thing for families looking for something else to do.

My favorite area is down, closer to the inlet. There are plenty of things to do, and most are in walking distance. In the morning, before 11 AM, you can rent bikes (or bring your own) and ride them along the boards. Go early because it gets pretty crowded! It's also really nice just to walk the boards. There are lots of little shops to pop into and food options. If families are looking for other things to do off the beach, there is also a Ripley's Believe it or Not, Trimper's and Jolly Roger's rides.

 We're walking the boards in Ocean City, Maryland in front of Ripley's Believe it or Not!

We're walking the boards in Ocean City, Maryland in front of Ripley's Believe it or Not!

We had a great day on the boards and riding the rides! Check out our video!

One of the reasons we like to go to Ocean City in August is because the annual White Marlin Open Tournament (large fishing tournament - think Shark, White and Blue Marlin, etc). It is the first week of August and it is always a great time watching the boats (of all sizes) heading out in the early morning, or coming in at sunset. You can go over to Harbour Island (14th Street and the Bay) and watch the boats as they back up to the scale to weigh-in their catch. It's a lot of fun to see the fish up close, but you need to get there very early to claim a spot close to the scale if you want to be able to see anything...or, if you're a big fan, rent a condo right in the marina if you can find one!

If you don't care so much about seeing the weigh-in but love to watch the boats...the best location (in my opinion) is on the inlet! The boats fly the flag of the type of fish they have caught on their way to the weigh-in. Tip: get a reservation on the windows at Harrison's Harbor Watch restaurant. It over looks the inlet, so you have a great view of the parade of boats as they come through! They also have cards on their tables that tell you what each of the flags are, and always have great fresh fish options. Tell Lori Kelly or Reagan at the Raw Bar I sent you and have them make you some Oyster Stew before you head to your table! 

After you're done with dinner, there are plenty of dive bars along the boardwalk...there are actually multiple bars on every corner! It's a great time to walk off the great meal you just had at Harrison's and check out multiple spots - Cork Bar, The Bearded Clam, Purple Moose...just pop your head in and eventually you'll find a few that suite you.

You can't go to Ocean City without stopping at a beach bar. Two of our favorites are de Lazy Lizard and Fish Tales. We like them because you still have the beach bar feel, but it is much less crowded (typically) than the mega beach bar, I'll talk about next. You can take your boat over, however they have limited docking, so you need to make sure you time your visit just right if you're planning on boating over. You can drive as well, they both have a decent size parking lot. 

The next spot is a must hit. If people have been to Ocean City before, they know it well. Seacrets - Jamaica USA. Their tag line is "find us and get lost"...and that is exactly what you might do in this mega beach bar. You can also arrive by boat to Seacrets - which, I highly recommend if you can, especially during busy hours. The line to get in can stretch around the block if you're in high season. This bar is right on the bay and transports you to Jamaica, without leaving the US. It is all sandy beaches, palm trees, reggae music, Red Stripe beer and loads of frozen drink options. Our standard when visiting is the Pain in de Ass. It's basically Rum Runner and Pina Colada layered and is oh so good...but watch out...they sneak up on you!

In addition to all of the great restaurants and bars, Ocean City has some other great activities. There are loads of jetski and boat rental options. There are also large touring jet boats that take you out to the ocean. It's a great chance that you'll spot some wildlife - wild ponies at Assateague Island as you leave the Inlet, and dolphin love to jump in the waves and boat wake.

Have you been to Ocean City? What are your favorite things to do and/or places to go while you're there?