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Ocean City Area Features

Day Trips Along the Delmarva Peninsula

While there’s plenty to do in Ocean City, Maryland, there’s also much more to see and experience in some of the neighboring towns on the Delmarva Peninsula—Delaware, and the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Virginia. These places aren’t even far away—just a short 30-minute to hour-long drive, and you’ll feel as though you’re in a completely different region. While some places may have the same excitement level as Ocean City, others are quiet towns with quaint streets and distinctive local restaurants and stores. Here are some ideas to get you out and about.

Berlin, MD

On one visit to Berlin, Maryland, it’s easy to see why this town has been recognized nationally and won so many awards including: “Best Small Towns in America” in 2018 by Architectural Digest; the “Absolute Cutest Town in Maryland” by Huffington Post in 2017; “20 Best Small Towns to Visit in 2016” by Smithsonian.com; and “The Coolest Small Town in America” recently by Budget Travel. Just west of Ocean City, Berlin is a gem of a small community with friendly people and beautiful sights—which is probably why Hollywood has filmed movies here such as Runaway Bride with Julia Roberts and Richard Gere. Here, visitors are transported to simpler times and history presents itself around every corner. Not only does Berlin have nearly 50 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places, but it was home to Stephen Decatur (a heroic Naval commander during the War of 1812), Man o’ War (believed to be the best racehorse of all time), and the 1937 Triple Crown winner, War Admiral—a direct descendant of Man o’ War.

Journey down the tree-lined main street of downtown Berlin to discover an eclectic mix of businesses. You’ll find a few antique stores with some retailers carrying modern conveniences sprinkled in, shops with handmade gifts, and delicious dining options in the locally owned restaurants. Berlin is also home to museums such as the Calvin B. Taylor House Museum, gorgeous golf courses, and stunning natural scenery just waiting to be explored. Events are offered throughout the year and cover a variety of interests from jazz and historic cars to bathtub races. To see what else is going on in Berlin in 2018, check the listing of events in your Sunny Day Guide or online.

Salisbury, MD

Anchored by Salisbury University—a part of the University System of Maryland—Salisbury, MD is one of the most populous cities on the Delmarva Peninsula and lies approximately one hour west of Ocean City. In addition to having the major box stores and chain restaurants that are found throughout the US, Salisbury also has cool attractions, adventures in taste at local restaurants and breweries, and lots of outdoor activities. One of the most popular things to see is the Salisbury Zoo. This free attraction has well-maintained walking paths that take visitors past tropical birds, prairie dogs, bison, llamas and many more regional and exotic animals. The kids will love getting to see the live animals and this trip to the zoo doesn’t hurt the wallet! Another free place for some fun in the sun is Pemberton Historical Park. Meander past historic buildings and natural settings while strolling the paths and boardwalks in the park. Bird lovers and those with an interest in handcrafted arts may appreciate a visit to the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art, where beauty awaits onlookers both indoors in the galleries and outdoors in nature. After a day in the sun, watch the Delmarva Shorebirds (a farm team of the Baltimore Orioles) play a riveting baseball game at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium. Grab a cold beer and a hotdog and cheer Salisbury’s home team to victory!

Assateague & Chincoteague

Off the coasts of Maryland and Virginia lies a 37-mile-long natural barrier island that is shared by both states. Indians who first discovered this beautiful site called it “Assateague” which means “place across” and it has remained a crossing point for the famous horses that annually swim across the channel to Chincoteague, Virginia. As a part of the National Park Service, Assateague Island National Seashore has some beautiful beaches and unspoiled natural settings including sand dunes, wetlands, and marshes. Nature lovers adore the wildlife that is present and birds that find sanctuary on the island. Though the Maryland and Virginia sides of Assateague do not connect, there are two ways to access the island with an entrance in Maryland and another by way of Chincoteague, VA. In Chincoteague, more comfortable amenities can be found for those looking for an island getaway. Waterfront restaurants offer fabulous seafood entrees and tropical drinks while local shops have pony souvenirs, handmade gifts, and locally made works of art. It’s a quaint town to walk around and a nice spot to visit after a day in nature.

Delaware Towns

Just north across the Maryland state line are some fabulous little Delaware beach towns including Bethany Beach, Fenwick Island and Rehoboth. These communities are steeped in charm and delightful activities. Plan ahead using our Coastal Delaware vacation guide, and be sure to pick up a Sunny Day Guide when you get there!

Bethany Beach has a fantastic boardwalk that edges the large sand dunes and is not far from the water. Great places to get some food surround the central square and serve everything from breakfast dishes to fried clams, pizza, gyros, fudge and ice cream. It is easy to walk around the town, exploring the little shops along the way or listening to a live musical performance. During the warmer months, you’ll likely come upon farmers markets and other events near the downtown area. With its clean, safe beaches and a quieter lifestyle, it’s no wonder that Bethany Beach is loved by so many and is thought to be the most family-friendly beach in Delaware.

Fenwick Island is situated on the border between Maryland and Delaware, and is much quieter than Ocean City, its neighbor to the south. Though it is not truly an island—it’s more of a peninsula—it does have some wonderful water views! There are so many places where you can sit on the bay and watch the sun set as you dine on fresh, local seafood. Plus, the calmer, protected waters are fantastic spots to learn new watersports. On the southern border between the states lies the Fenwick Island Lighthouse and the Transpeninsular Marker. Take a picture of the kids with a foot in each state for a memorable souvenir.

Rehoboth Beach is the largest beach city in the state of Delaware. Because of its wonderful seaside community that blends the tranquility of living by the water with the conveniences of urban living, many find the city to be an ideal place to live or vacation. Its location near Washington, D.C. has made this beach town a hotspot for over 100 years. Rehoboth has even been dubbed the “Nation’s Summer Capital” due to its loyal sand-seekers from the mid-Atlantic region. Today, new attractions and activities such as paddleboarding, outlet malls and tasting trails continue to attract visitors from around the nation. Plus, the Rehoboth it’s food scene has been amazingly hot in the last several years. This is a great place to visit for exceptional cuisine.

Just north of Rehoboth is the small, historic town of Lewes. With buildings from yesteryear this beautiful town is worth a visit. Most people stop to explore it while taking the ferry to Cape May, New Jersey—which is also a scenic adventure—but Lewes has a charm that makes it a destination to itself. If you go, be sure to try one of the local restaurants or stop to see the Lightship Overfalls. Very few lightships are still in existence and even fewer are open for tours.

Take time to discover these beautiful areas that are just a short drive from Ocean City. There’s a ton to explore, gorgeous views, and unique events happening all the time. These places make wonderful day trips that offer different environments for new experiences.

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