Notoriously, vacations are not cheap.
Still, it’s hard to put a price tag on the kind of family bonding experience that can occur during a week off in one of the most popular resort towns in the country: Ocean City, Maryland.
Luckily, the town of Ocean City has worked hard during the last several years to increase the free offerings geared towards families occurring in and around the beach. That way you can take a break without breaking your vacation budget.
Top 10 Free Family Activities in Ocean City, MD
Here are our top ten favorite activities that won’t cost a dime:
10. Free Assateague Days
Daytrips to Assateague National Park normally cost $20, for unlimited passengers in a single vehicle. However, several fee-free days are scheduled each summer, including free entry on Aug. 25-28 in honor of the National Park Service’s birthday, and on Sept. 24, commemorating National Public Lands Day.
The popular national park is just minutes away from Ocean City, and is home to the famous wild ponies of Assateague, as well as one-of-a-kind ocean and bayside beaches and campsites.
9. Sunset Party Nights
Watch the sun set over the Isle of Wight Bay from the perfect location in Ocean City! Sunset Park Party Nights are held on Thursdays from 7pm to 9pm. Sunset Park is located on S. Division Street on the bay. Admission to the park is free, while beverages, including beer, are available for purchase. It is recommended that attendees bring their own seating.
8. Sundaes in the Park
On Sundays, the resort features Sundaes in the Park – with a free concert and fireworks display – at Northside Park on 125th Street, every week from July 16 to Sept. 1. The shows start at 7 p.m. with the fireworks launching at 9 p.m
7. Family Beach Olympics
The Family Beach Olympics run Tuesdays, June 25-Aug. 13, on the 27th Street Beach, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Activities include tug-of-war, relay races and sandcastle building contests with your children and the rest of the family.
6. Movies on the Beach
On Wednesdays from June 5 through Aug. 28, Movies at the Beach offers free screenings at the Beach on 117th Street, at 8:30 p.m. These family-friendly movies range from Disney classics to modern Pixar flicks. The town also sponsors Movies at the Beach on Mondays and Fridays, from June 24 through Aug. 16, at the 27th Street Beach at 8:30 p.m.
5. OC Beach Lights
The free laser-lights spectacle OC Beach Lights runs nightly, May 26 through Sept. 2, from 9:00-11:00 p.m., along the Boardwalk. The show features dazzling displays of lasers, lights, fireworks and videos all set to music, with additional special effects displayed on a five-story tall beach ball.
4. Walk the Boardwalk
The Ocean City Boardwalk was voted second-best in the entire country in a USA Today poll. And it’s not hard to see why.
The three-mile stretch is a classic slice of Americana and summer personified, with attractions ranging from roller-coasters and Ferris wheels, to vintage arcades and shops, to the veritable walking buffet of restaurants that runs the gamut from fine dining, and the legendary home of the original Thrasher’s French Fries.
3. Watch the White Marlin Open
Probably the biggest event outside of the Fourth of July weekend, the 43rd Annual White Marlin Open returns to the resort Aug. 5-9. This year, the world’s largest billfish tournament expects to give out more than $3 million in prize money.
The best part? The event is free to watch, as each day more than 300 fishing boats from across the country bring their catches to the scales, at the Harbour Island Marina on 14th Street and the bay from 4-9 p.m.
2. Beach Fireworks
About a million visitors annually flock to Ocean City to watch the Fourth of July fireworks blast off in two locations, over the beach and over the bay.
If you can’t make it into the resort during the holiday, free fireworks displays are offered on Mondays from July 8 through September 1, starting at the North Division Street beach and visible along the Boardwalk.
1. Head to the Beach
There’s no better activity in Ocean City than a literal day at the beach. Ocean City beaches stretch from the inlet, more than 10 miles, all the way through 145th Street to the Maryland-Delaware boarder. Best of all, the resort’s beaches are free and open to the public, from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., daily. Go surfing or body boarding, build a sand castle, or just soak up some rays on one of America’s most-popular beaches.
For additional deals and discounts, including a “Welcome Back” special on stays at the Princess Royale, as well as golf and casino room packages, check out our deals!