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. Concerts on the Beach / Sunset Party Nights
Bring your family to enjoy tributes and music sessions from a variety of genres. Free concerts on the beach, sponsored by the town, run every Wednesday from July 13 to Aug. 31. Just head down to the Boardwalk at North Division Street from 8-9:30 p.m. Free concerts are also held during Sunset Park Party Nights, Thursdays from July 7 to Aug. 25, 7-9 p.m.
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 10 to Sept. 4. 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 21-Aug. 2, 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 1 through Aug. 31, Movies at the Beach offers free screenings outside the Carousel Hotel on 118th 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 20 through Aug. 5, at the 27th Street Beach at 8:30 p.m.
4. Walk the Boardwalk
The Ocean City Boardwalk was voted second-best in the entire country in a USA Today poll released this year. 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 rollercoasters 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. 8-12. 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.
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 2016 Super Summer Saver listings.