Family Travel: The Wild Side of Coastal Maryland
By Carissa Hickok
There are two main beaches on the Maryland coast next to the Atlantic Ocean. Maryland’s only coastal town, Ocean City, is popular with everyone in the area. It is good for people of all ages with a variety of hotels and vacation homes to choose from. There are plenty of free beach and free parking for all visitors. The beach has many access points that take you from the boardwalk onto the beach. On the beach, you will see people swimming in the ocean, surfing, sunbathing, napping, running, strolling, or playing beach volleyball or beach football or other sports.
On the boardwalk, there are plenty of shops to buy souvenirs or a hoodie for the cool night air and places to buy food. Especially popular in Ocean City are the Boardwalk French fries. It is worth the walk and the wait in line to get them hot and fresh. There are also public restrooms and outdoor water sprinklers to wash off the sand after a day at the beach and before you get back into the car.
Aside from the beach, there are also an amusement park and water parks. You can also find mini golf, arcades, and museums. Water sports are also available for the more water inclined. Basically, there is something for everyone – no matter what age!
You can fly into Ocean City or take the Cape May Lewes Ferry. But for many, it makes sense to fly into a bigger airport in the DC area and then drive 2.5-3 hours to Ocean City. You will cross the Chesapeake Bay (which is worth its own visit) on the Bay Bridge, which spans 4.316 miles with magnificent views of the bay and land below. Drive through the Bay Bridge during sunrise or sunset and you are sure to be captivated by the beauty of the sky. Realistically, the drive is easily worth it just because of the scenery. Many people appreciate the nature of this area and don’t mind the drive at all!
Assateague Island National Seashore
Just south of Ocean City is Assateague Island National Seashore. If you ask anyone in Maryland about Assateague, the first thing they will think of is horses! Here, the wild horses are a sight to behold as you drive or walk by. In addition, you can camp on the beach. Campsites at Assateague are one of the most sought after location so if you decide to camp, be sure to book early! Furthermore, you can drive onto the beach if you have a suitable vehicle and you will need to purchase a permit. Assateague National Park is actually divided between Maryland and Virginia. As Assateague is an island, its landscape is created and maintained by the ebb and flow of ocean waves.
Carissa enjoys traveling so much that she left the corporate world to work as a freelancer, which allows her to up and go on a regular basis. She lives with her dachshund, Daphne in central Florida.
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