The Other Ocean City

Make plans to visit this family-friendly beach town in New Jersey.


Mummers Night takes place on the boardwalk every Tuesday night in July and August. Courtesy of Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce

What to Do

Family activities are scheduled seemingly every day or evening. Face painters and balloon sculptors entertain the kids on Asbury Avenue on Funtastic Tuesdays or Thursday’s Market Days, while Thursday night is Family Night on the boardwalk, with live music, sing-alongs, magicians and Hula-Hoop contests. Not to mention that there are children’s plays every Tuesday morning and activities such as french fry or taffy sculpting on Wacky Wednesdays at the Ocean City Music Pier, which also holds all kinds of events and concerts (Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes are scheduled for July 5). The calendar on the Ocean City website will keep you posted about daily activities.

On the boardwalk, Gillian’s Wonderland Pier, owned by Ocean City Mayor Jay Gillian, has lots of ride options for younger kids, while Playland’s Castaway Cove entices thrill seekers with rides like Extreme Cyclone or Alien Abduction. In 2021, tags are required for access to the beach from June 5 through Sept. 6. Hotels often provide them, or check for locations where they can be purchased.

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The “Tin Lizzy” bumper cars at Gillian’s Wonderland Pier are also a family favorite. Courtesy of Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce

For bayside activities, businesses lining the aptly named Bay Avenue rent Jet Skis, WaveRunners, parasails, kayaks, catamarans, paddleboards, you name it. Pirate Voyages leads daily bay excursions aboard the Sea Dragon; kids search for treasure and wear pirate garb. And don’t miss Totally Tubular Watersports’ Aqua Park, an obstacle course/playground located right in the water (life jackets provided).

Carole Sugarman lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland, and visits Ocean City, New Jersey, every summer.

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Categories: Travel