Random Summer Outings: (Don’t go to) Ocean City, MD – by Robyn

Dumser’s has been a part of the history of the Ocean City Boardwalk since 1939 ~ Dolle’s Candyland specializes in homemade salt water taffy Since 1910, originally uploaded by Robert Lz.

As a kid I loved Ocean City, MD. I remember scarfing down buckets of Fisher’s popcorn, Dumsers ice cream, chocolate strawberries from Candy Kitchen (what can I say, I was a hungry kid), then immediately racing off into the waves only to return 5 minutes later with a massive stomachache, and a craving for more popcorn. We’d run around all day and stop by the Gocart track on the way home to race off any excess energy before the long, slow trek home bumper to bumper with the other day-trippers who were too stingy to stay in a beachside hotel.

Yet I can’t stand the place now. Not to offend OC fans, I think the beach is a poor option for DCers to trek to when in need of sun. I went a little while ago to reminisce over my younger days face-first in a bucket of Fishers, and instead got a different taste of Ocean City – that tasted a little like brine. The boardwalk, which when I was a kid seemed like the yellow brick road, is now overrun by obese children. The beach is sardine-like crowded and filled with discarded Big Gulp cups and taffy wrappers, and just when you think you found an OK spot to squeeze into, you realize your neighbors are apparently into blasting Garth Brooks and not having a full set of teeth and screaming things like ‘WADE GIT YOR CIGARUT BUTTS AWF MAH TOWEL OR AH WEAL STICK THIS HERE UMBRELLU STRAIGHT UP UR…’

Also the attendants of the Ocean City rides really need to ease up on the Drakkar Noir.

Maybe there are hidden gems of the city that I haven’t experienced? But for now I’d pick Rehoboth, Assateague, hell even Dewey, over OC. What am I missing out on?

49 Comment

  • My family has a condo way way down off 142nd street, almost in DE. I like to take friends down when I go for a weekend, but I invite them with the condition that I will not go to the boardwalk. Although the haunted house ride can be a lot of fun.

  • Rehoboth, Dewey, and Ocean City appeal to different clientele. That is really no secret. It all depends what you are looking for. if you’re the type of tourist whose idea of a good time isn’t cheap t-shirt shops and $15 buffets, you can still enjoy ocean city, you just need a little more knowledge of the places to go. 10 miles of beach and bay, along with knowing which establishments to frequent and where to stay away from, and anyone can still have a good time in OC.

  • I always go straight to Assateague National Seashore (6 miles south of Ocean City) where the beaches are great (at least the National Park beach, the State beach used to be kind of dumpy) plus you have all the ponies. The restrooms are clean (Rehoboth only has portapotties at its park beaches) and there are changing rooms and outdoor showers to get the sand off your feet. That’s it–just the beach, ocean, and ponies–no concessions, noise, or trash to disturb your commune with nature.

    We kick back in the sand and surf all day and then go to Ocean City for an hour or so to get some Thrasher’s french fries. Then the long trip back, which these days isn’t so bad, especially on a Saturday.

    Yeah O.C. has a dumpy vibe, but I always dug it better than Rehoboth’s boutique airs. Plus Rehoboth doesn’t have Assateague.

  • robyn, your ignorance continues to astound me. im embarrassed and saddened buy your truly ugly little small minded piece.

  • To find a very enjoyable Ocean City, all you need to do is turn left at the end of the 60th street bridge. Turn right and you get the above.

  • The boardwalk, which when I was a kid seemed like the yellow brick road, is now overrun by obese children. The beach is sardine-like crowded and filled with discarded Big Gulp cups and taffy wrappers, and just when you think you found an OK spot to squeeze into, you realize your neighbors are apparently into blasting Garth Brooks and not having a full set of teeth and screaming things like ‘WADE GIT YOR CIGARUT BUTTS AWF MAH TOWEL OR AH WEAL STICK THIS HERE UMBRELLU STRAIGHT UP UR…’

    So, wait, are we talking about Ocean City or the Air and Space Museum?

  • What “Why” is trying to say Robyn is that you need to veer to the absurd with the “Git R Done” comments to achieve humor. Otherwise, as here, it’s just mean-spirited, po-faced complaining by a flip-flop wearing “elite” – and one imagines you as Lovey Howell going “those people, tsk, tsk!”

  • Generally I find obese rednecks no more annoying than privileged yuppies and vain queens usually found further north (as, as long as we’re smearing ourselves in stereotypes they way pigs wallow in shit). What’s really annoying, though, is shallow, judgmental wenches who want to recreate the world in their own narrow metrosexual image. It’s too bad that blue collar folks and red-state voters can afford to a have a vacation just like us rich people, but I guess I’ve learned to live with it — no everyone can be as beautiful as we are.

    At any rate, I like Dewey even though I’m twice the age of the hot chicks at the Bottle and Cork and the most fun you can have on that whole stretch — outside bumping up next to those girls at the B&C, or the boys at the Blue Moon or…. — is the Ocean City Boardwalk at night and the garish, trashy delights it offers. Especially if you’re towing kids around. Nothing better than a few beers at the Bearded Clam (bonus points: write a brief essay comparing and contrasting the Bearded Clam with the Red Derby) and a ride on that giant Ferris Wheel. It isn’t hip. It’s just fun.

  • but i do enjoy the absurd nature of ocean city with children. In a child’s eyes, OC is still the way you experienced it….

    As for the people at ocean city, come on now. If you want to pick on people, gather a bunch of your junior high friends and do it in private.

  • Robyn – did it ever occur to you that you weren’t such a snob when you were a kid? I am ashamed you hail from Annapolis, it is people like you that contribute to the snobbery associated with people’s image of annapolitan’s.

    Garth Brooks + cigarettes + Natty Boh = Good f’ing time!!! Try it sometime!

    Looking forward to your write up on Sandy Point…

  • My family has a place on 145th street next to the DE line that I frequent every year and I’ve always enjoyed my time in Ocean City. There are definitely places that cater to the lowest common denominator and if you let those places and their clientele dictate your vacation then you deserve the miserable time you encounter. That said, there are countless spots that are frequented by locals and long timers that always offer a great time and a warm welcome. The boardwalk is a good place to get your thrashers, dumsers, and novelty shot glass fix but a quick spin on a beach cruiser down the side streets will reveal a whole new aspect to the town. Go to OC and decide to have a great time, simple as that.

  • Just to reiterate what i said about Bumfest:


  • There is a restaurant at the end of the Boardwalk that serves the best made-to-order oyster stew I have ever had. Sit at the bar and they make it right in front of you – along with made-to-order steamed shrimp, steamed clams and other yummy seafood.

  • Holy crap, what a bunch of vitriolic comments. This flaming PC-fest makes me feel like I am back in college!

  • Y’all lay off Robyn. I think she oughta recognize by now she needs an experienced editor. ‘Tis a subtle line between humorous exploration and simple fucktarded jackassery.

    Trust me, I’m an expert on the latter.

    … or is the former?

    I always git them confused when I’m listening to “I’ve Got Friends in Low Places” while simultaneously replacing the tinfoil on my winders.

  • you guys need to get off robin’s back. good lord… what kind of world is it where you cant make fun of rednecks and obesity anymore? not a world I want to live in, that’s for sure!

    Fact – There are hicks in Ocean City
    Fact – Its tacky
    Fact – Its fun

  • Looks like there are a lot of kettles here calling Robyn black. How many threads about how much Virginia sucks have I read on here over the years? Or how ’bout I start a thread about tourists in DC and see how many people rush to their defense? People need to chill.

  • Ranking on OC for being tacky is like complaining the city is too expensive and the suburbs are too boring. WTF is the point? You know what? As a kid, I loved making fun of old people. Now that I’m old, I love making fun of young people. But one thing remains constant: I still love skanky teenagers. I keep getting older and they keep staying the same. Aw yeah.

  • this piece is ugly…period! some writers comedians ect., have the heart and the talent to parody tease or generally make fun of others, while kind of busting on themselves so to speak. what’s missing here is wit and empathy. go back to ocean city with open eyes an open heart. this type of writing may not be your forte.

  • Whatever the case, Hoopers is still bombnastacular awesome.

  • dcdude: But Virginia does suck like a porno star engaged in a world-record suck-a-thon. When we point out that people in Virginny haven’t progressed much from hunting fer squirrel in the holler barefoot we have the advantage of them provin’ us right all the time:


  • I got into it at the Pug last weekend with some kids who were hating on Garth Brooks. For a generation that wants you to believe they’re open minded, the children in skinny jeans sure don’t seem to accept much of anything that doesn’t fit in with their uniform.

  • And what, I SAY WHAT, is wrong with hunting fer squirrel in the holler barefoot?!

  • Is there anyway to go to Ocean City by public transportation from DC??? Gracias!!!!

  • I always like good ol’ boring Bethany Beach. But yeah, i gotta say this post is kinda snobby. I mean, it’s one thing to say you don’t like going to loud, crowded beaches. It’s another to say you don’t like going because the populace does not meet your standards for intellect and grace. Is Robyn the same oblivious nutbar who posted about how totes awesome it is to be unemployed?

  • We own a condo just 2 blocks from the Dolle’s in the picture above. We wouldn’t be anywhere else at the beach! Picture this: a mid-life gay couple deciding 2 years ago that we love the beach (although lying in the sun isn’t something my dermatologist recommends). Ocean City has a certain flair that other beach communities don’t. Three miles of boardwalk – some of it lined with kitschy shops and beach food, some of it lined with old or 1950sish houses or motels. But the boardwalk is wide and always manageable – and people watching can be fun – not matter what there is to see, just like the rest of the world. Rehoboth is too gay (for us) and the other communities are too “rural” (for us).

    We thought that we’d have to schlep up to Rehoboth for a good meal. Not so. Those in the know have quite a few local OC restaurants that can beat the quality of anything else on Delmarva.

    What we’ve liked about being at the beach in Ocean City is that there is actually a community out there – especially when the summer tourists are gone. We’re in a small 13 unit building, the other owners being from Delaware, Pennsylvania and Virginia. We take care of each other’s property and watch out for any renters who might be misbehaving. A real estate agent out there asked me a month or so ago about how to promote OC to the gay community – as a place to vacation and to buy (there ARE some beautiful bargains in OC, many with ocean views, and nothing is more than 5 blocks from the ocean). We thought about it and you know, OC would work for some people, but there just isn’t a lot of night life that would be all that welcoming.

    But – back to OC itself: There are strange and wonderful people everywhere we go in this world. Ocean City works for us. But so does Paris, Rome and Washington. Even Annapolis is nice for a day trip.

  • Hmm that’s pretty classist…you couldn’t theoretically say the same things about the non-white-collar segment of DC without being accused of bigotry. I enjoy OC because it reminds me of a simpler time in my childhood, and it is kind of refreshing to get away from the pretensions of city life.

  • In response to why? — NiNi says, you should check yourself because you wrecked yourself. You can make fun of others ignorance, but it might be a good idea to make sure you spelled all of your words correctly/use the correct word. Buy Buy now.

  • I now really want to go to Ocean City!!! Ojo Latino goes to la playa!!!!

  • Flippy: Why hunt yer squirrel when you can get it served to you for an exorbitant price in a DC restaurant? [rim shot]

  • Robyn, don’t quit your day job.

  • As a kid my family always went to Assateague and I wondered why my parents never wanted to take us to the boardwalk in OC instead. Then I went to college in Salisbury, MD and learned exactly why.

  • Robyn,

    In their hearts they all know you are right.

  • I really don’t know nothin’ about no Ocean City, but I grew up in Galveston County and every year hundreds of thousands of folks descended on the island from Houston and points north. I do remember thinking at the time that the fellas who drove pickups, wore no shirts, and brought their own beer were always a damn sight nicer and more likable than the people who drove down in their Beemers, Jags, and Mercs and thought they owned the damn place. No one in a fancy car ever offered me a beer or complimented me on my O.P. shirt.

    Jus’ saying.

  • My last memory of Ocean City is walking into a restaurant with my family and seeing a tattooed, clearly tipsy young girl cradling a newborn with one hand and sucking down a cigarette held in the other. Awesome.

  • I used to be a huge fan of this site, but it’s jumped the shark. Dan just posts anything he can get anybody to write (for free), and doesn’t seem to mind all the hate-filled comments. The only thing missing from these responses is the usual reference and hatred towards “fat chicks.”

  • Odentex:
    You’re damned right.

  • “I used to be a huge fan of this site, but it’s jumped the shark. ”

    Yup, pretty much the same damn thing every day. Feels like watching re-runs of a syndicated sit-com. What do you do once you’ve photographed and commented on every house, restaurant, and bar in the neighborhood? Do it over and over again (like with the recycled GDoN posts)?

  • I forgot to add that it’s not just Dan. The comments are, predictably, the same damn thing everyday too.

  • Oh but for the halcyon days of 2008 when PoP “meant” something and the Door of the Day brought ecstacy! You can try to tell the children about those days, when Good Deal or Not caused teen girls to run through the streets like they were chasing naked Jonas Brothers, but nobody believes you.

    Anon… anon…


  • I would also like to add that it’s not just Dan. The comments are, predictably, the same damn thing everyday too.

  • What a weird piece. It’s a criticism of Ocean City for being Ocean City. Adults with sense usually don’t go there. It’s like you wrote about going back to a bar you tried to sneak into in college and found out it wasn’t a good bar at all, but a tourist trap. Are you writing anything that anyone doesn’t already know?

    I found there are a handful of restaurants that were excellent in Ocean City but the chefs probably change every few years so it’s not worth me posting about.

  • As a native OC’er, I feel compelled to comment and defend my hometown. OC has changed, some for the better, some not. I remember my dad complaining in the 60’s about all those hippy-type, playing guitars on the beach and ruining our town. The difference between OC and Rehobeth or Bethany Beach (both great towns) is OC is a resort town, Rehobeth is a town that just happens t have an ocean in front of it. OC, like Dewey, is a loud, fun resort town…no apoligizes!
    As a REALTOR, my clients include 2nd and 3rd generation visitors. Granted, in the summer, we are the 2nd largest town in Maryland, and have the corresponding issues. What we do offer is as little something for everybody; beach, bay , boating, boardwalk, restaurants, nightclubs, municipal parks, dog parks, and the opportunity to do nothing, just sit on the beach and relax.
    Give OC another chance, I think you’ll fall back in love with the beach!

  • PoP:

    Ocean City makes Bethany look like Martha’s Vineyard…or the Bahamas. It’s the British Virgin Islands for the Palin voter.

    The problem is –the invasion’s hit up in Del. Rehobeth used to be much cleaner when it was just gay men and lesbians. Now the same OC type crowd is up there,at least during the day. Perhaps more so from NJ and Pa. rather than Dundalk. Guidos, bumpkins and bammas, I call it…

  • You know my family went to Rehobeth for 8 years before gay people discovered it. I was there as early as 1978 and it was the family escape from OC and more accessible than Bethany which you really needed to buy property to visit. I never heard people talk about Dewey Beach using the derogatory names until well into 1989. Families always went to the state park to escape the rat race of OC.

    The thing about OC that OCRealtor isnt quite catching is that it is a big city in the summer but it’s a big city populated by people who aren’t used to living in a big city and expect they can live like they do in Elkton, Bel Air, Salisbury, Dundalk, Crofton or Westminster and it’s not cool to be around after age 25.

    I am most reminded of a friend from high school who, well into his 20s, used to go to OC in May and buy 4 or 5 novelty restaurant t-shirts that would be popular that year. You know, Big Peckers or Bearded Clam or Brass Balls Saloon or Bad Ass Cafe.

    oh hell, turns out three of those places are owned by the same company:

    Truly this is inexcusable. I’m not 122, I’m not going to Ocean City.

  • What everyone else said. Ocean City hasn’t changed much over the years, but apparently the writer of this piece has.

  • I am over 25, neither my daughter or I are obese rednecks (in fact I am white collar) and have been going to Ocean City almost every year since I was a kid, and I personally love Ocean City. I am not concerned with other people’s children or who is next to me on the beach, I am concerned with MYSELF and MY OWN relaxation and MY OWN indulgence in famous Ocean City traditions (boardwalk, thrashers, pier rides etc..). If you weren’t so concerned with other people you might just have a good time. I bet “Wade” and his garth brooks listening, no teeth family isn’t letting your nosey stares and smirks ruin their fun time.

    I’ve tried going to Rehobeth and even the Jersey shore one year but nothing compares to the familiarity of OC, the good times I have there and the great memories that get me excited to go back and allowing my daughter to share in the same childhood memories is a whole nother joy itself.
    If certain people don’t like Ocean City then please don’t go! Thats just one less hummer taking up space in traffic and one extra parking space closer to the beach for me!

  • Sounds like your problem isn’t OC. Sounds like you don’t like the people there. That seems to be all you criticized.

    Let me guess. You didn’t go north of 1st street? You know there are 10 more miles to the town right?

    That’s like me hating DC cuz I’ve only been to one neighborhood in the worst part of the city.

  • If want to die of co poisoning, go to Ocean City, Md where the hotels & restaurants only care about taking your money and providing nothing else. There is a rampant disrespect for tourists and foreign students who take jobs there.

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