Ocean City

Ocean City, Maryland

Famous for its beautiful boardwalk and scenic oceanside views, Ocean City is an iconic resort town in Worcester County, Maryland. The town is home to a dynamic mix of urban entertainment, peaceful vibes, and some of the most beautiful waterside attractions in the country. Moreover, with an abundance of White Marlin off the coast, it has garnered the popular nickname, the "White Marlin Capital of the World." Thanks to this, whether you want to spend the day fishing or enjoy your night at one of the many eateries, there is something for everyone at Ocean City. Here, you can also take a step back in time as this town is brimming with rich history predominantly revolving around its perfect location along America's eastern coast that attracted explorers from far and wide over the years. So, to help you understand all the amazing things about Ocean City, let's learn more about the resort town!

Geography Of Ocean City

Aerial view of Ocean City
Aerial view of Ocean City.

Part of Worcester County, the town is on a separate tract of land known as the barrier spit in the Atlantic Ocean, which is only connected to the mainland along the northern boundary. The separation happened during the Chesapeake-Potomac hurricane in 1933. It triggered a massive flood that created a 50-foot-wide water inlet between Ocean City and the mainland, except for the connection at the north. Profiting from the disaster, residents built jetties to keep Ocean City separated from the mainland so that a harbor could be developed.

Aerial view of fishing marina in Ocean City, Maryland, USA.
Aerial view of fishing marina in Ocean City, Maryland.

Ocean City has an elongated shape and is surrounded by water on nearly all sides, giving it an immense shoreline of nearly 10 miles. The town covers a total area of 9.65 square miles, of which the majority, 5.12 square miles, is covered by water. The remaining land area is primarily quite flat and has a low average elevation of 7 feet. The entire eastern end of the town features a long sandy beach. Thus, the town is well divided into recreational waterside areas, residential blocks, and entertainment areas, making it ideal for both tourists and residents. 

Climate Of Ocean City

Ocean City is located in the "Cfa" (Humid Subtropical Climate) climate subtype based on the Koppen Climate Classification. This climate type is known for having hot, humid summers, while winters are much less extreme with mild temperatures. Thus, the town also has relatively hot summers, with average highs in July reaching 86°F. Ocean City gets more than 200 sunny days a year, giving it a great beachside environment. Winters are quite comfortable, and the coldest month of January sees average lows of 28°F. So, you can visit Ocean City throughout the year without facing uncomfortable temperatures.

In terms of precipitation, Ocean City primarily sees rain due to temperatures above freezing most of the year. Thus, the average yearly rainfall is 44 inches, which is noticeably higher than the national average of 38 inches. Ocean City only gets 8 inches of snow annually, which is far below the average in America.

Brief History Of Ocean City

A Historical Marker Sign on the Ocean City boardwalk.
A Historical Marker Sign on the Ocean City boardwalk. Editorial credit: George Sheldon / Shutterstock.com

Ocean City's history revolves around its spectacular natural beauty and fame as a resort town in Maryland. Before the late 1800s, the land was home to a peaceful fishing village without any major developments. It wasn't until 1869, when the land was purchased from the local Native Americans by an Englishman named Thomas Fenwick, that it began its journey to become a resort town. Thomas and other business people, such as Isaac Coffin, decided to transform the area into a resort and began major projects to achieve this goal. Within the following six years, the town had a beach-front cottage, boarding houses, regular ferry routes, and by 1875, the famed Atlantic Hotel. The opening of this major 400-room hotel marked the beginning of massive tourist inflows. Combined with the development of the Sinepuxent Bay railroad, Ocean City became a well-known tourist resort in the state.

The following decades were filled with gradual developments, further cementing Ocean City's status and popularity. For example, the town gained a massive increase in population and by 1940 had the Ocean City Beach Patrol to keep bathers and visitors safe. Although in 1933, the town suffered an enormous setback when it was hit by the Chesapeake-Potomac hurricane, which destroyed the local rail tracks and flooded the southern end, creating the inlet we see today. Thankfully, the locals were quick to turn this dire situation around, and the Army Corps of Engineers used this to create a permanent inlet and new channels so that larger boats could access the city. This made Ocean City one of the premier east coast destinations and, with an abundance of fish, the White Marlin fishing capital. The following 90 years have been filled with new projects, beach replenishment programs, and many other unique ideas, allowing Ocean City to maintain its position as one of the region's greatest resort towns.

The Population And Economy Of Ocean City

According to the most recent 2020 U.S. Census, Ocean City, Maryland, has a population of 6,844 individuals. While it may not seem like a lot, Ocean City's small size brings the population density up to 1,510 individuals per square mile, which is quite high. Moreover, being a tourism-focused town, Ocean City's summer weekends see the population boom immensely, reaching peak figures of up to 345,000! Regarding racial composition, White individuals make up the majority (95.2%) of the local population. They are followed by Hispanics/Latinos at 5% and various other races that make up <1%. 

While it is a tourism-focused town, Ocean City's economy is quite prosperous and maintains positive growth levels. This can be seen in the $59,460 per capita income, which is approximately $15,000 greater than Maryland's per capita income. In addition, Ocean City has a relatively low median house value of $317,100, making it much easier for residents to afford homes. Thanks to this, the town of Ocean City also has a poverty rate of under 9%, which is better than both the nation and state!

Attractions In Ocean City

Ocean City Beach

Ocean city beach
A crowded Ocean City beach. Editorial credit: Eliyahu Yosef Parypa / Shutterstock.com

Spanning across the entirety of Ocean City's eastern coast, the local beach is one of the most popular attractions in the state. This beach is nearly 10 miles long and is replete with beautiful views, waterside activities, and much more. Adrenaline seekers can spend their day on a jet ski or surf the inviting waves off the coast, while those demanding relaxation can pick out a good spot in the sand to set up a chair for a peaceful evening along the waves. With all this to offer, Ocean City Beach is an excellent destination for everyone!

Ocean City Boardwalk

Ocean city boardwalk
The Ocean City boardwalk. Editorial credit: Yeilyn Channell / Shutterstock.com

Moving in slightly from the expansive beach is the must-visit tourist destination of the Ocean City Boardwalk. This boardwalk embodies this tourist resort's rich culture and history and is often ranked as one of America's best. This classic wooden boardwalk is a platform for activities where one can enjoy skateboarding with friends, check out the aquarium room, or enjoy seaside delicacies at one of the many eateries, among other things.

Ocean City Life-Saving Station Museum

Life-saving station museum on Ocean City, Maryland Photo Formats  51
Life-saving Station Museum In Ocean City, Maryland

While it is often overshadowed by the more lively attractions, the Ocean City Life-Saving Station Museum is the perfect destination for all history buffs. This museum is located near the shore and showcases the beautiful history of Ocean City and life-saving along the eastern shore. Moreover, there are also interesting artifacts on display here.

Put it all together, and Ocean City becomes one of the best places to visit throughout the year. With some of the best beaches in America filled with entertaining things to do, it is perfect for any kind of trip! So, if you plan a trip to Maryland this summer, check out the "White Marlin Capital of the World."

  1. Home
  2. Places
  3. Cities
  4. Ocean City, Maryland

More in Places