Monday, June 21, 2021 / by Jay Lesko
Found on Fenwick Island, this prized stretch of land has long been prized for convenient access to marine resources. Ocean City makes full use of this resource and has served as a center of commercial fishing on occasion, but there is one resource that keeps visitors coming back for more: breathtaking landscape and convenient beaches.
Considered as one of the leading choices when it comes to your Mid-Atlantic summer vacation destinations, the town has delivered on the all-American beach holiday experience since 1869. In 1869, Isaac Coffin, decided to capitalize on the popularity of the area and built the first beach-front bed and breakfast, catering to the needs and interests of visitors. In those times travel was quite inconvenient and involved stage coaches and ferries, but Ocean View remained a popular destination. Visitors often indulged in collecting seashells, fishing and roaming on the town’s beaches, but modern day Ocean City has a lot more to entice visitors with.
Can you go to the beach at night?
Home to one of America’s most family-friendly and popular boardwalks, it stretches for 2.9 miles from the Inlet in South Ocean City to 27th Street. In addition to the famous boardwalk, the 10 miles of beach is free and open to the public from 06:00 AM to 22:00 PM. The remaining hours are used for beach maintenance activities and no private vehicles are allowed on the beach at any time.
It is worth noting that there is a special Town Ordinance in place that prohibits frisbees, ball throwing and other sports on the beach from 09:00 AM to 17:30 PM daily. The restriction runs from May 30th to September 15th.
Individuals wanting to go for a horseback ride on the beach will need a permit. This special permit is obtainable from the City Clerk’s Office. For $50 a seasonal permit can be obtained, allowing horseback riding on the beach beginning at 27th Street and extending south to the Inlet jetty. Riding will be permitted between 06:00 AM and 17:00 PM from November 1st through to March 30th.
How safe is Ocean City?
Ocean City takes safety very seriously and frowns on the consumption of alcoholic beverages in public. Sleeping in a vehicle within the city limits and sleeping on the beach is not allowed.
Maryland law requires pedestrians to use sidewalks whenever available. Hitchhiking is prohibited in the area and it is not advised to walk or jog in the bus/bike area on Coastal Highway. Motorists are encouraged to keep an eye out for cyclists when entering or leaving the highway. Cyclists are required to obey the same traffic laws as motorists and may receive citations for failure to obey. A common violation would be riding against the flow of traffic in the bike lane. Headlight and rear reflectors are mandatory for bicycles at night. The town has taken many steps to keep residents and visitors safe and encourages vigilance.
What is Ocean City known for?
Known as the White Marlin Capital of the World, Ocean City hosts an annual competition called the White Marlin Open. White marlin is a species of billfish found in tropical and subtropical parts of the Atlantic Ocean and are popular game-fish. The competition has been known to offer prizes of more than $1 million for the largest marlin (white and blue) and tuna caught by competitors. As a center for recreational fishing, Ocean City is a magnet for professional and casual fishermen alike as its convenient location opens up different fishing possibilities.
Which neighborhoods are popular?
Downtown Ocean City stretches from the inlet to 32nd St. The bustle of activity is concentrated here with the Boardwalk, stores, restaurants, marinas, Jolly Rogers Amusement Park and the Whilte Marlin Open Tournament. Downtown is an area where you essentially park your car, don flip flops and grab your bicycle. Prudent investors tend to look into this area for its high rental potential and potential property value increase.
Some waterfront homes and condos offer a boat dockage with easy access to the water. Some notable condos in the area include Emmerson Towers, White Marlin Condominium, Eighteen Fathoms, Harbor Island, Harbour Towne and the Pointe on the Bay.
The beaches are clean and residents are friendly, however some stores may cause offense on the boardwalk as medical marujana is legal in Ocean City, Maryland.
Homes and appreciation rates?
With a median cost of $377,705 and over 3,600 houses and apartments available, residents and visitors are spoiled for choice. It is worth bearing in mind that relative to some of the most expensive Maryland communities, the house prices in Ocean City look quite good. Large apartment complexes or high rise apartment buildings are the most common housing type available, accounting for nearly 70% of the area's housing units. Due to apartment complexes mostly dominating the housing market, dwelling tends to lean toward the smaller side, 2 bedrooms or less.
A decent proportion of housing is seasonally occupied, as Ocean City’s population swells during the hot summer months. As the vacation season draws to a close, population numbers fall as holiday goers return to their primary residences.
A quick NeighborhoodScout search will reveal that during the past 12 months Ocean City’s appreciation rate has been slightly above the national average and sits quite comfortably at 6.66%, per annum. Relative to Maryland, this appreciation rate is higher than 90% of the other cities and towns in Maryland, making the area noteworthy for investment purposes.
Are the schools on par?
Ocean City Elementary School is rated as one of the top schools in Maryland and the US. The test scores at this school are far above the state average, which suggests competent teachers and eager students. When it comes to math proficiency, 75% of students have a handle on the subject. English competency does not trail far behind with 77% of students displaying that they have a good reading, speaking and writing understanding of the language. Compared to the state average for math and English respectively, 41% and 42%, it becomes clear that the school is a cut above the rest as disadvantaged students are performing just as well. Working hard to close the achievement gap, a student to teacher ratio of 13:1 can be expected.
Tell us about the White Marlin Open?
A tropical storm and global health crises was not enough to derail the popular fishing tournament last year. For 47 years the White Marlin Open conducted this annual tournament. In 2020 an impressive 433 boats participated and $6.7 million was awarded in prize money. Notable moments included a record-breaking mahi, a 273.5 pound swordfish and a behemoth of white marlin that took home the grand prize. Typically the tournament lasts for five days, but last year it was extended due to Tropical Storm Isaias posing a threat.
On board the Canyon Blues the third largest white marlin in tournament history was caught, earning the fisherman a tidy $1.5 million. The tournament can issue a polygraph test to any angler that claims a prize over $50 000 and continues to attract anglers, spectators and fishing enthusiasts from all over. Traditionally the tournament is held during the first week of August.
Overall impressions of Ocean City, MD?
There is a lot of life densely packed in the borders of Ocean City. From a lively downtown to exciting tournaments and clean beaches, the area imparts a distinctly urban feel, especially during summer. Ocean City has a unique character and is particularly welcoming for watersports enthusiasts, beachgoers and competitive fishermen.