20 Best Things to Do in Ocean City, NJ

20 Best Things to Do in Ocean City, NJ

Embarking on a quest to uncover the best things to do in Ocean City, New Jersey?

In this comprehensive guide, we've melded insights from locals and travelers to present you with a mosaic of experiences that define this remarkable place. While we've highlighted some must-visit spots, it's imperative to understand that these recommendations are shaped by personal opinions and experiences.

There are countless other wonderful places awaiting your discovery. Our goal isn't just to point you to the well-trodden paths, but to inspire you to explore and truly immerse yourself in the city's essence.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the following individuals for their invaluable contributions to this article: Mckinley Bowers, Christina Meyer, Carlos McIver, Donald Leary, Debra Bates, Gerald Herring and Allen Boren.

Stroll through the Ocean City Boardwalk

People at Ocean City Boardwalk
Ritu Manoj Jethani / Shutterstock.com

There's a reason why people call the Ocean City Boardwalk the heart of the town.

Waking up to the sound of the crashing waves and the gulls' cries is something out of a dream.

As the sun rises, I usually start my day with a leisurely stroll along the beach, the powdery sand between my toes and the salty ocean breeze in my hair.

The boardwalk, with its old-school charm, is often my next stop.

During the day, it's a vibrant hub bustling with families and beach-goers.

The smell of fresh pizza lingers in the air, mingling with the unmistakable sweet scent of fudge and ice cream from the numerous stalls that line the strip.

Of course, it wouldn't be a day at Ocean City Boardwalk without a game or two of mini-golf.

The course is a local favorite and a fun challenge for both kids and adults.

Bike rides along Ocean City Boardwalk
Vlad G / Shutterstock.com

Afterward, I usually head to the vintage amusement park next door - the Ferris wheel offers an unparalleled view of the city and the ocean that's simply breathtaking.

As night falls, the boardwalk takes on a different atmosphere.

The lights from the stalls paint a warm and inviting picture, a stark contrast to the cool ocean breeze.

Whether it's a romantic evening stroll or a late-night snack run, the boardwalk always has something to offer.

French fry factory at Ocean City Boardwalk
Ritu Manoj Jethani / Shutterstock.com

Gaze at Local Masterpieces at Ocean City Arts Center

Every time I feel the need to unwind, I find myself drawn to the Ocean City Arts Center.

There's something incredibly soothing about molding clay in my hands during the pottery classes I take there.

It's more than just fun - it's a form of therapy that's helped me relax and de-stress countless times.

The center also hosts a new art exhibit every month - a treat for the eyes and the soul.

The staff are wonderful, always ready to lend a hand or share insightful details about the pieces on display.

The best part is, every time you step into the gallery, you'll find something new to marvel at.

What's more, the center isn't just about art - it's an important part of the Cape May County Arts community.

They offer classes and camps, and their exhibit space is open for everyone to explore.

Nestled in the same building as the Ocean City Library, the Historical Museum, and the Fitness Center - it's like a treasure trove of culture and knowledge waiting to be discovered.

The complex itself has a lot to offer too.

Ocean City Arts Center is a must-visit, the library is a haven for bookworms like me, and the arts studio complex is nothing short of excellent.

There's even a pool that's perfect for a quick dip.

And if you get hungry, don't worry - the snack bar serves some pretty decent food.

All in all, it's a lovely place to spend the day, and I wouldn't trade my experiences there for anything.

Play Ball at North St. Park

One of the jewels of our neighborhood is the North St. Park.

It's a charming little pocket of green space that's been my personal sanctuary for years.

When my children were young, they would spend hours playing on the slides and swings at the park.

There's also a spinner they absolutely loved.

North St. Park is well-equipped, even having a special swing for infants and another one for special needs children, which shows how inclusive the community is.

The park isn't just for kids, though.

I've spent countless hours there, basking in the quiet serenity it offers.

If I'm not sitting on one of the park's many benches, soaking in the tranquility, you'll probably find me at the basketball court, reliving my high school days.

I've been shooting hoops there since my teens and it's still one of my favorite pastimes at the ripe age of 32.

One thing worth mentioning is how well-maintained the park is.

The bathrooms are always clean, which is a major plus.

There are also picnic tables under a cover, perfect for when the family wants to enjoy a meal outdoors.

One thing to look out for, though, is that the bigger slides are quite high up, so they might be a bit scary for smaller kids.

Go Fishing at Corson's Inlet State Park

Daytime view of Corson's Inlet State Park
Thomas Gari / Shutterstock.com

One of my favorite pastimes is heading over to Corson's Inlet State Park with my fishing gear and a picnic lunch.

The park, an oceanfront natural area, is always invigorating with its serene atmosphere and varied activities.

Most days, I just love to sit back, cast my line, and revel in the sounds of the lapping waves.

The inlet is a fantastic place to fish, with its calm waters and a wide variety of marine life.

On lucky days, I've managed to catch a few big ones that make for a sumptuous dinner.

But it's not just the fishing that keeps me coming back. The park also offers a fantastic trail system that's perfect for a leisurely hike.

Following the trails that wind through the park, you encounter breathtaking views of the ocean and surrounding natural beauty.

On cooler days, the hike to the beach is an absolute joy.

The beach itself is a hidden gem, quieter than its counterparts in more crowded parts of town.

Sand dunes at Corson's Inlet State Park
Thomas Gari / Shutterstock.com

It's the perfect spot to unwind, either with a good book or just watching the waves roll in.

And for those who crave a bit more adventure, Corson's Inlet State Park also offers areas for crabbing and a boat ramp, which sees a lot of action, especially on the weekends.

Speaking of weekends, it's quite the sight to see the Greenheads, as the jet skis are popularly known, zipping across the waters.

There's ample parking on both sides of the bridge, which is a bonus during the peak hours.

Feel the Adrenaline Rush at Totally Tubular Watersports

You haven't truly experienced the summer until you've spent a day at Totally Tubular Watersports.

One of the highlights of my summer was going there with my kids and it was an absolute blast, even more than I expected.

We split our day between the Aqua Park and the Pirate Ship, each providing a unique and thrilling experience.

My older kids, aged 9 and 11, couldn't get enough of the Aqua Park.

Totally Tubular Watersports offered a whirlwind of activity, with challenging obstacles that kept them entertained and active for hours.

The staff were always on hand, ready to help, making sure everyone was safe while having fun.

And seeing their excited faces, their laughter resonating under the summer sun, was indeed a sight to cherish.

On the other hand, my younger boys were all about the Pirate Ship.

The way the entire pirate experience was crafted was just brilliant.

There were surprises at every corner, keeping the little ones engrossed.

Watching their wide-eyed wonderment, as they immersed themselves in their pirate fantasies, made my heart swell with joy.

Discover the City's History at the Ocean City Historical Museum

Having lived in Ocean City for many years, I've visited the Ocean City Historical Museum more times than I could count.

Each visit leaves me feeling more connected to the rich history of my community.

Hidden within the heart of this seaside town, Ocean City Historical Museum offers a unique perspective on the history of both the local area and its famous resort and boardwalk.

Walking into the museum, you're immediately greeted with a warm, welcoming atmosphere.

The staff and volunteers consistently go above and beyond to make the experience engaging and educational - it's a true testament to the community spirit here.

The exhibits are well organized and offer a comprehensive overview of the island's history, right from its founding to the present day.

One of my favorite sections at the museum is the display dedicated to the beginnings of the Ocean City boardwalk.

There's something humbling about seeing the evolution of a place you frequent so often.

Another personal favorite is the exhibit on the Sindia shipwreck - the story is fascinating and the artifacts on display are truly remarkable.

However, the museum isn't just about history.

It's a cultural hub, sharing premises with the Library, Art Center and Public Indoor Pool/Fitness Center.

You can also enjoy a variety of artworks in the small gallery upstairs.

And if you're a fan of souvenirs, there's a gift store on-site with a carefully curated selection of keepsakes.

Conveniently located near the end of the boardwalk, on the "bay side", the museum is quite accessible.

There is plenty of surface parking available, including ADA compliant spots.

And the best part? Admission to this treasure trove of history and culture is absolutely free!

Have a Family Day Out at Playland's Castaway Cove

Ferris wheel at Playland's Castaway Cove
Aneese / Shutterstock.com

Living so close to Playland’s Castaway Cove, I've grown up with countless memories of it – the scent of cotton candy wafting through the air, the infectious laughter of kids, and the adrenaline rush from the rides.

Visiting this amusement park is like stepping into your very own adventure book.

Every corner sparks joy and evokes a sense of childlike wonder.

From the littlest tots to those of us who are simply young at heart, the park has something for everyone.

There is a well-balanced blend of rides, with the gentle carousel for the tiny tots and the thrilling roller coaster for the older ones.

Safety is paramount at Playland’s Castaway Cove, and as a parent, it's comforting to know that your kids are in safe hands.

Double shot at Playland's Castaway Cove
Rosemarie Mosteller / Shutterstock.com

The staff are attentive, warm, and their enthusiasm is infectious – contributing to the park's magical vibe.

But the fun doesn't stop at the rides. There are well-equipped rest areas that make the day a breeze for families, and a choice of eateries that cater to every palate.

hether you're craving classic fair food or healthier options, you'll find it here.

A ride at Playland's Castaway Cove
Aneese / Shutterstock.com

Indulge in Sweet Treats at Shriver's Salt Water Taffy & Fudge

Oh, the sweet taste of nostalgia.

Walking into Shriver's Salt Water Taffy & Fudge  is like stepping back in time.

It's a year-round haven for candy lovers and an absolute must-stop on the boardwalk.

From the moment you step through the doors, you're greeted by walls lined with candy of every conceivable variety.

Bonomo's Turkish Taffy, a hard-to-find favorite that harkens back to the good old days, is just one of the many throwback treats you'll find here.

But the true star of the show at Shriver's Salt Water Taffy & Fudge is the fudge.

It's hands-down the best fudge you'll ever taste.

My personal favorite is the peanut butter cup fudge.

Imagine this: peanut butter fudge with actual peanut butter cups inside.

It's a dream come true for any peanut butter lover.

But don't stop there; the chocolate and vanilla fudge are equally delightful.

A word of caution though - the sugar-free taffy contains Maltitol sweetener.

I learned the hard way that I'm allergic and got ill.

So if you have a known sensitivity, steer clear of that one.

The décor at Shriver's is a delightful fusion of the past and present.

You'll adore the whimsical touches both outside and inside that only add to the charm of this place.

So the next time you're in town, drop in and let Shriver's take you on a delightful journey of sweet indulgence.

Trust me, you won't regret it.

Meet Local Artists at the Art League of Ocean City

Every time I step into the Art League of Ocean City, I'm welcomed by rotating exhibits of local artworks, all promising a unique exploration of creativity and talent.

It's a small, yet vibrant hub filled with a variety of art mediums that never fails to pique my curiosity.

Whether it's a quick walk-through or hours spent, there's always a new piece to discover, a new artist to appreciate.

The gallery is not just a space for viewing art, but it's also a place where art is born.

Upstairs, you’ll find dedicated spaces where local artists work diligently, their brushes dancing on the canvas, their hands moulding unique sculptures.

It's a sight that has a certain raw beauty to it, a rare chance to watch art come to life.

And it's not just about observing.

The Art League also hosts classes and seasonal events, nurturing the creative spirit within all who walk through their doors.

It's a place that encourages community engagement and supports local talent, a place that has become a cornerstone of our community's cultural identity.

What makes my visits always exciting is the possibility of bringing a piece of this talent home.

All the art on display is available for purchase, and there's nothing quite like owning a piece of locally made art.

What stands out most in my memories are the paintings of ocean scenes.

As someone who cherishes our city’s breathtaking seaside views, seeing them captured so vividly and beautifully on canvas always brings a smile to my face.

Dance through a Melodic Evening at Ocean City Music Pier

Exterior of the Ocean City Music Pier
Aneese / Shutterstock.com

Ocean waves dancing lightly in the backdrop, a soft breeze wafting through the air and soul-stirring music filling the atmosphere – my evening at the Ocean City Music Pier was straight out of a dream.

Nestled on the shores of the Atlantic, this circa-1929 concert hall is a timeless edifice in my hometown.

The vintage structure is a charming blend of age-old charisma and modern-day performances.

The diverse array of shows it hosts often leaves me in awe - it's not everyday you get to hear the likes of Aimee Mann, Judy Collins, and the Allman-Betts Band right in your backyard.

The Ocean City Music Pier offers more than just music – it's about an experience.

The cozy oceanfront setting is idyllic for enjoying an evening of performances.

Aerial view of the Ocean City Music Pier
Alan Budman / Shutterstock.com

Yes, the seating might feel a bit cramped, especially if you're on the larger side, but the sheer enjoyment of the music often eclipses any minor discomfort.

Ocean City Music Pier is not just a music venue to me, it's an integral part of my life here.

It's a place where I've made countless memories, a place that has become synonymous with Ocean City's vibrant culture.

Experiencing History at U.S. Life Saving Station 30

Living steps away from a piece of history is a unique privilege, to say the least.

I've had the pleasure of visiting the U.S. Life Saving Station 30 countless times, but each visit feels as fresh and exhilarating as the first.

Walking through the doors of the station, you are immediately transported back in time, greeted by the robust scent of old wood and the sight of period furnishings carefully arranged around the room.

The informative presentations by the knowledgeable docents paint a vivid picture of the past, making you feel as if you're right there, living the lives of these remarkable heroes.

You can't help but marvel at the hardships these men had to endure in their quest to save lives, a concept we barely think about in our comfortable modern lives.

The non-profit has done a commendable job of preserving this unique slice of New Jersey's history, filling the building with fine artifacts that further deepen the sense of connection to the past.

The opportunity to participate in the NJ Lighthouse Challenge was an unforgettable experience.

Witnessing the painstaking restoration work in person gives you a newfound appreciation for the immense effort that goes into preserving our history.

Every corner of the U.S. Life Saving Station 30 is a testament to the bravery and dedication of the unsung heroes of the past, making every visit a truly humbling experience.

Solve Mysteries at Exit 4 Private Escape Rooms

You know that moment when you're strolling down the boardwalk, the ocean breeze in your hair, and you suddenly get that itch for a thrilling adventure?

That's when Exit 4 Private Escape Rooms comes into play.

It has quickly become one of my favorite spots to enjoy some quality family time.

I've been there twice with my family and I must say, both times were fantastic.

The rooms are fun yet challenging, well put together, and just plain awesome.

I particularly love how thorough and captivating the room designs are.

Every little detail seems to be in place, making the experience more immersive.

The staff has always been helpful and friendly, adding to the overall exceptional experience.

My family and I have been able to complete a couple of the escape rooms, but I'm already feeling a tinge of melancholy at the thought of finishing all the rooms of Exit 4 Private Escape Rooms.

It's that fun!

The equipment, decorations, and mechanisms are top-notch.

Take Snaps with Lucy the Elephant

Daytime view of Lucy the Elephant
EQRoy / Shutterstock.com

In the heart of Margate City, at the cusp of the Jersey Shore, stands the iconic Lucy the Elephant.

Built in 1881, this 6-story elephant-shaped architectural marvel is the oldest roadside attraction in America.

Its unique allure has never faded and still sparks curiosity, attracting a crowd of both locals and visitors.

I remember my first-ever tour inside Lucy. I had to ascend around 50 stairs to reach the top.

The climb might be intimidating for those with a fear of heights or claustrophobia, but once you overcome it, the panoramic views of the ocean and city are worth every step.

The tour guides are knowledgeable and friendly, enhancing the entire experience by sharing fascinating tidbits about Lucy's history.

But Lucy the Elephant is more than just a building. It's a hub of activities, with bustling restaurants and a beach nearby.

Close view of Lucy the Elephant
Kelleher Photography / Shutterstock.com

After exploring Lucy, I often find myself lounging at one of the neighboring eateries, relishing the local fare.

Rich flavors, fresh ingredients, and the gentle sea breeze make the meal even more enjoyable.

The beach, just a stone's throw away from Lucy, is another favorite spot of mine.

After a hearty meal, a leisurely stroll along the sandy shore, with the waves softly crashing at my feet, is the perfect way to wind down the day.

Don't forget to stop by the tiny gift shoppe that’s chock-full with Lucy memorabilia, elephant-themed trinkets, and gifts.

It's a treasure trove for elephant enthusiasts and souvenir hunters.

The recent renovations have restored Lucy the Elephant to her former glory.

This architectural gem continues to serve as a quirky reminder of our town's history, while offering splendid views and a myriad of activities.

Have a Tee Time with a Twist at Haunted Golf

I've lived in this town my whole life and have seen plenty of attractions come and go, but I have to say, Haunted Golf really stands out from the crowd.

It's not your typical mini golf course.

Picture an old haunted hotel with animatronics and you're getting close!

When I first visited, I was immediately struck by the ambience.

It really felt like stepping into an eerie, old-timey haunted house, but without being too frightening, even for the little ones.

It's perfect for when you've had your fill of sunshine at the beach and are looking for a break from the heat.

The courses are brilliantly designed and each one feels like a new spooky adventure.

However, it can get quite packed, especially on weekends, so be prepared for a slight tight squeeze.

There's not much room to step off the green while someone else is putting, but that just adds to the fun.

The price is pretty reasonable too, just $9.95 plus tax.

And, if you're like me and love a good deal, keep an eye out for the $1 off coupons in those Jersey coupon books found in most local stores.

I celebrated my birthday at Haunted Golf recently and it was a blast.

The staff were so friendly, especially the guy at the counter who was celebrating his birthday too.

They stay open pretty late, which was perfect for us as we went after dinner, and we even won a free game at the end!

Have a Splash at OC Waterpark

Oh, what a joy it is to live close to OC Waterpark!

An annual visit to this beachfront water park is a must for us locals.

It's a vibrant spot where the sun, sand, and water merge to create a thrilling experience.

Every visit to this water park comes with a promise of a day filled with laughter, a splash of adventure, and a dash of relaxation.

My family and I usually start our day with the thrilling slides, and the lazy river is our go-to spot when we want to unwind.

We've also hosted numerous parties here.

The team is simply fantastic - always ready to accommodate our needs and ideas to add that special touch to our celebrations.

While the park might get a bit crowded during peak hours, it's worth it!

However, a little tip from a regular visitor - try to come early if you want a good spot.

And if saving money is your game, then you'll be glad to know that it costs significantly less than the water park at the Showboat in Atlantic City.

Plus, OC Waterpark has an exciting mini-golf course and concessions where you can grab a quick bite.

I remember one particularly special visit we made on July 29th for my granddaughter’s 14th birthday.

We rented the Lil Bucs cabana for the day, and the service we received was nothing short of amazing.

The staff took care of everything we needed, and they even sang "Happy Birthday" along with us when they brought in the cupcakes.

Feel the Nostalgia at JiLLy’s Arcade

JiLLy’s Arcade along Ocean City boardwalk
Dough4872, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There's no better way to unwind after a taxing day at the beach than with a trip to JiLLy’s Arcade.

Tucked away on the bustling boardwalk, JiLLy’s has been my go-to spot for fun and relaxation for years.

The arcade is clean, and it boasts an impressive array of games that cater to all ages and interests.

From the old-school charm of skee ball and pinball to the thrill of basketball games and water shooting games, there is something for everyone here.

I find myself drawn to the pinball machines again and again - there's something about the combination of skill and luck that is just irresistibly fun.

For those who like a bit of a challenge, there are also a couple of claw machines that test your precision and patience.

And let's not forget Zoltan, an added attraction that always keeps the curiosity piqued.

One thing I've noticed is that the value at JiLLy’s is pretty hard to beat, especially when you consider how much some other places on the boardwalk charge.

It's a place where the kids can have a blast without burning a hole in your pocket.

I won't lie, JiLLy’s Arcade can get crowded on busy nights.

But that's part of the fun, isn't it?

The buzz of excitement, the sound of laughter and cheers, the friendly competition - it all adds up to a great atmosphere.

Unleash the Kid in You at Jolly Roger Amusement Park

Last summer, my family and I decided to explore the hidden gems in our city instead of taking our usual vacation trip.

The highlight of our summer was an unexpected delight - the Jolly Roger Amusement Park.

The employees were an absolute delight.

In particular, the operator of the whale ride was nothing short of fantastic.

With a welcoming smile and infectious energy, he had a knack for making each kid, including my son, feel special.

My son couldn't get enough of that ride, begging to return every day just to ride the whales again.

We diversify our visits with performances like the Circus Smile.

It was a break from the norm and had us all enthralled.

I must admit though, the park could use a few upgrades here and there.

For one, the ride operators could do with some umbrellas as the summer sun can be relentless.

Christmas in July was a special treat.

Jolly Roger Amusement Park was the epitome of festivity, decked out with decorations and lights.

The acrobat show was breathtaking, and the rides were plentiful and catered to both adults and kids alike.

The antique train ride that circumnavigates the park was a favorite amongst us all.

We have since made it a tradition to visit the park between the early bird special and the late-night hours every year.

Have a Retreat at Ocean City Campgrounds and Cabins

I've been fortunate enough to live close to the Ocean City Campgrounds and Cabins, a place that has undeniably become my personal sanctuary.

If you haven't experienced it yet, believe me when I say that it's a hidden gem tucked away from the hustle and bustle of New Jersey's cities.

I've been visiting this place since I could barely hold a marshmallow stick over a campfire.

The campgrounds capture nature in its purest form, with shady trees dividing the different sites.

The clean and level sites at Ocean City Campgrounds and Cabins have always made setting up camp a breeze.

I've seen others back in sizable motor homes without any issue.

One of the main draws for me has always been the serene atmosphere.

You can choose to interact and meet new people or, if you're like me, prefer solitude and tranquility, it's there for you.

The cabins, playgrounds, treehouses, and yurts only add to the appeal.

The children never seem to get tired of exploring them.

Have a Blast at Gillian's Wonderland Pier

Rides at Gillian's Wonderland Pier
Aneese / Shutterstock.com

There's nothing like a sunny Saturday at Gillian's Wonderland Pier!

This classic amusement park is a staple in my family, a place where memories are made and cherished.

With 31 diverse rides and attractions, including a towering Ferris wheel and engaging miniature golf, it offers a thrilling day out for the whole clan.

Picture this - you've forked out a mere $25 for an unlimited rides pass, gathering your excited children (or, in my case, nieces and nephews) and preparing for a day of fun.

Just make sure you've checked their heights before heading out, as the park has different ride height requirements.

But don't worry, most of the smaller kids of about 32-36 inches can join in if they're accompanied by an adult.

So, it's all hands on deck for the grown-ups too!

Don't forget to pack some sunscreen, water bottles, and maybe even some hats and sunglasses.

A lot of the rides aren't shaded, and we wouldn't want a sunburn to ruin the fun, would we?

Now, if you're anything like my nephew who is obsessed with animatronics, you wouldn't want to miss the Man and Dog show.

It's a delight for the little ones!

On top of the exhilarating rides, Gillian's Wonderland Pier also houses a fast food-style cafeteria.

You can indulge in a variety of Fanta sodas and delicious pizzas while taking a break from the action.

And if you're lucky, you might even find tickets on sale - 50 tickets for just $25.

What a steal!

Not all attractions are open year-round due to seasonal changes, but you'll always find enough to keep you busy.

They've recently added an arcade area, perfect for some indoor fun during the colder months.

And when the hunger strikes, the 6th Street Pizza & Grill is just around the corner, ready to serve up a tasty lunch.

Post-lunch, you can take a leisurely walk down the boardwalk or even head to the beach nearby for some seagull chasing.

Final Thoughts

Every day in Ocean City, New Jersey, brings a new adventure.

From the engaging art at the Ocean City Arts Center to the enlightening exhibits at the Ocean City Historical Museum, this city never ceases to amaze me.

There's always something for everyone, whether you're an adrenaline junkie looking for an adventure at Totally Tubular Watersports or someone who likes to take things slow and enjoy the stunning views at Corson's Inlet State Park.

Ocean City isn't just a place; it's a lifestyle, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

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