ON THE WATER
Are you going downy ocean this year? For many Baltimoreans, a trip down the shore to Ocean City, Md., has become synonymous with summer.
“A lot of our Baltimore-based visitors have been coming here since they were children,” said Jessica Waters, communications manager for the town of Ocean City. “It’s not just about a vacation for them—it’s about nostalgia—the memories they made as kids, seeing the landmarks and the boardwalk signs … it can take you to another place and time.”
This summer, though, it’s time to give that classic trip an upgrade. Many vacationers are switching from a standard week in a waterfront hotel to a less typical trip: renting a condo or house at the shore, especially during nontraditional times.
“Our peak season is from July 4 through the end of August, but the great thing about Ocean City is that we have a sort of endless summer,” said Waters. “It begins in May and lasts well into the fall, and not only are these weeks a great time to come to the beach, but rentals are also much less expensive.”
Still not sold? Though the amenities hotels offer are undeniable (gyms, pools, easy access, etc.), renting can afford a degree of space and privacy, particularly for families with young children.
“I think people would be surprised by the number of rental opportunities we have in town,” Waters said. “Not just downtown and by the boardwalk, but as far north as the Delaware state line.”
While one-week rentals are most common, particularly in condominiums, more and more families are choosing to remain in Ocean City for two weeks, three weeks, or even longer.
“We have a unique population of vacationers who come here for the whole summer season,” Waters said. “Many rental properties open in May and go until the first of October. Some people just cannot escape the draw of beach life and need the smell of salt air every day.”
Whether it’s one week or 16, arranging rentals in Ocean City is easier than ever. The City’s online trip planning tool conveniently lists available rentals and connects vacationers to shoreside realtors, owners, and more.
Looking for something a little lower-key? Though OCMD has been a getaway given for Baltimoreans for years, recently Charm City beach bums have been flocking east to Rehoboth Beach, Del.
“We don’t have the huge high rises and condo complexes that OC does, but we have great small town charm,” said Rick Kirchhoff, co-owner of the Canalside Inn, an adults-only hotel in Rehoboth. “We have a very active chamber of commerce that hosts all kinds of activities throughout the year, from a chocolate festival to the Sea Witch festival in October.”
The beach also boasts a fantastic dining scene. Called “The Culinary Coast,” Rehoboth is home to high quality restaurants catering to foodies of all ages.
“Destination dining has a horrible reputation,” said Nate Leonard, owner and chef at Rehoboth restaurant 208 Social. “But it’s not like that here—there are so many people who are extremely talented. We offer good quality without pretentiousness, and we really put an emphasis on local seafood.”
The line in the sand? Whether you’re headed east for a fantastic meal or just can’t resist another trip down memory lane in OCMD, you can’t go wrong with life on the water.