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metadog's avatar

Is Ocean City, MD a bad place for a day trip on the 4th of July?

Asked by metadog (378points) July 2nd, 2010
14 responses
“Great Question” (0points)

I live about 3 hours from Ocean City, MD and would love to go for a day at the beach and for the fire works but am worried about the crowds and traffic. Is this a bad day to go?

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CMaz's avatar

Everywhere is a bad place to go on the 4th of July. :-)

AstroChuck's avatar

While visiting my daughter in Maryland a few years ago we went to OC on the fifth of July and it was busy as hell. I can only imagine what the fourth would be like. But I agree with @ChazMaz. You can expect crowds pretty much everywhere on the fourth.

marinelife's avatar

For 4th of July weekend: “About 34.9 million travelers will take a trip at least 50 miles away from home, up sharply from 29.8 million last year, AAA said.” Source

From Ocean City’s Web site:

“Come early, bring beachchairs and snacks, refreshments (no booze). Expect big crowds. Riding the bus will also be very crowded but still a good way to and from Northside Park. You will see from the map that there are many side streets near Northside Park. This is most likely where you will be parking, and expect these streets to also crowded. You might drop off your passengers near Northside Park and then seek parking.. but expect to walk back to the vehicles after the fireworks. Don’t be discouraged by the anticipation of crowds… just plan ahead, and you will have a great time as we do every year. ” Source

mangeons's avatar

I’m sure it would be, it’s crowded on a regular basis. I just got home from OC, and it was so crowded just being summer. I can’t imagine how crowded it’d be during the fourth.

But as already said, anywhere you go on the fourth, I’d expect crowds.

jenandcolin's avatar

Yes, I would say Ocean City is a particularly bad place to be on the 4th. I have lived in either Annapolis or by the Delaware beaches for my whole life. Therefore, I’ve seen OC fireworks about 20 or so times. Each year it is insanely crowded. Insane.
ALso crowded but not quite as bad (and nicer beaches, in my opinion) are the Delaware beaches. I know Rehoboth has something each year. I wouldn’t expect the fantastic display OC has. But, overall it’s a really nice family day. I love the Delaware beaches.

lillycoyote's avatar

Yes, unless you don’t mind spending so much time in traffic that by the time you get there it will be time to head back home, but you wouldn’t be able to find a parking space anywhere near Ocean City so you’d never get there anyway.

lillycoyote's avatar

@jenandcolin I live in Delaware and wouldn’t go near the beaches on 4th of July. The traffic and parking is impossible unless you plan on going for a 4 day weekend. Not a day trip, no way. But I’m glad you like the Delaware beaches. I, of course, like them too. I prefer Bethany to Rehoboth, though I enjoy the shore much more in the off season. The crowds and the traffic make me crazy.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I loved going to OC for the 4th of July when I lived in Delaware. I even worked there one summer. Parking and traffic can be a pain, especially if you don’t know anyone in the area. I had a good friend that owned a place not far from the beach, so I always parked at his house and walked to the beach or got on the bus if I didn’t feel like walking. They have busses that run up and down the main road most of the day and they’re pretty cheap.

Haleth's avatar

Ocean City during the 4th of July weekend is pretty busy and stressful. One year my family went to the beach that weekend, and we ended up in a hotel with a great view of the fireworks. Most people try to get hotels facing the ocean. If I remember right, the fireworks are in a park farther north, around 60th st, and facing toward the bay (west.) Rooms further away from downtown and facing west are actually a little less expensive, so that worked out pretty well.

But it is really, really crowded. If you’re driving to that part of the shore, Rehoboth Beach is really a much nicer beach. Ocean City has kind of a cheap tourist-trap vibe- it’s full of big pricey hotels, souvenir shops, candy shops, and has a cheesy boardwalk. Rehoboth has a nice, old-timey downtown with art shops, coffee shops, and nicer restaurants like Dogfish Head Alehouse, and it’s surrounded by quaint, well-kept neighborhoods. They’re about a 30 minute drive away from each other, so if you don’t like one, you can drive to the other.

lillycoyote's avatar

As a Delaware native and current resident it is really nice to hear how much many of you enjoy the beaches hear. Sometimes I feel like Delaware is the forgotten state; it’s so small and kind of obscure; that when I tell people I’m from Delaware I’m afraid they’re going to ask: “Oh; what state is that in?” Another place those of you who enjoy the Delaware beaches might try is the Delaware Seashore State Park. It’s about midway between Bethany and Dewey Beach, that’s south of Rehoboth. Unless you have a yearly pass, you will need to buy a day pass to get into the state park but it’s not as crowded as the town beaches. It doesn’t have a boardwalk or shops but there’s a concession stand and there are public restrooms. If you just like to hang out on the beach and don’t need any of the rest of the stuff, it’s nice, and not so crowded. You still have to get there early though, because they have a limited number of parking spaces, but parking is free with the State park pass.

jenandcolin's avatar

I completely agree- the Delaware beaches are very crowded. For some reason, I just feel like they are less crowded than Ocean City (perhaps it’s because Ocean City automatically stresses me out?).
I also love the Delaware beaches! I have lived near the Delaware beaches for quite some time (around 10 years). But, I lived in Maryland. I recently became a Delaware resident. I live about 20 minutes away now. I particularly love Rehoboth.
I would be there right now but, I’m 8 months pregnant and overheat in about 2 minutes.
I hope you get to enjoy the beaches enough for both of us this year!

Seaofclouds's avatar

Since we are talking about other beaches near OC, my favorite place to go when I was staying down near OC was Chincoteague Island. To me, it is always peaceful and seeing the wild horses is really nice. It’s not a far drive from OC either.

metadog's avatar

Well, to follow up, we took the advice above and didn’t go. It was pretty lame staying home, but we figured that this was better than spending more time in the car than on the beach or boardwalk.

We are definitely looking into the Delaware beaches for future trips. We have been to Rehoboth a bunch of times, but haven’t spent much time in Dewey or Bethany. How are they for families?

Unfortunately, we had a bad experience at Chincoteague a few years back. We were literally eaten alive by mosquitoes. We are VERY hesitant to go back.

lillycoyote's avatar

@metadog Dewey Beach is probably not what you’re looking for. It’s not really family oriented. Dewey is the party beach. Mostly people in their twenties and early, mid-thirties, no kids, renting “group houses,” 15 or so people rent a house for a week, or two weeks or the whole summer, and maybe if you don’t have a lot of money you can pay enough to get the couch but it doesn’t matter because you’re only 25 and you won’t be sleeping on the couch as much as you’ll be passed out on. Dewey is that kind of beach.

Bethany is very nice though. It’s my favorite of the Delaware beaches. It’s kind of Rehoboth light. It has the beachy stuff, the boardwalk, the pizza and taffy and vinegar fries and kite stores and tacky shops that sell beach crap. It’s also close to the Delaware Seashore State Park, a little bit south of it and south of the bays you can avoid the traffic around Rehoboth and the outlet malls and it it’s close enough to Ocean City, MD that you can make that a day trip if if you want to. There’s also Fenwick Island though I haven’t spent much time there. It is the southernmost beach town in DE. Lewes is also nice; a nice place for a family to vacation. We used to rent a house there for two weeks in the summer when I was growing up but it’s much further north, well as much further north as anything can be at the Delaware shore.

Here’s a link to the Bethany Beach/Fenwick Island Chambers of Commerce visitors guide

Geez, who knew I would ever end up being such a Delaware beaches booster?

And, of course, there’s always tax-free shopping in Delaware, for those rainy days. No sales tax here, you gotta like that.

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