The relaxed, family-friendly nature of the Ocean City Boardwalk makes it the perfect place to take young children. But it also makes it the boardwalk-of-choice for anyone seeking a great ocean view, food and strolling rather than intense thrill rides and a carnival atmosphere.
That includes a surprising number of teenagers, who love to people-watch (as in, scope out other teens) as much as the older set. Groups of generally well behaved teens travel the boards every night, arranging their summer romances, and just hanging out. With no alcohol sold in the city, parents can relax a bit.
Most of the rides at the two main amusement parks, Gillian's Wonderland at 6th and the Boardwalk, http://www.gillians.com/ and Playland's Castaway Cove http://www.boardwalkfun.com/ at 10th and the Boardwalk, are rather tame kiddie rides. But there are plenty of moderate thrills to be had. There's the log flume, giant ferris wheel and Slingshot at Gillians; and the roller coaster with upside-down loop, 110' parachute drop, and upside-down Cyclone ride at Playland, among others.
Then there are seven great miniature golf courses scattered along the Boardwalk, fabulous ice cream and candy stores, and an interesting collection of souvenir, clothing and book stores.
In addition to fast food, there are sit-down restaurants worth a visit by a true "foodie." In the last few years, several coffee bars have opened, filling a longtime need for iced coffee by day, and cappuccino by night. (Summer evenings can get a bit chilly.) For a complete listing of restaurants, visit http://www.oceancitychamber.com/placestoeat.asp