Ocean City Activities on the Water
From the Assawoman Bay to the Atlantic Ocean, Ocean City’s waterways are perfect for dozens of water activities. Whether you want to cool off from a hot day in the sun or rev up for some excitement you’re sure to find an activity the whole family will enjoy.
Here are a few of our favorite ways to get on the water in Ocean City:
Wave Runners and Jet Skis
Speed across Isle of Wight Bay and over rippling waves with a friend along for the ride. Area rental companies make sure this is a fun and safe experience. Outfitters make sure you are properly trained before driving the craft, and most companies give you a designated riding area to explore. Remember, keep on the lookout for others sharing Ocean City’s waterways with you—including the wildlife!
Soar above the Atlantic and see the best views of Ocean City and Assateague Island from the air. One of the most popular beach activities, parasailing, can actually be done without even getting your feet wet. Many companies ask if you’d prefer to take off and land from the boat or the water. Watch dolphins and other wildlife and take in beautiful views of the inland bays and city landscape.
Rent a Boat
Pontoons, jet boats, fishing boats, cruisers, skiffs—the possibilities are endless. Just choose your craft and set out on your own voyage in the surrounding waters. Pontoons and deck boats are great for families. Enjoy an afternoon cruising, swimming, snacking and tanning in Assawoman Bay and the many inlets. Or if you’re craving some speed, rent a speedboat or cruiser. Experienced anglers can skip the charter and rent their own skiff for a solo, deep sea fishing adventure.
It’s a passion shared by millions around the world—the coveted feeling of riding a wave. The best way to get a good start surfing is by taking a lesson or two on the basics. Ocean City surf schools will teach you how to get from lying down on your board to standing up, how to pick the perfect wave and how to fall without hurting yourself. There are designated surfing beaches, but if you come when the lifeguards are off duty, every beach is a surfing beach.
Great for exploring Ocean City and Assateague Island’s remote coastal areas, kayaking gives people an up-close view of some of our country’s last preserved natural beaches. Take a kayak tour and allow a guide to lead you through unspoiled areas while explaining the ecosystem and wildlife around you.
From nature excursions to high-speed cruises, there is a wide variety of public cruises to choose from in Ocean City. Kids and families will love the pirate-themed cruises for quality entertainment on the water, while couples may enjoy a sunset cruise aboard a sailboat or yacht. There are also excursions for dolphin watching, fishing, bird watching and nature viewing.
The bays of Ocean City make the perfect location to try standup paddleboarding. When you want to get more of a workout in, SUP is the ultimate sport to take to the water! Gather your friends or family members for a day of paddleboarding and explore the area’s many waterways. For an exciting twist on SUP, try nighttime paddleboarding with the beautiful Ocean City skyline lit up in the background. Seek out our fabulous local businesses for more information on renting paddleboards.
You won’t regret trying out one or all of these exciting water adventures! Ocean City is all about the water.
Ecotourism Opportunities at the Beach
Jenifer Adams-Mitchell, Owner, Coastal Kayak
Small waves lap over your feet as you gaze, from a safe distance, at the puzzling underbelly of a horseshoe crab. Your guide is casually holding the creature in one hand while pointing to its book gills, its creepy mouth and its nine eyes. She explains the simple yet complex relationship the horseshoe crab has with the coastal ecosystem, how it uses tidal and lunar cycles in its spawning rituals, how its blue blood keeps humans safe from bacteria, and that the species hasn’t changed much in 400 million years. The prehistoric animal wriggles as she talks, pedaling its dangerous-looking legs and whirling its pointy tail. “It can’t hurt you,” she says. “It doesn’t pinch, bite, or sting.” And then she holds it towards you. Tentatively, curiously, you reach out and touch it. It isn’t cuddly. It doesn’t make googly eyes at you. It isn’t remotely cute. Yet, you feel the connection.
If you met this horseshoe crab in a manner that will not damage the ecosystem, if you paid for the experience, and if your guide works for a small, locally owned company—congratulations! You took part in ecotourism!
At first glance, Ocean City might seem too developed to offer many ecotourism experiences. But that is definitely not the case. Kayak, canoe, and paddle board tours explore protected shorelines. Hiking tours highlight the many ecosystems in our small area. Birding tours introduce visitors to our feathered residents in their natural habitat. And most tour businesses at the beach are small, dedicated operators who live, work and play here—important because ecotourism should have a positive impact on both the ecology and the economy of a destination.
Vacation is the perfect time to slow down. Take a few moments to hold a horseshoe crab, search out a pileated woodpecker or watch a terrapin swim through the water. Creating connections with the natural world is the essence of ecotourism. With enough education and appreciation maybe the horseshoe crab will survive for another 400 million years!