What to Do During Ocean City’s Off Season
Ocean City is Still “On” in Fall and Winter
By Angela Blue
Summer is undeniably the perfect season to visit Ocean City. The bustling boardwalk, the exciting festivals, the fresh seafood and the hot sand beneath your toes met with the refreshing splash of waves—what’s not to love?
What you may not know is that Ocean City is just as intriguing even when it’s not summertime. From fall to spring, there’s a plethora of places and activities to explore, and you don’t have to fight the crowds to have a great time!
Fishing during Ocean City's Off Season
If you’re a fan of Ocean City’s fresh selection of seafood, you’ll enjoy the chance to catch your own, no matter the time of year. There are plenty of places to access some prime fishing spots, including the piers, Ocean City Inlet, Route 50 Bridge and surf fishing at Assateague Island and Ocean City beaches—before it gets too cold to enjoy the water.
There are also some fantastic freshwater fishing locales to visit. The Pocomoke River is excellent for catching largemouth bass, pickerel, channel catfish, white perch, yellow perch, crappie, bluegill and shad. There are several parks in Pocomoke and Snow Hill where anglers can access the river. Visit the 18-mile-long Nassawango Creek, best suited for fishing from a kayak or canoe, and you can expect to reel in anything from largemouth bass to yellow and white perch and even longnose gar.
There are also several creeks and ponds which host saltwater and freshwater species and are accessible by small watercraft. Whether the leaves are changing colors around you or the air is filled with the intoxicating scent of new blooms, it’s always a great time to be out on the water fishing for your dinner.
On the Water Activities
Even if you’re not much of an angler, there are other opportunities to get onto the water that are perfect for the whole family. There are several places around Ocean City, including over the Delaware line in Fenwick Island, that are great for kayaking or canoeing. Head over to Assateague Island National Seashore Park where you can launch from designated areas for an adventurous afternoon. Or paddle the Bog Iron Water Trail, the EA Vaughn Kayak Trail, the Sinepuxent Bay Water Trails or the Water Trails of Worcester County for some unspoiled areas with natural beauty.
Experience Ocean City’s Serene Environment
Besides the gorgeous scenery of sparkling water, you’re likely to catch a glimpse of the area’s majestic wildlife. Assateague is known for its wild ponies, which can be seen roaming the beaches, roadways, trails, campgrounds and marshes of the island. These beautiful features of Assateague are one of the most popular attractions in Ocean City, so the beaches tend to get crowded during the summer months. In the off season, once the crowds disperse, you can witness some peaceful and memorable moments. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture a beautiful photo of these ponies eating dune grass and drinking fresh water from natural ponds.
Along with the exquisite ponies, the rural areas here are known for their superb bird watching locales. The whole family will enjoy an afternoon of bird watching. Keep an eye out for egrets, ospreys, pelicans, pewees, kingbirds, cuckoos, herons, harriers and eagles, along with more than 350 other varieties of feathered friends. Some of these birds are not commonly seen year-round. For example, the rock jetties of the Ocean City Inlet frequently host Common and King Eilder, Harlequin Duck, Purple Sandpiper and Great Cormorant during the winter months.
Shopping in Ocean City
Of course shopping stays alive and well during the shoulder seasons. You can visit the local mall and browse through dozens of shops with apparel as well as gift shops with specialty items.
Just because the weather isn’t at its peak does not mean that you can’t prepare your closet for the next summer season. Stop by the local surf and beach-themed shops where you will find great deals on swimwear, surf attire, shoes, accessories and more.
Golfing in Ocean City
Has the hot summer sun had a negative influence on your golf game? Don’t sweat it; come back during a cooler season and prepare to score. Ocean City’s many golf courses are just as much fun to visit during the off-season, and you don’t have to compete for the best tee times. Plus, some courses offer special rates during their slower seasons, so check out individual websites to discover the best deals.
Even in the chilly months, there’s much to love about Ocean City indoors. The area is home to many museums geared to teaching visitors all about history, natural wildlife, ocean life and more.
Explore the Nearby Towns
You can also have a splendid time perusing the charming towns of Berlin, Ocean City, Ocean Pines, Pocomoke City and Snow Hill during any kind of weather. Take your time browsing the adorable, one-of-a-kind shops, and enjoy fabulous dining at some of the best restaurants in the area.
No matter the season or the temperatures, you’re sure to have a blast in Ocean City, so start planning now to discover a whole new variety of places to visit and things to love.