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Ocean City

Ocean City

Ocean City Maryland, the east coast's largest resort town, increases from 7,500 to 300,000 every summer as visitors swarm the beaches. The OC, as it's colloquially locally called, has everything any beachgoer or spring/summer breaker could want, with the exception of peace, quiet and a place to park. The Boardwalk is the 2.5-mile center of the action for tourists, where every conceivable type of junk food, knickknack or flimsy piece of beach-gear is available. Like most American beach-resort towns, Ocean City Maryland is crowded, expensive and tacky, but it's never boring and often a load of fun.

Most activities can be placed in one of three categories. On the beach one can make a castle, get a tan, play volleyball, etc. On the sea there's swimming, surfing, boating, skiing and chartered fishing. The Boardwalk is basically one big amusement park. Want to ride a roller coaster; they've got them. Want to bungee-jump, shoot somebody with a laser gun or jump of a perfectly good light-tower? No problem. How about driving on a Grand Prix track while eating a corn-dog wrapped in cotton candy while wearing a shirt with your face on it that you bought only five minutes ago? Too easy drill sergeant!

Anyway, if you want to take a break from the beach scene, there are plenty of nearby outdoor adventures to be had. Birding, for example. Pocomoke Forest in Worcester County is an excellent place to see the spring arrival of White-eyed Vireo's, Worm-eating Warblers and the Eastern Wood Pewee. Take a canoe down the Pocomoke River and you may just spot Kingfishers, Wood Ducks and the occasional Bald Eagle.

The Ocean City Campgrounds are only a block from the beach and thus are surrounded with establishments providing family food and fun. Take the kids to Jolly Roger's pirate-themed park for rides, mini-golf and go-karts; parents will especially enjoy the abundant free parking, a rare thing in OC Maryland.