History and Hidden Gems of Ocean City, MD

Ocean City, Maryland, while a popular destination for those looking for a relaxing and exciting beach vacation, offers more than meets the eye. The rich history of Maryland and its coast allows you to dive deeper into what makes this area so wonderful. From historical museums, hidden towns, to beautiful landscapes, you can find some incredible hidden gems and history near Ocean City, MD. 

Founded in 1875, Ocean City, MD has a rich maritime history and has played an important role in the Maryland economy. The first beachfront cottage was built in 1869 to receive the first guests to the seashore. Ocean City, MD was one of the original seaside towns to visit for vacation, which is why it's so well established as a vacation destination year after year for families. By 1930, the Ocean City Beach Patrol was founded to protect tourists on the beach and the rest is history with Ocean City, MD receiving millions of guests year in and year out. 

Use this helpful guide to assist you in planning your next Ocean City, MD vacation and find some incredible activities off the beaten path. Whether you want to learn more about the rich history of the area or want to discover charming historic towns, it's all within reach when you visit Ocean City, MD.

1. Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park

Replace the traditional beach experience with a deeply moving visit to the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park, located a short drive from Ocean City. This powerful site is dedicated to the life and legacy of Harriet Tubman, an American icon known for her role in the Underground Railroad. The park is located within the landscapes that Tubman herself navigated, offering an immersive experience into the struggles and triumphs of her life. Visitors can explore the visitor center's exhibits, take guided tours, and walk the paths that echo history. It's not just a visit; it's an emotional and educational journey, connecting you with a pivotal chapter in American history, right in the heart of Maryland.

Drive time is only an hour and 15 minutes from Ocean City, and the Underground Railroad State Park is next to Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge so you can make a whole day trip of it exploring the local landscape as well!

2. Assateague Island National Seashore

Just a short drive from Ocean City lies the one of Assateague Island National Seashore. Famous for its wild ponies roaming freely, this barrier island offers pristine beaches, salt marshes, and serene forests. It's a sanctuary for wildlife and a paradise for nature enthusiasts. Whether you're kayaking, bird-watching, or simply basking in the tranquility, Assateague is a refreshing escape from the bustle of city life.

While this seashore is known as a popular destination, you can find history as it was before settlers arrived on the shores. This preserved seashore offers you a peek into the completely preserved ecosystem that makes the Maryland coast so beautiful. 

3. Berlin, MD: A Quaint Historical Town

Venture a little further to discover Berlin, a charming town that boasts over 200 years of history. Recognized as one of America's Coolest Small Towns, Berlin's picturesque streets, lined with Victorian-era buildings, are a delight to explore. Visit the Calvin B. Taylor House Museum to delve deeper into local history or enjoy the town's eclectic mix of shops, galleries, and eateries.

Berlin is only a 15-minute drive from Ocean City, MD so it's perfect for a morning of shopping, eating, and taking a peek back in time at how the coastal towns of Maryland evolved into what they've become today.

4. Fenwick Island, Delaware: A Peaceful Escape

A short trip north from Ocean City, Fenwick Island in Delaware offers a more laid-back beach experience. Known for its tranquil shores, Fenwick Island is ideal for those seeking a peaceful day by the sea. Don't miss the Fenwick Island Lighthouse, a historic landmark that has been guiding sailors since 1859. The nearby DiscoverSea Shipwreck Museum adds another layer of intrigue to this hidden gem of a town where you can learn more about some of the shipwrecks off the coast of Maryland and the life-saving efforts many took to rescue sailors throughout history. 

Fenwick Island is only about 20 minutes away from Ocean City, MD by car and there is much to explore throughout the town so make sure you plan for a whole day!

5. Lewes, Delaware: A Historical Harbor Town

Want to really go all in on a fun day trip? Further north along the Delaware coast is Lewes, a town rich in maritime history. As the first town in the first state, Lewes is brimming with historical significance. Explore the historic district, visit the Zwaanendael Museum, or take a leisurely cruise along the canal. With its blend of history, culture, and stunning natural beauty, Lewes is a perfect day trip from Ocean City.

Lewes is about an hour away from Ocean City, MD so grab some coffee and pile in the car for a day full of fun on your next visit!

Find Your Own Hidden Gems and Book Your Ocean City, MD Vacation Rental Today!

Century 21 New Horizon has a wide range of vacation rentals from oceanfront condos to quiet townhomes for you to settle into and make so many new memories on your next visit. Our portfolio has something for everyone and our team is here to help ensure your next trip is one of the best vacations you've ever had. Browse through our properties and helpful area information on the site to start your planning. Book your vacation rental today to take the first step in discovering the wonder of Ocean City, MD!