Coastal Escapes: Ocean City

Loved and hated, Ocean City will always be, well, Ocean City. If you want to avoid the hysteria that is beach week, plan a vacation later in the summer. But don't be afraid to indulge in some of the seediness of this beach town. It's part of what makes it fun.
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<b>Distance from Baltimore:</b> 145 miles
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<b>Summer events/activities:</b> Just a short drive inland across the Delaware/Maryland line, the Freeman Stage (31750 Lake View Drive, Shelbyville, Del.; <a href="http://www.freemanstage.org" target="new">freemanstage.org</a> or 302-436-3015) hosts a number of high-profile summer concerts, including Sheryl Crow (July 14), Darius Rucker (Aug. 8) and Michael McDonald (Aug. 10).
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<b>Cool lodging:</b> In such a popular destination as Ocean City, you'll be hard pressed to find that warm, inviting bed and breakfast near the water that won't devour your wallet. Get caught in a seedy motel, however, and the horror stories of bed bugs and filth can ruin your trip. Don't be afraid to shell out a few extra dollars and stay at a higher-class hotel, such as Hilton Suites Ocean City Oceanfront (32nd Street and Oceanside, <a href="http://www.oceancityhilton.com" target="new">oceancityhilton.com</a> or 410-289-6444).
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<b>Eat here:</b> A restaurant right on the dock, Fish Tales (2207 Herring Way; <a href="http://www.ocfishtales.com" target="new">ocfishtales.com</a> or 410-289-0990) offers the nostalgia of an original dock bar, with the relaxed atmosphere of a beach town eatery. Grab a drink and sit on the beach or watch the expert fish cutters clean the day's catch -- whatever floats your boat.
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<b>Don't miss:</b> If you're young, you like to party and you're in Ocean City, you have to make the trip to Seacrets, a Caribbean-themed mega beach bar and grill, which turns into a water bar/dance club at night. If you've heard some crazy stories about Seacrets (117 W. 49th St.; <a href="http://www.seacrets.com" target="new">seacrets.com</a> or 410-524-4900), they're probably true. But it's something you need to experience at least once.

( Karl Merton Ferron / Baltimore Sun / July 2, 2013 )

Loved and hated, Ocean City will always be, well, Ocean City. If you want to avoid the hysteria that is beach week, plan a vacation later in the summer. But don't be afraid to indulge in some of the seediness of this beach town. It's part of what makes it fun.

Distance from Baltimore: 145 miles

Summer events/activities: Just a short drive inland across the Delaware/Maryland line, the Freeman Stage (31750 Lake View Drive, Shelbyville, Del.; freemanstage.org or 302-436-3015) hosts a number of high-profile summer concerts, including Sheryl Crow (July 14), Darius Rucker (Aug. 8) and Michael McDonald (Aug. 10).

Cool lodging: In such a popular destination as Ocean City, you'll be hard pressed to find that warm, inviting bed and breakfast near the water that won't devour your wallet. Get caught in a seedy motel, however, and the horror stories of bed bugs and filth can ruin your trip. Don't be afraid to shell out a few extra dollars and stay at a higher-class hotel, such as Hilton Suites Ocean City Oceanfront (32nd Street and Oceanside, oceancityhilton.com or 410-289-6444).

Eat here: A restaurant right on the dock, Fish Tales (2207 Herring Way; ocfishtales.com or 410-289-0990) offers the nostalgia of an original dock bar, with the relaxed atmosphere of a beach town eatery. Grab a drink and sit on the beach or watch the expert fish cutters clean the day's catch -- whatever floats your boat.

Don't miss: If you're young, you like to party and you're in Ocean City, you have to make the trip to Seacrets, a Caribbean-themed mega beach bar and grill, which turns into a water bar/dance club at night. If you've heard some crazy stories about Seacrets (117 W. 49th St.; seacrets.com or 410-524-4900), they're probably true. But it's something you need to experience at least once.

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