Ocean City New Jersey (not to be confused with a Maryland town by the same name) has long been know as America’s Greatest Family Resort – and with good reason. With plentiful beaches, a 2 mile boardwalk filled with rides, shops and live entertainment, and a beautiful bay where watersport and boating activities abound, Ocean City provides the perfect venue for families who wish to enjoy their time together.
Ocean City is located on a barrier island off the coast of Somers Point, New Jersey. It is bordered by Great Egg Harbor Bay on the western side and the Atlantic on the eastern side, and lies approximately 10 miles south of Atlantic City.
Ocean City was formed in 1879 when four Methodist ministers formed the Ocean City Association in order to create a Christian seaside resort. They later built streets and sold commercial and residential lots to people who began to build the homes and businesses which became the City. From its inception, the sale of alcoholic beverages in Ocean City was prohibited, a law that remains in effect today. This means that there no bars, restaurants with alcohol permits or wine, beer or liquor stores on the island. While drinking itself is not prohibited, the lack of alcohol sales is believed to create a safer and more family-friendly environment. For those who wish to bring alcohol for consumption in their homes, a stop at Circle Liquors in Somers Point or Boulevard Super Liquors in Mamora on their way into town is suggested.
The Ocean City Boardwalk is famous, having been awarded as one of the top ten boardwalks in America by The Travel Channel, The Weather Channel, Fine Living Magazine and New Jersey Monthly. The boardwalk was first built in 1880 and over the next 50 years was expanded, repaired and rebuilt as damage from fires and storms occurred. In 1929 the famous Music Pier opened. Today, it is a primary venue for many events throughout the year, featuring concerts, shows, art exhibits and pageants. The boardwalk has designated lanes for bikes and surreys, two popular morning activities (bikes and surreys are prohibited after noon during the summer).
The boardwalk has two family amusement parks – Playland’s Castaway Cove at 10th Street and Gillian’s Wonderland at 6th Street. Stores, restaurants, arcades, mini-golf courses and a water park line the city-side of the boardwalk only, allowing for a beautiful view of the beach and sea. Beyond the Boardwalk lies an award winning city that is exemplary of small town America. Tree lined residential streets and old clapboard houses with awnings still remain today, scattered among multi-million dollar contemporary homes. While shops and restaurants are scattered throughout the island, a popular shopping destination is found on Asbury Avenue between 6th and 14th Streets.
In addition to the boardwalk and the city, the beaches of Ocean City are also well-known and have been the recipient of many “Best Beach” awards from such publications as Coastal Living Magazine, Philly.com, New Jersey Monthly, National Geographic Traveler and The Travel Channel. In 2016, Coastal Living Magazine named Ocean City “The Best Beach Town In America”.
With such an acclaimed reputation, it is no wonder that OCNJ is considered America’s Greatest Family Resort. It is, after all, the perfect place where families can gather for a day trip or an extended vacation by the sea to make memories that will last a lifetime.
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