Ocean city boardwalk

The Ocean City Boardwalk is a family friendly tourist attraction in New Jersey attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. The 2.5 mile long boardwalk is crammed with food vendors, amusement parks, arcades, miniature golf, bike rentals, a waterpark, and two large ferris wheels.


To help you with your New Jersey vacation planning, we wrote earlier about the Atlantic City Boardwalk about 10 miles to the north.  Of the two, our pick is the Ocean City Boardwalk… and from the difference in the size of the crowds between the two boardwalks, most everyone else prefers the Ocean City Boardwalk as well.  Of course the two are close enough to each other there is no reason not to enjoy them both!

Ocean City Boardwalk
Playland’s Castaway Cover on the Ocean City Boardwalk

With gambling and casinos being the main draw to Atlantic City, it’s a more adult oriented place and it does draw a more undesirable element to some degree.  Quite the opposite is true on the Ocean City Boardwalk.

Alcohol is prohibited in Ocean City.  This dates back to 1881 when the Ocean City Association passed blue laws regulating alcohol.  In 1909 they banned the manufacturing and sale of alcohol in the city.  In 1951 it banned the consumption of alcohol on the beach.  Ironically, USA Today listed Ocean City as New Jersey’s most drunken city so I guess there is something to the draw of the forbidden fruit being strong!  As a note though, I didn’t see a single drunk in the time I was in Ocean City.

The lack of casinos and alcohol are probably what makes the Ocean City Boardwalk so family friendly.  And if you do what to drink, a road running right along the city limits is literally packed with nightclubs and not far off the boardwalk at all.  I’ve also been told you can bring a bottle into your hotel room and enjoy a nightcap if you want.

At the north end of the boardwalk, the first thing you encounter is the ferris wheel at Gillian’s Wonderland.  Gillian’s Wonderland is an enclosed amusement area with bumper cars and more.  Another ferris wheel is at the south end at Playland’s Castaway Cove.  Both have roller coasters and other amusement park rides.  Midway between the two is the Music Pier, an entertainment venue that hosts everything from stand up comedy to nationally renowned musicians.  The Ocean City Pops orchestra holds a summer concert series so you might be able to catch one while you’re there.

You’ll also find shopping for clothing, and art galleries featuring the best work of local artists and artisans.

Bring your beach towels and flip flops and spend some time out by the water.  Bridges span the marsh between the boardwalk to the beach in regular intervals.  Be advised, between June through Labor Day Ocean City requires those over the age of 12 to purchase beach passes for $5.00 for a day pass or $10.00 for a week pass.

Be sure to see our post on the Atlantic City Boardwalk, and Lucy the Elephant between he two boardwalks.  Unless gambling and big casino hotels are a high priority for you, we think you’ll have a lot more fun on the Ocean City Boardwalk!

We loved our visit to Ocean City.  We hope you have as much fun as we did!

More Ocean City Photos after the break.  Contact us if you would like to license any of the images in this post for use or purchase a print.

Bicycle chained to the Ocean City Boardwalk
The Ocean City Music Pier on the Boardwalk at dusk
A beautiful sunset is the backdrop behind amusement park rides at the Ocean City Boardwalk
Lifeguard hut on a path leading to the beach in Ocean City
Ocean City
Ferris Wheel at Gillian’s Wonderland is one of two ferris wheels on the Ocean City Boardwalk