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The Best Beach in America: Ocean City, New Jersey

Charles has long experience fishing, hiking, exploring, and camping in the Northeast.

A view of the 14th Street Fishing Pier and the crystal clear waters of the Atlantic Ocean in Ocean City, New Jersey.

A view of the 14th Street Fishing Pier and the crystal clear waters of the Atlantic Ocean in Ocean City, New Jersey.

A Brief History

Prior to becoming "America's Greatest Family Resort," the seven-mile stretch of the oceanfront island of Ocean City, New Jersey, was home to the Lenni-Lenape people. The local Native Americans used the island as a camp in the sweltering summers of the east coast.

In the early 1700s, the famous whaler John Peck used the island as a base for his whaling operation, and Peck's Island became the resulting monicker of this lonely strand of seaside real estate.

After nearly 200 years of the island serving as cattle grazing land and a place for mainlanders to hunt and picnic, four Methodist ministers chose Peck's Island as the location for a Christian resort, forever changing the peaceful island next to the sea.

Since 1879, alcohol sales and production have been prohibited in Ocean City as the city officials adhered to the family-oriented principles of the towns founding fathers established long ago.

This, in turn, has led to millions of tourists from around the world seeking an environment free of bars and nightclubs to make the trek to Ocean City to enjoy the quaint beach town atmosphere without the usual hordes of partygoers found at other beach resorts along the Jersey Shore.

White sandy beaches with plenty of space for lounging and sunbathing abound in Ocean City, New Jersey.

White sandy beaches with plenty of space for lounging and sunbathing abound in Ocean City, New Jersey.

What to Expect

With some of the whitest and most soft sand beaches along the east coast, Ocean City offers an abundance of seaside beach space for as much lounging and sunbathing as you desire. Ocean City offers clean ocean water by virtue of monitoring and testing the ocean's bacteria levels along with a robust alerting system to keep its visitors safe in the event that higher than normal levels are detected.

This family-oriented resort offers tons of entertainment and dining options for both young and old people. The boardwalk offers two amusement piers with over 50 rides for young children, teens, and adults. Gillian's Wonderland Pier has been family owned and operated since 1929.

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Playland's Castaway Cove sports over 60 years of experience and provides over 32 family-friendly rides in a clean, safe environment.

Gillian's Wonderland Pier, at Ocean City, New Jersey.

Gillian's Wonderland Pier, at Ocean City, New Jersey.

Food, Snacks, and Boardwalk Sweets

From snacks to quick bites on the go to sit-down restaurants ranging from casual to fine dining, the Ocean City boardwalk offers so many choices for food that it requires a section in this article all to its own.

When it comes to quick bites and casual, open-air dining, the first place that comes to my mind is the Promenade Food Court. Located at 7th Street on the Boardwalk, the Promenade has been serving up casual beach fare for over 30 years. The famous saying goes, "if the Promenade doesn't have it, it's not on the Boardwalk."

For fine/casual dining directly on the boardwalk, there is none other than Clancy's by the Sea. Offering both indoor and outdoor dining with ocean views, Clancy's is serving up some of the best seafood Ocean City has to offer. With delicious offerings such as Island Shrimp, Southern Flounder, and Lobster Crab Cakes, Clancy's is open seven days a week—so you can't miss out on these delicacies.

Last but not least, let's talk about snacks and dessert for those of us with a sweet tooth! The Ocean City Boardwalk provides sweet lovers with a plethora of choices, starting with the oldest purveyor of the famous seaside treat of Ocean City, the saltwater taffy. We're talking about none other than Shrivers since 1898. Hailed as the oldest business on the boardwalk, Shriver's is family owned and operated and known for its famous saltwater taffy, fudge, and other fine confections. A stop at Shriver's after dinner is definitely a thing while strolling along the boards at sunset.

For the ice cream lover in all of us, Kohr Brothers frozen custard has five locations on the Boardwalk. Since 1919, Kohr Brothers have been serving up their frosty custard to happy customers up and down the east coast of America. A trip to Ocean City isn't complete without a cone of your favorite flavor at Kohr Brothers.

Sunset on the boardwalk in Ocean City, New Jersey.

Sunset on the boardwalk in Ocean City, New Jersey.

My Favorite Spot in Ocean City, New Jersey

I hope you enjoyed this article. Feel free to comment about your favorite things to do in Ocean City, New Jersey. I know I love the beach. It's not uncommon to find me lounging or reading my favorite book somewhere near 14th Street in the summertime. Thanks, everyone, for stopping by!

© 2022 Charles Kikas

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