Everyone knows that Ocean City is a charming seaside resort town, known for its miles of sandy beaches, lively boardwalk, and exciting water sports. However, Ocean City has a rich history and many hidden gems visitors often overlook. In this post, we'll explore some fascinating facts and lesser-known attractions that make Ocean City a unique and charming place to visit. Whether you're a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, we guarantee you'll learn something new about this beautiful coastal town. So, let's dive in and discover the secrets of Ocean City, Maryland!
Hand-Carved CarouselBack to Top of List
Take a ride on a piece of hand-carved history. The carousel at Trimper’s Rides on the Boardwalk is a century-old work of art! In 1912, the Trimper family bought the massive, 50-foot carousel from the renowned Herschell-Spillman Company in Upstate New York -- making the ride almost 110 years old and one of the oldest operating carousels in the country! The OCMD icon features a collection of over 45 meticulously hand-carved wooden animals and chariots.
Ocean City, aka “The Lady’s Resort to the Ocean”Back to Top of List
Before “Ocean City,” your vacation happy place was known as “The Lady’s Resort to the Ocean” (i.e., the original girl’s trip).
The name was dubbed by Stephen Taber and Hepburn S. Benson, who bought the 280-acre tract of land in 1868. It wasn’t until six years later in 1874 that “Ocean City” was born, when the land was renamed by stockholders of the Atlantic Hotel Company. The name stuck ever since!
Prescription No. 22: Noxzema®.Back to Top of List
Heard of Noxzema®? In 1900, Dr. Francis J. Townsend, Sr. began his medical practice and opened up Ocean City’s first pharmacy. To help soothe beachgoers’ sunburn and windburn, it’s reported that Townsend invented the original formula for a skincare product, Prescription No. 22.
This formula later came to be known as, you guessed it, Noxzema®, now a household name in skincare.
Cicada-Free ZoneBack to Top of List
It’s no secret that cicadas are re-emerging this coming May after their 17 year hiatus, with Maryland as the epicenter of the surge. However, did you know that cicadas don’t vacation in OCMD? That’s right. Ocean City is a cicada-free East Coast oasis! Entomologists who study the bug have concluded that cicadas aren’t partial to the sandy soil conditions that our beach town has to offer -- guess they don’t like good times, mini golf, and long walks on the beach.
White Marlin Capital of the WorldBack to Top of List
On July 29, 1939, 171 white marlin were caught in the Atlantic, about 20 miles southeast of the Inlet. That day marks the record for the largest single day catch in history. Welcome to Ocean City, Md., the “White Marlin Capital of the World!” Not only does Ocean City hold the record for largest single day catch, it has also hosted the annual White Marlin Open for over 40 years! Starting with just 57 boats entering in 1974, the Open now hosts over 430 boats annually. Last year’s top marlin weighed in just shy of 100 pounds, with the winner raking in $1.85 million. Think of all the Dumser’s you could buy with that.
Believe It or Not, That Building Was a BallroomBack to Top of List
Years before that great white shark crashed through the side of the Ripley's Believe It or Not museum on the Boardwalk, that space was used as a ballroom! For over 40 years, from 1929-1973, the Pier Ballroom hosted Lifeguard Balls, Big Band events from the WWII era, and stood as one of the hippest OCMD nightlife spots in the 60s.
After converting into a wax museum, followed by a laser tag arena, the building eventually settled as the home to Ripley’s in the mid-1990s. Believe it...or not.
The LocalsBack to Top of List
Ever catch those “LOCAL” bumper stickers while cruising down Coastal Highway? There’s more of them than you think. In 2020, there were a reported 7,000 full-time residents calling Ocean City, Md. “home.” But it hasn’t always been that way! During the first OCMD census, collected over 140 years ago in 1880, the town’s population was listed at just 49 residents. That’s fewer people than the number of wild ponies living on Assateague Island. Since then, not only have the number of locals skyrocketed, but the number of annual vacay visitors now reaches around 8 million! Because let’s face it, life is better at the beach.