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Ocean City, Maryland offers over 10 miles of sandy shores — here are 18 of the best vacation rentals for a summer stay

FAQ: Visiting Ocean City, Maryland

When is the best time to visit Ocean City, Maryland?

For East Coasters, especially Washingtonians like myself, who patiently wait to make the three-hour drive north, summer is synonymous with Ocean City, Maryland.

The months of May through September bring with them plenty of sunshine and blue skies, aka ideal temperatures whether you want to spend your days lazing around on the beach, kayaking the welcoming waters of the Ocean City Inlet, or taking a leisurely stroll down the iconic early 20th-century wooden Boardwalk.

If you miss out on securing your Airbnb of choice—they tend to book out three to four months in advance—consider planning a visit in the spring, fall, or even winter. Officially considered the offseason months, prices for Airbnb listings in Ocean City, Maryland are significantly lower, while availability goes up. And, best of all, there’s still plenty to do—festivals like Winterfest and Sunfest offer parades, concerts, and plenty of waterside fun.

What are the best Ocean City neighborhoods to stay in?

There are several neighborhoods to consider when determining where to stay in Ocean City. First and foremost is the Ocean City Boardwalk, a bustling 3-mile stretch with dining, shopping, and of course, walkup access to the town’s acclaimed white sand shores along the Atlantic Ocean.  

If you’re seeking a quiet seaside getaway, opt for Airbnbs located in North Ocean City, which runs from 91st street up to 146th street at the Delaware state border. You’ll find numerous properties listed on Airbnb that are located in this neighborhood. Not only are they affordable, but these listings tend to also offer an attractive list of onsite amenities such as outdoor pools, gyms, tennis courts, and rec centers. 

Since Ocean City is sandwiched between the Atlantic Ocean in the east and Isle of Wight Bay in the west, you’ll often find properties that mention an oceanfront/oceanside or bayfront/bayside location, denoting what side of town they lie on. If a listing states that it’s an ocean block property, that means it’s not directly on the beach, but a few steps away and still offers unbeatable water views. 

Canal and bayfront/bayside properties, on the other hand, lie precisely opposite the oceanfront buildings. These listings sit directly on canals or the bay and, while they don’t offer beachfront access if you’re lucky, make up for it with private boat slips. 

Traveling with a group of friends and searching for the town’s best nightlife? Your best bet is a bayside Airbnb property in Midtown Ocean City. Located west of the Coastal Highway, these Airbnb listings will be a few blocks away from the beach, so that’s something to keep in mind before booking your stay. Midtown is also Ocean City’s hub for watersports—you can spend the day kayaking along the Isle of Wight Bay or catch some waves, oceanside, in the Atlantic Ocean. 

What are the best things to do in Ocean City, Maryland?

If you have the kids in tow, head to the Ocean City Boardwalk where arcades, entertaining street performers, and renowned seafood dining await—a personal favorite is the raw bar at Harrison’s Harbor Watch, which overlooks Assateague island and has been serving up some of the best locally caught oysters since opening in 1984. At the southern tip of the Boardwalk lies Trimper’s Rides of Ocean City, a family-owned amusement park in operation for over a century.

With approximately 10 miles of soft white sand beaches along Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Ocean City is an ocean-lovers dream. Other outdoor activities include a day trip to view the wild ponies of Assateague Island National Seashore, explore Smith Island by kayak, or standup paddleboard (SUP) your way through the diverse waterways surrounding Ocean City, including the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

Is staying at an Airbnb safe?

According to the CDC, fully vaccinated people can now safely travel within the US. In addition, fully vaccinated travelers and those that have recovered from COVID-19 do not need to quarantine or be tested before travel.

When it comes to accommodations, both experts and the CDC consider private home rentals, like those listed on Airbnb, to be the safer option when traveling. Booking entire homes, apartments, or condos minimizes your risk of interaction with other people.

As a result of the ongoing pandemic, Airbnb has now implemented stringent Enhanced Clean protocols that all hosts must follow when renting out their properties. This includes mask wearing when interacting with hosts, proper social distancing and an improved, five-step cleaning process between stays. 

However, there are still risks to traveling for leisure, so be sure to read up on Ocean City and the state of Maryland’s travel restrictions and advisories before you book your trip. Continue to check and follow all recommended CDC and WHO guidelines in order to keep yourself protected during this ongoing pandemic, especially if you have underlying health conditions.

What is Airbnb’s cancellation policy?

As individual hosts set cancellation policies, they vary from one rental to the next. Airbnb currently does not provide blanket cancellation coverage, so make sure to read through the listing’s policy before booking to avoid any unfortunate last-minute surprises.

A full rundown of Airbnb’s cancellation policies can be accessed here.

Emily Hochberg contributed reporting to this article.

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