Memories of Sand and Sun in Ocean City, Maryland

By Claire Deal

I am pulling in, I hear the ocean crashing faintly in the distance, and I can hear the laughter of kids enjoying their family beach trip. The beach town of Ocean City, Maryland has felt like a home away from home since I was born. I love everything about Ocean City, from the mile-long Dumser’s ice cream line, to waking up to the morning chill at 5:30 to beat the rush to get donuts at The Fractured Prune. There are a several different ways to have fun at Ocean City. You can go to the beach all day, play mini-golf, go to the outlet malls, rent boats or jetskis, and much more. It is not possible to be bored in Ocean City.

Wild horses at Assateague. Photo credit:

My favorite activity when I was little was going to Assateague Island for the day. We would ride over on our boat, cruising through the choppy water where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Assawoman Bay. Assateague is a well-known habitat for wild horses, so I would always look around for any sign of the horses once we got onshore. After searching for horses in the hot sun, I loved playing in the water with my brother. He would pretend to be a shark and try to scare me. Few people knew to bring their boats to the island, so it was always peaceful and quiet. 

As I’ve gotten older, what I enjoy doing in Ocean City has changed. Instead of feeling the grains of sand run through my hands as I build sand castles, I bake in the sun as I lay on my towel listening to lifeguards yell at swimmers to come closer to shore and parents begging their kids to stand still for a family beach picture. Although I have changed and grown up throughout the years, this place has remarkably stayed the same. Ocean City has remained a beach town meant for families to come and destress for a week. Although the places and people aren’t identical year to year, there is always this sense of family. This place embodies the classi, all-American beach experience, which I find comforting because it’s what I’ve grown up with.

The Fractured Prune donuts. Photo credit: Yelp user Joy B.

Although new restaurants pop up each year, I know the ones that have staples of Ocean City for decades. I have eaten at the Crab Bag for sixteen years. I asked my brother (Christopher Newport University ‘21) what his favorite memory of Ocean City was, and he said “picking crabs with our grandmother,” because, without fail, we always get a dozen jumbo crabs and bring them back to our condo to enjoy while watching the the captivating sun disappear into the distance.

For breakfast, I ride my bike to get a dozen donuts from The Fractured Prune. You can see the heat rise off the donuts through the cracks in the cardboard box they come in. The donuts are served piping hot and practically melt in your mouth. I always order two of the Plain Janes because I prefer eating the soft donuts without any toppings. No matter how early I get there, the line is still out the door.

Another incredible dessert place is the ice cream parlor Dumser’s Dairyland. Founded in 1939, Dumser’s has been an Ocean City favorite for decades. I asked my dad his favorite ice cream from Dumser’s, and he said “butter pecan because it reminded me of my childhood.” These paces bring back so many fond memories, like sitting at the picnic tables at Dumser’s spilling melted ice cream all over my clothes or eating crab with too much Old Bay on it and feeling like my mouth was on fire. These are a part of me because they are what made Ocean City memorable. 

If you ever visit Ocean City, you definitely have to go to one of the many mini-golf courses. It is definitely the best post-dinner activity. I love going to the Viking Golf & Go-Karts, Thunder Lagoon Waterpark because racing my brother in go-karts gives me a rush, and the funnel cake is delicious. Mini-golf is a fantastic way to have some family fun with a little bit of competition. Playing mini-golf at night is better than laying during the day because you get to watch the sun go down, and you aren’t baking in the heat.  Even though going to the beach all day, every day is relaxing, it is nice to do other things besides sit in the sun for eight hours. The outlet malls are less than thirty minutes away, so it’s convenient to do some shopping, especially on a rainy afternoon. That’s why I love Ocean City; even if you are not a beach person, you can find something that you enjoy. The multitude of different activities are what make visiting Ocean City such a unique and positive experience.

Featured image: Chris Parypa.

About the author

Claire Deal is a junior at Collegiate.