Breathtaking sunsets, sweet salt air, boardwalk confections and fun in the sun — Ocean City has it all.

Long regarded by those in the know as a best bet when it comes to taking the family to the beach, Ocean City, recently received the recognition it deserves. TripAdvisor named the resort to No. 8 on its 2011 list of best family amusements and boardwalks.

"Being in the Top 10, that's incredible," said Donna Abbott, communications manager for the Town of Ocean City. "There are a lot of destinations out there and to consistently rank in these various listings, is certainly something we as a town and as a vacation destination are very proud of."

Known as the White Marlin capital of the world, Ocean City also boasts a lively boardwalk, hundreds of restaurants, a bounty of activities and more than 15 golf courses within a short drive.

"It's just one of those appealing types of vacations that sticks with you and makes you want to come back," said Abbott. "People have been vacationing here for generations. Given our geographical location and our beautiful beach, it just keeps bringing people back."

Ocean City stretches along the Atlantic Ocean from the Inlet to the Delaware state line, and with 10 miles in between, there are plenty of choices. Below we offer five itineraries for spending a perfect day at the beach.

Family times

From miniature golf, to spending the day in the waves, to flying a kite on the beach, there are plenty of things a family can do while in Ocean City. We provide just a sampling.

Make your own breakfast. The Fractured Prune offers hot, hand-dipped doughnuts and the ability to create your own — enough said. Oh, except that kids meals are served on a Frisbee, something that comes in handy at the beach. Three locations in Ocean City: 28th Street (410-289-1134), 127th Street (410-250-4400) and West Ocean City at the corner of Rt. 611 and Sunset Avenue (410-213-9899), fracturedprune.com.

Seek the truth. Check out Ripley's Believe it or Not! Odditorium, where truth is much stranger than fiction. (On the Boardwalk, 401 S. Atlantic Ave., Ocean City, 410-289-5600; oceancity.ripleys.com.)

Ride the Boardwalk. Trimpers Rides has all the classics such as bumper cars, a merry-go-round, the Himalaya and Ferris Wheel. For $23, wristband admission allows unlimited rides beginning June 18. (South First Street and the boardwalk, 410-289-8617; trimpersrides.com).

Grab a bucket. Thrasher's fries are legendary (401 S. Atlantic St. at the boardwalk, 410-289-7232) as is the tub of Fisher's Popcorn (200 St. Atlantic Ave. at the boardwalk, 410-289-5638, fisherspopcorn.com).

Have lunch with pirates. Dead Freddies Island Grill is a family restaurant that offers a separate play area for kids including a pirate ship to climb on. Adults can watch from nearby tables. (64th Street, 410-524-3733, deadfreddiesoceancity.com).

Take the afternoon to fish and crab. For kids the best bet is the pier at Northside Park. The 58-acre complex includes a fishing lagoon, footbridge and if the fish aren't biting, walking paths and playgrounds. (125th Street, Ocean City, 410-250-0125, oceancitymd.gov)

Have a play date. Not only does Fish Tales Bar and Grill offer great food, but there's also a playground in the sand and you can take the kids along the marina to see the fresh catch of the day. Bonus for mom and dad, Fish Tales had the award-winning Bloody Mary last year with its Crabby Mary. (22nd St. bayside at the Bahia Marina, 410-289-0990, ocfishtales.com)

Exercise your funny bone. The Family Beach Olympics take place every Tuesday evening at the 27th Street beach with fun events, including sand castle contests, tug of war, relay races and more. Children must be accompanied by an adult. (June 28–Aug. 9, 6:30-8:30 p.m., 800-626-2326, ococean.com).

Romantic rendezvous

While Ocean City is known as a family haven, it is also quite romantic. You just have to know where to look for love.

Stay at the Lighthouse Club Hotel at Fager's Island. Every suite in this three-story octagonal hotel on the Isle of Wight Bay offers views of the bay and wetlands. Don't miss out on dinner at neighboring Fager's Island restaurant. Although it's often hopping with lively entertainment and crowds, they celebrate sunset by playing the "1812 Overture." (60th St. and the Bay, 410-524-5400 or 410-524-5500, fagers.com).