Ocean City freshens up for summer crowds
Hampton Inn & Suites on 44th Street and the Bay is opening with 113 rooms, all with private balconies. The hotel is located adjacent to the Roland E. Powell Convention Center and will be 100 percent nonsmoking.
What's tried and true
Beach eats. The yummy beach fare in O.C. has been known to invoke serious cravings, not to mention lines that seemingly stretch to Delaware. Fishers caramel popcorn, Thrasher's fries with vinegar, Dolles taffy and Candy Kitchen fudge, are all time-honored food traditions, and many of these merchants have deep roots in town.
Coins Pub & Restaurant in the 28th Street Plaza continues to serve its popular jumbo lump crab cakes — and has half-price dinners on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. (2820 Coastal Highway, 410-289-3100). And Pirate's Den, which also has a cool breakfast menu (think Captain Crunch French toast) boasts a happy hour every day of the week. (3201 North Baltimore Ave., 410-289-5376).
Jules Restaurant. For fine dining, executive chef Julius Sanders gets high marks for his creative approach at Jules Restaurant. (12924 Sunset Ave., ocjules.com). Try the bacon wrapped scallops with Asian BBQ glaze, coconut and cashew salsa, and adobe tequila crème fraiche. The crabcake sliders on a potato roll have a hint of curry, and are topped with house-made ginger mayo.
Shark on the Harbor. This restaurant frequently wins raves for its local, seasonal and organic culinary offerings. Try the grilled oyster sashimi (with Choptank oysters from Cambridge, Maryland) and the pan-seared rockfish. (12924 Sunset Ave., 410-213-0924, ocshark.com)
Northside Park (Bayside at 125th St.) is the town's largest recreation complex with 50-plus acres of sports fields, a lagoon, a fishing pier, playground, picnic pavilion. It's also home to the Sunday evening family concert series Sundaes in the Park.
Fitness fun. Test your stamina in a fitness Boot Camp or try yoga on the beach followed by kayaking, both available on 48th Street. (http://48thstreetwatersports.com/rentals)
Ocean City Life-Saving Station Museum. Check out the museum's new surfing exhibit and its free morning programs. (ocmuseum.org).