Route 50 Diner in OC

Winter Truitt of the Francis Scott Key Family Resort stands at the entrance to the Route 50 Diner which has had a complete facelift. The bumper cars at right were originally from the ride at Trimper's on the boardwalk. (Jed Kirschbaum, Baltimore Sun / May 9, 2010)

Still recovering from the winter of 2010? Ocean City officials believe they've got the perfect antidote.

"After a cold, snowy winter, we think people are ready for some beach time," says Donna Abbott, spokesperson for Ocean City Department of Tourism. "We are gearing up for a fantastic summer season."

Besides favorites that returning OC visitors have enjoyed for generations, look for new attractions, eateries, revamped hotels, and more, says Abbott. And some of what you'll find won't break the bank, either.

"We have a ton of free stuff," Abbott says, including free movies, concerts and parties.

Besides the free movie nights offered by the town, some hotels are also getting into the act. The Princess Royale at 91st St. plans Thursday evening screenings beginning in July; The Carousel Hotel will offer free Wednesday night flicks.

Whether it's volleyball on the beach, strolling the Boardwalk, or angling on a pier with the sun setting on the water, Ocean City offers the kind of easy, beach vacay that everyone from families to college co-eds can enjoy. To make the most of those oh-so-fleeting summer days (and nights), we've assembled a list of 100 things for you to see, do, and eat. Plenty of these options are free, or nearly so.

Hotels

There are hundreds of hotels, motels and condos to chose from in Ocean City, ranging from well-known chains to vacation rentals. Before you go, check for discounts and packages at ococean.com or the Ocean City Page on Facebook. The Ocean City Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association also offers promotions at ocvisitor.com.

Francis Scott Key Hotel, 12806 Ocean Gateway, 410-213-0088; fskfamily.com. The 232-room Francis Scott Key hotel has received a facelift just in time for summer. The main building, built in 1947, will feature an updated façade and interior, and 90 rooms have been renovated, some with flat-screen TVs. A new concession stand will open in September at the hotel's indoor Caribbean-theme pool.

Ocean City Courtyard by Marriott, Two 15th St., 410-289-5008; courtyardoceancity.com. Located on the Boardwalk at 15th Street, the Courtyard opens for its first full summer this year. The hotel features nearly 100 rooms, all with free high-speed Internet access. There's also an indoor/outdoor heated pool, Jacuzzi, and a kiddie splash park.

Princess Bayside Hotel, 4801 Coastal Highway, 888-622-9743; princessbayside.com. This hotel has some newly renovated rooms, but more importantly, it offers five nights for $500 (plus tax) when you book online for a Sunday-Thursday stay. The special is for a standard room and is offered June 20-Aug. 26, based on availability.

Dining

De Lazy Lizard, First St. and the Bay, 410-289-1122. A 300-seat bayside bar and restaurant is coming to the former site of BJ's South. The owners plan to offer a Tiki bar, indoor/outdoor seating, and a sand-filled children's play area. The site is accessible by boat, with 20 guest slips. A mid-June opening is planned.

Route 50 Diner, 12806 Ocean Gateway, route50diner.com. Located inside the Francis Scott Key Resort, the '50s-style diner is set to open Memorial Day and will seat 90 and serve all-day breakfast, along with burgers, fries, malts and shakes.

The Captain's Table, Two 15th St., 410-289-7192. Beloved by locals, the Captain's Table was demolished four years ago, along with the Santa Maria Hotel. But now the restaurant, which specializes in seafood with fresh fish arriving daily, has re-opened on the third floor of the Courtyard by Marriott. The restaurant continues to be operated by the same family and some of the same cooks remain. In addition to seafood, the restaurant serves steaks, vegetarian-friendly meals and will prepare gluten-free dishes.

Dough Roller, 410-213-7862, doughrollerrestaurants,com. The popular boardwalk pizza chain, has launched its fifth location. Look for them on Route 50 (the site once inhabited by Bull on Beach) in West Ocean City.

Micky Fins, 12952 Inlet Isle Lane, 410-213-1618. The Marlin Moon Grille, which closed last fall after a long stint inside the Francis Scott Key hotel, has landed at the former Micky Fins in the OC Fishing Center. The name has also changed.

Pasta Marina, 12703 Sunset Ave., 410-213-2868; submarinaoc.com. Sub Marina, a West OC carry-out known for its pizza, subs and salads has expanded its operation. The family recently launched Pasta Marina, a cozy dining room with a fireplace and Italian fare, including homemade lasagna. There's also an onsite wine and beer bar, Guiseppe O' Leary's, a fun nod to the owners' Italian-Irish heritage.

Dead Freddies Island Grill,64th Street, 410-524-3733; deadfreddiesoceancity.com. Dead Freddies replaces the former Castaways and is related to the Freddies in Bel Air and Dead Freddies in Parkville. The restaurant serves casual food and has a play area for children. It also has a bar and will have entertainment Wednesday through Sunday.