1. West Ocean City
This side of Assawoman Bay boasts yachts, waterfront McMansions and an easy vibe that conjures up the tropics. "West Ocean City is not a part of the town of Ocean City; it's actually outside of the town limits and is an unincorporated part of Worcester County," says Donna Abbott, tourism spokeswoman. "There are many year-round residents who live in the West O.C. area, as well as seasonal residents." The area also covers territory to the north of U.S. 50 across the bay from Ocean City. It has a marina and commercial harbor, and some great restaurants (Harborside Bar and Grill is well-known for its freshly squeezed Orange Crushes, above, while Sunset Grille overlooks the water and has potted palm trees). And for shopping galore, check out name-brand shops at Tanger Outlets, which are being renovated. (Richard Gorelick, Baltimore Sun /June 4, 2011)
It's no secret that the beach is the place to be in summer. Anyone who has made the trek across the Bay Bridge
on a Friday afternoon, from June to August, knows that.
Nonetheless, we set out to find hidden places or undiscovered treasures on the shore, from the Jersey Cape to Virginia Beach for our 2012 Beach Guide
Secrets? There were a few. But most of what we found were off-the-beaten-path gems that are a must-do for any summer visit to the shore.
In New Jersey, we uncovered diamonds in Cape May
, marbles in Wildwood and sugar sand everywhere.
In Delaware, we found even more ways to stay active, from yoga in the park to a 6-mile trail through coastal marshes to our favorite state park.
In Virginia Beach, we were surprised by the expanding culinary options, ranging from farm-fresh markets to breakfast bonanzas to frozen custard.
Finally, in Ocean City, we found a vibrant arts community, the perfect fishing spot and the best place for a tequila toast.
But we know we've only scratched the surface of what the Mid-Atlantic shore has to offer.
The best-kept secrets are the ones you collect over the years from countless visits to the beach with family and friends.
And they are yours to keep. (Unless you want to share them with us in the comments below.)