Some people go to Ocean City to relax. They plop their chairs or blankets on the warm sand. They read a book or perhaps drift off for a nap, lulled by the shrieks of seagulls, the lapping of waves, the laughter of children.
But for the past four years, thousands of visitors have been drawn to Ocean City by the excitement and exhilaration of the Dew Tour, a multi-day event celebrating extreme sports. Organizers announced earlier this year that the Dew will not return to the Maryladnd beach this summer, putting a bummer in the plans of many adventure lovers.
Yet Ocean City can still deliver serious adrenaline-fueled thrills. This long, narrow strip of land, with the ocean on one side and the Assawoman Bay on the other, has become an adventure destination. Visitors can bounce over the waves on Jet Skis and speedboats, or take to the air for parasailing and skydiving. Ocean City's roller coasters, skateboard park and go-kart tracks are ready for another summer of fun.
Here are just a few ideas for getting your pulse racing while in Ocean City.
Brave the waves
OC Rocket: This speedboat sends hair and clothes whipping in the wind as it bounces over the waves. From the same spot at the Talbot Street Pier where the OC Rocket launches, you also can take a pirate ship tour on the "Duckaneer," go on a two-hour fishing trip, or take an aquatic eco-tour to Assateague, where you'll learn about the wild ponies, birds and marine life. (Talbot Street Watersports, Talbot Street Pier, Talbot Street on the Bay, 410-289-3500, theocrocket.com
Sea Rocket: Another super-speedy boat that offers 50-minute heart-thumping rides out of the Ocean City inlet and into the Atlantic Ocean. Sea Rocket Adventures also offers rides on an inflatable Banana Boat that holds as many as six riders, who sit one behind the other, holding on to a rope, as the boat is pulled at pulse-pounding speeds through the water. (Sea Rocket Adventure, 308 N. First Street and the bay, 410-289-4386, searocket.com)
Jet Skis: Want all the noise, wind and sea-splash of a fast boat ride, plus the excitement of revving the engine and steering? Then jet-skiing is for you. Rent 130-horsepower jet skis at Paradise Watersports, and zip around the Bay with as many as three people riding. (12913 Ocean Gateway, 410-213-7627, paradise-watersports.com You can also rent Jet Skis, plus GoPro cameras to film your adventures at sister companies Action Watersports and Odyssea Watersports. (Action Watersports, 106 52nd St., 410-524-4769, actionwatersportsoc.com Odyssea Watersports,5003C Coastal Highway, 410-723-4227, odysseawatersports.com
Ride the rides
Trimpers Rides: Ocean City's amusement parks offer thrills galore. The oldest and most famous is Trimpers, anchoring the southern tip of the boardwalk since 1900. The Trimper family, still in charge, has added rides, games retail shops and eateries over the years. To achieve maximum heartrate, get in line for the free-falling Freakout ride, the famous Tidal Wave roller coaster and the vertigo-inducing Zipper. New this summer is the Spinning Coaster, billed as a family-friendly mashup between a roller coaster and a Tilt-A-Whirl. (South First Street and the boardwalk, 410-289-8617, trimpersrides.com
Grand Prix Amusements: Explore 11 tracks, including ones for miniature stock cars, sprint karts and go-karts for children between the ages of 5 and 7. New this season is a bumper car arena known as the Spin Zone.Batting cages, bumper boats, a 90-foot slide and a moonbounce round out the fun. (12424 Ocean Gateway, West Ocean City, 410-213-1278, grandprixoc.com
Pound the sand
Family Beach Olympics: The thrill of competition animates Ocean City every Tuesday during the Family Beach Olympics. Find out how your clan stacks up against the competition with tugs-of-war, relay races, sand-castle building contests and other activities for a variety of ages. The contests are free, and are held every Tuesday from June 23 to Aug. 4, 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the beach end of 27th Street. (Call 410-250-0125 or go to ococean.com
Also free and family-friendly, the eight-minute OC Beach Lights laser show can be seen from the Boardwalk on Sunday nights. And movies are shown outdoors on the beach at 27th Street, Mondays and Fridays at 8:30 p.m., weather permitting.
Explore the skies
Skydiving: If free-falling from two miles in the air is on your bucket list, consider getting it checked off while you are at the beach. Ocean City Skydiving Center is a family-owned business that specializes in tandem jumping: where the guest is paired with an experienced sky-diver who controls the parachute, so all you have to do is scream as you soar over Assawoman Bay. (12724 Airport Road, Berlin, 410-213-1319, skydiveoc.com
Parasailing: How high is too high? Paradise Watersports allows you to pick the height you want to travel at, from 400 feet up to 800 feet. From any distance, you'll get a great view of the coast and Assateague Island, and a good chance at some dolphins frolicking in the surf. But from 800 feet that company says you'll get a glimpse of Delaware. Now, what could be better than that? The company's signature red boats leave every hour from the beach, can hold 12 people, and even offer dry landings. (12913 Ocean Gateway, 410-213-7627, paradise-watersports.com
Ramp it up
Skate-boarding: Get your board on at the Ocean Bowl Skate Park at Third Street and St. Louis Ave. The park offers thrills to boarders, boasting 17,000 square feet of rideable surface. The park includes a bowl with deep and shallow ends, large and small ramps and challenges for all skill levels. Skate camps for kids ages 6-17 offer lessons for all abilities. (410-289-2695, ococean.com
Self-propelled pastimes: Don't forget about the quieter thrills, the ones that are powered by you, not by jet fuel or electricity. There's excitement in exploring by kayak, satisfaction in learning to paddleboard. Rent kayaks, windsurfers, paddle boats, paddleboards and surfboards at 48th Street Watersports. You can venture out on your own, go on a kayaking eco-tour searching for marine life along the shallow waters of the Bay, take a paddleboard fitness class, or learn to sail a catamaran. (48th Street Bayside, 410-524-9150, 48thstreetwatersports.com. You can also rent 1-person and 2-person kayaks at the Bahia Marina, 2107 Herring Way, 410-289-7438, bahiamarina.com. Rent kayaks, paddleboards and jet-skis at Back Bay Adventures (400 East 32nd Street. Bayside, 443-783-4633, backbayadventuresocmd.com.