You got this, I thought. It’s flat, with no traffic (except the bikes, lots of bikes) and not one turn. It’s the Ocean City Boardwalk, 2 1/4 miles long with the sun rising over the ocean on one side and plenty of sights, smells and sounds on the commercial side. There are plenty of diversions, from little shops selling t-shirts to big restaurants smelling like bacon, history signs and Ferris wheel, and all that beach just calling you.
It became our mission to walk this every morning. We soon realized it was the same mission for a lot of people who brought their whole families or their best buds or their favorite running partner. We were all looking for the end of the Boardwalk.
It’s easy to find. Park around 27th Street and walk to the Inlet, or park at the Inlet with its enormous parking lot and walk to 27th Street. Then take a round trip walk, stroll, power walk, jog or run. It’s about 10,000 steps without a single extra turn.
I rarely walk the whole thing. I’ve been an OC visitor since the 1970s and we had our set path, but never the whole thing. But, you know, once you get into the swing, it’s fun seeing a little history as you go. At the north end it’s mostly hotels, some from mid-century, some nearly brand new. They give way to the shops and restaurants until you reach the oldest, noisiest, merriest section at the south end where a hurricane nearly a century ago created the Inlet and separated Ocean City from Assateague Island.
I gotta warn you. This can be an expensive walk. I ended up by the end of my week with a couple of shirts, salt water taffy, an ice cream cone…you get the idea.
Walking the Boardwalk is a tradition. And everybody has a favorite place to go: the kite shop, the Ocean Gallery, one of the ice cream or salt water taffy shops. Ride-fans have two choices, the Pier or Trimper’s Rides near the Inlet.
Then there’s the sculptures with the religious theme that are always different and always draw a crowd or the dinosaur sculpture that kids like to play on.
A walk on the boards is a good way to plan your day, discuss the water conditions and the weather, see what’s new since your last visit, decide if this is a beach day or a shopping day, where you’re going to eat dinner.
And when it’s all over, the 10,000 steps were a cinch, weren’t they?
Now I’m ready for that beach blanket and umbrella.
ⓒ Text and photos Mary K. Tilghman