5 Best Photo Opportunities in Ocean City

Photo Opportunities Ocean City

Lee Van Grack

Ocean City is an old-school East Coast beach town. It's often crowded, frequently boisterous, and sometimes overwhelming. But it's also a boatload of fun. Whether your idea of the perfect beach vacation is spending the day lounging in the sun, trolling the boardwalk or looking for perfect photo opportunities, Ocean City doesn't disappoint. There's the unspoiled beach on the one hand, and a wacky three-mile boardwalk on the other. You'll have to decide for yourself which side you prefer, but to help you along, here are a few ideas of the best photo opportunities Ocean City has to offer.

1. The Iconic Image: Boardwalk Sign

One of the most recognized symbols of Ocean City is its arched boardwalk sign. Located at the end of North Division Street, the sign is positioned to be one of the first things visitors see as they arrive on the island from the Highway 50 bridge. If you're already on the boardwalk, you could easily miss it. It's between Edward's Department Store and Tony's Pizza (which has a rooftop deck with a lovely ocean view, by the way).

2. The Nightlife Photo: Boardwalk at Night

One of the best photo opportunities Ocean City has to offer is the boardwalk at night. Lights from the myriad restaurants, arcades, hotels, amusement parks and shops create an almost other-worldly aura. This is classic Ocean City: lots of lights, lots of people, lots of sounds. Lots of smells too, but you can't capture those in a photo yet. Try to frame up a shot of the Tidal Wave roller coaster or the Ferris wheel at Trimper's Rides, and be sure to keep your eyes open. This is prime people-watching (and surreptitious picture-taking) territory.

Trimper's Rides
South 1st Street & The Boardwalk
Ocean City, MD 21842
Seasonal hours

3. The Classic Photo: Sunrise Shot on the Beach

This one is easy. To capture a sunrise, all you have to do is go to the beach – anywhere will do – and wait. When the first faint glow of the "rosy-fingered dawn" begins, start taking pictures. The colors of sunrise are surprisingly short-lived and unpredictable, but are also among the best photo ops in Ocean City. The more pictures you take, the better your chances of getting something extraordinary, so don't be shy. Use that camera!

4. The Alternate Classic Photo: Sunset Shot

If you prefer sunset (or if early morning hours are decidedly not your style), you'll need to be somewhere on the opposite side of the island. Try Northside Park for some interesting and slightly unexpected possibilities, or Macky's Bayside Bar & Grill.

Most of us are aware by now that vivid sunsets are caused by dust, debris, smog and smoke in the atmosphere (i.e. pollution). While it's sad that one of the most scenic shots in Ocean City happens to be so environmentally unfriendly, you'll probably forget all about that once you see one. It's true. The sunsets here are amazingly beautiful.

Northside Park
125th Street & Jamaica Avenue
Ocean City, MD 21842

Macky's Bayside Bar & Grill
54th Street on the Bay
Ocean City, MD
Hours vary; happy hour daily 4PM-7PM

5. The Wildlife Photo: Assateague Island

With the exception of seagulls, Ocean City is not brimming with wildlife. Assateague Island, on the other hand, has wild ponies, sika deer, foxes, bald eagles, peregrine falcons and a host of other birds. For a nature photographer, it's paradise.

There are a couple of ways to get to Assateague Island. You can drive there, taking the Highway 50 bridge back to the mainland and then taking Highway 611 straight to Assateague. Once you arrive at the park, you'll have no time limits and your pass is good for seven days. So you can even come back if a sudden love of travel photography strikes you during your stay in Ocean City.

Alternatively, you can join a nature cruise with Assateague Adventure, which departs from the Talbot Street Pier. The advantage of this route is that it's a bit quicker and offers some fun educational extras like crab pot demonstrations and clam dredging. Of course, having an experienced local guide doesn't hurt.

However you decide to get there, Assateague is brimming with photo opportunities. Ocean City itself is lively and exciting, but for more pristine landscape and wildlife shots, Assateague is the place to go.

Assateague Island
7206 National Seashore Lane
Berlin, MD 21811
Daily 24 hours
Individual $3,vehicle (7-day pass) $15

Assateague Adventure
Talbot Street Pier
311 Talbot Street on the Bay
Ocean City, MD
Seasonal hours May-Oct
Adults $16, seniors $12, children 5-12 $8, children 4 & under free; $1 landing fee
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