Affordable Hotels in Ocean City
Before talking about some of the affordable hotels in Ocean City, it's important to point out a few things. First, prices of hotels in Ocean City go up considerably starting around mid-May and don't fall again until around the beginning of October. In other words, if you're set on a summer vacation in Ocean City, expect to pay more for your accommodations. Next, unless you're truly willing to roll the dice on getting a cheap last-minute room during the summer, it's important to book in advance. As of this November writing, I found that many of the cheap Ocean City hotels were already booked up for most of the summer weekends. That leads into the next tip: be flexible when planning your summer trip to Ocean City and try to book a hotel room during the week. You're going to be more likely to find cheap rooms available on non-weekends.
To illustrate my point, I went to Hotels.com and Expedia.com to compare hotel rates. I specifically chose two Ocean City hotels rated highly by users (4.0 and higher) but that had weekday rates below $140. When I booked a hotel room for one person from Tuesday, June 21 to Thursday, June 23, I was able to get prices of $133 and $130, considerably lower in cost than similar hotels. What happened when I changed the dates to Friday, June 24 to Sunday, June 26? The prices jumped up to $252 and $190. (For the curious, the hotels were the Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites and the Sleep Inn and Suites.)
All of this can be confounding, as to many these sorts of prices are difficult to swallow as "affordable," at least for the summer weekend stays. The previously mentioned $190 weekend stay was actually one of the lowest prices available among hotels with user ratings above 4.0. One has to lower their standards a bit to see prices fall below $150. The Paradise Plaza Inn and the Comfort Inn Gold Coast both have prices at $150 or less for a single person on a weekend stay. Reviews on Hotels.com and Expedia.com, however, are mixed. The most common complaint seems to be the lack of renovations in these facilities. However, if you're looking for affordable hotels in Ocean City -- especially during a busy summer season -- these are worth considering.
Aside from these suggestions, you may be able to try a couple of other options. You could look specifically at bed and breakfasts in the Ocean City area. Many of them are going to be farther away from the boardwalk than the majority of Ocean City hotels, and their prices may be a bit more affordable, even during the summer. Finally, if you're going to be staying in Ocean City for a week or longer, you might consider vacation condo rentals in Ocean City. Most will have both nightly rates and weekly rates. You can save some serious money on those that give additional discounts for weekly stays. On VacationRentals.com I was able to find a small one-bedroom condo with high ratings for $300-$695 a week, depending on if you stayed in spring, summer, or fall. That seems like an amazing deal that truly beats some of the cheap Ocean City hotels.
Photo by Bernt Rostad on Flickr