Skip to site content
The Group Travel Leader Going on Faith Select Traveler

Ocean City’s New Finds and Old Favorites

Ocean City at a Glance

Location: Southeast Maryland

Access: U.S. highways 1 and 50 and Maryland Rt. 528 (the Coastal Highway), Ocean City Airport, Salisbury/Ocean City Regional Airport

Hotel Rooms: 11,000

Contact Info:

Ocean City Tourism and Convention and Visitors Bureau


Roland E. PowellConvention Center

Built: 1997

Exhibit Space: 250,000 square feet of meeting and exhibit space

Other Meeting Spaces: 21 meeting rooms, including the 19,126-square-foot Bayfront Ballroom, plus the 16,000-square-foot Performing Arts Center

Meeting Hotels

Ocean City Fontainebleau Resort

Guest Rooms: 250 rooms and suites

Meeting Space: 28,000 square feet

Grand Hotel

Guest Rooms: 251

Meeting Space: 10,000 square feet

Cambria Hotel Ocean City-Bayfront

Guest Rooms: 136

Meeting Space: 2,400 square feet

Who’s Meeting in Ocean City 

Maryland Municipal League

Attendees: 830

Maryland Firemen’s Association Convention

Attendees: 10,000

Stretching for 10 pearly miles, the beautifully maintained sand of Ocean City, Maryland, lies on a spit of land between Assawoman Bay and the bright blue Atlantic Ocean. This beach town’s founding date is considered to be July 4, 1875, the day the Atlantic Hotel opened to become the first property of the Grand Boardwalk Hotels, sparking the city’s hospitality industry. Rebuilt after a fire in 1923, the venerable hostelry today pays witness to Ocean City’s burgeoning, well-planned development, assuring fun and relaxation for continuing generations of beachgoers.


Destination Highlights

Rife with bays, sand dunes, salt marshes, swamps and maritime forests, Ocean City also boasts Ferris wheels, a 1902 carousel, super thrill rides, the world’s first car coaster, go-karts, mini-golf and a famous three-mile boardwalk praised by the Travel Channel as America’s best classic wooden one, and by USA Today for having “one of the country’s best boardwalks for food.” Crab cakes, fried chicken, smoky pit beef and saltwater taffy are among visitor favorites there.

A year-round destination with multi-season activities, Ocean City is a tourist’s delight, with dozens of sightseeing jaunts, arts and cultural happenings, outlet and boutique shopping, flourishing nightlife and tide-to-table restaurants (about 200 total eateries) with water views and fresh seafood. 

Visitor accommodations have evolved through the years from guest cottages and boarding houses to condos and hotels. The area’s hospitality industry is thriving, thanks to the growing influx of leisure and business travelers. 

“Ocean City is exploding with new properties, renovations, rehabs, purchases and name changes,” said Kim Mueller, director of sales for Ocean City Tourism and the Convention and Visitors Bureau. “One of our largest hotels, the Ocean City Fontainebleau Resort, with 28,000 square feet of meeting space, has been bought by HEI Hospitality and will undergo a multimillion-dollar renovation this fall.” 

Distinctive Venues

Voted Best Small Town for Shopping and a Top American Main Street by USA Today, the village of Berlin — nine miles from Ocean City — has more than 60 shops, plus galleries and eclectic restaurants. For the past four seasons, 12.5-acre Windmill Creek Vineyard has hosted corporate parties and meetings here in its 1858 historic house (a buyout for 50 attendees). Charming outdoor event spaces hold 50 to 100 revelers. 

“We try to do things differently than the typical winery,” said Brittany Mariner, who owns the business with her parents. “Our tastings are actually wine flights. There’s free live music every weekend, and we offer classes — yoga, cupcake making, candle pouring and jewelry making.” All just the ticket for spouse entertainment.

Known locally as “Jamaica USA,” Seacrets is a waterfront restaurant specializing in Caribbean cuisine with venues serving up to 2,000 guests. This local favorite has four bars, four stages with live entertainment, a dance floor, and a distillery with a tour and tasting room.

Located at the south end of the Boardwalk, Harrison’s Harbor Watch Restaurant overlooks Assateague Island National Seashore, home of the wild ponies made popular in Marguerite Henry’s children’s classic “Misty of Chincoteague.” Fresh seafood, certified Angus steak and an award-winning raw bar highlight the menu, and 200 to 400 can gather for special events. 

Ocean City offers competition opportunities including 17 championship golf courses, high ropes courses, paintball, sandcastle-building, beach Olympics, and city scavenger hunts up and down the Boardwalk. 

Major Meeting Spaces

Leading the surge in property additions is the 250,000-square-foot Roland E. Powell Convention Center on Isle of Wight Bay. Built in 1997, the structure’s third phase added 30,000 square feet of expo space and a promenade in February 2022. Its Bayfront Ballroom — with breathtaking water views — can accommodate 1,900 for a reception and 1,070 for a banquet. Within the center, the Performing Arts Center provides a 1,200-seat, intimate setting for concerts, musicals, dance performances and general meeting sessions.

The new addition, said Mueller, “ups Ocean City’s ante in the level of service we provide in the meetings market and our overall vibe people are looking for. We have that big/small-town feel, a nostalgic touch combined with modern amenities and lots of hotel availability.

“Ocean City is surrounded by nature and it’s comfortable,” she said. “Once you cross the Bay Bridge, you breathe a sigh of relief and leave stress behind. Attendees relax here, so they can be inspired.”

A waterfront property built in 2020, the 136-rooom Cambria Hotel Ocean City Bayfront shines with 2,400 square feet of meeting space and a rooftop wine bar with panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean. Amenities include an outdoor patio with fire pits, an outdoor pool with a tiki bar and cabanas, and a fitness center with inspiring water views. 

Set to open in 2023, a 265-room Margaritaville Hotel and Resort on the Boardwalk will have three restaurants, three pools and 14,000 square feet of meeting space.

After the Meeting

Worcester County has miles of waterways and lush woodlands, presenting opportunities for fishing, crabbing, hunting, boating, biking and birding. Ocean City is the White Marlin Capital of the World, and getting out on the water is easy. A charter boat can provide sport fishing galore — in the nearshore or back bays of the Atlantic, off Assateague or OC, or on the Pokomoke River, depending upon the fish an angler has in mind. 

Rich with maritime tradition, OC still hosts races on skipjacks, watercraft once heavily used for oyster harvesting. These historic, classic boats compete each Labor Day.

Groups can cruise to Tangier Island on Chesapeake Bay, where commercial fishing and crabbing are a way of life. Guests can stay overnight at the latter in a local bed and breakfast, rent a bicycle or golf cart to explore the island, or take eco- or sunset tours.

To learn more about the OC area, museums are the ticket. Built in 1891, the city’s Life-Saving Station Museum honors the heroic deeds at sea performed by the United States Life-Saving Service, part of which eventually merged into the U.S. Coast Guard. The Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art in nearby Salisbury features the world’s largest collection of decorative and antique hand-carved decoys and annually hosts the largest bird carving competition in the world.

Winner of many kudos, the Evolution Craft Brewing Company has a tasting room, pub and brewery. Next door, its Public House serves fabulous food. Evol’s dining room, barrel room and brewery are all available for group rentals.