Ocean City sits along the New Jersey Shore and serves as a popular vacation destination for travelers of all ages. The incredible beaches, boardwalks, amusement parks, and eateries make Ocean City a favorite among both locals and visitors. Best of all, many of the vacation rentals in Ocean City put you just minutes from the shoreline and an abundance of attractions. If you’re planning a vacation to Ocean City, start preparing with these 15 points of interest.

1. Encounters: Alien, Laser and Mirror Maze

Go into the great beyond with a fun game of laser tag with a twist at Encounters. One of Ocean City’s newest attractions, Encounters offers Laser and Mirror Maze challenge games with aliens peeking out at every corner. Navigate your way through a field of lasers without making contact, then complete your space mission by moving through a sea of challenging mirrors that may have you questioning which end is up.

2. Shriver’s Saltwater Taffy

The Jersey Shore is known for its saltwater taffy, and Shriver’s is an event in itself. In addition to offering what some call “the best taffy on the planet,” the atmosphere of this famous candy shop is something that must be experienced first hand, as it is the oldest store on the boardwalk, opened in 1959. Stroll down the boardwalk and absorb the sights and sounds, then stop into Shriver’s and fill up a bag with a rainbow of taffy flavors such as peanut butter, raspberry, and cherry.

3. Egg Harbor Township Nature Reserve

For a fun day of bird watching and hiking, visit the Egg Harbor Township Nature Reserve. Located just a few miles from your vacation rental, in neighboring Egg Harbor Township, this 220-acre sanctuary is a great place to view wildlife in its natural habitat. Get some exercise as you walk along numerous hiking trails, and be sure to remember your camera to snap a few pictures as you take in the beauty of nature. Bring along some binoculars for close-up views of egrets and geese, and then walk along the marsh area for a peek at local turtles and crabs.

4. Ocean City Beach

No visit to Ocean City is complete without a day at the beach. Pack up the sunscreen, salty snacks, cold drinks and beach gear, then head down to the shoreline for some fun in the sun. If you’re traveling with little ones, do some beach-combing for shells, or build a few sandcastles and see who creates the tallest masterpiece.

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5. Fishing at Birch Grove Park

Birch Grove Park sits just a few miles from the Jersey Shore in neighboring Northfield. Take a break from the hustle and bustle of the boardwalk with a day trip to the park. Pack a lunch and your fishing gear, and catch a few bass in one of several fishing lakes for dinner at your vacation rental. The park offers sheltered picnic areas for al fresco dining, as well as jogging trails and a playground to keep the little ones entertained while you relax.

6. Somers Point Historical Museum

For a trip back in time, stop by the Somers Point Historical Museum in nearby Somers Point. Take the 3-mile jaunt to the neighboring city to view over 4,000 vintage photos that represent New Jersey’s history. Additional exhibits include the history of the Somers Point Trolley System, boat building, and items from historic restaurants that once graced the Jersey Shore.

7. OC Waterpark

Take a break from the ocean waves and spend a day splashing around OC Waterpark, Ocean City’s largest waterslide park. Take in the views of the ocean as you slide down massive waterslides, or soak up some sun and relax by the water. The littlest members of your family might like to float along the Lazy River or unleash themselves on Lil Buc’s Bay, which invites them to safely be a pirate for the day in a shallow water environment.

8. Whale Beach

Enjoy a day at the beach with the added bonus of spotting a whale or two at Whale Beach. Pack a picnic and some binoculars, and sit back on the sand and check out the whales making their way through the Atlantic. Depending on when you visit, you may even catch a glimpse of these magnificent creatures close to the shore.

9. Ocean City Boardwalk

For a little bit of everything, spend the day at the Ocean City Boardwalk. Soak up the ocean air as you do a little shopping at the numerous shops and souvenir stands, then enjoy a fresh seafood meal or a juicy steak at the Captain’s Table Restaurant.

10. Playland’s Castaway Cove

Playland’s Castaway Cove is Ocean City’s oldest amusement park and popular among folks of all ages. Let your inner kid shine as you ride the roller coasters, or spend some time at the go-kart track or mini-golf course. Restless younger kids get a kick out of the bumper boats and arcade.

11. Discovery Seashell Museum

Discover the magic of the ocean at the Discovery Seashell Museum. The museum houses over 10,000 seashells and other mysterious items from the sea, including a giant shark jaw that you can pose with for a photo. After your visit, make sure to stop by the gift area and pick up a seashell trinket or ocean-themed souvenir.

12. Visit Lucy the Elephant

Lucy the Elephant, also known as “The World’s Greatest Elephant,” lives 6 miles away in neighboring Margate. This 65-foot wooden elephant statue was first discovered among the sand dunes of Lower Absecon Island in 1856, created by an artist named James V. Lafferty Jr. Today, this little piece of history is one of the Jersey Shore’s most beloved attractions, with thousands of people visiting her each year.

13. Ocean City Historical Museum

Learn about the history of the Jersey Shore at the Ocean City Historical Museum. Take a tour and check out historic photographs and newspapers from the early days of the city with the help of a knowledgeable docent.

14. Gillian’s Wonderland Pier

Enjoy a day of amusement at Gillian’s Wonderland Pier, one of Ocean City’s oldest and most beloved attractions. Enjoy views of the Jersey Shore as you ride the giant Ferris wheel, snack on cotton candy while you walk along the boardwalk, or cool off on the flume water coaster.

15. Corson’s Inlet State Park

For a calming day enjoying the beauty of nature, visit Corson’s Inlet State Park. Relax along the beachy shoreline away from the crowds near the pier, or take a leisurely hike along the walking paths and check out the tide pools, where you just might spot a few hermit crabs and other wild critters.

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