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Cape NJ to OCMD compare? Is OCMD still safe for families?

7 posts
Cape NJ to OCMD compare? Is OCMD still safe for families?

We have been vacationing in Cape May NJ for about 10 years. The hotel ee normally stay at will be under construction and so we thought we might give OCMD a try this summer, staying at the Hilton Oceanfront Suites. We are a little nervous about the volume of bars in the area and how that translates to crime and general "seediness". We stopped staying in Wildwood NJ years ago for that reason. Can anyone give some insight on how today's OCMD really is for families, esp compared to Cape May NJ for those who have been to both? Thinking about crosds and ease of navigating the area as well..

pennsylvania
Destination Expert
for Ocean City
Level Contributor
3,304 posts
105 reviews
1. Re: Cape NJ to OCMD compare? Is OCMD still safe for families?

I have never been to Cape May, but from all I've read and heard it sounds much different than Ocean City. But it all depends on what you are looking for. Ocean City is still one of the safest and best places for families on the eastern coast. But like any city anywhere, when you have large and diverse crowds of people thrown together, there are bound to be some bad mixed in with the good. But I would never be afraid to walk or drive anywhere day or evening alone. They have an excellent police force which includes mounted police and bicycle police in addition to their usual police cars which patrol 24/7.

Ocean City is 10 miles long and a barrier island which means it is surrounded by water on 3 sides (the inlet at the most southern end, the bay on the western side, and the ocean on the eastern side). The boardwalk is 2.5 miles long and is located at the southern end. It begins at the inlet and proceeds north to 27th St. The rides, games, and majority of activity occurs between the inlet and 6th st. From there on up to 27th St. you'll find shops, hotels, condos, and restaurants, and the farther north you go, the quieter it is. Once you're off the boardwalk, the beach is mostly low rise condos and hotels to around 85th St. High rise condos begin around 85th St. up to around 120th St. and then you're into what's called the "quiet north" to around 144th St or the Delaware / Fenwick line. But no matter where you stay, you'll always be just an easy walk or drive to restaurants, an activity, or a place to grab a drink and a bite. My personal preference is mid town between 40th and 80th Streets. Less crowded on the beach and quieter, plus being mid town, it's about an equal distance to head north or south for anything I want to do.

There is only ONE main road in Ocean City and that is Coastal Highway and it's 6 lanes wide. To avoid having to cross this highway when you want to visit the beach you'll want to get a condo either ocean front, ocean side, or ocean block. Ocean block would be directly on the highway so you'll have traffic noise if that's important to you. Anything bayside or bay front will mean you have to cross the highway. But Ocean City is extremely simple to get around in since all you do is go north or south.

There are some major events that happen in Ocean City in the summer, and if crowds are a concern you might want to vacation when one isn't going on. You can find a list of events at www.ococean.com/events and send for a free visitor guide at www.ococean.com/vacation-guide .

I hope I answered some of your concerns. Ocean City is VERY safe for families. We've been going since our children were small, and now we have grandchildren and never once had any problems. Feel free to ask any more questions you may have.

Edited: 15 April 2017, 10:44
New York
Level Contributor
756 posts
15 reviews
2. Re: Cape NJ to OCMD compare? Is OCMD still safe for families?

Jennifer

Many factors would need to be considered as to whether OC suits your needs. When you are planning to visit?

What activities do you enjoy? What about Cape May kept you coming back for ten years?

In general terms OC is larger in area than Cape May the last time I was there. Cape May that is. My opinion, OC would be quite a bit busier if you visited in season during the Summer months. As you have a larger area that would result in an increase in bars and clubs. Would I consider OC seedy? Hardly. It can be noisy, busy, traffic can be a problem in the Summer months.

The Hilton is quite a nice property located oceanfront in the midtown area of OC. As a place to stay, you could not find many better in OC.

In my view trying to suggest some area more in line with Cape May I would either suggest you look into Rehobeth Beach De or perhaps Bethany Beach De. Both are smaller areas a little more upscale in my opinion and little more slow paced than OC. Both have main streets lined with shops and places to eat and they too will be quite crowded in season.

I have visited OC for 4 decades from my home in NY it is well worth the drive to get away from most of the resorts located on the Jersey Shore. But in season for me it can be to busy and to crowded for my liking. I now prefer to visit off season in both May and then in September and through the Fall. Perhaps you could stay this year in one area and then drive and visit the others to see which suits your family best. Driving time between all three in manageable and you could make a day trip out of it.

Enjoy a safe trip wherever you decide and perhaps this might open up a view more options for vacation in the years you come.

New York City, New...
Level Contributor
506 posts
32 reviews
3. Re: Cape NJ to OCMD compare? Is OCMD still safe for families?

Please come to ocean city and see it for yourself. I was going to wildwood and cape may for years when we decided to give ocean city a try. We have never looked back. We even invested in a home down here. I am from NY . The trip is longer, but well worth it. You can have whatever type of vacation you want. The crowds on the boards, he quite of the uptown area. Superior choice of restaurants, beautiful beaches. And a wide variety of types of rentals to stay in. You have picked a good start with the Hilton. When you are here, you will be able to look and plan for your next trip, because you will be back!

7 posts
4. Re: Cape NJ to OCMD compare? Is OCMD still safe for families?

Thank you thank you for all the detailed info and links - so much appreciated! We are staying for a week in July which Im sure is peak time. One main major road does sound a little scary, hopefully the traffic at that time won't be too prohibitive to our being able to get around. Any tips re parking during season?

Edited: 15 April 2017, 14:26
7 posts
5. Re: Cape NJ to OCMD compare? Is OCMD still safe for families?

Bingo42 - what we love about Cape May is that it is clean, quiet, family oriented (I dont ever feel nervous about driving to the busier areas with the kids at night) but also easily accessible to say the Wildwood boardwalk when we want to go. Even in summer, we never feel like it gets so crowded that we have to fight for a beach spot or sit in traffic.

pennsylvania
Destination Expert
for Ocean City
Level Contributor
3,304 posts
105 reviews
6. Re: Cape NJ to OCMD compare? Is OCMD still safe for families?

There is plenty of parking all over Ocean City. There is a huge parking lot at the inlet at the beginning of the boardwalk, and metered parking on most side streets. If you drive down Coastal Highway to the CVS pharmacy on your right and turn right at that light, go back one or two blocks and turn left. Continue down that street and you'll find plenty of free parking. We like to park around 4th or 5th St. and then walk the two blocks to the boardwalk. And Ocean City has 10 miles of beachfront, so you're not hunting for beach space.

I personally don't care for Rehoboth at all, but I do like Bethany. The only thing with Bethany is that aside from their main high rise complex (it is massive) there aren't a lot of beachfront properties for rent and the ones that are, are WAY out of my budget. But Bethany is lovely. Small and quiet. It's more for people who are there for the beach and just to relax and not do much.

July 4th week gets crazy in OC, but then after that it's pretty much normal summer vacationers and 90% families. Like I said, if you stay mid town or north away from the high rises you'll never have to fight for beach space. And there are big blue boxes that line the beach that rent out beach chairs and umbrellas by the day or week. They put them up for you and take them down when you're down for the day so you never have to lug them to and from.

Plus, Ocean City has a lot of free activities on the beach in the summer like free fireworks, laser light shows, concerts and more. Sunday, at Northside Park (which is a must visit) they have Sundaes in the Park, a free concert and for a tiny fee, you can make your own ice cream sundae to enjoy while listening to the music. Bring your own chair or blanket.

As for the "one main road", there is one MAIN road, but there are side streets as well. Just be aware that some are one way only and that it is legal to make u turns and right turns on red in Maryland. If you're like most people visiting for the first time, you'll spend a lot of time just getting acclimated to where things are. There is a lot to see and do in OC and close by. Assateague and the wild ponies is about 20 minutes away. Frontiertown with the wild west shows is close, historic Berlin where they filmed Runaway Bride is also a lovely town to visit, but you may want to wait to visit those places next trip.

Edited: 15 April 2017, 15:42
7 posts
7. Re: Cape NJ to OCMD compare? Is OCMD still safe for families?

Thank you SO much for taking the time to provide all those great tips. Feeling better about our decision and looking forward to the trip!

pennsylvania
Destination Expert
for Ocean City
Level Contributor
3,304 posts
105 reviews
8. Re: Cape NJ to OCMD compare? Is OCMD still safe for families?

Once you get your vacation guide, maybe pick a few activities you'd like to try , like the Jolly Roger Amusement Park, or the Ripley's Museum, and some places that look good to eat (we'll be happy to tell you our favorites), and then go to https:/… and sign up for their daily and weekly emails. It's a great site for saving money. Pick a daily deal that you like, pay for it, and print it off on your computer and take it with you on your trip. When you go to the places you chose, present your coupon and they will adjust the prices accordingly. And they're usually good for a year at least. So if one shows up next week for half off a ride wristband for Jolly Roger, you can feel at ease to buy it now, and use it later. I've been using them for years and it really saves $$. www.restaurant.com is good too to save on meals and their coupons never expire.

One thing I left out was that the inlet parking lot is pay to park. It's not free. And the meters don't take cash. There are pay stations on the streets that you can pay by debit or credit card, then put the ticket on your dashboard. Really easy.

7 posts
9. Re: Cape NJ to OCMD compare? Is OCMD still safe for families?

Thank you SO much for taking the time to provide all those great tips. Feeling better about our decision and looking forward to the trip!

Northampton, PA
Level Contributor
42 posts
1 review
10. Re: Cape NJ to OCMD compare? Is OCMD still safe for families?

Ive been to both frequently. If you don't like wildwood, you won't like staying in south oc near the boards. Midtown may even be a reach. North oc, Fenwick or like another recommended, bethany would be ideal. Bethany is very similar to Cape may, without the Victorian b&bs, of course. Cute little boardwalk, very few bars and a few decent restaurants, but mostly just uncrowded beaches and family time. Real estate won't be cheap though, as there also are few hotels - mostly home rentals, the majority of the quality ones are probably booked by now. Good luck.

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