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Where to Go, What to Do in Ocean City, N.J.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Escape Keys

GETTING THERE

Ocean City, N.J., is about 3 1/2 hours from Washington. From Interstate 95 north, take the New Jersey Turnpike to Route 168 south, then Route 42 south toward Atlantic City. The road turns into the Atlantic City Expressway. Take Exit 7S toward Ocean City, then merge onto the Garden State Parkway. Exits 30 and 25 lead to O.C.

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WHERE TO STAY

I stayed at the Scarborough Inn (720 Ocean Ave., 800-258-1558, http://www.scarboroughinn.com), a family-friendly B&B two blocks from the beach. Summer rates $160-$255 a night, beach tags included. Right on the boardwalk is the Beach Club Hotel (1280 Boardwalk, 609-399-8555, http://www.beachclubhotel.com), which has an outdoor pool and a restaurant. High-season rates $233-$386. For more lodgings, consult the Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce (see below).

WHERE TO EAT

You can get all three meals of the day plus snacks and dessert on the boardwalk. The ultimate slice of pizza is at Mack and Manco (from $2.25). Off the boardwalk, the Chatterbox Restaurant (500 Ninth St.,

WHAT TO DO

Go to the beach. Just remember you must purchase a tag ($5 per day or $15 per week per person; kids younger than 12 free). Stations around town sell the tags. The boardwalk has mini-golf venues and amusement parks, including Gillian's Wonderland Pier and Playland's Castaway Cove. For untrammeled beach, plus dune hikes, head to Corson's Inlet State Park (http://www.njparksandforests.org/parks/corsons.html). For eco-tours, Bay Cats (316 Bay Ave., 609-391-7960, http://www.baycats.com) leads two-hour kayak trips along the backwaters of the bay ($40). You can also rent a bike or pack the family into a pedal-yourself surrey. Ocean City Bicycle Center (Eighth Street and Atlantic Avenue, 609-399-5550), for example, charges $5 for a one-hour bike rental; a one-hour surrey rental is $10-$20.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce, 800-BEACH-NJ, http://www.oceancitychamber.com. For info on New Jersey's Top Ten Beaches Survey: http://www.njtoptenbeaches.org.

-- A.S.


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