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‘Going downy ocean, hun’

Driving, you head east on U.S. Route 50, traversing through Annapolis (home of the state capital and the U.S. Naval Academy), across the Severn River and the Bay Bridge (the 4.3-mile William Preston Lane Jr. Memorial Bridge originally built in 1952 and its dual span completed in 1973), through Easton, past the exits to Rehoboth Beach and Lewes, Delaware (U.S. Route 301 north), and Chincoteague, Virginia (U.S. Route 13 south), through Salisbury, and to Assateague Island National Seashore and Ocean City, Maryland. Ocean City is a 10-mile-long beach resort with a 2.25-mile oceanfront boardwalk, fishing village, and lifeguard-protected beaches open to the public (no beach access fee).

Easton, Maryland, is considered the gateway to Maryland’s Eastern Shore and has been voted one of the best small towns in America. Settled along the Tred Avon River, Easton is not a beach town per se, but it is a “shore town” and its airport a great aviation gateway to the Eastern Shore. Easton Airport/Newman Field is a Class D airport with two runways and an on-site restaurant. Easton is just a short 10-mile drive to the waterfront town of St. Michaels, Maryland.

Fenwick Island, Dewey Beach, Rehoboth Beach, and Lewes, Delaware, are considered Eastern Shore escapes albeit in the tiny neighboring state of Delaware. The general aviation-friendly airport in Georgetown, Delaware, is a great way to fly to these beach towns. Delaware Coastal Airport has two runways, fuel and service, and rental cars. Rehoboth Beach is just 16 miles away. Be aware of presidential TFRs as President Joe Biden has a home in Rehoboth Beach.

Chincoteague Island, Virginia, is a little fishing village with a wild horse problem—just kidding. The wild horses are one of the island’s biggest draws. Did you or your little sister read Misty of Chincoteague as a child? This is where the story took place and each year there’s a wild pony swim that is adored by locals and visitors. Salisbury-Ocean City Wicomico Regional Airport is the best airport to access this area, with a 6,400-foot-long runway and just a half-hour drive from the ponies.

Assateague Island is also famous for its wild horses, but its windswept, unspoiled beaches are a result of the damage from the 1933 hurricane that split the island from Ocean City, creating the Ocean City Inlet. Easy access from the Ocean City Municipal Airport on state Route 611 in West Ocean City. Nearby Berlin was the setting for the Julia Roberts movie Runaway Bride.

OCMD, OC, The White Marlin Capital of the World—you’re finally downy ocean, hun. In the summer, the town of Ocean City becomes Maryland’s second most populated municipality after Baltimore. White sand beaches, amusement parks, bikes on the boards, cotton candy, and caramel popcorn, OC has it all for families and beachgoers. Ocean City Municipal Airport is just 2 miles from the town center.

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