Berlin, MD, located just outside of Ocean City, has been named America’s Coolest Small Town on more than one occasion. With its unique shops, great restaurants and fun festivities throughout the year, it’s no surprise that this charming town was given this title. Berlin is only 15 minutes from OCMD, but with its location away from the beach it’s a hidden gem that many people still haven’t discovered.
Fortunately for you (and me) we have family that lives part-time near Berlin in West Ocean City, MD. So I’m here to share all the best kept secrets! Whether you’re looking things to do besides the beach in Ocean City, Maryland or planning a weekend getaway, there’s so much to do in Berlin for the whole family.
Keep reading for our favorite reasons to visit Berlin, one of the coolest small towns in America, located in Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
1. Berlin, MD Has an Interesting History
Berlin, along with the nearby Ocean City and Assateague Island, is located in Worcester County, Maryland. While downtown Ocean City, MD is definitely more well known today, Berlin once surpassed OCMD as a bustling hub for commerce and tourism.
The town of Berlin was first formed in the late 1700s as a village built around the Burley Plantation. Berlin’s Main Street, which is currently filled with locally owned shops and restaurants, used to be a pathway that allowed the Assateague Indians to access the nearby Pocomoke Tribe. Berlin continued to be an active connection point for commerce, and today it has almost 50 structures on the National Register of Historic Places. For more on these places and other historic points of interest, the Town of Berlin put together an awesome walking map here.
Another fun fact about Berlin, Maryland is that it’s the filming location of both Tuck Everlasting and Runaway Bride. This August (2019) marks the 20th anniversary of the Runaway Bride, and Berlin has been celebrating all month long.
With it’s rich history and past, Berlin has also been known to hold a few ghosts. Chesapeake Ghosts offers a Berlin Ghost Walk, which takes you through the graveyard and other places in town with paranormal energy. According to Chesapeake Ghosts, Berlin has the “strangest energy” out of all their ghost walks in the Eastern Shore.
2. The Town of Berlin Has the Best Cafes and Restaurants
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ve probably noticed food is a big deal to us. Berlin is packed with locally owned restaurants, and it has a great variety for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Below are some of the best restaurants in Berlin, MD.
- On What Grounds? for the best coffee and yummy shortbread cookies that the kids love. Definitely get the cuban latte- you won’t regret it!
- The Globe Theater for brunch. Not only is the food amazing but there’s also an upstairs area with couches that the kids can run around judgement-free (win-win!)
- Fins Ale House & Raw Bar for oysters, clams and locally brewed beer. Fin City Ale House has a great happy hour too.
- Burley Cafe for a yummy brunch all day, every day in a casual setting. If you’re looking for a breakfast spot in Berlin, Burley Cafe opens at 8am every day!
- Blacksmith Berlin for an amazing farm-to-table meal in a cozy and creative setting. It’s the perfect spot for a date night or girls night out in Berlin, MD.
- DiFebo’s Italian Grille for a modern Italian restaurant with a great ambiance. I haven’t personally tried this one, but my stepfather is Italian and it’s one of few Italian restaurants he enjoys.
3. Berlin’s Main Street Has Tons of Unique Local Shops
Main Street in Berlin, MD really been revitalized in the last several years and it boasts some of the best shopping in Maryland. (In my opinion.) From home goods to antiques to clothing, it’s impossible to leave Berlin empty handed. Below are some of our favorite shops in Berlin.
- Heart of Gold is an adorable shop with a unique selection of gifts and clothing for babies, kids and mamas. So far I haven’t been able to leave empty-handed!
- World of Toys is seriously the best toy store I’ve seen around. There’s a huge selection responsibly made toys from brands like Melissa & Doug, as well as several toys and play areas to try things hands-on.
- Patty Jean’s Boutique has a great selection of stylish women’s clothes.
- Bruder Home is great for unique gifts and home goods, with many items made in Maryland.
- Victorian Charm for gifts, speciality clothing items and accessories. Fun fact, Victorian Charm was the bridal shop location for the movie Runaway Bride.
- Sisters, where you can shop for unique gifts while drinking wine. Need I say more?
- Assateague Island Surf Shop is located just outside of town on the way to Assateague Island. In addition to the awesome selection of clothes and gifts, there’s also a cafe and lounge area.
4. Berlin is Perfect for a Date Night or Girls’ Night Out
If you’re looking for something unique to do on a night out in Ocean City, Berlin is the perfect getaway from the boardwalk and the crowds. Below are some fun ideas for a night out in Berlin, Maryland, in addition to eating at one of many amazing restaurants.
- Go to Burley Oak Brewery for one of the few local breweries near Ocean City and the best variety of beer around. The tap room is located just outside of the town of Berlin and offers lives music on the weekends.
- Stop at Sisters Wine Bar in Berlin for live music several nights throughout the week in a casual setting with an awesome selection of wine.
- Catch the live music on Thursday nights at Burley Oak Cafe.
- For something different, take a ghost walk through haunted Berlin with Chesapeake Ghost. (This is one that I haven’t done yet personally, but I hear great things and I’m planning to do it next year!)
If you’re looking to do a girls getaway in Berlin, Maryland, Main Street Nails is a great salon for manis and pedis!
5. There Are Several Fun Events in Berlin, MD Throughout the Year
One of my favorite things about Berlin, Maryland is the community feeling. As part of that, there are several events held throughout the year for residents and visitors alike. This includes outdoor concerts, parades and festivals throughout the holidays and seasons. (There is even a bathtub race in June, which I have to see one of these years!) The annual summer sidewalk sale in August is also one of my personal favorites. We’re usually in town the week of the sidewalk sale and it’s hard to leave without snagging a good deal. My parents, who live part time in Berlin, attended a few concerts and events like the New Years Eve Celebration and have fun every time.
For a full list of events in Berlin, MD, see here.
6. The Berlin Farmer’s Market and Local Farms Are Top Notch
The Berlin Farmer’s Market runs on Sundays from May through the end of September from 9am to 1pm. If you’re looking for locally grown produce and other local foods from Maryland, it’s definitely worth the visit. In addition to produce and flowers, the Berlin’s market has things like locally distilled whiskey, cheeses, baked goods and other homemade items. If you like scones, Berlin Sconer makes the yummiest scones ever and serves them warm from a little red wagon. In addition to local items for sale, there is live music at the Berlin Farmer’s Market, and they often have activities for kids as well.
Want a real farm experience instead? Berlin Organics is a family-owned farm just outside of town that sells organic and locally grown produce. They also have a coffee and juice bar with smoothies and Pablo’s acai bowls. The highlight for my son is feeding the super friendly goats and ducks. And if you’re looking for U-pick strawberries near Ocean City, MD, it’s only a few minutes away from the Route 50 bridge! It’s also the perfect stop on the way to Assateauge Island if you’re heading to the beach for the day.
7. Berlin, Maryland Has Easy Access to the Water
With the easy access to both the bay and the ocean, there are so many fun things to do in Berlin, MD and the nearby Ocean City, MD.
Assateague Island National Seashore has to be one of my favorite beaches in the world. There aren’t many places where you can enjoy a beautiful beach just feet away from beautiful wild horses. You can even camp here on the Assateague State Park side.
Ayer’s Creek Adventures, located just outside of town, offers eco tours and hourly kayak rentals. The kayaks were a hit with our toddlers on a recent trip to the Berlin, and I’d love to do an eco tour in the future.
West Ocean City, MD offers access to several marinas with deep sea fishing in the ocean and boating by the bay. My family spends a lot of time at Sunset Marina, and there are several fishing charters accessible from the marina in addition to waterfront dining and live music.
If I haven’t convinced you on visiting Berlin, MD, be sure to check out our post on West Ocean City, MD for more fun things to do in the area!
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