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Driving from DC to OC over Memorial Day Weekend

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Omaha, Nebraska
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Driving from DC to OC over Memorial Day Weekend

Hello! We will be out east for a wedding in Ocean City the Saturday of Memorial Day. We fly into Dulles on Thursday. I have read on a prior post to get past Cambridge by early Friday morning. That being said, are there any good places to see/stay in the Cambridge area? How about Salisbury? Never been to Maryland and looking for a few things for my husband and I to do before getting into OC late Friday.

Thanks in advance for your help!

Baltimore, Maryland
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1. Re: Driving from DC to OC over Memorial Day Weekend

You should detour to st Michael's. About 15 minutes each way off the path but nicest place to visit along way. Or Annapolis. Personally don't think much to see otherwise on way to oc.

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2. Re: Driving from DC to OC over Memorial Day Weekend

I wouldn't stay in Salisbury.

That's all I have to say.

Albany, New York
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3. Re: Driving from DC to OC over Memorial Day Weekend

Lots to see in the DC area. It all depends on timing. If you arrive noonish, see a couple of sites in DC, get room around Silver Springs/Annapolis for the night. MAYBE see more sites early Friday, out of DC by no later than 2:00pm. By 5:00pm your having cocktails on the beach in OC.

Ellicott City...
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4. Re: Driving from DC to OC over Memorial Day Weekend

Just some things to note, you mention that you are flying into Dulles. Most people don't realize that Dulles is 30+ minutes outside of DC in Va. The only thing of note around Dulles itself is that the National Air and Space Museum has a large annex near there with things like the former space shuttles, B-2 bombers, etc.

When you head for DC take the Dulles Access Road, not the Dulles Toll road. One is free the other isn't. The one is only for people going directly from the airport to DC beltway. As has been said the best bets on what to see are either DC or Annapolis. So if you spend the night Thursday night in either location there is lots to see. I would try to make sure you are over the Bay Bridge by around noon on Memorial Day weekend. Not as much to see in Cambridge, Easton, or Salisbury, unless you are interested in traveling a little farther to some of the barrier islands, like St. Michaels.

Edited: 06 May 2014, 13:38
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5. Re: Driving from DC to OC over Memorial Day Weekend

If the weather is nice.....don't stop. Get into OC as soon as possible. Enjoy the beach, boardwalk or take in a nice lunch if you can't check in until later. Getting into OC "late Friday" can be a bit of a pain in the --- regarding traffic.

Hanover, Pa
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6. Re: Driving from DC to OC over Memorial Day Weekend

Well, you can always stop at the Kent Narrows area. It's on Rt 50 just over the Bay Bridge. There is a outlet mall for shopping and a few waterfront restaurants for dining or entertainment. One of my favorite spots is the Jetti and Red Eye Dock Bar. You could stay the night and have just a 2 hour drive to Ocean City from Kent Narrows.

You wouldn't have to drive as far from the airport to Kent Narrows, leaving you more time to enjoy your stay.

Edited: 06 May 2014, 15:59
Annapolis, Maryland
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7. Re: Driving from DC to OC over Memorial Day Weekend

What time do you get into Dulles and where are you currently planning to stay on Thursday night?

Friday is the absolute WORST day to try to go to Ocean City. Friday morning will be an absolute nightmare in the Annapolis area b/c the Naval Academy has graduation so Rt. 50 (only way to get to Ocean City) will be tied up all morning long with traffic. Graduation starts at 10am and the stadium is located right off Rt. 50 (gates open very early for graduation so rush hour/graduation traffic combine to make it a mess eastbound). Locals like me either get out of town (I'll be in OC too, but I'm leaving Wednesday evening) or avoid Rt. 50/downtown Annapolis that Friday. There will be a small window of time that you can get through where you will be between the graduation traffic and the weekend beach traffic, but even then, you might get stuck.

If I were you, I would plan to drive at least as far as the Bay Bridge Thursday night. Depending when you leave Dulles (i.e. not during rush hour), it should take about an hour and a half to get to the Bay Bridge, perhaps slightly longer. You then have options - if you just want a chain hotel to stay in, there are several on Kent Island just after you cross the Bay Bridge that are located right off Rt. 50. Or, you can continue on to St. Michael's and stay in a bed & breakfast or there are also a couple of very high end inns. You can then spend the morning/early afternoon in St. Michael's, which is a lovely quaint, seaside town and then head to Ocean City by mid-afternoon. Traffic shouldn't be bad at that point, especially since you will be beyond most of the traffic choke points. If St. Michael's doesn't interest you, you could continue on to Cambridge and stay at the Chesapeake Hyatt resort (again, depends on your budget) on Thursday night. There isn't much to see in Cambridge, but if you are into nature, you can visit the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge outside of Cambridge before heading on to Ocean City.

Personally, I'd recommend staying either on Kent Island or right in St. Michaels on Thursday night (just depends on how far you want to drive after your flight), visit St. Michael's Friday morning/early afternoon and then head to OC. It will be nice to get into OC ahead of all the traffic and enjoy late afternoon on the beach before the crowds arrive. While you could drive straight to OC on Thursday night, it's a long drive after a flight from the mid-west, plus it would be nice for you to see a bit of MD's Eastern shore/history on Friday before you head to Ocean City.

If you absolutely must stay on the western side of the Bay Bridge on Thursday night, then I suggest you the best time (though I can't guarantee) to head through Annapolis on Rt. 50 will be right after graduation starts (so probably 10:30-11ish). Beyond that, you will run the risk of getting stuck in summer beach traffic heading east.

Baltimore, MD
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8. Re: Driving from DC to OC over Memorial Day Weekend

Everyone keeps saying there is nothing to do or see between Annapolis and Ocean City. Have any of you ever turned off of Rt. 50!?! The corridor between the two has a great deal to offer. The town of Easton is lovely with historic streets offering great restaurants (Out of the Fire has very good locally sourced and organic food) and bars. There are antique shops and specialty shops that one would find in any historic town. There is a vintage theatre that has concerts and an Amish market selling hot pretzels that melt in your mouth. St. Michael's is a more upscale and touristy location with a beautiful waterfront, more good restaurants, a local brewery and a winery, and the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. Oxford, while much more secluded has a small beach and the Scottish Highland Creamery that makes some of the best ice cream you'll ever taste in traditional and eclectic flavors. Moving along to Cambridge, again, a nice waterfront park, a historic downtown (although not as good as Easton) and more great restaurants (I like The High Spot) and they just opened a local brewery. All sites mentioned have water access. In Easton you can rent kayaks; in Oxford you can swim. You can also visit the Blackwater Wildlife Refuge which is just beautiful, especially around sunset. Take a drive down to Elliott Island. You can see bald eagles, osprey and maybe even a Delmarva Fox Squirrel. There is the Harriet Tubman trail where you can visit historic sites along the Underground Railroad. If you are a geocacher, there are some very good caches that take you to some neat sites. All of the places mentioned have good seafood restaurants where you can try Maryland crab cakes or pick crabs. You can even take a loop around by going through St. Michael's to Bellvue and riding (with your car) on the ferry over to Oxford. A little further along, is the Layton’s Chance winery and vinyards near Vienna. I almost don't want to share all of this because I love enjoying these places for a couple overnights throughout the year and what makes them special is that they are not tourist traps (St. Michael's, perhaps a little) but just neat, beautiful little places with a lot to share. If none of the things I have mentioned interest you and all you are interest in is getting to Ocean City as quickly as possible to plop on a bar stool at Seacrets and get drunk, then by all means... keep driving and stop at the WaWa to pee, but please stop telling out-of-towners that there is nothing in this area for them. Someone who is not privileged to have access to the eastern shore counties like "we locals" are may love to see our gorgeous shore counties and waterman culture. Finally, if you are on a budget, there are other hotels (Days Inn, Holiday Inn, etc) in these areas -- you do NOT have to drop $300 a night at the Hyatt.

Bryans Road
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9. Re: Driving from DC to OC over Memorial Day Weekend

Well said jesmorgan! They don't call it the land of pleasant living for nothin'!

10. Re: Driving from DC to OC over Memorial Day Weekend

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