Must Buy Souvenirs in Ocean City, MD
Of course, our must-eat snack list is also a complete list of edible souvenirs to buy– many of which travel quite well, so definitely think about taking some home with you!
For those non-edible items, we have put together our personal favorite list. These are things we have actually bought either as gifts for people visiting us, or for our own home. As with everything on our website, no one has influenced our decisions and we were not compensated in any way for our recommendations.
We’ll go ahead and get the obvious out of the way. Of course we recommend taking home a Pip the Beach Cat souvenir! From Pip’s book series to his custom designed stickers, t-shirts, stuffed animals, and more (all coming soon!)- there is something for everyone. Growing up in Ocean City, I am extremely aware that as one season ends, we often don’t know what will be around when the next season begins. There have been so many summers when I say, “Oh I wish I had gone and done that this year,” just to find out that the next year what I wanted to do is gone and I’ll never be able to again. I always think back on the mini-golf that was downtown and resembled Antarctica. If I had known the last time I played there, was going to be the last time ever, I would have cherished the moment more. So with “Pip’s Guide to Ocean City” we have sought to immortalize our favorite things and places in illustrations forever! As the book went to print, we realized that something we had written about might already be gone! The vintage Photo Booth at Sportland is broken, and they may not be getting it fixed, which means Pip was one of the last people to have his picture taken in it! Of course we will always love Ocean City as it is where we grew up, but we don’t know what the future holds for Pip, so as Ocean City is constantly evolving, so is Pip, and as he grows older he may start exploring other towns, making these souvenirs a limited-time-only piece of Ocean City history.
Lee and family at Malibu’s are some of the nicest people in Ocean City- and their surf shop has been a part of Ocean City for over 20 years. This is one of our main spots for shopping in town, and we always try to get things from Malibu’s for our families. Of course we love the t-shirts, many of them are designed for the shop by Woody Harrington a well-known illustrator, working out of Philadelphia now, but related to Lee, he just did art direction for the Oscars!!!- So you know his pieces are awesome. Every year they have new designs, and every year we try to get as many as we can! They also have amazing coffee! They partnered with Rise Up! Coffee to make a Beach House Blend, that is out of this world. It’s so good that they are often sold out. And their coffee mugs are equally as cool. Come over to our house, and we’re most likely going to serve you a hot beverage in a Malibu’s coffee mug. Their surf wax candles, also sold out sometimes, are the best way to make your house smell like the beach year-round! Or grab an Ulu surf wax air freshener for your car. 8th Street and the Boardwalk- tell them we sent you 🙂 Oh and don’t forget that if you’d rather have an experience as your souvenir- they also offer surf lessons!
Our first surfboard, the one we actually still use, came from Chauncey’s on 30th street, but there is also a location with expanded apparel up on 54th street. While the Sunshine House Surf Shop of Ocean City (circa 1970) is gone, Chauncey’s has always been the place in town to continue buying their old-school cool designs. So think about getting a Chauncey’s shirt, or a re-created Sunshine House shirt. The slogan “Surf Naked” has been around longer than me, and is a huge shoutout to the surfing culture of the 1970s- we still have t-shirts from then that we wear, courtesy of Pip’s Grammy! Chauncey’s has lots of cool stuff that combines surfing and Ocean City, even if you don’t know how to surf yourself!
If you ever see us out and about, this is probably what we’re wearing. This local clothing company started last year, by some locals we actually went to school with. They sponsor young surfers, and have created a slogan that we can totally get behind, “Raised by Tides” is exactly how we feel about our childhood, but it’s also inspired by a shipwreck off of Assateague that became exposed after a storm. The water has and will always be a part of our being, and this is an awesome way to show that. If you don’t want to order directly from them, K-Coast Surf Shop is the exclusive retailer in town!
Ocean Gallery has been a part of Ocean City history for over 50 years, first opening in 1965. The owener, Joe Kro-Art, is a visionary. His unique marketing and ability to bring fine art to the masses has made Ocean Gallery a landmark of our town. The Gallery itself has a piece of art for anyone, not just beach motifs, and the price points will meet anyone’s art budget. What better way to remember your time in Ocean City than by getting something you can hang on your wall and see every day. Plus it’s an official meet-and-greet spot for Pip the Beach Cat all summer long!
We love Marc Emond’s prints and designs. In fact we have one we wake up to everyday- it’s a seal popping out of the water saying “I like the Offseason” But Marc has created endless prints related to Ocean City, including his infamous Stinky Beach collection. The Emond’s own and run Ragamuffin Boutique, so while we personally love his artwork, Ragamuffin is a great place to pick up clothes and jewelry for yourself or to give as a gift. And if you’re in Berlin, Maryland for a little day-trip, you can get many of Marc’s pieces at The Dusty Lamb!
The Surf Club sometimes sells their stuff online, although there isn’t anything currently listed, but your best bet is to find one of their events and purchase something there because they often have limited edition prints only available at an event. That’s where we got our “Adopt Your Beach OCSC” long-sleeve tee, and where we get our Annual Surf Competition shirts from every year. The annual surf competition is June 7th, 8th, and 9th this year and we highly recommend going and grabbing some merch! We’ll be there buying it for ourselves for sure!
A Crab Mallet
I’m always one for a useful souvenir that you can actually use- which is why I always love getting crab mallets to take home and actually use for crab feasts! At some point in time almost our whole family has worked for Phillip’s Crab House, so we’re partial to the mallets they sell at the carry-out side of their 21st street location. Or the ones that Mug and Mallet has had available for years!
The Ocean City Life-Saving Museum showcases many books about Ocean City or Maritime history, including Bunk Mann’s 7-years in the making, “Vanishing Ocean City” title, that is a massive coffee table book covering anything and everything Ocean City history.
Our favorite thing to do in Ocean City since we were a kid- the arcade! Get the whole family together and have a Skee-Ball Tournament! Then trade in those tickets for a matching friendship bracelet for everyone! Or see if the photobooth is working at Sportland and get a strip printed- a one-of-a-kind image to take home!
Everyone now a days is always snapping photos away on their phone, but when you only go on vacation every once in a while, it’s awesome to have a family portrait done. Go the high-end route and get a portrait session by a local photographer like Vickie; get the family together and have some fun getting dressed up for an old-time photo; or go old-school and get some telescope pictures taken!
Owned and operated by Christina Lawson, who also grew up in Ocean City, this store offers extremely unique and beautiful pieces for your home, jewelry, and apparel. It’s nice to take something home from vacation that you actually want to have displayed in your home, instead of something tacky, right?
If you’ve got a little grom on your hands- (that’s a kid under 16 years of age that loves extreme sports) and our previously recommended surf shops don’t do enough for ’em, then take them to the Get Gnarly Skate Shop. There use to be some other skate-shops in town, anyone remember Cloudbreak? Just another reason why there’s no time like the present to grab a piece of Ocean City history- that is a Get Gnarly t-shirt or Erik White Artist Series Skateboard Deck, or in the least make sure you get a sticker! Visit their shop on Somerset Street just off the boardwalk.