Before you trim the tree and string up your holiday lights, get in the holiday spirit by spending the day in Ocean City. Holiday decorations, the Winterfest of Lights, Holiday Horse & Carriage Rides and the Holiday Shopper’s Fair are just a few of the holiday-themed happenings in Ocean City right now. Whether you spend the evening driving through town to enjoy the holiday lights, or dedicate an entire day to holiday festivities, there’s plenty to do on your holiday day trip to Ocean City.

Winterfest of Lights

The Winterfest of Lights returns tomorrow night (November 21) for the 21st year of award-winning holiday fun. Over one million holiday lights will illuminate Northside Park, transforming the park into a holiday paradise. What to expect? Well for starters, the hundreds of animated, lighted displays that are situated throughout the park. Travel on the Winterfest Express to tour the lights or relax and sip hot chocolate in the heated Winterfest Village pavilion. Grab a few gifts at the Yukon Cornelius gift shop and don’t forget to snap a photo with Santa.

The opening ceremony will begin at 5:30 and will include comments from Mayor Rick Meehan as well as a special appearance by Santa. Ocean City Elementary School’s “OC Stars” will also be on the scene, singing and dancing. Finally, the ceremonial flipping of the switch will illuminate the park, officially kicking off the 21st WinterFest of Lights.

Winterfest of Lights runs from November 21 to December 23, 5:30-9:30pm Sunday through Thursday, and 5:30 to 10:30 Friday and Saturday. Winterfest is a time-honored tradition for locals and visitors to the resort town, earning accolades from Maryland Life Magazine as “Maryland’s Finest Holiday Tradition.” Last year, 95,599 people rode through Northside Park for the holiday lights display.

Horse & Carriage Rides

If you’re looking for a festive daytime activity, head to the boardwalk for a horse & carriage ride. From October through April, horse & carriage rides offer a unique way to travel the boards. Your ride begins at the Inlet Lot before taking you around the boardwalk and the pier. Rides are just $10 per person, with children under the age of 3 riding for free. For more information, call Randy Davis at 443-783-1409.

For a holiday-inspired horse & carriage ride this season, head to Sunset Park. From 5pm to 7pm on November 29 & 30 and December 6, 7, 13 & 14, enjoy holiday horse & carriage rides from Sunset Park to the South end of Baltimore Avenue. Downtown will be lit up for the season, offering a spectacular holiday ride. Adults ride for $5, children under the age of 3 ride for free.

Light Up Downtown Celebration

If you’re looking for a downtown lights celebration, spend an evening at Sunset Park. Fun for the whole family (and free!) the Downtown Association presents holiday lights, holiday music, dance performances, Santa and more. Light Up Downtown will officially be underway November 29, and will be open every Friday and Saturday until Christmas from 5 to 7pm.

Holiday Shopper’s Fair – November 29 – December 1

Forget Black Friday shopping for the same tired gifts at the mall; instead, why not check out the Holiday Shopper’s Fair at the Ocean City Convention Center. Quality photographs, florals, jewelry, nautical items, toys, candles and more round-out the list of items to behold. Bring the kids, there are plenty of children’s activities for them to enjoy, along with a visit from Santa. There is also a non-shoppers lounge for those tagging along for the day. The Holiday Shopper’s Fair will be open Friday and Saturday from 10am to 5pm, and 10am to 4pm on Sunday.

So far your Day Trippin’ itinerary includes a horse & carriage ride, a downtown lights celebration and unique shopping at the Convention Center, all capped off with a trip to the Winterfest of Lights. If that doesn’t fill your day, there a plenty of local shops and restaurants to visit while in Ocean City.

Until next time…