I've been going to Ocean City, New Jersey for a week every summer since I was two years old. To say I'm well-acquainted with the boardwalk would be a bit of an understatement. In no particular order, these are a few of my go-to Ocean City boardwalk restaurants when I'm at the shore. 

1. Blue Cactus

avocado, vegetable, chips, tomato, pepper, jalapeno, tortilla chips, sauce, nachos, chili, corn, salsa, guacamole
Alexandra Blaine

Blue Cactus is a newcomer to the Boardwalk, having just opened in June of 2017. It has a lot to prove given the number of longstanding competitors, but by presenting something new to the mix of traditional seaside fare, I can foresee Blue Cactus becoming a favorite in its own right. It may be in the heart of a popular Jersey Shore vacation destination, but this family-owned restaurant defies expectations by serving up fresh and satisfying Mexican food to tourists and locals alike. 

2. Bubble Tea & Beyond

beer, coffee, tea
Alexandra Blaine

Also a fairly recent addition to the Boardwalk scene is Bubble Tea & Beyond. Of all of the places on this list, I can attest to the impeccable service here the most adamantly. The proprietors of BT&B, as my family has taken to calling it, are a lovely older couple who genuinely want to provide the best service and food they can to their customers.

The bubble tea is definitely my favorite thing on the menu. The wide assortment of flavors may make it difficult to pick, and if you’re stuck I’d recommend the original. Don’t hesitate to order some sushi as well! Watching your order get rolled right in front of you is always a plus. One bite later, you’ll start planning your next visit faster than you can say ‘boba.’ 

3. Manco & Manco Pizza

ale, coffee, wine, beer
Alexandra Blaine

Anyone with any degree of familiarity with boardwalk food in general would almost certainly tell you the first thing that comes to mind when asked about beach cuisine is pizza. I’d be surprised if there wasn’t at least one place to grab a slice for every block of boardwalk.

What sets Manco & Manco Pizza apart? It’s iconic. Manco & Manco first opened their doors in 1956, unknowingly marking the start of an enduring Ocean City tradition in pizza. This restaurant has been serving up yummy slices for more than 60 years. Grabbing a slice from here is more than a meal, it’s taking part in a legacy. 

4. Yoasis

blueberry, strawberry, milkshake, milk, smoothie
Alexandra Blaine

Definitely one of the trendier options on this list, Yoasis caters to the sweet tooth in us all. Its offerings include frozen yogurt with a vast array of fresh toppings, smoothies, coffee, and ‘Beach Bowls,’ more commonly recognized as açaí bowls. The ability to customize nearly every aspect of your order ensures that you’ll be getting exactly what you’re looking for, be it a decadent cup of frozen yogurt crafted perfectly towards your taste or a smoothie made to appeal more towards your Instagram following. 

5. Chickie's & Pete’s Crabfries

french fries
Alexandra Blaine

I may not know who Chickie or Pete are, but I know they make a mean fry. Crabfries, much to my initial chagrin, are not actually made of crab. They’re crinkle cut potato fries that after removal from piping hot oil are tossed in a blend of spices and herbs known as crab seasoning. Crabfries are served by the bucket, which I think always adds to the appeal, with a cup of cheese sauce on the side. Chickie's and Pete's have it down to a simple science, and I wouldn’t change a thing. 

6. Bob’s Fresh Lemonade

tea, coffee, beer
Alexandra Blaine

For me, a trip to the shore would be incomplete without stopping at Bob’s Fresh Lemonade. Their lemonades range from the classic, served over ice and with half a lemon to boot, to a banana lemonade. Unheard of? Not anymore. Delicious? Absolutely. Don’t worry, strawberryade, orangeade, and limeade (my personal favorite) are also on the menu.

Bob’s manages to avoid the sometimes sickeningly sweet taste that other restaurants resort for their lemonade. Their drinks are tart and consistently refreshing, and the fact that they also serve a solid funnel cake doesn’t hurt either. 

7. Jilly’s Ice Cream Factory

tea, coffee, beer
Alexandra Blaine

If there was a stop on this list that could really unleash your inner child, Jilly’s Ice Cream Factory is it. Located right next to the historic Jilly’s Arcade, the Ice Cream Factory lives up to its title with an extensive ice cream menu sure to satisfy your ice cream craving du jour. Milkshakes, soft serve, hand dipped, and sundaes with nearly any topping you can think of. You name it, Jilly’s has it. 

8. Angelo’s Family Restaurant

chicken, cheese, pizza
Alexandra Blaine

Angelo’s is a boardwalk standby that specializes in Americanized Italian dishes like pastas and pizza. True to advertising, it’s a great place to get a casual dinner with the family. Their claim to fame is serving portions that range from hearty to daunting. I have NEVER left Angelo’s feeling hungry. If you’re fond of carbohydrates, you can definitely get your fill, and then some. Their signature dish is pizza with baked ziti on top. Pair it with one of their impeccably mixed lemonades, and you’re set for one of the most satisfying meals on the boardwalk. 

9. Johnson’s Popcorn

bacon, cake, pizza
Alexandra Blaine

If you’ve had caramel popcorn before, you’re likely of the opinion that it represents the pinnacle of the sweet and salty flavor combination. The only thing not to love is how truly difficult it is to get out of your teeth. Now, imagine a place that has perfected the art of caramel corn. That’s Johnson’s Popcorn.

Similar to Manco & Manco, Johnson’s Popcorn is a boardwalk icon. Opened in 1940, its repertoire covers six specialty flavors. Grab a tub for yourself to enjoy beachside, or ship it as a gift internationally. Buttered popcorn will forever pale in comparison. 

This was but a limited sampling of the Ocean City Boardwalk restaurants, but they just go to show that sun, surf, and sand aren’t the only reasons that it’s known as “America’s Greatest Family Resort.”