Youth World Series Ocean City
My family just returned from a trip to Maryland to watch my older son’s team compete in the Youth World Series Ocean City. What a great trip we had! For East Coast families, Maryland is a perfect location for a summer baseball tournament, with beautiful beaches and plenty of activities for the family. Planning any travel baseball trip can be challenging, especially if you’re not familiar with the area. In this blog post, I have the tips and tricks you need to plan the perfect travel baseball trip to the Youth World Series in Ocean City, Maryland.
Youth World Series Ocean City
The Tournament: The Youth World Series takes place at the Henry Parker Sports Complex (711 W. Naylor Mill Road) in Salisbury, Maryland. The tournament occurs in late June or early July and lasts for 4 days. The complex offers facilities such as restrooms, concession stands, and ample parking.
One thing that is a little deceptive: The Youth World Series Ocean City does not take place in Ocean City. This was a bit of a surprise for our team as we started to learn more about the tournament. The tournament actually takes place in Salisbury, Maryland, which is about a 40 minute drive from Ocean City, Maryland.
The Youth World Series consists of two days of pool play, a skills competition, then bracket play for two days.
To learn more about the Youth World Series, visit this link.
Tournament Tips for Parents
Fields and Dugouts: The Henry S. Parker Sports Complex is a beautiful venue for baseball, with 8 fields. Some of the fields are fully turf, some have a dirt infield.
The dugouts are constructed of cinder blocks and have roofs and large openings at the ends of the dugout as well as windows in the dugouts (which our team ended up sitting in while waiting to bat). Each dugout also has a large fan bolted to the ceiling which helped rotate air and make the dugouts more comfortable.
Viewing the games: There are bleachers at each field, however the bleachers are not covered by shade at most of the fields. On hot, humid days, I suggest bringing your own chair and setting up in the shade of the many trees spread throughout the complex.
Tents and Coolers: Both tents and coolers with outside food and drink are permitted.
Live Stream: Live streaming is available with a subscription to LiveBarn.
For families with small children: There are two very nice playgrounds at the complex.
There are paved walkways throughout the complex, so you’ll be able to get around easily with a stroller or wagon.
Bathrooms: There are two bathroom areas, located next to the concession stands. There are also porta potties located near the fields further out from the central part of the complex.
Concessions: There are two concession stands located on the complex, however they are only open at odd hours and seemed to close early in the day. Since you can bring in coolers, I suggest stopping at Walmart or Jersey Mike’s and loading up a cooler for the day.
Gate Fee: My only gripe with this location was the Gate Fee. For adults 17 years and older, it’s $15 a day, or $40 for the whole weekend. You can pay for the gate fee in advance on the Youth World Series website. You are given a wristband to wear showing that you paid the gate fee.
Parking: Ample parking is available at the facility, conveniently located in the middle of all 8 fields. Even on the first day of the tournament, there were more than enough parking spots available.
Where to Stay
Salisbury vs. Ocean City
Our organization sent two teams to the Youth World Series. My son’s team chose to stay in Ocean City. The other team chose to stay in Salisbury. There are benefits to staying in both locations. If you stay in Salisbury, you can choose from several large hotel chains like Hampton Inn, and you’ll be able to keep your hotel costs to less than $200 a night. For families that are not looking to turn their stay at the World Series into their summer vacation, you can stay relatively affordably in Salisbury. There are numerous restaurants close by, and the fields are less than a 5 minute drive from the center of town.
If you’re looking to combine baseball travel with a beach vacation, Ocean City is a great choice. While the complex is about a 40 minute drive from Ocean City, the drive doesn’t feel nearly that long. Maybe we just got lucky, but our daily drive on State Routes 90 and 50 was relatively easy and stress free.
For cost considerations, Ocean City hotel rooms are more than double the cost of similar hotel rooms in Salisbury.
If you’re looking to keep your costs down and aren’t looking to make your trip to the Youth World Series Ocean City a vacation, then I recommend staying in Salisbury. You’re minutes from the Henry S. Parker Sports Complex, and there are a number of convenient hotel and dining options located within 2 miles of the fields.
The city of Salisbury offers many hotel and dining options, making it an excellent location to stay in for the tournament. There are many affordable options in the area that cater to families such as the Country Inn & Suites, Residence Inn by Marriott, and SpringHill Suites by Marriott. These hotels are well-equipped with kid-friendly activities, amenities, and most importantly, provide a comfortable and relaxing atmosphere for you and your family.
Salisbury also offers a ton of options for shopping in case you forget anything for the tournament. There is a Sam’s Club, a Walmart, and a Dick’s Sporting Goods all located in Salisbury.
For eating options, you have tons of drive through and pick up restaurants such as Starbucks, Chipotle, and Arby’s.
Our team had a team lunch at Burnish Beer Co., which is located about a mile from the Henry S. Parker Sports Complex. Located at the front of the brewery, this restaurant has ample seating both inside and outside. We had rave reviews from the parents and kids alike – the pizza, tacos and chicken sandwiches were all fresh and flavorful. The beer was also a pleasant surprise – I recommend doing the sampler and having the waitstaff make recommendations for which beers to try. They were also able to accommodate larger groups, but be sure to give them advance notice.
Ocean City, Maryland
Ocean City, Maryland is a fun-filled coastal town jam-packed with activities both on the beach and off. From amusement parks to casual restaurants, shopping outlets to historic museums, there really is something here for everyone. If you’re looking to combine your trip to the Youth World Series with a family vacation, then I recommend staying in Ocean City.
Where to Stay in Ocean City
Once we knew our team was going to the Youth World Series over the long July 4th holiday weekend, we started looking at hotels immediately. Hotels in Ocean City book up fast for the summer months, so start exploring options early.
Condo and House Rentals
There are numerous options for AirBnBs and VRBO rentals, as well as rentals through agencies. Rentals are usually a week long and are staggered to go Friday to Friday, Saturday to Saturday, or Sunday to Sunday so as to help regulate traffic into and out of Ocean City.
Rentals make the most sense if you have a larger family (and need more than one bathroom) or are planning a longer stay and want access to a full kitchen as well as laundry facilities.
Hotels in Ocean City
Ocean City has many hotel options at every price point, but you will pay premium prices for summer weekends. Whether you’re looking for a small independent motel or a larger chain hotel like Hilton Garden Inn or Hampton Inn, you’ll find a lot of different hotels located within Ocean City. You pay more for ocean front views, as well as proximity to the beach. Many hotels also have a minimum stay requirement, and may not be able to refund you if you leave the hotel early (i.e. if your team is eliminated before the final day of the tournament) so be sure to check those policies before you book.
Holiday Inn Ocean City
Our team ended up staying at the Holiday Inn Ocean City located up town (there is another Holiday Inn located mid town). We chose it because of the close proximity to State Route 90, which is one of two roads out of Ocean City, and the only road that takes you directly to the Henry S. Parker Athletic Complex.
If you’re looking at hotel options, the Holiday Inn Ocean City at 6600 Coastal Highway is our recommendation. The drive to and from Henry S. Parker Sports Complex was enjoyable and very scenic (you cross over the bay bridge, scenic marshland, and beautiful farmlands). We were surprised at how little traffic there was, even on a holiday weekend. At first we wondered if we were crazy staying in a shore town 40 minutes from the complex, but it ended up being the right decision for our family.
Hotel Amenities and Features
The hotel is currently undergoing different stages of renovation, and we were lucky enough to be given a fully renovated room that was clean, updated, and bright. Each hotel room has a kitchenette, which is so helpful if you’re like us and you’re toting a couple cases of water, Gatorade, and protein shakes to every tournament. While there aren’t washer/dryer options in rooms, there is a coin operated laundry on site for washing sweaty uniforms.
The hotel has plenty of parking in a flat lot outside the lobby area as well as a second lot across the street. We never had a hard time finding parking spots, even on July 4th.
I can’t say enough great things about the hotel staff at Holiday Inn Ocean City. We had a few minor issues with our first room after arrival, and they addressed every concern quickly and offered to move us to a different room. This was also the first hotel we’ve stayed at since the pandemic that provided regular housekeeping services. It helped make the stay so much more enjoyable when we came back to a clean, fresh room every night.
The pool deck is gorgeous and has tons of lounge chairs, hammocks, and seating areas if you’re grabbing something to eat or drink from one of the two bars. There are also two beautiful glass fire pits located on the deck. Our only gripe was that the pool closed at 8pm and the bars closed at 5pm.
The hotel is located right on the beach, with direct access to the beach from the pool area. Our team spent hours at the beach daily, jumping waves, playing football or wiffle ball, and burying each other in the sand. The beach was surprisingly never crowded, even in the middle of the day, so the entire team had no problem finding large areas of sand to sit together. Those hours at the beach made for the best memories for both the team and the parents.
Where to Eat in Ocean City
Our location was extremely convenient, meaning that we could walk everywhere we wanted to go. We highly recommend the following restaurant and snack options, which were located within a five minute walk from the Holiday Inn.
Annabelle’s BBQ and Creamery – Everything we had was great, so good that we went back after our first visit. We highly recommend the Brisket Cheesesteak, the Pulled Pork, the Hot Mess Nachos, and the skillet mac and cheese. They also make boozy ‘adult’ milkshakes and have a good selection of craft beers.
Longboard Cafe – A sit down restaurant that is still beach casual. We recommend the crab soup, any of the tacos, and the burgers. They did a buy one/get one Happy Hour special until 6pm the night they were there, for wine and beer only.
Mione’s Pizza – Our team is from NJ, and the general assessment from the team and parents was that this pizza comes as close to NJ/NY pizza as you can find in Maryland. The highest compliment, indeed. Seriously though, it’s really good. Cheesy not greasy, good sauce, and a crisp thin crust. The only complaint was that they were really slow, but I think that was due to how popular this place is, especially on a Saturday night. Wait time for a full pie was 1 hour.
The Bayside Skillet – Popular breakfast spots with crepes and omelettes the star of the show. Highly recommended. We enjoyed excellent coffee and fresh squeezed orange juice before a huge breakfast of different crepes for each member of our family. The ham and cheese crepes and the Dutch Apple crepes were a particular hit!
King Kone – Ice cream stands that serves Hershey’s ice cream, as well as a variety of imaginative milk shakes.
Sweet Frog – Popular frozen yogurt shop located directly across the street from the Holiday Inn.
Dunkin Donuts – Being from the Northeast, we love our DD. There are many Dunkins in OC, but the one across the street from the Holiday Inn is at 6701 Coastal Highway. We made a quick stop here on our way out of town to the Henry S. Parker Baseball Complex everyday. The coffee was good, and the service was quick, even though there would sometimes be a line to the door. This location also offers mobile ordering.
What to Do in Ocean City besides Go to the Beach
Our team of 14 and 15 year old boys spent the majority of their free time either at the pool or on the beach (because ‘that’s where the girls hang out’). If you’re looking for fun activities to do with younger kids, Ocean City has a lot of options. The Ocean City Boardwalk is home to amusement parks, restaurants, ice cream parlors, and souvenir shops. If your child is a thrill-seeker, take them to Jolly Roger Amusement Park, where they can enjoy different rides and games. If you’re looking for an educational experience, head to Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Museum. Other notable attractions include Ocean City Life-Saving Station Museum, and Trimper’s Rides. You can find links to all these attractions at The Official Travel Resource for Ocean City Maryland.
We hope our tips and tricks have helped you plan the perfect trip for your baseball player to the Youth World Series in Ocean City, Maryland. The tournament provides an excellent opportunity for your child to showcase their talent and create unforgettable memories. While planning your trip, remember that Salisbury is a convenient location to stay with its hotels that cater to families and that there are plenty of activities in Ocean City to keep the family entertained. Lastly, enjoy the beautiful town of Ocean City and your child’s time playing one of America’s favorite pastimes.