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Francis Scott Key Family Resort 3.0

Ocean City, Maryland, United States

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Review Summary

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  • Near many restaurants and shops
  • Free shuttle to and from the beach
  • Child-friendly water features, including a splash area, pirate-themed pool, and kiddy pool
  • Basketball and volleyball, arcade, and fitness room
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Entertainment for kids and families
  • Retro diner and pool bar


  • Does not have an oceanfront location (it is a five-minute drive from the beach)
  • Some rooms are dark and outdated
  • Noise issues in some rooms

Bottom Line

This 232-room, mid-range hotel is a great value for families, as it is filled with kid-friendly activities and amenities. Its playground, children's splash area, arcade, and pirate-themed indoor pool are some of the features that set this hotel apart as a kid-focused destination. The Francis Scott Key is right by an outlet mall and a bevy of restaurants. It lacks an oceanfront location, however, as the beach is a five-minute drive away (the hotel does have a free shuttle for guests). Rooms are spacious, but some, with their dingy green carpeting and outdated furnishings, are badly in need of a refresh.

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A family resort with a festive, summer camp feel

The Francis Scott Key grew from 60 rooms in 1972 to 232 guest rooms (and amenities galore) today. The resort is comprised of several buildings scattered throughout sprawling grounds that encompass 14 acres. With a fishing pond and lots of grassy areas to lounge and picnic, the property has the vibe of a summer camp. Lobby decor is antiquated, but the sun streams in during the day and the atmosphere is inviting and cheerful.

The hotel is nondescript but pleasant, with a location right on busy Ocean Gateway. It’s clean and well-maintained, despite the crowds of kids and families that frequent the hotel. This is not a place for a romantic getaway, but families looking for fun on a budget will score with pools, playgrounds, a beach shuttle, and activities for all ages. Guests are almost exclusively families with young kids in tow. Those who prefer a vacation without rowdy children should check out the quieter Courtyard by Marriott Ocean City.


A five-minute drive from the beach and within walking distance of shops and restaurants

The Francis Scott Key is just across the Harry W. Kelly Memorial Bridge from Fenwick Island, where the heart of Ocean City is located. For a beach destination, the hotel is a bit far from the ocean -- it’s about a five-minute drive or free shuttle ride to the beach and Jolly Roger at the Pier amusement park, which is home to the city’s landmark Ferris wheel. The hotel is within walking distance of shops, restaurants, and cafes, including a Starbucks next door and an outlet mall directly across the street. Chain eateries abound, with Panera, Chipotle, and Applebee’s all within walking distance.


Rooms are spacious, but some are in need of an update

Rooms are spacious, but the ones in some buildings -- the Lodge and the ranch-style rooms -- feel a bit dark and outdated. Francis Scott Key has already updated the carpeting and bedspreads in the Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Virginia, New York, New Jersey, Florida, Carolina, and Ohio building rooms. Every room has a mini-fridge and coffeemaker; rooms with full kitchens are also available. Vacation cabins that accommodate up to six people are perfect for families -- they have plenty of space to spread out. All rooms have flat-screen TVs and free Wi-Fi. Rooms facing the outdoor pool may have noise issues until fairly late at night when the pool closes.


A children's splash area, pools, volleyball, and more make the Francis Scott Key a hit with kids

This hotel’s lineup of kid-centric features makes it one of the most family-friendly destinations in all of Ocean City. With an arcade, nine-hole mini-golf course, kids' playground, basketball court, volleyball court, a pirate-themed children's splash area with water spritzers and slides, and a Caribbean-themed heated indoor pool with slides and water features, the Francis Scott Key is a kid's paradise. And this is before we even mention the outdoor pool (dubbed "Shipwreck Cove") with dinghy-style hot tub, pool bar,  and a snack bar. A picnic pavilion with grills for barbecuing and a covered seating area is also located on the grounds. Inside the hotel, there is a '50s-inspired diner with cheerful decor and a family lounge that hosts movie nights. There is also a laundry room for guest use.

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12806 Ocean Gateway, Ocean City, Maryland 21842, United States

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