Camping at Assateague State Park

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Assateague State Park is located on Assateague Island near Berlin, Maryland and is owned and maintained by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. The big draw of this 859-acre, ocean-front park is the population of feral horses that roam free on the island. The park also offers a visitor center, a 350-site campground, fishing, clamming, swimming, nature trails, bird watching, a boat launch and marina, a camp store and snack bar, and kayak rentals. Pets are welcome in restricted areas of the park.

The island is most famous for its two herds of wild horses—one in the north in Maryland and one in the south in Virginia. Nobody knows exactly how the horses arrived here but the theories range from a shipwreck in the 18th or 19th century, to pirates, to colonial farmers wanting to avoid paying taxes on grazing lands. The herd in Maryland comprises roughly 105 horses and can be seen grazing along the roadside, in the camping areas, on the beach, and in the salt marshes. The island—which also includes the 41,320-acre Assateague Island National Seashore—falls along the Atlantic flyway and offers refuge to over 200 species of birds which makes it an ideal location for birdwatching.

Family Camping: Despite the sand getting into everything, it’s a nice place to spend a weekend on the beach without spending money on a hotel room—dozing off to the sounds of the ocean is a great way to fall asleep.

Some of the sites in the 350-site family campground offer electric hookups but most do not. Each site has a paved parking space for a car or RV and provides a picnic table and a steel fire ring. The sites are clean and well maintained but are set very close together and the treeless landscape offers no natural shade or barriers between campers. Each camping loop offers one dune crossover to the beach. The bathhouses provide warm showers, sinks, and flushing toilets. There is an on-site camp store that sells limited groceries and camping supplies. Firewood and ice can be purchased at the ranger station. Reservations are not needed but are highly recommended and can be made through reserveamerica.com or by calling 1-888-432-CAMP. Reservations cannot be made at the park but walk-ins are accepted if sites are available.

Fishing: Surf fishing is allowed on the beach as long as it’s done outside of the lifeguard areas. Bay fishing is allowed at the marina piers and from boats in the designated areas of Sinepuxent bay. Clamming is also allowed in different areas of the bay. Maryland creel and length limits apply.

Rating Our Stay:
Site Quality: 3
Scenery: 4
Facilities: 3
Amenities: 3
Location: 5
Overall: 3.6

Address: 7307 Stephen Decatur Highway, Berlin, MD 21811
GPS Coordinates: 38.229167, -75.143611
Phone Number: 410-641-2120
Park Hours of Operation: 9:00 am to sunset.
Campground Check-in: 2:00 pm Check-out: 11:00 am
Web Site: http://www.dnr.state.md.us/publiclands/eastern/assateague.asp
Weather Forecast: Assateague State Park

5 thoughts on “Camping at Assateague State Park

  1. I only have one memory of camping there and it wasn’t good. It was probably 30 years ago and the kids were little. We went along with friends and our pop-up. The bugs were unbelievable, as were the ticks. The showers were cold. The ponies came through and took out the dining tarp. Gee, I wonder why we never returned!? Haha! Glad you had a good time with a breeze to keep the bugs down. The horses are very neat. It sure is a beautiful place.

    • I’ve heard the horses can be destructive in campsites if they smell food and the bugs can be horrible too. Last year we were attacked by hundreds of horse flies and they were huge! But it’s such a raw and beautiful place that we keep going back.

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