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“Nice Beach with wild roaming horses” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Assateague Island National Seashore

Assateague Island National Seashore
7206 National Seashore la, Berlin, MD 21811
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Activities: Biking, Camping, Fishing, Swimming
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Owner description: One of America's last fully functioning barrier island ecosystems.
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805 reviews
336 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1,412 helpful votes
“Nice Beach with wild roaming horses”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 15, 2008

I went to assateague island with my Mom this past summer. She told me about the wild horses and wanted me to see them for myself. Assateague Island National Seashore is near Ocean City, MD and not far from Salisbury, MD. It is also within an hour and a half drive time of the Delaware Beaches (Lewes/Rehoboth). We arrived at this beach early in the morning, around 1030am.

The Seashore is located at the end of Rt 611. You do cross over a little bridge that takes you out onto the island seashore. That is pretty neat in itself. Parking here was $15.00 for the car. At 1st I thought it was a little much, but then realized that is for a 7 day pass. We parked our car at the 1st parking lot you come to. We then made our way across the parking lot to the restrooms. They are a little cold and dark inside. Also, the toilets look like deep dark wells & I couldnt help wondering how they keep kids from falling down them. Also, there were lots of mosquitos in the restrooms..I couldnt wait to get out of there! I did not see any bath-houses here...no changing rooms or showers. I did see some sprinkler heads on posts that could be used to rinse your feet off.

We walked one of the wooden boardwalk style paths that lead to the beach. At the top of the beach we stopped & read the informational signs and picked up a surf safety broschure. Then we headed towards the beach. Once we made our way down to the beach, we found ourselves a nice spot right at the waters edge & next to a lifeguard stand. That was a plus!! Some areas of the beach have lifeguards & other areas do not. Boogie boards and other flotation devices are not permitted in the lifeguard areas, so be sure to check the beach flags to determine which area you are in. I did see the lifeguards making people with boogie boards move down the beach & they would blow their whistles at them if they entered the lifeguard areas.

We were able to spread out our beach blanket and relax here. The beach was not that crowded when we were there. I was surpised since it was a warm august day. But, with the extra space, we didnt have to worry about people stepping on our blanket or kicking sand at us. Im used to this kind of behavior on the crowded Delaware beaches. So, this was a nice change of pace. The sand we rested out blankets on, was soft and fine..no large rocks or pebbles here! It was very relaxing.

The water was pretty calm the day we went. The waves were not terribly large, but still lots of fun. There did seem to be a bit of a current. So, you may want to keep an eye on younger or less experienced swimmers--OR stay in a lifeguard area. The water and beaches were both clean. I was a little skeptical at 1st when my Mom told me we were going to a beach with free roaming wild horses. I didnt really want to sit in or near any horse droppings. BUT to my surprise, the beaches were amazingly clean. I did see some horse droppings on the roads on the way in and along the path leading to the beach...but it was not that bad.

While we were there, I did see some pelican type birds flying out over the ocean. This was pretty exciting for me, since all we ever see in Delaware is seagulls. Also, while we were there..a little sand crab crawled up onto our beach blanket. This was very shocking to me..I did not expect it. I do not ever recall seeing these little guys at the Delaware beaches & I had to take a photo. In addition to the pelicans and sand crabs..I saw lots of sand fleas. The kids were digging them up at the waters edge & you would see the sand bubbling up when the water washed over the sand where the sand fleas were dwelling. This brought back some memories of my days at the beach as a kid...digging up sand fleas and building sand castles.

This beach is famous for its wild horses that roam the beaches freely. I was excited to see them, since my Mom had told me about them. I did not see one all morning & then finally after a few hours..one horse did make its way down onto the beach. There are signs everywhere that remind the visitors NOT to feed, touch, or approach the wildlife/horses. The horse did walk down and around people and their blankets. People started to rush over and take photos of the horse. The lifeguards did blow their whistles and motion for people to back up if they were getting too close to the horse. But, it was still a pretty neat experience to see the wild horse on the beach. The wild horse seemed pretty calm with all the people standing around, so they must be used to all the attention. I still wouldnt want to get too close. Since there are wild horses here..you can imagine there are flies (biting flies)...so bring your insect repellant.

All in all, we had a good day at the beach. I would probably go to this beach again. It is just so much further than the Delaware beaches that are just around the corner from me. The water and wildlife are both nice here. The prices for parking here are reasonable, especially since it is a 7 day pass...much cheaper than the DE beaches. I wish they offered a ONE day pass here for less.

Liked: Soft sand, clean beaches, wild horses, did not see any jellyfish the day I visited, pets not permitted in certain areas

Diskliked: Mosquitos and biting flies, the occasional horse dropping, well-like toilets/restrooms

1. I did not see any concession stands. I would recommend packing a cooler & picnic basket. OR there are plenty of restaurants in downtown Ocean City..a BBQ stand within 5 minutes of the beach on RT 611 (Smoker's BBQ Pit)..and some fast food places on RT 50. ALSO..I believe I saw a picnic table and an outdoor BBQ on the beach near the informational signs, just before you go down onto the beach--if you want to BBQ at the beach itself.

2. There are some fresh produces stand along the roadside on RT 611, on your way to the seashore. You can pick up some fresh fruit for your cooler or some amish baked goods. I enjoyed stopping here on my way into & out of the park.

3. There are campgrounds at this beach as well. I did not stay here so I cannot comment on them, but please know that they exist.

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410 reviews from our community

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English first
Minnesota City, Minnesota
Level Contributor
101 reviews
53 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 93 helpful votes
“Awesome camping and beach”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 16, 2007

Stayed at Assateague Island State Park the summer of 2006. We are planning on going back summer of 2008. It was a wonderful beach and a great campground with plenty of room between campsites. We saw ponies every day. They were like scavengers roaming in groups looking through peoples' trash and camping equipment for food. But what fun. Kids loved it and have been asking to go back ever since. We had plenty of room on our site for a camper, vehicle, picnic area, and we also set up a badmitton set for the kids to play. There is a bath house with flush toilets and showers. Ocean City boardwalk is not far away, and had fun shopping and walking the boardwalk, but were glad to get back to the campground for peace and quiet. If you like beach camping, this is the place to go.

Was this review helpful? Yes 4
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Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“most favorite island in the usa”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 30, 2007

I have been going to Assateague Island ever since I was born(early 1970s.I have seen horses,deer,foxes,dolphins or porpoise,turtles,birds and more.I have even found whale bones that have washed up on the beach.
The camp sites are nice, a place to park two vehicles,a fire ring,a picnic table,and some have a grill to cook on.You can only have five people,two vehicles,& three tents per site. Sand stakes are required for tents or screened porches as it can get quite windy. If you use regular stakes youre tent might blow away into the ocean ( I have seen it happen during a storm).

The bath houses are nice,hot showers,flushing toilets,plugs for electric shavers or hair dryers, Sinks are in the back for cleaning dishes & filling up water containers. There is also showers in the back for rinsing off sand.

If you want a camp site from July-August you somtimes have to reserve a site one to two years in advance, if you want to stay longer than a couple of days, as it is a very popular time to stay on the island.

Bring plenty of bug spray because depending on what time of the year it is the mosquitos can be quite a problem in july-august.If there is a breeze of the ocean the bugs are not to bad. A screened porch for your picnic table is recomended to keep out the flies and mosquitos. DO NOT keep food in the open, the horses will eat it.Keep it in youre vehicle. DO NOT try to pet the horses, they will kick and or bite you!

There is virtually no shade, so bring plenty of sun screen with a high spf as the sun reflects off the water and the sand, re-apply often or you will burn. I had blisters on the top of my feet forgot to put sun screen there, OUCH!

There is a day section where you can go on the beach.There is a concession stand,a bath house for changing etc.Get there early in the day as it fills up fast.

Assateague Island has a lot of families that come, but there are also couples and singles also. I highly recommend this place.You can stay for a couple of days or as long as two weeks, dont forget to reserve a site or you may not get one unless there is cancelations.

See my photos,will add more soon, hope to see you there as I go to the island once a month or so during the year.

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Logan, OH
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Assateague camping”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 10, 2007

I took my family for a 4 day camping trip to Assateague National Seashore in early June of 2007. The Best time to go! Cool evenings, sunny days, NO bugs, not crowded. We saw ponies everyday! Depending on the sites you choose, you may not even see other campers. It was beautiful, we all loved it! Going back next year for Sure!!

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Kensington, Maryland
Level Contributor
17 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Great for Fall travel!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 23, 2007

If you want a more secluded beach as compared to its counterpart, Ocean City, MD... this is a great alternative.

The cooler weather was perfect for a Fall visit. September brings no bugs on the Ocean side of the beach. Our oceanside campsite was perfect! HOWEVER... we attempted to hike to our Tingles Island site. BIG mistake. Mosquitos were ready to bite as we entered the marsh area. The Deet did not deter them from swarming us. We ran out after 2 attempts and decided to spend the rest of the day on the beach!

Ponies were in abundance but not intrusive!

It was neat to see families fishing. Many 4-wheel drive vechicles were allowed on the beach and made it very accessible for families to enjoy themselves.

Overall a very different beach experience than what I grew up with!

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