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Make no mistake, this is beach camping, but it is the best. Despite constant 20mph winds for the first two days which prevented us from pitching our tent (we slept in our SUV just fine) we had a blast. It was a bonus when we got the tent up, but the hiking, relaxing on the beach, campfire and watching the wild ponies is unbeatable.
This was a favorite place while living on the east coast. The campground is nicely laid out for a state campground. Plenty of bike trails, places to explore, places to swim both in the bay and ocean. I love the Atlantic in the summer…way more swimable than our Pacific Ocean. I would gladly go back if I'm in the area.
We only stayed on Assateague for 1 night on our way down the east coast. We camped on the bayside which had a really pretty view of the marsh and large camp sites. No electric hookup or water which is expected for winter camping, we managed without for the night. We took a ride over to the ocean camp sites and found some horses! Worth a stop just for the simplicity of it all!
Site Details: We stayed on site #I328, in the I loop at the very end of the campground. The site was level but on the small side; I wouldn’t recommend attempting to fit in with anything larger than a pop-up or hybrid. That said, it had electrical service(a hot commodity in this park!), and was well situated, with a nice open space between the edge of the site and the dunes. This open space was pretty low-lying, so I imagine flooding/standing water could bring some major bug issues in the summer. As with all other loops in the park, this loop is separated from the beach by a row of sand dunes, so beach access is very quick and easy. There is no shade to speak of; all sites are surrounded by scrub brush and other plants typical of a beach/marsh environment. Watch out for sandburs!
Facilities/Overall Park: Assateague SP is widely known, loved, and hard to book for a reason. The scenery and setting simply cannot be beat. The beautiful beaches, unspoiled natural setting, and wild ponies all make for an incredible and truly unique camping experience. Additionally, the rangers are very helpful, and the bath houses are pristine. We visited in the fall, and the weather happened to be perfect, with no bugs. Based on other campers’ experiences, as well as having grown up on the Eastern Shore, I would honestly avoid the summertime due to the extreme heat and bugs. Summertime is undoubtedly a more popular time, and a more convenient time for many to travel and take advantage of the beach, but I’d lean toward going in the fall if you can.
Surrounding Area/Attractions: There is so much to do and see nearby, if you can tear yourself away from the park. The state park sits adjacent to Assateague National Seashore, with its own visitor center, campground, and beaches. The NP side has more primitive facilities, and tends to be less crowded and a bit more “wild.” Outside the island, there is of course Ocean City nearby, with plenty to do, see, and eat. It’s a typical tourist beach town, which I have no desire to visit again, but might be worth checking out if you’re into boardwalks, shopping, mini golf, etc. If you do go, make sure to grab some Thrasher’s fries and Fisher’s popcorn. Also nearby is the cute small town of Berlin.
Overall, this is a fantastic park for beach and nature lovers, and lives up to its hype. Make sure you book far in advance (especially for the electric sites!); be prepared for bugs, heat, and wind; and you’ll be sure to have a memorable experience.
First time here, won't be our last!! Not a lot of hiking trails in the park, but there are plenty nearby. Spaces were nice…not too close to each other and oriented so you are staring into your neighbors site all the time when sitting at the very big nice picnic table and firepit. The bathrooms are nice than most. They have a strenuous cleaning schedule due to Covid so the bathrooms are CLEAN!! Nice Food Lion grocery store about 1 mile away. Restaurants in nearby Crisfield, MD. Will come back in warmer weather to take advantage of the many kayak/canoe trails. Some sites are waterfront. Nice deck and boat/kayak launch. Hosts very friendly. Park clean, very quiet.
So I loved the campground. I got a electric site with a place for a large tent. The grounds are very well kept, respectful attendants and clean grounds. I loved the trip the scenery and the whole site. One thing I did have trouble with is the grade of the sites are somewhat downhill so if you do end up camping during a time it rains be sure to put your tent on a tarp. I was floating my tent the night it rained. Otherwise an all around amazing place to go.
Love this DE state park! 5 different loops. One for all tenting, loop E. One with all pull-through sites, loop D. Three with back in spots, loops A-C. If you want quiet, stay in loop D. This was a full weekend and a bit crowded. We had an end site facing the pond (C 20). Very level sites BUT a lot of trees in the way when parking your RV. Most spots have tight areas to maneuver into with trees and hookup posts on either side. We saw several we couldn’t believe they parked without hitting a tree. Lots of trails to hike and boat rentals; canoes, kayaks, paddle boats, pontoon boat, and I think a row boat. It’s located in lower DE near the MD line. There’s a walkway between all loops to connect them and easily walkable. Has electric and water hookups.
We arrived at our hike-in site just after midnight and was pleasantly surprised that we were one of two groups of campers on that Thursday night. Firstly, the walk to hike in is gloriously short for car camping. We were able to schlep all of our gear in three trips. We had considered taking a wagon but I'm glad we didn't. The check in process the following day was very short, but be forewarned that if you leave the campground and return prior to getting your camping tag you may have to pay the park entrance fee (we did not but were warned).
There is sand everywhere (you are almost at the beach) so a small dustpan and brush will keep your tent tidy. The bathroom and showers are just outside the hike in parking lot, but could use an upgrade. The shower stalls don't have a private changing area, just a long bench on the opposite wall from the row of push-button showers. Also, the drain for the shower isn't in each stall so water tends to flood the area between the bench and the showers; bring a pair of shower shoes. The water pressure was good and the shower was hot. It may be a bit too much for little kids, though. As the campground is usually fully booked, it would be nice to not have to leave my clothes and glasses on a public bench while I shower (I've had my Rx glasses stolen from a campground bathroom before). This is my only reason for the 4 star review. At night, we were able to hear the waves crashing on the beach, but have no ocean views. It was very soothing and I slept like a log! The camp store has wood for purchase, and scavenging dead wood wasn't a very successful for us outside of kindling.
There are plenty of walking and biking trails, a free nature center with a touch tank (tank closed on our visit due to Covid), and historic Fort Miles.
We would definitely stay again.