Assateague Island, famed for its wild horses, lies off the Delmarva Peninsula on the Atlantic Coast. This barrier island is a constantly shifting ribbon of sand, altered daily by powerful wind and waves. The Assateague Island National Seashore, Assateague State Park, and the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge each manage and protect this unique, diverse strip of land.
Activities are abundant on the island, with crabbing and clamming, and a long stretch of beach for swimming, kayaking and fishing.
Assateague camping is open year-round. Advance reservations are available up to 6 months in advance during the following dates:
Oceanside Group Sites : Year-round. Equestrian Non-electric sites : From October 16 through April 15 each year (closed April 16 - October 15). Oceanside and Bayside Individual sites : From March 15, 2019 through November 15 each year (walk-up only, November 16 - March 14). Amenities include vault toilets, drinking water, and unheated showers for rinsing off sand. Water is available when temperatures are above freezing.
The island can be accessed from the northern route in Maryland or the southern route in Virginia, but there is no through road from one end of the island to the other. Access to both Maryland and Virginia entrances are reached by bridge over mainland routes.
Assateague is a 37-mile long barrier island on the Atlantic Coast of Maryland and Virginia. The terrain is a mix of sand dunes, maritime forests and salt marshes, and is just a couple miles wide at its broadest section. Two herds of wild horses inhabit the island. The Maryland herd roams freely in part of Assateague Island National Seashore. The Virginia herd roams in large fenced areas in the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. The horses are descendants of late 17th century horses brought by colonists attempting to avoid livestock taxes. They now thrive among other wildlife including sika deer, ghost crabs and migrating birds like the great blue heron and snowy egret.
Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge offers a 14,000-acre wildlife preserve located at the southern end of Assateague Island. To the north, Assateague State Park features two miles of pristine ocean beaches.
ADA Access: N
Bugs can be pretty bad but it’s the beach so it can’t be THAT bad
First time camping in a long time. Oceanside requires a good amount of work. You’re carrying your gear in to your site, setting up in howling wind (potentially), no water at site. Cold showers. Pit toilets. But man oh man. The rewards are high. Wild horses every day. Beach was right over the dune. Campsite is set behind one dune so there’s a little wind protection. We had one wild thunderstorm night. Survived with our good tent and screen house (do not come without some kind of screen house). But the next morning the mosquitoes were wild. Everyone had bites from our morning packing up. It was hot (camped at end of July/beginning of August), but water was a good escape. We escaped into the town of Berlin on some of the hotter hours of the day for ice cream to beat the heat (and charge our electronics in the car). Great spot. I’d come back, but maybe later in the year when it’s not so hot!
No hookups but wow the views! And if course the wild horses are amazing.
Awesome campsites. Nice clean bathrooms, and plenty to do between the trails, ocean, and bay. Kayaks are available for renting and there is a general store just a few minutes up the road for whatever you would need. Only recommendation would be to make sure you do NOT get a campsite near the wetland area. The mosquitos there are terrible.
This campground has great sites that are right on the ocean with wildlife all around!
There is only one campground in then Assateague park and it's right on the beach. Get ready to get sand everywhere. Be sure to check the forecast before you go because if it gets windy you'll be sure to feel it. I visited in later October and there were very few campers but I imagine the campground fills up in warmer months. The park is small to there are just a few one-way roads leading in and out.
The campground was two loops with drive-in sites as well as walk-in sites that are more removed from the road. There are also cold water showers to help with some of the aforementioned sand.
You'll surely see at least a few ponies on your visit as well as other great wildlife. If you have the time I highly recommend taking the drive over to the Chincoteague side (about an hour) and exploring there. I rented a bike from the Bike Depot and rode it into Chincoteague for a few hours.
Visited in late October on a last minute weekend trip. Had no issues finding a campsite upon arrival, luckily. The staff was super friendly and helpful in picking a site for us. We decided to stay ocean side and was just over the summer dune from the water. Lot had fire ring and table. Set up our tent in the flattest spot we could find. Neighbors next to us had five tents and seven people. There also were quite a few RVs that ran their generators long into the evening. We brought our dogs, and rangers said they were allowed at any campsites but told us where they were restricted. It was really awesome to be able to camp that close to the ocean. The quiet hours were pretty well followed, which allowed us to hear the Sika dear bugle late in the night. The showers and bathroom had much to be desired, but for being on the coast it was nice to have them. No sink near them but there was two faucets (one was locked off, not sure if the other). It got super windy over night, which caused issues to some of the campers at other sites. The check out time was pretty strictly checked up on. Overall we would love to go back and take our bikes to ride the trail. Neat experience and would completely recommend to others.
Adventurous, in that you'll get a first-hand glimpse of the horses, as they are aggressive! Very nice Visitors Center where you could request a ranger badge for the little ones. Would recommend visiting in late summer, early fall to avoid the crowds.
This campsite is like no other I’ve ever been to. If you don’t mind wild horses joining you for dinner and trekking around your campsite at night, then this is your place!! The beach is absolutely gorgeous and so is the scenery. If a crowded beach is not your thing, it gets less crowded as you walk away from the boardwalk. Please be kind to the horses and if you see an injured one, let the Park Rangers know immediately.
Be prepared and all will be well! ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS PLACE!