Camping here for a week was incredible for many reasons. The gorgeous ponies and an abundance of wildlife were amazing. Being able to walk right over to the ocean was also amazing. What I wasn't expecting was the hordes of mosquitoes. Definitely be prepared with lots of Off and citronella candles. The last night I moved to the ocean side and it was much better. I went in June, so I'm not sure if they are always so bad. The bayside provides more interaction with the ponies and wildlife. Which can be worth the mosquitos. Just don't leave food in your tent. The first morning I woke up to a pony eating a loaf of bread and a huge hole in my tent.
If you want to camp in the spring or fall, camp on the bayside. There will be less mosquitoes that time of year but the wind from the ocean isn’t as intense as on the Oceanside so it’s a bit warmer. Prepare for some gorgeous sunsets and sunrises. The facilities are simple but fine. The showers are turned off during offseason but you can still use the spring outside. Ponies are a bit more calm on this side.
It’s hidden away yet close to the water. Having animals around is such a great feeling. A deer hung out by the campfire at night, and in the morning there were horse tracks all over the sight. We chose to stay in October with less people and less bugs. Hiking and boys nearby to kayak or canoe at. Beautiful place to stay.
This is more primitive being a National Park, but that doesn't bother me much. In the summer, the mosquitos are especially bad bayside… stick with the seaside or State Park. If you require better bathroom facilities, go to the State Park. You will see the horses roam through the area and possibly block your access to the bathroom! It is nice to be closer to the bayside beach and boat access. You can play in the shallow, calmer water there!
Horses will roam right into campsite.
Clean, well maintained, with very clean bathrooms, access to the Bay, boat launch, weekend entertaining, close to Little Rock and to the big preserve with plenty of birds and beautiful views. All kinds of campsites from tents to big RVs. One of the best places I have ever camped. Strongly recommended. And prices are very reasonable. great camp shop with ice, firewood and all other needs.
Spent days on beach, flying kites, and exploring the island. Note: reservations fill up quickly so check the site at the 6 months prior to your trip.
As other reviewers have mentioned, this campground has more vegetation than its Seaside counterpart. This does lend itself to less of a breeze and more flying insects than you might find on the beach, which makes it a perfect spot in the colder fall and winter months. We stayed here when the low was around 17 degrees so we appreciated the natural protection.
We did have several interactions with one wild horse who did not seem to be bothered by us or our dog. The dog on the other hand was certainly bothered! Between the horse and the sand spurs in his feet he would probably rate this spot a lot lower.
While I wouldn't recommend staying here in the warmer and buggier months, it is a nice alternative in the should seasons when more protection may be warranted.
The campground was for the most part a great experience. We enjoyed bike riding around the island, catching glimpses of the wild ponies and running around on the beach while my husband enjoyed surfing. Where you can rent bikes was a perfect spot for our daughter to play in calmer water. The only thing that was bothersome was the amount of mosquitoes and ticks which are in abundance between May and November. If you want to avoid the swarm of ticks and mosquitoes we would advise to get a tent site or RV hookup on ocean side away from dense vegetation. Otherwise we loved it.
For hardcore campers!! I accidentally booked the bayside campsite vs the seaside campsite and we had a very tough time. We have been camping here on and off for the past 10 years on the Seaside and it is one of my favorite beach camp sites but stay away from the bayside campsite on the bayside.
The biggest problem for us was there was absolutely no breeze or wind on the bayside, The camping spots are in a wooded area so you do get plenty of shade but the trees block any wind blowing in from the ocean. No breeze or wind means dealing with tons of flying biting insects…constantly. And I mean lots and lots of horse flies.
And for some reason I think the wild horses are more active and more aggressive on the bayside vs when camping on the beach, just my personal experience. Our camp was raided every every night and day, even when we had horse proofed all our food and our campsite. I ended up storing all our food in our tents inside lockable bins.
Most of the people I saw camping on the bayside had RV, which is the only way I would come back to the bayside.
Read my other review for seaside assategue camping for some helpful tips.