How first impressions don't always hold true…
My first impressions of this campground were less than stellar. We arrived from VT, after driving 14 hours in traffic, at 9:30 pm. We arrived in the tent camping area, and were dismayed to find that the campground was PACKED. Not only was it packed, but there was zero privacy from other campers, as only a split rail fence separated each "site". To make things worse, it turned out the campground staff had directed us to the wrong site….and shortly after we began setting up, another group came in and told us it was there site (it was). However, the office staff was VERY helpful and kind, even though it was late, and they were obviously very busy. It was the Friday of Memorial Day Weekend, which apparently is one of their busiest weekends.
Finally we got sorted out which site to set up it. At this point, it is 10 pm, and our 5 children our bouncing off the walls, full of excitement. The campground is loud, as everyone else arrived that night as well. My husband and I brace for a terrible night of sleep, stoically putting earplug in and hoping for the best. The campground quiet hours were supposed to start at 11 pm, however, there was noise later than that. People driving around in golf carts cheering, people playing board games at the campsite next door…sleep was difficult.
The next day, we did the normal campground stuff--the kids took off on their bikes with their new radios from Midland Radio. Eventually, we motivated our sleep deprived selves to go off on the planned adventures at Assateague Island. Assateague is a magical place for those of us who like their beaches wild--there is zero development on the island. Most people drive to the regular, car access beach where there is parking for many car, rinse off showers, and primitive bathrooms. Tom's Cove Visitor's Center is also at the beach, and has a great touch tank with horseshoe crabs, whelks, and clams for folks to investigate.
Inside Tip if you like QUIET beaches:
Assateague Island also has TWO bike/hike access beaches, and those are our favorite. You can drive to Assateague from Chincoteague with your bikes, and then park. One bike beach is off of the Wildlife Loop, and is on pavement the whole way. It is less than a 2 mile bike ride to get there, and there are far less people. The other hike/bike beach is a bit further off of the Wildlife Loop, and requires biking down the gravel Forest Service Road. However, this beach is framed by magnificent sand dunes, and has even less people than the first bike beach. We loved it there. It also has more shells, if beach combing is your thing. Get a map from the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge Visitor's Center (free) and ask one of the rangers there to mark the beach locations.
So, back to the campground sleep saga. The second night was better---the campground was quiet by 10:30 pm, and we all slept fine. Well, we did get woken up by terrible thunderstorms, but that is not the campground's fault. By Sunday night, many campers had left to go home, and we spread out into the empty sites around us. By Monday night, we nearly had the tent camping area to ourselves.
The tent camping area is in a beautiful grove of well trimmed Loblolly Pines. The trees were great for hanging hammocks, and also provided the perfect amount of partial shade. Our site was very close to the bathroom/shower houses, and across from the pool as well. The tent camping area also has some of the closest sites to the waterfront/boat launch, and crabbing piers. We loved be able to walk right over to the pier early in the morning and enjoy the sunrise.
The campground staff told me that the tent camping area is nearly always quiet during the week. The campground is filled to max capacity on only the holiday weekends and Pony Penning. This campground has quality amenities, and its location is fantastic enough that we would stay there again--just not on a holiday weekend.
Restrooms were cleaned at least twice a day, but the high volume of campers meant they got dirty relatively quickly. The showers were not as clean as the restrooms, and were dark, and the water tended to pool at your feet, which was unpleasant.
The campsites themselves were grassy, and mostly level. We were able to set up both of our tents, including the 17 foot long one. Each site has its own picnic table, but they do not have fire pits, although you are allowed to dig/build your own.
As I mentioned previously, the sites are very close to eachother, but on a less busy week, this is less of a problem as the camping area isn't full.
The campground is large--it caters to tenters and RVers, including seasonal RV renters. There is a laundromat (prices are reasonable); well-stocked camp store with wood, ice, and many essentials; a club house with small arcade, pool, and air hockey; additionally, there is a spot to rent bikes, scooters, and golf carts within the campground. There is also a play ground that my kids enjoyed biking to. The pool is fairly large (bigger than most hotel pools, but smaller than a competition swimming pool). The employees of the campground are friendly and helpful.
Inside tip: If you like kayaking, this is a great campground to stay at. My husband and son kayaked from the campground over to a lovely sand bar off of Assateague Island. They got within very close range of a herd of ponies grazing at low tide, hung out, and enjoyed their private slice of nature. It is great that this campground has water access so close to Assateague.
- Late quiet hours on busy weekends.
- Shower houses were not particularly sanitary.
- Sea gulls like to start screaming at 6 am.
- Lack of campsite privacy.
- Loud neighbors.
- Access to water from campground.
- Beautiful views.
- Crabbing pier.
- Safe place for kids to bike.
- Level campsites.
- Chincoteague location.
- Helpful staff.
- Well-drained campsites (didn't flood during severe thunderstorms!)
Midland Radio Review:
and the X-Talker T20X4 Walkie-Talkie Four-Pack. We had been talking about getting radios for a while for camping. We have 5 kids, and 4 of them are all on bikes now, and love to bike around the campgrounds exploring. Radios are nice because they allow us to find out where they are, without having to hunt them down or holler to find them. Additionally, we are a hiking, biking, active family, so having a decent radio for my husband and I helps with family management when out in the wild.
The Walkie-Talkie four pack was awesome for the kids.
- Each one was a different color, which helped with the kids knowing whose was whose.
- They clipped them on to their bikes, after making sure everyone was on the same channel.
- The Walkie-Talkie four-pack was cheap enough that if they HAPPENED to lose it, or destroy it, it wouldn't be a massive loss.
- We liked that they worked with our radios, and that they could be set to a private station so that we could use them as a family without interference.
- The radios take AAA batteries, so make sure you stock up.
Being that they are cheaper radios, the build quality isn't super robust.
Their range is less than half a mile in normal settings, however, for kids' use in a campground or hike, they were perfect.
The X-Talker T7-1VP3 2-Radio set was perfect for the parents to use. I took the radio on a hike, and it was great to touch base with my husband who was still at the beach, in addition to keeping track of the kids on bike rides in the Refuge and at the campground.
- Their buttons and switches were easy to figure out.
- We found their range to be excellent. My husband kayaked at least a mile away, and I was still able to communicate with him without interference or fuzziness.
- We like that it has Weather band alerts, as camping relies on knowledge of weather.
- The radio charging base has a wall plug, and a USB charging plug which is great on trips.
- The battery life seemed decent--a few times the radios were left on overnight, which I think killed the batteries sooner than they should have been.
- Build quality seemed sturdy--one of the radios got left out in a surprise thunderstorm and did not seem worse for wear.
- We liked that the radios can be set up with a password channel for privacy We also really appreciated that the radios work great with the Walkie-Talkies that we had for the kids. It promoted peace of mind for all of us whether biking, hiking, or boating on this trip.
- To improve the radios, I would add some weather-sealing, and perhaps slightly more tough plastic as the shells on these seem like they could crack if dropped hard on pavement.
they have a wonderful pool and are a short distance from chincoteague beach! Great place to stay with family! Sites are big we fit two large tents on one site. They have a water park down the road and fishing off the pier. Don’t forget to stop at Island Creamery for the best ice cream ever!
love this place
What more can you get you have ocean on the right and calm water on the left you can choose what to do
Love this place to relax and enjoy the ponies and beach life. Good amenities and the best place to camp on Chincoteague
Could not get camping spot on assateague island so we decided to try this campsite a try. If you looking for rustic, quite camping this is not the spot. They have several trailer homes living there all year round. The camping spots are all very open with close neighbors. On the positive the campsite does have many amenities, showers, game room fishing piers. The best part of this camping spot is if you have canoe/kayak/SUPB it is a great point to launch off to explore the nature reserve next to camp Cove. Lots of wild horses to see. Remember to bring bug spray!!!
I came here for a 2 day trip and it was pretty good, The sites were really clean and the restrooms were well managed. Id come back here again but at night you can see headlights which can wake you up
My family has been going to Tom's Cove for over forty years. This July will be my husband and I's 6th year in a row with our son. The campground has three nice piers to catch fish, crabs, skeet and collect buckets of minnows. It also has a washing station to clean what you have caught from the piers or from a boat you may have just came in on and parked in their little marina. The clubhouse has a pool table, a dated arcade and very reasonable prices for snacks like snow cones and popcorn. At times they have karaoke and bingo at the clubhouse as well. The bathrooms and showers are really nice and well kept. The in ground pool is well kept, most of the time. The store has the basic essentials as far as groceries and fishing supplies. There are spots to park along the water but there is no sewer hook up there. Upon leaving the campground, the island has a pony center where the kids can ride and then get a neat souvenir, there are many cute shops on Main Street with local artists work, two great ice cream spots, plenty of great seafood places, a place where there is go karts, rock climbing, etc, and the beach is across the bridge and over to Assateague. You have to pay a nominal fee to get through the tolls. There are nature trails where you can walk, ride bikes or drive you vehicle, there is a lighthouse that you can go up into for free (donations are encouraged) and see the view, the visitors center is informational, the beach is clean and has rinse off showers and small booths where you can change. If you leave Chincoteague and head back off of the island, Wallops NASA center and airfield is there. They have rocket launches and conduct exercises on the airfield frequently. Their center is neat to visit as well.