Assateague Island Travel Guide

  • Assateague Island
    by Sevsa
  • Assateague Island
    by Sevsa
  • Assateague Island
    by Sevsa

Assateague Island Things to Do

  • Bring a long lens or take a pony...

    Assateague ponies, made famous by Marguerite Henry's novel "Misty of Chincoteague" and it's sequels, aren't always hanging out close to the trails. There are several outfits that offer pony watching tours by boat where you can get much closer to the horses than we did.Still, the MD end (National Park section) is great for short walks and you can...

    more
  • Misty's Family

    When we were camping on Assateague in 1956, we saw ponies. I don't know about the status in 1956, but now the horses are split into two main herds, one on the Virginia side and one on the Maryland side of Assateague. They are separated by a fence at the Virginia/Maryland State line. These are my parents photos of the ponies taken in 1956. In those...

    more
  • North Ocean Beach

    After all the hiking, the family wanted a chance to dip their toes in the Ocean. Parking for North Ocean Beach was plentiful early in the day, and they do provide changing areas and a pump to wash your feet off of sand. From the parking lot, there's a new wooden bridge that carries you over the dunes to the beach, then you can cut across the fairly...

    more
  • Life of the Marsh Trail

    The first trail upon entering the park, but we saved this for last (mainly because I missed the turn off for it.) The first tip - reapply your repellent again. Like the others, this trail is a loop trail that is about a half mile long. This one is mostly raised boardwalk through the marsh, mostly open marsh land (as you can see from the photos.)...

    more
  • Life of the Dunes Trail

    The final trail before you run out of road, this is easily the most difficult. Again, the length is only about a half mile, but the bulk of it is over very loose sand. This is very tough hiking as a result. Also, there is almost no shade, so on a sunny day, this probably is pretty brutal. The landscape is a little more stark here, the wildlife was...

    more
  • Life of the Forest Trail

    There are three small trails at Assateague, each equipped to give you a flavor for the types of environments in the area. None are particularly well marked, so keep an eye on the map, and you'll be able to figure out where to stop. The second trail after the entrance is the Life of the Forest trail. This is about a half mile long, mostly on...

    more
  • Go clamming

    Try your hand at live clamming, the best method seem to be raking. The water in the bay is rather shallow so wading is no issue. There are a few types of wild oysters that can be found around Assateague. Careful you do not trespass on leased oyster bed, it's best to stop at the visitors centers for more information on the top spots. Also you can...

    more
  • Rent a canoe

    If you go down Bayside Dr. to the end, on the right side there is a canoe rental place. There is a lot of area to cover, with many small island to stop on, plenty of nature to photo! You can touch the bottom at all most any point in the bay, so no worry is you tip the boat over. Explore this great place and have fun.

    more
  • Nature trails

    Looking for some thing to do here, go find a nature trail, there are several. Go down the main road to the Natioal Seashore entrance and you'll find the Shipwreck history, forest trail, marsh trail, and the dunes life trail. All of these trails have parking right there and are pretty short walks with plenty of information about the island and it's...

    more

Assateague Island Transportation

  • "Historic" Ferry

    The one time I went to Assateague Island was in 1956 and we had to take a ferry. This ferry is apparently no longer there. Information on the web includes this tidbit. A ferry crossed Sinepuxent Bay to Assateague Island from the southern end of the county highway that continued south from Lewis Corner until MD 611 was extended across the Verrazano...

    more
  • Four Wheel Drive access

    You can take your 4X4 on the beach, but follow the strick regulations or you will be fined. The fee for a 4X4 beach permit is about $70.00 and is required here all year round. They do provide air lines for you to fill your tires back up after you are done. You can go canoeing, kayaking or surf fishing off this beach, don't suggest swimming here do...

    more
  • Pull up to the beach

    If you have your own boat you can pull you boat on the island almost any where and go exploring. We've seen people pull up on jetskies, boats, kayak, and canoes. Rules: If you bring it, take it, If you found it here, leave it here! Shells are no issue as long as the critter is dead and gone.

    more

Assateague Island Local Customs

  • tpangelinan's Profile Photo

    by tpangelinan Written May 25, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This one is one that didn't get cover by the moving sand, some times during a storm a wreck gets uncovered and covered again by the sand movement. The amount of shipwrecks off the island is unknown to this day, the waters were ruff and uncharted with little navigational help. Many of these wrecks were cargo ships which the colonist salvaged the goods and sold, which was stealing so Maryland and Virginia got together and hired a wreck-master to oversee the salavages from the late 1700's on to prevent the thefts. Between 1875 & 1915 the 4 U.S. Life-Saving Stations helped in 261 salvages, the total amount of wrecks off the coast is not truely known nor is much known about the wrecks either, origin & cargo.

    Shipwrecks
    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Historical Travel
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

    more

Assateague Island Warnings and Dangers

  • Watch the horses

    A lot of people that have seen horses over their lifetime think that they are gentle animals, so therefore, no problem approaching these guys, right? Well, the gruesome pamphlet you get as you enter the park will put that to rest (showing a number of bites on people.) Remember that these guys are wild animals and defend their territory! They are...

    more
  • Warning Warning

    While on the beach watch out for piles like this. You will see and smell horse bisques when on the beach so just be aware. It's not like they clean up after themselves. So be careful where you park your beach blanket.

    more
  • Fierce Wild Animals

    I can think of three animals that will attack any human being without provocation: the tick, the mosquito, and the green-headed fly. They are all indigenous to Assateague Island.Consider yourself warned.

    more

Assateague Island Off The Beaten Path

  • tpangelinan's Profile Photo

    by tpangelinan Updated Apr 4, 2011

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    We took a cruise tour to Assateague Island, very nice ride over as the captain and his mate tell you some historty about the ponies/horses and the island. The cruise goes around in the Sinepuxent Bay and then lands the boat on the island so you can walk around a little bit. The cruise takes about an hour and a half, during that time you will see ponies running long the beach and up in the dunes, there are about 300 ponies total on the island. The tour was worth the time and lots of fun for the kids.

    Cruise tour
    Related to:
    • Photography
    • Historical Travel
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

    more

Assateague Island Sports & Outdoors

  • tpangelinan's Profile Photo

    by tpangelinan Written May 25, 2004

    3 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Every time we are here there are good waves and plenty of surfers, so feel free to grab your board and catch a wave. Just an other way to have fun here on the island.

    Surfing
    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Surfing
    • Beaches

    Was this review helpful?

    more

Assateague Island Favorites

  • Take the Fast Lane

    Here's what you do if you visit the national seashore a lot. Buy the season pass. Do this even if you already have a season pass for the entire park system; it's worth the twenty bucks. The park entrance has two lanes, one for people who have the parks season pass and one for everyone else. The park's pass has a barcode on it, and you just swipe it...

    more
  • Visit the Park Ranger Station

    You should go to the Park Ranger's Station for any information you may need or help. We rode our bikes from South Beach up to North Beach, this is not a quick trip, now I locked up the bikes so we could go walk on the beach and look at the horses, but as soon as I locked the bikes up I noticed I did NOT have the key to UNLOCK the bikes, they were...

    more
  • Hiking

    Hiking is a big thing here so grab your backpack and walk till you drop. There are miles of places to hike around here, dunes, woods, beach, just name it you can hike it here.

    more

Instant Answers: Assateague Island

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

83 travelers online now

Comments

 
Explore Deeper into Assateague Island
State Park Entrance
Favorites
Ponies on the beach
Things to Do
Ponies
Things to Do
Map of Assateague Island

View all Assateague Island hotels