Discover Assateague State Park

Have you ever wanted to explore a natural treasure where wild horses roam free? Assateague State Park offers a rare opportunity to immerse yourself in a unique coastal ecosystem.

Assateague State Park, Maryland’s gem, is situated on Assateague Island—a stunning barrier island shaped by wind and waves. Your adventure begins as you step onto the shores bordering Sinepuxent Bay, where the Atlantic Ocean meets the land.

Here, you’ll find a diverse landscape that ranges from sunny beaches to serene marsh areas. Maryland pride shines through in this park, one of the state’s most distinctive natural environments. Just a bridge away from the mainland, the island tells tales of weathering storms and serene sunsets, all while offering a home to its famous wild horses.

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Top 3 Facts about Assateague State Park

01

Wild Ponies

One of the most famous features of Assateague State Park is its population of wild ponies. These ponies are actually feral horses that roam freely on the island. They are believed to be descendants of domesticated horses that were brought to the island by early settlers.

02

Assateague Lighthouse

The Assateague Lighthouse, located within the national seashore adjacent to the state park, has guided ships since 1833. It stands 142 feet tall and is open to the public for climbing during select times of the year, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding area.

03

Island Ecosystem

Assateague Island is not just a beach destination; it’s a diverse ecosystem. The island features salt marshes, maritime forests, dunes, and coastal bays, making it a unique habitat for various plants and wildlife. It’s an excellent place for nature enthusiasts to explore and discover.

Where to Sleep

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Juniper Cabin

3601 Monck Road,Kawartha Lakes,ON,CA,K0M 2L0
Bathrooms 1
Bedrooms 2
$182.42 / day

Hemlock Cabin

3601 Monck Road,Kawartha Lakes,ON,CA,K0M 2L0
Bathrooms 1
Bedrooms 2
$194.14 / day

Greenash Cabin

3601 Monck Road,Kawartha Lakes,ON,CA,K0M 2L0
Bathrooms 1
Bedrooms 2
$182.42 / day

Dogwood Cabin

3601 Monck Road,Kawartha Lakes,ON,CA,K0M 2L0
Bathrooms 1
Bedrooms 2
$182.42 / day

Camping and transportation in Assateague State Park

info_iconBackcountry camping permits required for wilderness camping opportunities.

How to Get to Assateague State Park

Getting to Assateague State Park in Maryland is relatively straightforward. Here’s how:

  1. By Car: The most common way to reach Assateague State Park is by car. The park is on Assateague Island, accessible via Route 611 (Stephen Decatur Highway) from mainland Maryland. If you’re coming from the north, you can take Route 50 or Route 113 south to Route 611. From the south, you can take Route 13 north to Route 113 and then follow Route 113 to Route 611. Once on Route 611, follow the signs to Assateague State Park.
  2. Public Transportation: While there isn’t direct public transportation to Assateague State Park, you can take a bus or train to nearby towns like Ocean City or Salisbury and then arrange for a taxi or rideshare service to take you to the park. However, having your own vehicle or renting one is often the most convenient option for exploring the area.
  3. Boat: Those with access to a boat can also reach Assateague State Park by water. Boat ramps and marinas are nearby to launch your boat and navigate to the park. Remember any regulations or restrictions regarding anchoring or docking in the area.

Places to Stay Near Assateague State Park

Several accommodation options are near Assateague State Park in Maryland, ranging from campsites to hotels and vacation rentals. Here are a few:

  1. Assateague State Park Campground: The park offers tent and RV camping campsites. These sites are located right on the beach or bay side, immersing visitors in the island’s natural beauty. Amenities include restrooms, showers, and picnic tables.
  2. Assateague Island National Seashore Campgrounds: Adjacent to the state park is the Assateague Island National Seashore, which also offers camping options. There are two campgrounds within the national seashore: Oceanside and Bayside. Both campgrounds provide tent and RV sites and amenities such as restrooms and outdoor showers.
  3. Hotels and Motels in Nearby Towns: Several hotels and motels exist in nearby towns like Ocean City and Berlin, Maryland. These accommodations offer a range of amenities and price points, from budget-friendly options to luxury resorts. While they may not be as close to Assateague State Park as camping options, they provide convenient access to other attractions in the area.
  4. Vacation Rentals: Vacation rentals are available in the surrounding area for those seeking a more private and spacious accommodation. You can find beach houses, cottages, and condos for rent through various online platforms. These rentals often come with amenities such as kitchens, multiple bedrooms, and outdoor spaces.
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Best Time to Go to Assateague State Park

Summer

Summer

Summer is the peak season for Assateague State Park when visitors flock to the park to soak up the sun and enjoy the pristine beaches and warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean. The summer months offer long days filled with outdoor adventures, including swimming, sunbathing, beach picnics, and kayaking. Families often visit during this time, taking advantage of the campground facilities and participating in ranger-led programs and activities. While temperatures can be hot and humidity high, the refreshing sea breeze and ocean waters provide relief, making it an ideal time for a coastal getaway.

Winter

Winter

Winter may not be the most popular time to visit Assateague State Park, but it holds its own charm for those seeking solitude and tranquility amidst the coastal landscape. The park is much quieter during winter, offering a peaceful retreat for birdwatching, beachcombing, and enjoying scenic walks along deserted shores. While temperatures can be chilly, it’s still possible to experience beautiful sunsets over the Atlantic Ocean and cozy up by a campfire on the beach. Winter also provides unique opportunities for wildlife observation as migratory birds and other species seek refuge in the park’s protected habitats.

Spring

Spring

Spring is an excellent time to visit Assateague State Park as the weather begins to warm up and the natural world awakens from winter slumber. During this season, you can witness the park’s flora burst into bloom, with colorful wildflowers dotting the landscape and migratory birds returning to the area. It’s an ideal time for birdwatching, hiking, and enjoying the tranquility of the park before the summer crowds arrive. The temperatures are comfortable, ranging from mild to warm, making outdoor activities like beachcombing and wildlife spotting pleasant.

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Fall

Must-See Attractions

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Wild Ponies

One of the most iconic attractions of Assateague State Park is the wild pony population. These feral horses roam freely throughout the island and can often be spotted grazing in marshes, wandering along the beach, or resting in the shade of maritime forests. Observing these majestic animals in their natural habitat is a must-do experience for visitors to the park.

Beaches

Assateague State Park boasts pristine beaches along the Atlantic Ocean, allowing visitors to relax, swim, sunbathe, and enjoy various beach activities. The soft sandy shores stretch for miles, providing ample space for beachcombing, shell collecting, and picnicking. Be sure to explore both the ocean-facing beaches and the tranquil bayside shores for different perspectives of the island’s coastline.

Assateague Lighthouse

Located within the Assateague Island National Seashore adjacent to the state park, the Assateague Lighthouse is a historic landmark that has guided ships along the coast since 1833. Visitors can climb to the top of the lighthouse during scheduled open house events for breathtaking views of the island and surrounding waters.

Helpful Tips: Making the Most of Your Adventure to Assateague State Park

Plan Ahead

Check Park Regulations

Before you go, familiarize yourself with the park regulations, including beach driving rules, camping regulations, and wildlife viewing guidelines. This will help ensure a safe and enjoyable visit while protecting the park’s natural resources.

Pack Appropriately

Pack Essentials

Be sure to pack essentials such as sunscreen, insect repellent, water, snacks, a hat, and sturdy footwear. Bring beach towels, chairs, umbrellas, and beach toys if you plan to spend time on the beach. Also, don’t forget your camera or binoculars for viewing wildlife and capturing memorable moments.

Respect Wildlife

Respect Wildlife

While observing the wild ponies and other wildlife, maintain a safe distance and refrain from feeding or approaching them. Remember that these wild animals should be treated with respect and caution. Keep food securely stored to avoid attracting animals to your campsite or picnic area.

Stay Informed

Beach Safety

If you plan to swim or engage in water activities, be aware of ocean conditions and any posted warnings or advisories. Swim near lifeguard-protected areas when available, and never swim alone. Be cautious of rip currents, rough surf, and changing tides, especially if you’re not a strong swimmer.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Assateague State Park

Assateague State Park is home to a population of wild ponies, also known as feral horses, that roam freely on the island. They are a unique and iconic feature of the park.

Yes, visitors can swim at Assateague State Park. The park boasts pristine beaches along the Atlantic Ocean, providing opportunities for swimming, sunbathing, and beach activities.

A beach driving permit is required to drive on the beach at Assateague State Park. Permits can be purchased at the park entrance or visitor center and are necessary for accessing designated beach driving areas.

Assateague State Park offers camping facilities for tent and RV camping. There are campsites available on the beachfront and bayside, providing a unique camping experience amidst the island’s natural beauty.

Assateague State Park is home to diverse wildlife, including wild ponies, deer, foxes, various bird species, and marine life. Visitors may also encounter dolphins, sea turtles, and other coastal creatures.

Assateague State Park has several scenic hiking trails that wind through marshes, forests, and dunes. These trails offer opportunities for wildlife viewing, birdwatching, and exploring the island’s natural habitats.

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