Assateague Island used to be a pretty well-kept secret, but that secret has gotten out in recent years and for good reason. Its unspoiled beaches, famous ponies, natural beauty and calm environment are very alluring. Assateague Island is a 37 mile long barrier island that stretches across Maryland and Virginia. The northern two-thirds of Assateague Island are in Maryland and bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Sinepuxent Bay to the west. The Island is accessible via the Verrazano Bridge in West Ocean City and is a short fifteen minute drive from the southern end of Ocean City, Maryland. The Maryland portion of Assateague Island is divided into a State Park and a National Park, each of which offers a unique coastal experience for its guests.
Assateague State Park
The State Park is located on the northern portion of Assateague Island. Once you get over the Verrazano Bridge, stay straight and you will come to the State Park entrance. In-season there is a fee for entry that varies for residents and non-residents. Assateague State Park amenities include a large parking lot, restrooms with showers, a cafe and a novelty shop. The State Park beach is two miles long and if you are willing to walk a little ways you can get away from the crowds and enjoy a "spot in the sand" all to yourself. The State Park beaches are monitored by lifeguards via roaming patrol. If you are looking for a quick and easy trip to Assateague Island, the State Park is the way to go ... Learn More
Assateague Island National Seashore
The Assateague Island National Seashore is located on the southern half of the island. Once you arrive on the island, take the first right and it will lead you down to the National Park. There is a fee for daily entry to the National Park and weekly and annual passes are available. The National Park offers several large parking lots by the beach, as well as restrooms and showering facilities. The large National Park beaches are monitored by lifeguards in-season. The National Park also has bayside recreational areas and beaches that you can launch kayaks and paddle boards from. The largest populations of the famous Assateague ponies will be found on the Assateague Island National Seashore ... Learn More
OSV (Over-Sand-Vehicle) Zone
The OSV zone is located at the southern end of the National Park and runs all the way to Virginia. The OSV zone is comprised of large, unspoiled beaches that offer the very best in coastal living. Access to the OSV zone requires a special permit, as well as mandatory safety and recovery equipment. The entry to the OSV zone is gated and only 145 vehicles are allowed on the beach at a time. In-season lines to get onto the beach are common, but they tend to move relatively quickly. There is a parking lot and bathroom facilities near the entrance to the OSV zone. Reducing the air pressure in your tires is recommended when driving on the beach and there are air tanks available to refill your tires when you come off ... Learn More
Both the State Park and the National Park have camping areas on the oceanside and bayside with site options for tents, trailers and recreational vehicles. Camping facilities include toilets, showers and drinking water ... Learn More
As you can see, Assateague Island has a lot to offer. A day trip to Assateague Island is well worth the trip to see the famous ponies and enjoy its large unspoiled beaches. My family and I spend a lot of time on Assateague and we just might see you there!