Reasons You Should Visit Assateague Island in Maryland

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Assateague Island

Assateague Island is a small 2 mile island located on the eastern shore of Maryland. You may not even realize it is there unless you happen to be visiting the area. Assateague Island is the only oceanfront state park in Maryland. Anyone interested in enjoying a day at the beach, but without all the crowds should give Assateague Island a try. It is located right below Ocean City, MD, so it is very convenient to visit.

A day at Assateague Island means you can enjoy a beach without a lot of chaos. Although the loud and crowded boardwalk at Ocean City, Maryland has its own appeal, and all the amusement rides are plenty of fun, Assategue Island is the perfect place to visit to take a break from it all. You could even get lucky while laying on the beach and see some wild horses (or ponies, depending on who you talk to about it).

The beach is never too busy at Assateague Island.
The beach is never too busy at Assateague Island. | Source
While driving around, you can see wildlife, like deer.
While driving around, you can see wildlife, like deer. | Source
The horses will visit you on the beach.  Just get out of their way and everything will be fine!
The horses will visit you on the beach. Just get out of their way and everything will be fine! | Source

Some major reasons you should visit include:

  • Peaceful atmosphere
  • Beautiful clean beaches
  • Plenty of space to relax on the beach
  • Plenty of wildlife to see
  • Convenient showers and public restrooms
  • A small restaurant and gift shop
  • Campsites
  • Fishing
  • Bike trails
  • The Nature Center
  • Kayak rentals
  • Close to Ocean City
  • The Atlantic Ocean is beautiful
  • The wild horses / ponies

Yes, I am completely serious. There are wild horses galloping all over Assateague Island. There are some days when you will only view them from a distance. You can see a herd of horses far away and certainly view the evidence of their existence when you look down if you are stepping in something, but there are times when you will not be able to get close at all. The horses are completely wild and they do what they please. If they are not feeling friendly and photogenic when you arrive, you are just out of luck.

Sometimes when you visit Assateague Island you will get very lucky. Every now and then you may just be sitting on the beach and soaking up the sun, and the horses will come walking along the beach. It is a very surreal scene. One usually does not imagine a herd of horses walking along a populated beach. It is important to remember not to approach the horses. Often, there are park rangers following a herd to monitor the horses and the beach crowd. No matter how peaceful the horses appear, they are not domesticated at all. They have been known to kick or even bite. That means no feeding the horses!

Aside from seeing the wild horses, there is a lot of other wildlife you can enjoy. While laying on the beach you may see seagulls or the occasional crab or two. If you venture out and walk along the trails, you will often see other wildlife. It is totally normal to see deer, rabbits, squirrels, and other critters. Make sure to bring your camera because animals are everywhere at Assateague Island and you don't want to miss your opportunity.

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Some stuff you won't see at Assateague Island:

  • Boardwalk
  • Stores
  • Outlet malls
  • Large crowds
  • Big restaurants
  • Amusement park
  • Motels or hotels
  • Rowdy partying

If you are looking for anything I've listed above, you probably should stick with Ocean City, Maryland, which is simply 2 miles away from Assateague Island. If you'd rather camp out and be at one with nature, Assateague Island is just the environment for you. There are minimal fees to park and stay at Assateague Island.

What I honestly recommend is visiting BOTH places while at the beach in Maryland. I like to stay at Ocean City on the boardwalk. There are plenty of places to stay. I like the craziness of the boardwalk and all the shopping. I enjoy the excitement in the air when it is nighttime at Ocean City; the music cranks up, and you could even see fireworks. But after a while, when everything feels too busy, nothing is better than going to Assateague Island. There are even boat or shuttle bus options to take you over there if you don't feel like prying your car out of your parking space that may have been tough to find. Check out Assateague Island for a little peace and quiet, and you'll be happy you did.


Copyright ©2015 Jeannieinabottle

Assateague Island in September

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show route and directions
A markerRanger's Station, Assateague Island -
7206 National Seashore Lane, Berlin, MD 21811, USA
[get directions]

B markerAssateague Island Visitor's Center -
Assateague Island, 7206 National Seashore Lane, Berlin, MD 21811, USA
[get directions]

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Comments 8 comments

bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 18 months ago from Central Florida

I love the idea of Assateague Island. I had no idea wild horses could be found on the East Coast. I have (had) a preferred beach here in Central Florida. It used to be called Turtle Mound. Now it's call Port Canaveral Beach. There are several boat launches and dogs are allowed on the one I used to frequent. If you see 50 people on the beach, it's a busy day. A bit down the road is Playlinda Beach, which is a nude beach. I've never ventured that far.

The beauty of this location is, if you want the beach life you can travel a few miles up the road to New Smyrna Beach, where there's shopping, bars and restaurants, entertainment, and hotels.

I prefer solitude when I'm at the beach. The waves sooth the soul and allow you to escape the world.

Assateague Island sounds like the perfect retreat.


drbj profile image

drbj 18 months ago from south Florida

How pleasant, Jeannie, to have two such extreme venues available for your leisure time in Maryland: Ocean City and Assateague Island. Thank you for this very pleasant introduction to the Island ... and the horses.


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 18 months ago from Baltimore, MD Author

bravewarrior, it sounds like Port Canaveral Beach is very much like Assateague Island.... minus the horses. I love the excitement of being on the boardwalk and I enjoy playing arcade games and riding a few rides. Once that gets old, it is nice to go to Assateague Island for a while. They've purposely kept it simple, but there is still a small restaurant with basic food (burgers, hot dogs, etc.) and a rest area (plenty of bathrooms and showers). There are also vending machines in case you are simply thirsty from being out in the sun all day. It is just enough modern necessities without overdoing it. :-) Thanks for dropping by!

drbj, yes, the two venues are the opposite of each other. At some point, I should do a hub just for Ocean City, but I figured there is a lot of competition for that one. There are people in Maryland that visit Ocean City every year, but yet, never visit the horses in Assateague, which is sad. I hope to change that. And thanks for your comment!


aethelthryth profile image

aethelthryth 18 months ago from American Southwest

I am sure there are many like me who have read "Misty of Chincoteague" and loved it, but wondered, are there still wild horses there, figuring probably if there are you only get to see them through a telescope. Thanks for inspiring me!


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 18 months ago from South Carolina

Great hub about a very special beach which is a world apart from the resorts in Ocean City, MD, and yet just a short drive away.

Like you, I enjoy both places for all the reasons you stated in this hub.

Voted up across the board except for funny.


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 18 months ago from Baltimore, MD Author

aethelthryth, the horses are definitely still roaming around... often followed by park rangers. They seem so peaceful, so sometimes I have to remind myself not to feed them. :-) Thanks for checking out my hub!

Happyboomernurse, it is funny how different the two locations are, but both are wonderful in different ways. Thanks for your comment and thanks for the votes!


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 18 months ago from USA

What a beautiful place. You have inspired me to visit!


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 18 months ago from Baltimore, MD Author

FlourishAnyway, I am glad you liked it. It really is beautiful there. I hope you can go there soon.

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    Jeannie InABottle (Jeannieinabottle)1,161 Followers
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    Jeannie has been writing for HubPages for over 5 years. She covers a wide variety of topics - anything from hamsters to office work.



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