After having an amazing night in Ocean City, New Jersey at our friend’s wedding, Paul and I decided we needed a quiet night to unwind and relax. So, Saturday morning we made our way down to Assateague National Seashore in Maryland to camp for the night.
Getting to Assateague was quick and easy, we took the Cape May car ferry to Delaware and then drove the last hour down to Assateague island. When we got to the park I realized that I had mistakenly booked a campsite in the state park which is also on the island, instead of in the neighboring national park. After checking out the sites in the state park, and not being satisfied (it’s set up for large RVs), Paul and I both agreed to go take a look at the national park. After looking at the map we decided to camp in the national park and we were lucky enough to have a park ranger give us a list of available camp sites to pick from! Paul and I drove around the park checking out the different sites to decide where we wanted to set up camp. To some people the idea of scoping out the camp site might be crazy, but we take our spots seriously. Assateague National Park offers a few different camping experiences, with sites designed for RVs and campers, sites situated on the bay, some on the ocean, others you can drive right up to, and then some you had to walk to. Assateague also has back country camping for those into backpacking. While we would have loved to back country camp, we wouldn’t have had the time and ended up choosing a site that we had to walk to. Before setting up camp we drove over to the bayside of the island to watch the sunset. I’ve seen a lot of sunsets but this was one I won’t forget, it was beautiful.
After taking in the sunset we headed to our site to set up camp. Our spot was located on the other side of the island in the middle of beach dunes close to the ocean. The campsites are outfitted with fire rings and picnic tables to make for a comfortable camping experience. There were others camping around us, but the dunes sheltered us from any noise and light that might have been coming from their sites. As we sat by the fire that night we could hear the waves crashing against the shore. We woke up early the next morning to watch the sunrise from the beach. I can say that I haven’t been to too many places where you can see not only a breathtaking sunrise over the water but a sunset too.
Assateague offers its campers beaches and trails, but it is most famous for the wild horses that roam the island. As soon as we crossed the bridge onto the island we came across horses grazing on the side of the road. The horses on the island are very unique, having little to no human contact for their entire lives. These horses have adapted to survive on this island through hot summers and brutal winters. Most campgrounds have short barn fencing surrounding all of the sites to keep the horses from coming in and stealing your food at night. The horses are docile and keep to themselves but are a unique aspect that no other national park has to offer. In the summer months the horses escape the heat and the bugs by spending their days on the beach. As the weather cools the horses make their way to the bayside of the island to protect themselves from the harsh winds coming off the ocean.
I’m bummed we were only able to spend one night in Assateague, but now I know in the future that it is definitely worth another trip down there.