Viewing the Assateague Horses Safely
During your visit to Assateague, you will most likely encounter at least a few of the island's most popular residents. Petting or feeding the wild horses may seem like a harmless and fun thing to do, but the consequences can be terrible. For your safety and the safety of the horses, please obey park regulations and do not approach, touch, or feed the Assateague horses.
Stay at least a "bus length" or 40 feet away, but remember that may still be too close depending on the circumstances. If horses approach you, back off and retreat to a safe distance. Do not take food to the beach unless in a cooler that is zippered or secured with a nylon strap. Even then, if horses approach your food, you must move away.
Assateague horses do bite, kick and can carry rabies. These horses are WILD, and they don't behave like domestic horses. Treat the horses with respect - move back and stay safe.
Proper Food Storage - Protect Your Food From Horses
Insects on Assateague IslandMosquitoes and other biting insects may be abundant on Assateague from May to November. They are most active at dawn and dusk but can be persistent any time. Be prepared for insects when you visit Assateague.
You can protect yourself from biting insects by wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants, and/or using insect repellents on your clothing and exposed skin. Repellents containing DEET (20% to 30%), Picardin or oil of lemon eucalyptus can be very effective. Carefully follow instructions on the container.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that a cautious approach be used when applying repellents with DEET on children (repellents with 10% or less on children ages 2-12 and never using repellents with DEET on infants). Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under the age of three. Wash treated skin after returning indoors. For more information visit the EPA website.
What can I expect when I come to camp?
Each campsite contains one picnic table, one parking space and one fire ring; with the exception of J-Loop walk-up sites which contain a picnic table and fire ring with parking located adjacent to the J-Loop bathhouse. Each camping loop has a bathhouse within it or within walking distance and has at least one dune crossover.
How close am I to the beach when I camp at Assateague State Park?
The camping loops are separated from the beach by a dune, and crossovers are located at each loop.
What’s the difference between State and National Park camping?
The State Park offers warm showers and some electric sites. Pets are allowed in the day-use beach area from Labor Day to the Friday before Memorial Day. Pets are permitted in the marina area year-round. Pets are permitted with registered campers in campground loops H, I, J (sites J-1 to J-13 only) and the adjacent beach. The National Park has cold showers and chemical toilets, and they also allow pets. Dogs must be on a 6-foot leash. You can register at the National Park 24 hours a day by signing up for an available site (after hours) and then paying the next morning. Registration at the State Park must be done in person. From Memorial Day through Labor Day, the State Park Ranger Station is open from 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. In the spring and fall, the Ranger Station is open until 10 p.m. on weekends and until 8 p.m. during the week. The beaches of both parks are the same. However, the State Park has only one entrance through the dunes in day-use and the National Park has two. Each camping loop has at least one dune crossover to the beach.
Can I have pets in the State Park Campground?
Pets are allowed in Assateague State Park in the following areas:
Are generators allowed?
Generator use is prohibited during quiet hours 10 pm- 7 am. Outside of quiet hours, generators must be operated at a sound level that is not annoying or disturbing to other park users. You may be asked to turn a generator off or limit use based on sound levels. Failure to comply may result in a citation. (COMAR 08.07.06.20)
Do I need reservations and how do I get them?
Reservations are not needed but are highly recommended. Reservations cannot be made at the park. They are taken over the phone at 1-888-432-CAMP (2267) Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through our centralized Reservation system or on-line at parkreservations.maryland.gov. Walk-ins are accepted if sites are available. Sites can be purchased for family or friends but the occupant MUST register for their site upon arrival. No gate codes are to be given out by staff or other campers prior to their arrival/registration.
I’m over 62 and have a National Park pass. Can I use it at the State Park?
The Maryland Park Service does not honor day use passes from other park organizations. The State Park has its own Golden Age Pass. It is available at the Ranger Station or online at the Golden Age Pass website. It has a one-time service charge of $10 and seniors can receive their card immediately (depending on availability.) It is good for all Maryland State Park day use areas and a reduced rate for camping every night except weekends and holidays. It also covers boat launching fees at our marina; be sure to display the Golden Age Pass in your vehicle.
I’m a senior. Can I reserve sites for my family?
It is against park policy that seniors reserve sites for reasons other than that senior’s personal use. Renting sites under a senior’s name for sons, daughters, friends, business partners, or other relatives is prohibited. These family members and/or friends will be required to pay the difference unless the senior is actually spending the night on the site.
How many persons are allowed per campsite?
There is a maximum of 6 persons (including babies of all ages) allowed per site. If there is a family that has more than 6 people, they may request special exception from the Duty Officer/Supervisor. (Example, 1 mother, 1 father, 5 children, who belong to the same couple.) It is at the Duty Officer’s/Supervisor’s discretion whether to honor the request or deny it.
How many vehicles/camping units are allowed per campsite?
There is a maximum of 3 tents per site or 2 tents plus one other camping unit allowed per site (total maximum per site is three camping units). Only one unit can be wheeled-unit, slide-in, or truck camper per site (for example: 1 trailer and 2 tents). Only 2 vehicles are allowed per site provided they can both fit on the blacktop. Any additional vehicles can obtain a vehicle permit and park in the overflow lot in front of the Ranger Station. Any vehicles without a pass in this lot are subject to a citation and/or fine. Note that J-Loop walk-up campsite users must park adjacent to the J-Loop bathhouse. There is no vehicle access to these sites.
Can I camp out on the beach?
Camping outside of the designated campsites is prohibited.
When can I check in for my reservation?
Camper check-in begins at 2 p.m. If you are arriving the day after your reservation begins then you may check in immediately. If you have a reservation, and arrive before check-in time, please expect to wait until 2 p.m. Check-out time is at 11:00 a.m. Anyone checking out late may be subject to an additional night’s service charge. Campers must check-in during office hours: Memorial Day to Labor Day to 10 p.m; before Memorial Day and after Labor Day Sunday through Thursday to 8 p.m. and Friday/Saturday to 10 p.m.
Can I enter the campground after 10 p.m.?
Only campers who have registered with the Ranger Station and have the gate code can get in after 10 p.m. Guests cannot set up tents or campers after 10 p.m. Having a reservation does not guarantee entrance into the campground after 10 p.m. Park employees are not permitted to provide the gate code over the phone. Vehicles in the Ranger Station parking lot without a pass will be subject to a citation and/or a fine.
Prior to Memorial Day and after Labor Day, check-in time is no later than 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday.
Where can I find a dump station?
Registered Assateague campers may use the park’s dump station located between F and G loops. The National Park Service provides a dump station for their campers. Guests who are not registered campers may use the dump station at Pocomoke River State Park for a small service charge.
Is there fresh water available?
Fresh water is located at the bathhouses. Water is treated at the pump houses before going to the bathhouses. Water stations are also available for camper fill-up use at the dump station.
Can I have a fire at my campsite?
Fires are allowed as long as they are contained inside the provided fire ring. All other fires are strictly prohibited. Each site has one fire ring, except the youth group sites. Fire rings are not to be stacked on top of one another at any time. Transporting firewood into Maryland Park Service campgrounds is prohibited in order to minimize the risk of transporting Emerald Ash Borer, an invasive species, into unaffected areas of the state. All firewood must be purchased within Worcester County. You must extinguish the fire with water, and not sand, prior to leaving your site. Please be aware that all fire rings may contain hot coals at any time, even if the campsite has been vacated.
Can I have a bonfire on the beach?
Open fires are not allowed at the State Park. The National Park does allow open fires with permission from the National Park Ranger Station.
Can I have a barbeque grill?
Barbeque grills are allowed on the campsite as long as they are attended at all times when in use. Charcoal grills are permitted only if refuse is properly disposed. Self-contained or mini propane grills are allowed.
Can I park in the Ranger Station parking lot if my vehicles won’t fit on the site?
Overflow parking for registered campers is available in the ranger station parking lot. Extra vehicles may not be parked on any other site than the one(s) registered under your party.
Why can’t I walk on the dunes?
Guests are asked to use the dune crossings available in day-use and in each of the camping loops. All other dune access is limited to protect the dune vegetation and prevent sand and soil erosion.
Are there other campgrounds in the area?
Additional campgrounds include Assateague Island National Seashore, Pocomoke River State Park in Snow Hill, Castaways and Frontier Town in Berlin, and Fort Whaley in Whaleyville.
Is there internet access for visitors at the park?
WiFi is not available within the park. Cellular signals are somewhat reliable on the island but issues with connectivity and reliability do occur. Public libraries in Berlin, Snow Hill and Ocean City provide access to the Internet. Check with the Ranger Station for local businesses that also provide free WiFi service.
Is metal detecting allowed on the beach or in the campground?
Metal detectors are only allowed beginning the day after Labor Day through May 30th and only on the ocean side of the primary dune. Metal detecting will not be allowed from May 31st until the day after Labor Day. Any exceptions must obtain written permission from Park Manager. Metal detecting is not allowed within the campground or on the west side of the primary dune.
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