Assateague State Park is Maryland's only oceanfront park. It is located on Assateague Island, a barrier island bordered by the Atlantic Ocean on the east and the Sinepuxent Bay on the west. Its two miles of ocean beaches offer swimming, beachcombing, sunbathing, surfing and fishing. The bayside offers visitors the chance to explore secluded coves by canoe or kayak. The marsh areas have a variety of wildlife, including deer, waterfowl and feral horses.
Ocean City is approximately nine miles north of the park and can be seen from the island.
The historic town of Berlin is less than eight miles away. Quaint shops, an historic hotel, and small restaurants give visitors the chance to step back in time. Berlin was the filming location for two major motion pictures, Runaway Bride and Tuck Everlasting.
Pets are currently allowed in Assateague State Park in the following areas:
- Pets are allowed in the marina area to board vessels
- Pets are allowed with registered campers in the following campsites: Loop H, Loop J, Loop I sites 36-51, as well as on the beach from the H Loop crossover to the south and on the road in I Loop
- Pets are allowed in day-use areas from October 1 to April 30
Assateague Gift Items
Assateague State Park's Assateague State Park's bread tray is approximately 9 1/2" x 6 1/2" and features the park's famous ponies. The attractive bread tray is the perfect gift for the park lover in your family and is safe for serving and baking purposes. The tray is affordably priced at $40, which includes shipping, handling and applicable taxes. All sales are final. Order the bread tray through this website.
Assateague State Park's plush horse is the perfect gift for children. For just $17.99 (which includes all taxes and shipping costs) this adorable plush horse could be yours. This toy horse measures 8.5" tall, 9" long and about 4.5" wide. At just under 5 oz. it makes the perfect gift for the little ones in your life. Order the Assateague plush pony through this website.
- Amenities at the park include a bike trail, boat launch/marina, nature programs, camp sites, camp store, dumping station, food & beverage, fishing, swimming, nature center and kayak rentals.
- A guarded swimming area is available daily from Memorial Day to Labor Day, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Rip currents are a common occurrence on Assateague Island. Be sure you know how to handle them before you swim.
- Fishing is available in the boat launch area or from the ocean beach.
- Boat launch facilities are on the mainland park acreage.
- Public access to the beach and the day use parking lot is open from 9:00 a.m. to sunset, 7 days a week.
Come Camp at Assateague State Park
- 350 sites are available, each with a fire ring and picnic table.
- Electric hook-ups are available in the H-Loop only.
- Most campsites can be reserved from April 24, 2013 through October 27, 2013.
- Youth Group Camping can be reserved from April 24, 2013 through October 27, 2013. A valid Maryland DNR Youth Group Pass is required to reserve a Youth Group Camping Area. Nightly service charges apply. For additional information visit our web site at: http://dnr.maryland.gov/publiclands/youthcamp.asp
- Campground Office/Ranger Station Ė When the campground is open, the office may be reached at (410) 641-2918. The hours of operation:
April 24-May 23, 2013: Sunday-Thursday, 8:30 a.m.- 8:00 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 8:30 a.m.- 10:00 p.m.
May 24-September 2, 2013: 8:30 a.m.- 10:00 p.m. 7 days/week
September 3-October 27, 2013: Sunday-Thursday, 8:30 a.m.- 8:00 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 8:30 a.m.- 10:00 p.m.
- Call 1-888-432-CAMP(2267) for reservations or "click" here for online reservations.
- It is your responsibility to have the necessary skills, knowledge and equipment for a safe and environmentally sensitive visit.
Bathhouse Renovations During 2013-2014 Camping Season
The following sites will be closed during the 2013-2014 camping season for Phase I of renovations of Assateague bathhouses:
- September 3, 2013 - July 6, 2014: Loops A, B, C, D closed
- October 1, 2013 - July 6, 2014: Loops A, B, C, D, E, F closed
Phase II is expected to begin in September of 2014 through May 2015 for bathhouses in Loops G, H, I, J. Please refer to this website for updates on this project and additional planned closures.
Come Fishing at Assateague State Park
Fishing at Assateague State Park can be done on the beach or at our marina. Surf fishing on the beach is allowed at the State Park as long as it is done outside of the lifeguarded areas. This policy is the same at the National Park. Bay fishing is allowed at the marina piers and from boats in the designated areas of the Bay. Clamming is allowed at the State Park and at the National Park in different areas of the bay. Beginning January 2011, fishing licenses are required in the Sinepuxent Bay as well as the Atlantic Ocean. Please refer to DNR Licensing & Registration Service for details on fishing licenses and the Maryland saltwater angler registry.
If you want to fish the surf in the Day Use/Beach area, the standard parking charges apply Ė in-season, $4.00 per person for Maryland residents, $6.00 per person for non-residents. In the off-season, the cost is $3.00 per vehicle for Maryland residents and $5 per vehicle for out-of-state, paid through a self-registration system. If you want to fish at the marina pier, the cost is $3.00 per vehicle for Maryland residents and $5.00 per vehicle for out-of-state. If you wish to launch a boat, the service charge is $10.00 for in-state residents and $12 for out-of-state residents, and covers the cost of parking. Both charges are paid through a self-registration system.
Regulations vary according to the type of catch. Please refer to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Fishing Guide for state regulations. The guide can be downloaded from this website.
The only fish cleaning station is at the marina; however, it is very basic and there is no running water. Please do not use the restrooms to clean fish.
Fun events for kids and adults are held annually at Assateague State Park. come see live animals, have a hoppin' good time, or join thousands to raise funds for important causes.
Environmental Education Opportunities at Assateague State Park
Maryland Park Service and Maryland Conservation Corps are offering School Group and Youth Group Programs at Assateague State Park for the Spring and Fall seasons. We welcome you and your group members to discover the unique ecology of a salt marsh and barrier island and the abundance of creatures that inhabit them.
Nature Center and Interpretive Programs at Assateague State Park
Assateague State Park offers a wide variety of interpretive programs for visitors of all ages! Visit our Nature Center, located in the Assateague State Park campground between D and E loops. Come in and explore our displays and exhibits. Each year there is something new to see, learn about, and discover. Spend time getting a close-up look at our aquariums featuring many of the fascinating critters that inhabit the waters around Assateague such as horseshoe crabs, whelks, fish, and seahorses. Donít forget to peek in on our terrestrial friends too, the corn snake and screech owl. Thereís something for everyone, a must-see for our Assateague visitors!
Junior Beach Patrol at Assateague State Park
Kids ages 7 to 15 are invited to get a taste of what itís like being a part of the Assateague State Park Beach Patrol by training with the lifeguards! Participants will have the opportunity to learn about and get involved with many different components of lifeguarding, including lessons about beach and ocean ecology; basic surf rescue techniques; physical fitness challenges; and rescue equipment and how it is used.
Junior Naturalist Children's Birthday Parties
Assateague State Park welcomes you and your group to come out for a birthday party with an educational theme. For children ages 4 - 16.
Rackliffe House: Assateague's New Coastal Heritage Center
Visitors to Assateague State Park have a new opportunity to learn about colonial life along Maryland's coast when they visit historic Rackliffe House. Rackliffe, overlooking Sinepuxent Bay, is a beautifully restored 18th-century coastal plantation house located at the end of Tom Patton Lane, just a half-mile hike from the Assateague Island Visitor Center.
The late Tom Patton, founding President of the Rackliffe House Trust, envisioned the House as a site for coastal heritage interpretation. The Trust, in partnership with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and Assateague State Park, has raised more than $800,000 for the restoration of Rackliffe House and the archeological investigation of the surrounding property. The Trust is now operating the structure and surrounding three acres of property as a Coastal Maryland Heritage Center. The plantation house is reportedly the only one of its kind and vintage in the Mid-Atlantic region that is open to the public.
The vast majority of the funds raised have been used to complete the restoration of the notable coastal Maryland colonial residence and attached kitchen wing. The Trust is currently working to complete the restoration of the historic milk house, and funds are being raised to develop an interpretation and landscaping plan.
Rackliffe House will be open on Thursdays during the summer. Visitors may hike to Rackliffe House any day between dawn and dusk to view the House exterior and explore the grounds. Visitors are asked to park in the lot for the Assateague Island Visitor Center and walk to the House along Tom Patton Lane. New hiking trails are being created by Assateague State Park that will offer a more scenic path to Rackliffe House.
For more information about Rackliffe House, please visit www.RackliffeHouse.com.
Volunteering at Assateague State Park
Assateague State Park could not function without our dedicated volunteers, and we value them highly. To volunteer at the Park, the first option would be to contact the Friends of Assateague State Park (FOASP). The alternative is to contact Ranger Station or Headquarters staff, who will be able to direct you to the appropriate person.
Camp Host Applications are collected year-round. Camp Hosts camp in the park for one month, during which time they put in around 28 hours per week cleaning their camping loop, manning the Camper Contact booth, and generally helping out. If you would like more information, or an application, e-mail email@example.com or call the Parkís Headquarters office at (410)641-2120 ext. 13.
Youth and School Groups are welcome to contact the office for volunteering or for ideas for service projects.
The park is located at the end of Stephen Decatur Highway (Route 611.) From the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, head east on Route 50 towards Ocean City and turn right onto Route 611. From the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, take Route 13 north to Pocomoke City. Turn right onto Route 113 and head north toward Snow Hill. Stay on Route 113 to Berlin. Turn right onto Assateague Road (Route 376.) When it ends, turn right onto Stephen Decatur Highway (Route 611.)
Assateague State Park
7307 Stephen Decatur Highway
Berlin MD 21811
Ranger Station & Campground Office
Assateague State Park
6915 Stephen Decatur Highway
Berlin MD 21811
Campground Office/Ranger Station: 410-641-2918
Headquarters Office: 410-641-2120
Hours of Operation
9 a.m. to Sunset
Certain activities are permitted outside of the regular park hours (e.g. fishing, boat launch, hunting where permitted). Please check with the park before your visit if you plan to engage in an activity which requires you to be in the park before or after the posted hours.
Contact the Park Service
- Toll Free: 1-800-830-3974
- Reservations: 1-888-432-2267
- Park Watch: 1-800-825-7275
- Email Us