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Assateague Island

Assateague Island is a 37-mile long barrier island off the coast of Maryland and Virginia. It has some of the East Coast’s most beautiful beaches and is known for the wild horses that roam freely on the island.

While you can get a good glimpse of the island from your car, the best way to explore is to rent a canoe, kayak, or bike. There are extensive bike trails from which to view the island and the bayside marshes are especially good for kayaking and canoeing. The horses can most often be seen at sunrise and sunset on the beaches, but be careful if you’re driving as they seem to have a habit of hanging out on the street at night.

For lodging and dining, nearby Berlin has a quaint historic downtown and was recently voted the Coolest Small Town in America by Budget Travel. If you want to stay on the island, there is lots of camping available, especially in the State Park at the northern tip of the island. Sites are available both on the beach and the bayside. There are also backcountry sites that are best reached by kayak or canoe.

If you’re visiting in the warmer seasons, make sure to bring lots of bug spray and some long pants and tops to protect yourself from the large mosquito population that reigns here.

Written by AlocatoNot from stock or prompts


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Things to Do & See

Here are some of the best things to do in Assateague Island. Add them to your trip and we'll hold on to them in your Travelog. Look for to find free stuff.

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Assateague Island Visitor Center

A great stop to make before you head over to the island. Located just before the bridge, you can get all the information you'll need to make the best of your visit. Be advised that there is a per vehicle entry charge once you get to the National Park, or if you're walking or biking it's a significantly cheaper per person charge.

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Kayak, Canoe, and Bike Rental Stand

From mid-April through mid-October you can rent kayaks, canoes, paddle boards, bikes, and even clam rakes at this stand near the National Park's boat launch. Take the second right after passing through the National Park's tollbooth to find it. Equipment can be rented by the hour, day, overnight, or weekend.

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State Park Day-Use and Beach Areas

If you're not ready to rough it, the State Park section of the Assateague Island offers a lot more amenities than the National Seashore area. The day-use area includes life-guarded beaches, a concession stand, flush toilets, hot showers, and a camp store. Lifeguards are on duty from Memorial Day to Labor Day. There is a day-use fee so make sure to bring some cash ($4 per Maryland resident, $6 for non-residents).


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Pony Penning DayAnnually, July

While the horses on the Maryland side of the island are on birth control, the Virginia horses are not. In order to keep their population under control, "Saltwater Cowboys" swim a group of ponies from Assateague Island to Chincoteague Island where they are auctioned off. Many enjoy watching this event that takes place on the third Thursday of July. Make sure to make a reservation on a boat well in advance though, if you want a good view.

Top-Reviewed Restaurants

You're probably going to get hungry while you're there, but what's good in the area?

We've asked our friends at Yelp to keep us updated on what's cool and tasty, and they sent over their top-rated Assateague Island eats. Add some to your trip and we'll store them for you.

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