Originally posted June 29, 2020
There are places that make my heart happy, and Assateague is one of them. We try to go at least once a year for a week and quick overnights. Over the years we have camped at both the state park and national seashore. I am going to talk about the pros and cons of each.
We started camping at Assateague National Seashore. What we like about camping there is that the sites are more secluded. There was also less sand at the campsite, which can make camp chores much easier. We always had horses come visit. One night we had two horses come up to our campfire and hung out for well over an hour! There is more to do on the national side then the state side. You can go crabbing or clamming, visit the little museum (when it is open), hike dune and boardwalk trials, and paddle on the bay. Even when we are camping on the state side, we always go to the national side to hang out. You are allowed to have fires on the beach and dogs are also permitted on the beach in certain areas (of course on leash).
The down side of the national park is the cold showers! The showers are the button ones that you have to keep pushing to get water and it is cold! Even on a hot day I am NOT a cold shower kind of girl! The other downside is that you will most likely have to drive to the beach area. You could ride your bike, but if you are taking stuff with you to the beach it might get tricky.
It was the cold showers that brought us to Assateague State Park . The state side has fabulous warm showers! I just actually discovered last week that they even have outdoor showers! They are on the back of the bath houses and have hot water. I LOVE outdoor showers. The campground is pretty open, so privacy is limited. There are some sites that are better than others though. It is also nice to be able to walk to the beach.
Both sides allow dogs on certain areas. Please be respectful of this and pay close attention to your dog. Make sure to bring plenty of fresh water for them. If the sand is too hot for you to walk on, then it is too hot for your dog to walk on. Their pads can blister form the heat. The last couple of years we have taken the dogs and they have loved it.
The good and bad of both sides:
The “good” is that the beaches are not crowded. We just went this past week and the campgrounds were full, but the beaches were not. There was at least 30 feet between families. The day use areas might be a different story, but the “camper’s only” beaches are perfect. The horses come to both sides, in the campground and on the sand. This is very much “family friendly” area.
The “bad” is the bugs. This includes mosquitos, black flies, and horse flies. We have horror stories of these little buggers. One year the mosquitoes were so bad that we couldn’t go from the trailer to the truck without spraying completely. We went through several cans of bug spray and tubes of anti-itch cream on that trip. Two years ago, the horse flies were biting so much that we had blood running down our legs. The only safe place was in the water. That was actually pretty cool because the horses were in the water with us to avoid the flies. It is also very hard to get a campsite at times. You are allowed to reserve up to a year in advance. If you want more than a couple of days, you need to be ready to be up at midnight the year before to book.
Overall, I highly recommend Assateague as a place to go. You might find that this is your “happy place” too!