|Address:||7206 National Seashore Ln, Berlin, MD 21811, USA|
|Working:||Open 24 hours Open 24 hours Open 24 hours Open 24 hours Open 24 hours Open 24 hours Open 24 hours|
The atmoshphere here is fantastic! Plenty of space at each campsite, and the fire pit and picnic table were very convenient. Bathrooms and showers are close to the campsite and kept very clean and stocked. It is a little terrifying waking up at 5 a.m. and having to run to the bathroom when there could be a horse right next to you. I noticed the horses have their territories that they roam, and they arent exactly shy. The first encounter I had aside from driving passed them was around 7 a.m. my third day. I got up and out of my tent and noticed them at the next camp over. They slowly made their way over to us and made themselves comfortable. We had a fire going at this point, thinking they might back off some, and to help with the insane amount of bugs we were dealing with. Wrong! The horses loved the smoke for the same reason we do. Seeing the one so relaxed and getting some relief from the bugs made it way less scary, but it was still an intense situation. They came back the next day after ripping open a neighbors food container and harassing them for a bit, a bit more aggressive today, but we learned an awesome trick. Open an umbrella in their face if they get too close, it messes with their vision a bit and they leave. We then went to the beach, and returned to our tent with a horse head in it. It had somehow ripped the tent open and gotten into our food. We were able to get them to leave before they got everything and only had one more encounter with them at our site after that. We got the full experience that everyone goes there for, that not everyone gets. Overall I loved it! It was exciting, suspenseful, and relaxing all at the same time. 10/10 recommend for everyone.
There seems to be a security problem here. Let me explain: After spending one night in a tent on the ocean side, the high winds and strong rain convinced me to try a bayside site instead. I tried to set up my tent at the new site on bayside but it was too windy. I decided to throw my wet tent in the back of my car, stay in a hotel for a night, and return the next day to pitch my wet tent once the storm had passed. I decided to leave two childrens bikes and my cooler full of food (tightly bungee corded to keep the horses out) on the site because the tent took up all my hatchback space. I realize leaving the bikes and cooler behind was risky but it was the best I could do at the time. When we returned the next morning, the childrens bikes and my cooler were gone. Other campers report seeing the bikes on my site at 6 pm but by the morning the bikes and my cooler full of food were gone. Apparently there are a few opportunistic locals nearby who have been caught stealing items from camp sites before. The rangers leave at night and dont return until the morning. During this time, the gate to the Assateague Island National Seashore is left WIDE OPEN and vehicles may enter and exit freely during all hours of the night. This is a known security issue and these thefts keep happening. Im not sure what can be done but a one way gate (to let vehicles out but not back in after closing time) might at least make theft more difficult. This park is beautiful but Im not sure I would camp here again because there is no access control at night and no security. I visited this park in March 2016.
The visitors center has a lot of information about Assateague island and the ponies at the Maryland and Virginia ends of the Island. The center is free with free parking, nice bathrooms, water fountain and a large map of the island to see where things are located. Handicapped accessible with ramps and automatic doors. There are displays describing the creation of the Ocean City inlet, how streets and towns were planned before storms made it a poor real estate location. There are hands-on displays about the wildlife and the birds on the island. A movie plays every 30 minutes that gives a fantastic helicopter fly-over and highlights the horses in the wild, at the campground, and the Virginia band tended by the Chincoteague Fire department which does the pony swim and auction every July to sell off the foals. The movie details the program to keep the northern wild herd at acceptable numbers by using birth control on the mares. The Visitors Center also has a gift shop with shirts, stuffed Ponys, puzzles, childrens books, trail and nature guides, some jewelry items and posters. Bring your own bag to tote items to your car as they stopped giving out plastic bags this year. I bring all my guests to the visitors center if they havent been there. This is the new building they completed a few years ago.
The beaches are spectacular. There are extensive nature trails and the park rangers are helpful and knowledgable. The showers and bathrooms are clean, even through the summer and theres a camp store that is open occasionally. Make reservations if you want to camp, it fills up for the season very, very quickly. Lots of times people book the same week when they check out. Theres nothing like camping on the beach. Canoes are available to rent and use to explore the back bays, there are some companies in the area that provide guided tours. Except in the height of summer its pretty easy to find parking and a place on the beach, even if youre coming for the day only. Weekly or annual passes are available. If you use the annual pass twice, it pays for itself. Make a point to check out the Visitor Center which has a ton of information. There also is a museum and an ecology center at the islands entrance. Its easy to spend a week and not do everything you want to do on the island. People who use the off-road beaches warn to get there early, because theres a one on, one off policy once the beach is filled. They provide air to re-inflate your tires at the end of a day on the beach. Take the warnings about the horses seriously. They will bite and kick, they will take your food.
Kate Leuschen Millar
I have been to the National Seashore in Virginia many times, but this was my first visit to the Maryland end of the island. The visitor center was large and had a great combination of exhibits and activities. The kids touched horseshoe crabs in the touch tank and listened to a ranger talk about an invasive deer species left by boy scouts many years ago. The shop has lovely things, and the beach is gorgeous and free from Ocean Citys carnival rides. But who needs rides when the wild horses walk around freely right down the dunes and through the parking lots? There are many warnings about getting close to them. Unlike the Virginia side, these horses have no really natural or man-made boundaries that keep them apart. We stayed for the day to ride the waves in the sun. The campsites looks great - right up on the beach. Next time! The beach is lovely, and I recommend visiting the rescue boat museum if you have a chance. Kids can do an easy Junior Ranger badge if they have the time. A lot to learn! My only disappointment was the horrible cellphone and wifi in the visitor center- but fault really sits with the location and carrier and not the parks service. Once out on the beach, I could call and upload pictures with no issues.