Assateague is a 37-mile the barrier island extending down the Delmarva (Delaware-Maryland-Virgina) Peninsula. The island is owned and managed in its entirety by 3 angecies: the National Parks Service, Maryland State Parks, and United States Fish and Wildlife Service. The Virginia section contains the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.
The island plays host to a year round population of native ponies which roam freely, claimed to be the descendants of domesticated horses brought over from Europe and shipwrecked on the island centuries ago. Assateague also provides an important refuge for a number of native and migratory birds.
Assateugue offers a variety of camping options including backcountry and car camping sites. Due to its popularity, summertime campsites are often booked up several weeks or even months in advance! Assateague is lovely during the summer, but we like it even better in late spring or early fall when the crowds and mosquitos have both left.
There are no shortage or recreation options available at Assateague: hiking, swimming, sunbathing, and kayaking are all very popular. The NPS also permits off-road driving on the beach! You must be driving a permitted 4x4 vehicle with equipment necessary to self-rescue if stuck in the sand and access is limited to a specific number of vehicles on the beach at any one time.
Assateauge makes an awesome long weekend trip from New York City! At about a 4 hour drive, getting to the island from NYC isn't much more difficult than getting to East Hampton on a summer weekend, and it sure is a world apart.
Check it out!