SP Campground Review – Assateague State Park, MD
A simple State Park campground in the perfect spot to explore the beach and wild ponies of Assateague Island, MD
Link to campground here: Assateague State Park, MD
Link to map location here: Assateague State Park, MD
- Site Quality = 3.5/5
Very decent sites here with just a few dings. There are 10 camping loops (lettered A-J) all located right by the beach, separated by a small dune. The first 8 loops are small horseshoe-shaped loops while the last two are more elongated loops. Only one loop (H) provides 30 Amp electric hookups, while all other loops are dry-camping (generators are allowed outside of quiet hours). Also, only the last 3 loops (H, I, J) allow pets, so if you have paws be sure to book in these specific loops. In regards to site quality all sites are very similar. They are long, paved, nicely flat sites with fairly decent separation (not fabulous, but not bad) and enough grass to provide a good-sized “sitting area” with picnic table and fire-pit. Sites on the curved “corners” of the loops do tend to have a bit more separation than sites along the edges, but otherwise there is not much difference. The biggest dings? All sites here are very open (no trees or such) so there’s not much privacy, plus there are quite a lot of painful grass stickers/burrs (hard on bare feet and paws) as well as pony poop (the ponies regularly walk thro’ camp & leave souvenirs), so hanging around on the grass by your site can sometimes be a challenge.
- Facilities = 5/5
WOW is all I can say! Best facilities we’ve ever seen at a public campground in 7 years on the road. They look newly renovated with nice modern tile, flush toilets and huge, warm, fabulous showers with a nice separate bench and hooks for your stuff (the showers here rocked!!). Everything was impeccably clean while we were here too.
- Location = 4.5/5
The main reason to stay here is to be close to the beach and see the wild Assateague Ponies, and for both those reasons I don’t think you can get much better. Pretty much ANY site in the State Park is only a short walk (and a small dune) away from the beach, and the Ponies come right into camp almost everyday. Plus you are right next to a really nice bike path which takes you all the way from the Visitors Center into the National Seashore. The only slight ding? This location is known for it’s bugs. We only saw a few mosquitoes in Oct (it wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected and the ocean breeze kept most of them at bay), but I’ve heard skeeters, gnats & ticks can get really bad in summer. You are forewarned 🙂
- Pet Friendliness = 4/5
A really great spot for doggie with just a few dings. The beach here is fabulous and the State Park does allow them by the pet loops (H, I, J loop). This is a HUGE beach beach and will give you plenty of space to enjoy with your paws (Polly LOVED it). The main dings are that dogs not allowed on the beach by the other loops and are only allowed in the day-use areas on a seasonal basis (from after Labor Day to Memorial Day). There are also quite a lot of bad stickies/burrs by camp, so be aware of that when you walk paws around your campsite. Lastly if you decide to take paws into the National Seashore section of the Island be aware that doggie cannot walk on any of nature trails in Assateague National Seashore (you are welcome to enjoy the bayside beach as well as the bike trails everywhere, but just cannot hike the nature trails).
NOTE/ Rabies certificates are REQUIRED at this State Park and you will be asked to show them upon check-in.
Overall Rating = 4.25
BONUS ALERT = Camp by a gorgeous beach with wild ponies all around!
Video Overview: Want to see it in living color? Check out our ~9 min video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A6FkItx6Qw0
Summary: We chose this campground to see Assateague Island and for that reason it was perfect. The State Park is on the Island, right by the gorgeous beach (separated by a small dune) and right in the midst of the Wild Ponies (they wander right through camp!). Also you are literally right next door to Assateague National Seashore and only ~8 miles away from the super-cute town of Berlin. For enjoying the beach and seeing the Ponies you really can’t get much better! Sites are all pretty identical no matter which loop you end up on. They’re nice, flat, long sites and none of them have hookups except for loop H (30 Amp only). Also the facilities in the State Park are awesome with some of the BEST hot showers we’ve ever encountered in a public campground! It’s wide open here so great for solar but not much in the way of site privacy. The main dings? This place is notorious for its bugs (gnats, skeeters, ticks). We didn’t see much in Oct, but I’ve heard they get really bad in summer. Also for those with paws you are somewhat limited where you can take them. Only 3 of the loops in camp are pet-friendly (H, I, J) and paws are only allowed on the beach by these specific loops. Plus there are quite a lot of burrs/stickies in the grass around the campsites so you have to be careful with paws by camp. You can however take doggie on all the bike trails as well as bayside at the National Seashore. Overall we loved the beach (gorgeous!), had a blast biking all the bike trails (which run from the bridge to the National Seashore) and really enjoyed seeing the Wild Ponies. A highly recommended stop, especially at the right time of year.
NOTE/ The State Park books up quickly in high season and even on week-ends in the low season, so reservations are definitely recommended, especially if you have pets (only 3 pet-friendly loops).
Extra Info: Stable, good cell signal (3 bars Verizon LTE, 1 bars ATT LTE). 350 total sites, most of which can be reserved from April through October. Sites cost $27.50/night (no hookups, all loops except H loop) or $38.50/night (30 Amp hookups, H loop only, 38 total sites). On site dump station and potable water.
Extra, Extra Info: OTHER CAMPING? There are several other camping options within and around this area:
- Assateague National Seashore – This is literally *right* next door to the State Park and provides 2 options -> one campground by the beach and one campground on the bayside. The beach-side camping is almost identical in look & feel to the State Park except the facilities only offer cold showers (no hot showers). The bay-side camping has much better separation and privacy, plus some sites have great bay views but does it tend to get more buggy here. All sites cost $30/night. NO hookups. Click HERE for more info.
- Frontier Town Campground – For those who want hookups, this private park is just 8 miles inland by the cute town of Berlin and rates very well. Sites are $$$$ however and cost $60-$120/night depending on site location and season. Click HERE for more info.
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We LOooVE Comments, So Please Do
Lisa Cantrell says
Thank you for yet another wonderful Tebow and I especially appreciate the information about showers. We had to skip Assateague in 2015 but plan to go in 2017 so now I know precisely where to request.
For anyone dealing with bugs, we have found that Natrapel has worked wonders in every area of the country. First got it in the Grand Tetons but have used from coast to coast and border to border.
Happy travels.Hope Taggart continues to improve.
Lisa Cantrell says
Hahaha…yeah I was scratching my head on the Tebow comment. Cheers for the tip! We also like Permethrin (for treating clothes) and 100% DEET for treating the edges of hats, pants and shoes (we never use it directly on the skin).
Juanita Capellani says
Your reviews of campgrounds and all the detail you provide are fantastic. Wish you would compile a book of them. We would sure buy one.
Ed Kirkpatrick says
We agree! Assateague is one of our favorites and we agree with your warning about the bugs. As native Marylanders, we know, the biting flies and skeeters can be bad all the way into November until there’s been a hard freeze. Great that you had a sea breeze. The beaches are excellent and uncrowded. The ponies are great fun too but watch from a distance, they are wild.
Jack Freemont says
Being on the “Outer Banks” with ocean to the east and salt water marsh to the west, where do all the “little buggers” breed? I thought mosquito’s needed fresh water. The barrier islands look barren.
Lots of little pools of water out here for them. Skeeters are a way of life on the barrier Islands. Even the National Parks website warns you about them.
Lynda H says
Oh, no. We just missed you. We were in I9 a coouple of weeks ago, pre-Hurricane Matthew, so our weather was not so pretty. In fact, most of the campground was under water. We return each year for beach, bikes and beautiful horses every fall. Oh, and we kayaked in the National Park this year (when it wasn’t raining!).
JOYCE L DOUGHERTY says
My husband and I are going full time next year. We are doing all our planning, research and down-sizing now. Your blogs and reviews of campgrounds and local stuff are so educational and enjoyable to read (which I try to do every day). We have 2 Boxer dogs and we’ll be 5th wheeling it. Just wanted to say “thank you” to you, Paul, your furry children, and the Beast. (Without the Beast, where would you be, right?). Keep up the great work. We want to be just like you guys some day!
Dave Shaw says
Nice review for the state park. We had previously been staying at the National seashore and always in the off season to basically avoid the worst of bug season. The last couple of times we stayed in the area we actually used the Frontiertown campground during mid-October when they had their special pricing. Staying for a week having full hookups was a comparable cost to staying at the seashore with no hookups.
Great to know Frontiertown offers special deals every now and then. They’re very close so that would be a decent option.