Worcester CountyMailing Address:Assateague State Park7307 Stephen Decatur Highway,Berlin, MD 21811Ranger Station & Campground Office:(GPS Address)Assateague State Park6915 Stephen Decatur Highway,Berlin, MD 21811
Campground Office/Ranger Station: 410-641-2918Headquarters Office: 410-641-2120E-mail Assateague State Park
The park is located at the end of Stephen Decatur Highway (Route 611.) From the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, head east on Route 50 towards Ocean City and turn right onto Route 611. From the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, take Route 13 north to Pocomoke City. Turn right onto Route 113 and head north toward Snow Hill. Stay on Route 113 to Berlin. Turn right onto Assateague Road (Route 376.) When it ends, turn right onto Stephen Decatur Highway (Route 611.)
Public access to the beach and the day use parking lot is open from 7:00 a.m. to sunset, 7 days a week.
Certain activities are permitted outside of the regular park hours (e.g. fishing, boat launch, hunting where permitted). Please check with the park before your visit if you plan to engage in an activity which requires you to be in the park before or after the posted hours.
Assateague State Park is Maryland's only oceanfront park. It is located on Assateague Island, a barrier island bordered by the Atlantic Ocean on the east and the Sinepuxent Bay on the west. Its two miles of ocean beaches offer swimming, beachcombing, sunbathing, surfing and fishing. The bayside offers visitors the chance to explore secluded coves by canoe or kayak. The marsh areas have a variety of wildlife, including deer, waterfowl and feral horses.
Reservations can be made online at http://reservations.dnr.state.md.us or via the Call Center 1-888-432-2267
Ocean City is approximately nine miles north of the park and can be seen from the island.
The historic town of Berlin is less than eight miles away. Quaint shops, an historic hotel, and small restaurants give visitors the chance to step back in time. Berlin was the filming location for two major motion pictures, Runaway Bride and Tuck Everlasting.
Assateague Island is an always-changing barrier island; each time you visit, you will experience something different as the ocean, winds, and sands continue to move. More and more, these natural factors along with higher tides and more intense storms have resulted in regular damage to the dunes that protect the infrastructure at Assateague State Park. In order to protect these facilities and the natural resources of the park, the Campground Improvement Project will relocate five camp loop roads away from the base of the primary dune and will include the relocation or elimination of several campsites located at the eastern-most part of the loop. This will allow for dune migration westward over time and dune stabilization in the areas where it is the most fragile.
As part of the reconfiguration, the Assateague State Park campground will update the lettering and numbering system used to identify individual campsites. While we understand there will be some inherent confusion with changing to a new configuration, we are confident that in short time our visitors will adapt to the new system and layout and become as familiar with these as they are now.
Please note that if you will be making reservations for the 2018 camping season, you will be directed to the updated maps and lettering/numbering system. A table has been provided at the link below so that campers can easily convert the site number for a favorite site into the new system. The link will also provide a map and more detailed description of the project. We are excited to share these changes with you and look forward to providing quality camping experiences on Assateague Island for many years to come.
Viewing the Assateague Horses Safely
During your visit to Assateague, you will most likely encounter at least a few of the island's most popular residents. Petting or feeding the wild horses may seem like a harmless and fun thing to do, but the consequences can be terrible. For your safety and the safety of the horses, please obey park regulations and do not approach, touch, or feed the Assateague horses.
Stay at least a "bus length" or 40 feet away, but remember that may still be too close depending on the circumstances. If horses approach you, back off and retreat to a safe distance. Do not take food to the beach unless in a cooler that is zippered or secured with a nylon strap. Even then, if horses approach your food, you must move away.
Assateague horses do bite, kick and can carry rabies. These horses are WILD, and they don't behave like domestic horses. Treat the horses with respect - move back and stay safe.
Proper Food Storage - Protect Your Food From Horses
Insects on Assateague IslandMosquitoes and other biting insects may be abundant on Assateague from May to November. They are most active at dawn and dusk but can be persistent any time. Be prepared for insects when you visit Assateague.
You can protect yourself from biting insects by wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants, and/or using insect repellents on your clothing and exposed skin. Repellents containing DEET (20% to 30%), Picardin or oil of lemon eucalyptus can be very effective. Carefully follow instructions on the container.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that a cautious approach be used when applying repellents with DEET on children (repellents with 10% or less on children ages 2-12 and never using repellents with DEET on infants). Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under the age of three. Wash treated skin after returning indoors. For more information visit the EPA website.
Many Maryland State Parks have been approved as partners of Maryland Green Travel, a free and voluntary self-certification program that promotes and recognizes sustainable environmental practices by businesses in the tourism industry. These practices include energy efficiency, waste reduction, recycling and water conservation methods.
Click on this link to view the green profile and the list of sustainable practices for Assateague State Park.
Fishing at Assateague State Park can be done on the beach or at our marina. Surf fishing on the beach is allowed at the State Park as long as it is done outside of the lifeguarded areas. This policy is the same at the National Park. Bay fishing is allowed at the marina piers and from boats in the designated areas of the Bay. Clamming is allowed at the State Park and at the National Park in different areas of the bay. Beginning January 2011, fishing licenses are required in the Sinepuxent Bay as well as the Atlantic Ocean. Please refer to DNR Licensing & Registration Service for details on fishing licenses and the Maryland saltwater angler registry.
If you want to fish the surf in the Day Use/Beach area, the standard parking charges apply – in-season, $4.00 per person for Maryland residents, $6.00 per person for non-residents. In the off-season, the cost is $3.00 per vehicle for Maryland residents and $5 per vehicle for out-of-state, paid through a self-registration system. If you want to fish at the marina pier, the cost is $3.00 per vehicle for Maryland residents and $5.00 per vehicle for out-of-state. If you wish to launch a boat, the service charge is $10.00 for in-state residents and $12 for out-of-state residents, and covers the cost of parking. Both charges are paid through a self-registration system.
Regulations vary according to the type of catch. Please refer to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Fishing Guide for state regulations. The guide can be downloaded from this website.
The only fish cleaning station is at the marina; however, it is very basic and there is no running water. Please do not use the restrooms to clean fish.
Maryland Park Service and Maryland Conservation Corps are offering the following field trip and Youth Group Programs at Assateague State Park for the 2017 season. We welcome you to discover the unique ecology of a salt marsh and barrier island and the abundance of creatures that inhabit them.
Assateague State Park offers a wide variety of interpretive programs for visitors of all ages! Visit our Nature Center, located in the Assateague State Park campground between D and E loops. Come in and explore our displays and exhibits. Each year there is something new to see, learn about, and discover. Spend time getting a close-up look at our aquariums featuring many of the fascinating critters that inhabit the waters around Assateague such as horseshoe crabs, whelks, fish, and seahorses. Don’t forget to peek in on our terrestrial friends too, the corn snake and screech owl. There’s something for everyone, a must-see for our Assateague visitors!
Kids ages 7 to 15 are invited to get a taste of what it’s like being a part of the Assateague State Park Beach Patrol by training with the lifeguards! Participants will have the opportunity to learn about and get involved with many different components of lifeguarding, including lessons about beach and ocean ecology; basic surf rescue techniques; physical fitness challenges; and rescue equipment and how it is used.
Visitors to Assateague State Park have an opportunity to learn about colonial life along Maryland's coast when they visit historic Rackliffe House. Rackliffe, overlooking Sinepuxent Bay, is a beautifully restored 18th-century coastal plantation house located at the end of Tom Patton Lane, just a half-mile hike from the Assateague Island Visitor Center.
The late Tom Patton, founding President of the Rackliffe House Trust, envisioned the House as a site for coastal heritage interpretation. The Trust, in partnership with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and Assateague State Park, has raised more than $800,000 for the restoration of Rackliffe House and the archeological investigation of the surrounding property. The Trust is now operating the structure and surrounding three acres of property as a Coastal Maryland Heritage Center. The plantation house is reportedly the only one of its kind and vintage in the Mid-Atlantic region that is open to the public.
The vast majority of the funds raised have been used to complete the restoration of the notable coastal Maryland colonial residence, attached kitchen wing and historic milk house.
Rackliffe House will be open on a regulat schedule beginning in May through October. Please check the Rackliffe House website for open days and times. Visitors may hike to Rackliffe House any day between dawn and dusk to view the House exterior and explore the grounds. Visitors are asked to park in the lot for the Assateague Island Visitor Center and walk to the House along Tom Patton Lane. New hiking trails are being created by Assateague State Park that will offer a more scenic path to Rackliffe House.
For more information about Rackliffe House, please visit www.RackliffeHouse.org.
Assateague State Park could not function without our dedicated volunteers, and we value them highly. To volunteer at the Park, the first option would be to contact the Friends of Assateague State Park (FOASP). The alternative is to contact Ranger Station or Headquarters staff, who will be able to direct you to the appropriate person.
Camp Host Applications are collected year-round. Camp Hosts camp in the park for one month, during which time they put in around 28 hours per week cleaning their camping loop, manning the Camper Contact booth, and generally helping out. If you would like more information, or an application, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Park’s Headquarters office at (410)641-2120 ext. 18.
Youth and School Groups are welcome to contact the office for volunteering or for ideas for service projects.
Assateague State Park is one of Maryland’s most popular parks and serves a very high volume of visitors during summer weekends and holidays. To ensure the safety of our visitors and protection of the park’s natural resources and facilities, the park has a limited capacity.
During periods of high visitation, when the park’s capacity is reached, the park will be closed and traffic will be turned away from the park entrance. When that occurs, no additional vehicles / visitors will be allowed to enter the park, including those with members of their party who may already be in the park. If you are not traveling in the same vehicle with others in your party, we suggest that you all arrive at the same time.
When the park is closed due to being full to capacity, individuals and groups with shelter and/or camping reservations will be admitted, as parking is reserved for those purposes.
Based on recent experience and visitation trends, and depending on good weather, Assateague State Park will likely fill to capacity and close on the Fourth of July and Labor Day holiday weekends, and other weekends during the course of the summer. Please take this into consideration when planning your trip.
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