Island National Seashore
7206 National Seashore Lane
Berlin, MD 21811
Maryland District Visitor
Virginia District Visitor Information
Life on the Edge
Want to live on the edge?
Visit a place recreated each day by ocean wind and
waves. Life on Assateague Island has adapted to an
existence on the move. Explore sandy beaches, salt
marshes, maritime forests and coastal bays. Rest,
relax, recreate and enjoy some time on the edge of
Discover the Possibilities at
First-time visitors should
stop at the visitor centers to see exhibits and
obtain information about the many recreational
activities and natural features in the seashore.
Seasonally, a wide variety of guided programs can be
enjoyed to enhance your visit.
Swimming and Surfing
During the summer,
lifeguard protected beaches are provided in both
Maryland and Virginia districts. Surfing, surf
fishing, mats and floats are allowed outside the
Limit collecting to a
gallon or less of unoccupied shells to ensure
a supply for beach dwelling organisms.
A great way to explore
Cyclists may travel to Assateague over a
bicycle-pedstrian bridge and follow a paved bike
path along Bayberry Drive through 4 miles of island
A paved path leads bicycles from Chincoteague to
Assateague. Enjoy these paths, too!
Wildlife Loop - 3 1/4 mile loop
Woodland Trail - 1 1/2 mile loop
Swan Cove Trail - 1/2 mile
Black Duck Marsh Trail - 1 mile
Surf fishing has been
a popular recreational activity for generations.
With a few basic tips on seasons, conditions,
equipment, species and regulations, anglers can have
an enjoyable experience and create a few memories.
Crabbing and clamming are great ways to discover the
bays behind Assateague and sample some local
Over-Sand Vehicles (OSV)
There are 12 miles of beach in Maryland and a small
section of beach in Virginia open to over-sand
vehicles. An annual OSV permit may be purchased for
$70 to $150 depending upon the type of access
desired. Specific equipment is required.
Canoeing and Kayaking
Canoes and kayaks may be launched from designated
areas on Assateague. Careful consideration should be
given to weather conditions and tidal currents.
Rentals are available seasonally in Maryland.
Things to Know
Summers at Assateague are
generally hot and humid. Mosquitos and ticks are
abundant from spring through autumn. Insect
repellent and/or protective clothing is recommended.
It rarely snows in the winter but it is often cold,
damp and windy. Sturdy hiking shoes are recommended
for long walks in the sand and hard soled water
shoes/sandals or for wading in bay waters.
Nature & Science
More than half of Assateague
Island National Seashore's 48,000 acres is comprised
of near-shore and estuarine waters, and the
interplay between these waters and the barrier
island affects nearly every aspect of life in this
dynamic coastal environment.
The geography of the island
itself is in a state of constant flux, continuously
being reshaped by the elemental forces of wind and
water. Powerful storms can dramatically alter the
shoreline in a matter of hours, as waves wash over
the beach and reshape the island from ocean to
Other forces sculpt the
landscape in less obvious ways. Exposure to salt
spray, lack of fresh water, and isolation from the
mainland are subtle, but powerful influences on the
Island's species composition. Over time, these
conditions have produced a community of plants and
animals uniquely suited to the extremes found at the
edge of the sea.
Human activities also exert a
strong influence Assateague's natural environment.
Beginning in the 1600's, colonists used the Island
for grazing horses and other livestock. The bands of
wild horses living on Assateague today are
descendents of those domesticated animals and remain
a powerful force acting on the island's natural
t various times in its
history, fishing villages, industrial sites, and
even a network of lifesaving stations for stranded
mariners have all left their marks.
Then as now, the dynamic
nature of the island continues to manifest itself in
both subtle and dramatic ways, giving Assateague its
unique and special character.
Places to Picnic
- Assateague State Park
- North Ocean Beach
- Toms Cove Visitor Center
Page 1 of 1