Are you looking for a fun and exciting place on an island in the Atlantic? Consider Assateague Island in Maryland. Assateague’s seashore is a great place place to visit with families of all ages, even Fido. Following are a few of my activities I enjoyed this summer while staying on the island.
When you visit Assateague, make sure to bring your bike. A bike will be the best way to get around the island. It is hard to find parking places, however, bike racks are everywhere. If camping at the National Seashore, you will want to travel from the ocean side to the bay side in order to experience it all.
Want to see a Maryland blue crab alive and up close? The best way I found was to catch them yourself. You can catch them with just a string and a chicken neck, but the best way I found to land them is with a crabbing net. I found one at Walmart for under $5.
You can catch and release the crabs, or keep to eat them they are more than 5 inches wide. If you are new at this, you can take lessons from a ranger, and this program is offered free of charge at the national seashore park. The best place I found to go crabbing was on the bay side at the end of Old Ferry Landing Road in the national park.
This is an activity that requires a bit more muscles just to get mussels! You will need a clamming rake and a bucket to collect them in. I suggest checking with Assateague National Seashore’s visitor center in order to find out their regulations. When I was there, the clams had to be more than 1 inch at the base in order to keep them.
Making a fire on the beach
We had a great deal of fun with making a fire on the beach. We were not required to have a permit for our fire, but check with the visitor center to be sure about their regulations. If you are lucky, just maybe some wild Assateague horses will come to warm up by your fire on a cool night.
While I was in Assateague, they had a wonderful church service that has been offered Sundays at the state park for many years. During our stay this summer, it was being held under the pavilion next to nature center, but check with the office at the state park for time and location.
Not bored with boarding
Be sure to bring a boogie board, or a skim board, and a swimsuit because you will want to get the full experience of the white sands and warm water waves. These activities are also a good way to pass the time. I also enjoyed shelling, you can find some really beautiful pieces. Keep an eye out for the quahog clam shell, you will know it from it’s beautiful purple inside. The indigenous people of the east coast would use this shell to make purple beads in their jewelry.
Kayaking or paddle boarding
You can rent kayaks and paddle boards, for around $20 at the end of the national seashore park. There is also a ranger-led program that can take you kayaking for two hours around the coast line. The cost for this activity is also around $20.
I enjoyed spending one of my mornings with a park ranger while taking lessons on surf fishing at the Assateague National Seashore Park. A fishing license is required if you are over the age of 16 and if you are not in a ranger program.
I highly suggest visiting the visitor center. There is so much you can learn about the horses, the beaches, the marine life and the island. There is a fantastic movie to view which helps you understand how the horses came to the island, as well as ways the park maintains the population. A Junior Ranger program is offered, as well as a touch tank and many ranger-led activities.
Assateague is certainly one of my top 10 places to stay in the United States. Assateague is an island you can lose yourself in. My family planned to stay for a week and ended up staying for more than a month.
From the moment you get off the bridge you will most likely be greeted by horses grazing on marshes. Knowing there are wild horses roaming on an island — so free — leaves me in awe.S
For more information about Assateague Island National Seashore, visit www.nps.gov/asis/index.htm.