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Assateague Island National Seashore - Berlin, MD

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  • Assateague Island National Seashore - Berlin, MD

    We saw a news show a year ago about Assateague's wild horses and decided to make a trip East to see them.

    The "wild" horses on Assateague are actually feral animals, meaning that they are descendants of domestic animals that have reverted to a wild state.

    Local folklore describes the Assateague horses as survivors of a shipwreck off the Virginia coast. While this dramatic tale of struggle and survival is popular, there are no records yet that confirm it. The most plausible explanation is that they are the descendants of horses that were brought to barrier islands like Assateague in the late 17th century by mainland owners to avoid fencing laws and taxation of livestock.

    The horses are split into two main herds, one on the Virginia side and one on the Maryland side of Assateague. They are separated by a fence at the Virginia/Maryland State line. These herds have divided themselves into bands of two to twelve animals and each band occupies a home range. The National Park Service manages the Maryland herd. The Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company owns and manages the Virginia herd, which is allowed to graze on Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, through a special use permit issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The permit restricts the size of the herd to approximately 150 adult animals in order to protect the other natural resources of the wildlife refuge. It is the Virginia herd which is often referred to as the "Chincoteague" ponies.

    Assateague Island National Seashore Campgrounds:
    Oceanside Drive-in: Tents, trailers and recreational vehicles (no hookups). Sites have a picnic table and a fire ring.
    Oceanside Walk-in: Tent-only sites, located 100-200 feet from centralized parking areas. Sites have a picnic table and a fire ring.
    Bayside Drive-in: Tents, trailers and recreational vehicles (no hookups). Sites have a picnic table and a fire ring. A Drive-In "Generator-Free Zone" is located in Bayside B Loop.
    Group Camping: Organized clubs and affiliated groups must use group campsites. Tent-only sites, located 100-200 feet from centralized parking area. Sites have a picnic table and fire ring with grill. Group campsites can be reserved year round, up to 6 months in advance at $50 per night per site.
    Horse Camp: There are 2 campsites for horse camping available October 16 through April 14. Each site accommodates up to 6 people and 6 horses.


    We leveraged our solar and camped at the Bayside "Generator-Free Zone" in site B35, Bayside Loop B. This area had nice pit toilets and showers.



    The horses are plentiful and lovely!


    At times they would wonder the campgrounds.


    One of the sunsets we enjoyed!
    James Heap
    2012 F250 6.7 CC SB
    2013 Arctic Fox 25Y

  • #2
    We went to a beach wedding there a few years back. I drove by the cg several times. In July it did not look to inviting. Still would like to get there in cooler weather.
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    • #3
      September was nice
      James Heap
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      2013 Arctic Fox 25Y

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      • #4
        There is not much publicity about it but a lot of the barrier islands have horses. Where we lived in NC, several of the small barrier islands have feral horses...always was a big fight over how to deal with them...
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        PAULA AND GARY

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        • #5
          Assateague Island National Seashore, Maryland - spent the day on the Atlantic Ocean beach and in search of the wild horses in this gorgeous park part of the National Park Service. 37 mile island on the outer banks of Maryland and Virginia, home to about 150 wild horses. Beautiful!


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          • #6
            When I was a scoutmaster I used to take the troop there at the beginning of the season, Dads were welcome a lot of fun for every one
            Frank and Janet Henn
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