BEST AREAS FOR WILDERNESS CAMPING
ASSATEAGUE ISLAND NATIONAL SEASHORE
39,200 acres. This National Seashore is located on a beautiful 37-mile-long barrier island off the coast of southeast Maryland. The southern part of the island is in Virginia and has been designated the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.
Both areas offer wild coastal scenery including sandy beaches and dunes, marshes and forests. White-tailed deer and red fox are among the wildlife, along with two herds of wild ponies, shore-birds, and marine mammals such as dolphin and seal.
Activities: Hiking and backpacking are possible on an unmarked 21-mile Backcountry Trail, which runs along the shoreline of Assateague, along with some shorter trails. The adjacent National Wildlife Refuge has an additional 15 miles of hiking trails.
Canoeing is available around Chincoteague Bay, and canoes may be rented a few miles away. Saltwater fishing is allowed in most areas of the National Seashore, as are clamming and crabbing. Limited hunting is permitted in season.
Camping Regulations: Primitive camping is restricted to seven designated backcountry camping areas in the National Seashore. Four of the areas are located along Chincoteague Bay, making them accessible to canoeists as well as backpackers, and these camping areas may be used from February 1-October 31. The other sites are open throughout the year.
A free permit is required in order to camp here, and a separate overnight parking permit must also
be obtained. Reservations are not available. Campfires are limited to fire rings at some campsites. Pets are prohibited in the backcountry. Camping is not allowed in the National Wildlife Refuge across the Virginia line.
For Further Information: Assateague Island National Seashore, Route 611, 7206 National Seashore Lane, Berlin, MD 21811; (301)641-3030.