Here in the northeast, I feel like if the weather is above 60°, you need to seize the moment. So, here I am at Assateague Island National Seashore, 2.5 hours south of Wilmington, DE.
I had always been confused by this area; Assateague Island national seashore, Assateague State Park and Chincoteague National wildlife refuge were all a jumble to me. If I had known how close this camping was, I might not have made the journey to Kiptopeke State Park so often, which is two hours further away.
Until my visit here, the closest thing to Delaware that represented to me what a true national Park was about was Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Assateague has that same feeling of grandeur and isolation that I crave in a national park. I’m happy to know it’s a full day’s drive closer.
My camping loop features pit toilets and a cold water shower, and is just one sand dune away from the Atlantic Ocean. This loop is nearly full, even on a weeknight, but there’s plenty of space between sites.
The sunrise does not disappoint.
Despite posted warnings, it seems every visitor’s favorite pastime is to feed, pet, and approach these horses. On my way in, I witnessed an SUV full of teenage girls, bags of Skittles in hand, reenacting a scene I imagine they saw in the My Little Pony video, within view of one of those signs. Everyone does it. They’re irresistible. As I’m writing this, a pair walk by my trailer window.
I’m told the horse flies and mosquitoes can be unbearable here, but the breeze and time of year must be in my favor.
Another feature of this park is the 12 miles of drivable beach. Since I already had a 4×4 with the required clearance, a tire gauge, and a jack, I went out and bought a small shovel and a towrope so I could get an Over-Sand Vehicle (OSV) permit.
If you’ve never done it, driving on sand like this is not for the faint of heart. As a driver, you never feel in control, especially with the deep ruts. At the entrance to the OSV area, there’s a wide shoulder for you to deflate your tires to a recommended 15 psi (I reduced mine to the mid 20s). The outbound lanes have several stations with compressed air for the reverse procedure.
What’s the worst that could happen?
I’ve enjoyed this amuse-bouche before the real camping season begins. I’ll be back.