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Assateague Island National Park - National Seashore (Maryland and Virginia)

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  • Assateague Island National Park - National Seashore (Maryland and Virginia)

    On the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Virginia, you can purchase an Over Sand Vehicle pass from the National Park Visitor Center which allows you to drive onto a special part of the barrier island. Once you're on the beach with your truck, you can fish, swim, surf, have camp fires, or just observe the wild life. Since the barrier island shelters both Maryland and part of Virginia from the Atlantic Ocean, there's a Maryland entrance to the national park and a Virginia entrance to the park.

    The Maryland entrance is just south of Ocean City, MD on Route 611, and has approximately 17 miles of beach dedicated to the OSV area. The Maryland OSV beach is limited to 145 vehicles on the beach at any given time. There's a gate with a vehicle counter which displays how many vehicles are on the beach. I've been there when I was the only vehicle on the whole beach, and I've been there when there was 140 vehicles. Luckily, I've never had to wait in line to get on the beach - which happens frequently on summer weekends. Once the 145 vehicle limit is reached, it switches to a "one off, one on" system that a park ranger normally manages. At the gate, there are air-pump stations where you can fill up your tires as you exit the sand. Deflating your tires before entering the OSV area isn't mandatory - but is strongly recommended by the rangers since getting stuck in the sand is embarrassing, and also will hold up other trucks that wish to enter and leave the beach area. Over-night passes are available, but you must be fishing over-night; camping and sleeping on the beach are not permitted.

    The Virginia side of the park is run by a different set of people and a different set of rules. The OSV beach in Virginia is accessed by going to Chincoteague Island first, then crossing a causeway to the barrier island, and then going through a toll-booth where there's an entrance fee. This entrance fee is for the wildlife refuge only and has nothing to do with the OSV beach area. Once you're in the park, you can go to the Tom's Cove Visitor Center (approximately 2-3 miles past the toll booth) and purchase your OSV pass. I was told by a park ranger that the Virginia OSV pass works for the Maryland side - BUT the Maryland pass does not work for the Virginia side. The Virginia OSV beach is much shorter - approximately 3 miles, but does NOT have a vehicle limit.

    Both MD and VA OSV beaches require some basic equipment in order to obtain an OSV pass. The following was copied from the park website:

    OSV operators in designated zone must carry the following equipment:
    - A shovel with a blade at least 6" square and at least 18" long.
    - A vehicle jack sufficient to lift one wheel clear of the sand.
    - A jack support that is at least 12"x12" of non-bending steel, 5/8" plywood or 1½" hardwood.
    - A tire gauge with a minimum reading of 15 pounds or less.
    - A tow rope or tow strap, chain or cable with a minimum pulling strength of 6,000 pounds and at least 10 feet long. Minimum diameter is ½" for nylon or Dacron ropes; ¾" for all other ropes; ¼" for carbon steel cable; 5/8" for chain links.

    An interesting thing to know about the OSV beach is that if you get stuck in the sand, the Park Ranger is allowed to help you shovel sand and call for help, but they may not tow or push your vehicle with theirs.

    My truck has two speeds - FAST and TREE.

    - Socrates

  • #2
    SALTY1! It’s quite informative post. Personally I never visited The Assateague Island National Park but according to my knowledge; it is a lovely place to explore lovely Beaches, gorgeous Nature/ Wildlife Areas and attractive National Parks with lots of things to do such as; Camping, Fishing, Biking and Swimming. In my opinion it it’s a great place to enjoy a great outdoors for adventure lovers along with family.

    Last edited by AdneyJay; 10-29-2014, 07:40 AM.


    • #3
      you are absolutely right AdneyJay!SALTY1's post is very helpful and informative for those readers who are totally unknown to this attractive spot. It is really nice place for family picnics. My friend also suggest me to go there and now after reading the above post I decided to visit this place this weekend after exploring the best things to see in grand canyon....
      Last edited by jimiee; 12-24-2014, 01:19 AM.