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Assateague Island National Seashore

  • Name: Assateague Island National Seashore.
  • Location: Ten miles South of Ocean City, Maryland. Nearest small town, Berlin, Maryland.
  • Weather: See Ocean City, Maryland.
  • Chart
  • Fees: $10 entrance fee. Carcamping rates $20 per day. Remote campsites $5 per week. Significant reduction if over 62.
  • Ramp: Shallow sandy beach at Old Ferry Landing is fine for small boats. Larger boats at either South Point launch ramp, 1 mile west or Verrazano Bridge Ramp, off Route 611 at Sinepuxent Bay.
  • Routes: Four remote campsites on Assateague Island, 2,5,10,12 miles South of National campground. Two day, 30 mile passage South to Chincoteague Island. Eight mile passage north to Isle of Wight Bay inside Ocean City.
  • In brief:    The Eastern Shore is on the primary flyover for birds migrating up the East Coast. There are extensive shallow water passages on the bayside of Assateague Island with clamming and mussel harvesting opportunities.Can be hot and buggy in the summer. Best seasons are late in the fall and early in the spring. Mosquitoes are worst after multi-day rains.

  • Many thanks to Mike Wick, who contributed this information, and the story that follows.  Looking at the chart, this appears to be a paradise for small shallow draft boats.


    There were three of us in three boats, three cars, three trailers. We had decided that we would sail the length of Assateague Island, campcruising along the way.The latest weather report showed that the wind would be mostly out of the North for the next few days, so we decided that we would sail South from Assateague Federal Seashore toward Chincoteague Island. I arrived at Old Ferry Landing and launched my Bolger Gypsy, dropped off my trailer near the Ranger Station and drove South to Chincoteague. I found a quiet parking place and cell phoned Phil, who drove straight to Chincoteague and picked me up. He and I drove north in his pickup truck, launched his melonseed and launched John’s melonseed. We left their cars and trailers at the Ranger Station.Thus, we had two cars at the North end of the Passage and one at the south end.

    It was about 11 A.M. when we set sail in convoy from Old Ferry Landing in a light northeasterly breeze. We passed the Tingles and the Pine Tree campsites in smooth water with a lee from Assateague Island keeping down the waves. Seldom is the water much more than knee deep if you are outside the Intracoastal Waterway, so there is no anxiety about swamping or capsizing, you can just walk ashore. We rounded the point of the island in the channel between Green Run and the Pirate Islands.At this point, the wind had picked up enough to warrant a reef, but there was less than a mile of windward work to our destination, so we just luffed along toward our destination. By six we had reached our remote campsite at Green Run, ten miles south of the large campground at the Federal Seashore.

    Green Run is a nice shady campground with picnic tables, fireplaces for each group, and a portapotty. but there is no potable water, so we had each brought three gallons with us for drinking and cooking. A quick meal and bed in our tents; we were too tired for a campfire.It is a short walk to the ocean with a beautiful beach, and we had a quick swim before bed.

    The next day was sunny and light air, just enough wind to ghost along. That section of the passage is an intricate maze of quite shallow channels inside swampy islands. We beat up a river to the most distant campsite on the Island, Pope Bay wehre wwe stopped for lunch and walked over to the ocean beach. Here we realized that, if we kept sailing, we could finish our passage that night, so we rushed out to Chincoteague Bay and sailed across the Maryland/Virginia border. It was a lovely plain sail beat in a brisk Southeast breeze of maybe 12 miles an hour wind. We passed to the East of Wildcat Marsh, on the northern tip of Chincoteague, tacking in close company to the haulout at Quip Hole Road, just inside Morris Island.

    Then came the strenuous part. I walked into Chincoteague to retrieve my car, then I drove the others to Assateague for their cars. It was dark by the time we got our cars and trailers back to the ramp, but we were practiced at packing boats on trailers, so it went smoothly even in the dark. What could have been a problem, we decide to drive straight home. We probably should have stopped at a nearby motel, but we made it safe home about eleven, even though we were tired and bug bit. We had made a nice thirty mile, two day passage in company and had seen parts of the refuge that were new territory for us.

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