In the summer and early fall, horseback riding is not permitted in the Maryland portion of Assateague Island National Seashore due to the presence of biting insects known to spread disease, including Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA), and West Nile Virus (WNV). Day use horseback riding is permitted each year from October 9 through May 14. During this period, we do not believe there is much danger for the spread of insect borne disease. While we cannot guarantee it, visitors must decide for themselves whether the level of risk is acceptable.
Entry and Fees
An entrance pass is required to enter the park.
No permits are required for individual day use riders, however horseback riders are asked to check in at the North Beach Ranger Station. Horse camping is permitted October 16 through April 14 and rates are $30 per site/per night. Generators are permitted in horse camp from 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM. Sites can be reserved reserved up to 6 months in advance. Call (877) 444-6777 or visit www.recreation.gov
Parking Areas, Check in and Access
All day use riders must park in the North Ocean Beach parking area and check in at the ranger station. Riders should lead their horses from the North Ocean Beach parking area through the old ranger station parking area following the sand road dune crossing to the top of the dune. At the top of the dune riders may then mount and ride south on the beach. It is your responsibility to clean the parking lot and riding area of any manure, hay or feed before leaving the park. Please bring a bucket and shovel to aid in cleaning the area.
Horseback riding is limited to the beach in the Over Sand Vehicle (OSV) zone located 1 ½ miles south of the old ranger station. The stretch of beach between the old ranger station and the beginning of the OSV zone is to be used only as a corridor for entrance and exit by day use riders. In the OSV Zone, riding is allowed in all areas authorized for public OSV travel. Riders must stay on the ocean side of the white posts. Please take care to avoid visitors engaged in other recreational activities such as hiking, fishing or sunbathing. The only dune crossing riders may use is the sand road access leading to and from the old ranger station. Riders may not access areas posted for authorized vehicles, backcountry campsites, the back trail behind the dunes, paved roads, public boardwalks or any other unauthorized areas.