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Contact: Hugh Hawthorne, 410-629-6080Berlin, MD- For the year of 2021 Assateague Island National Seashore received a record 2,662,716 visitors to our Maryland and Virginia units. This put Assateague Island 33rd among the 380 National Park Units reporting visitation numbers, and ahead of such iconic locations as Mount Rushmore, Bryce Canyon and Shenandoah. Summer visitation increased slightly over a record-breaking summer of 2020, but much of the increase came in the Spring and Fall.
Whether coming to Assateague Island for the beach, for surfing or fishing, to view the horses and other wildlife, to attend ranger programs, to hike, or to camp-there are a couple of things to remember. During the peak hours entrance lines in both Maryland and Virginia lines can be several miles long, with waits of well over an hour. Holiday weekends or good weather Saturdays can be even busier-occasionally involving waits of up to four hours to enter in late morning or early afternoon. Lines to enter the Maryland Oversand Vehicle area are often 3-4 hours long by early morning. Consider arriving early or late to avoid the worst of the lines. Please remember that all wildlife, including the horses are “wild.” The horse will bite, kick, or damage your vehicle. Always keep at least 40 feet from the horses and never feed or attract them. Follow all food storage rules. Improperly stored food may be confiscated, and substantial fines may be levied for feeding or touching the horses.
The National Park Service recorded 297.1 million visits in 2021, with 44 park units (including Assateague) recording record visitation. “It’s wonderful to see so many Americans continuing to find inspiration in these incredible places during the second year of the pandemic,” said National Parks Director Chuck Sams.
Passes can be purchased at the Visitor Centers or at the Entrance Station. Maryland Oversand Vehicle permits can only be purchased at the Ranger Station just inside the park entrance. America the Beautiful-National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands Passes, Senior Passes and Assateague Island Annual passes are available at both locations. Free passes are available for eligible Active-Duty Military, Veterans, Disabled Visitors, and the 4th Grade-Every Kid Outdoors Annual Pass. Check the park website for details. Please check with Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge for Virginia only passes. Details about camping are also on the website and reservations can be made at www.recreation.gov.
Finally, while in Delmarva, please consider visiting the other two National Park Service units-Harriet Tubman National Historic Site in Cambridge Maryland and First State National Historic Site in various locations throughout Delaware. Also check out the many State Parks in Maryland, Delaware and Virginia.
For general information about the Seashore and park activities access the park’s web site at www.nps.gov/asis or call 410-641-1441.
Last updated: March 21, 2022