Backcountry campsites are open Fridays through Mondays. They will be closed from Tuesdays-Thursdays.
Assateague Island National Seashore has two oceanside and four bayside camping areas for visitors who wish to backpack or paddle the island. All backcountry campsites are located in Maryland; no camping is permitted in the Virginia district. The distance traveled to backcountry sites from the Ranger Station in Maryland range from 2 1/2 to 13 miles. If traveling from the Toms Cove Visitor Center in Virginia the nearest campsites are State Line and Pope Bay, each at 12 1/2 miles. Pets are prohibited in backcountry campsites.
Backcountry Campsite Descriptions
Obtaining a Backcountry Permit
Backcountry camping without a permit is prohibited. A 7-day backcountry permit is $10 per person (ages 16 years and older). A $25 7-day entrance fee per vehicle is also required. Fees are paid and permits may be obtained in either district of Assateague Island National Seashore: at the Ranger Station in Maryland or the Toms Cove Visitor Center in Virginia. Please note that the Toms Cove Visitor Center is closed Tuesdays through Thursdays from December through February.
Due to sudden and severe changes in weather, advance reservations are not accepted. Permits are issued on a first-come, first-served basis on the day of departure.
Check-in times are based on the distance to the campsite from the departure points. Permits will not be issued after the times listed. Assateague sunset charts are found at the NOAA Solar Calculator website or by calling (410) 641-1441 press #1.
Please consider your level of experience and weather conditions and adjust your start time accordingly.
When hiking on the beach or camping at the oceanside sites, expect to encounter up to 145 vehicles in the Maryland Over Sand Vehicle (OSV) zone, especially during the summer months. Transportation of campers and/or equipment by vehicle is prohibited.
Please check with radio, television, and the internet for up-to-date information on local weather patterns. Paddlers should obtain information from the National Weather Service regarding small craft advisories for "Coastal Waters from Fenwick Island to Chincoteague Island" or by calling (410) 641-1441 press #1.
In Maryland, canoe rentals are available on the island. Call 410-656-9453 or visit http://www.assateagueoutfitters.com/ from Memorial Day through Labor Day. In the off-season, rentals are often available in the local area. In Virginia, canoe rentals are available from several local vendors. Call the Chincoteague Chamber of Commerce at (757) 336-6161 for more information. Many outfitters will not rent canoes or kayaks during a small craft advisory.
Last updated: April 30, 2021