Assateague Island, MD – 4×4 Trails

Assateague Island, MD
Club Status – Not visited, use information at own risk
New Information courtesy of: Philip Hancock

National Seashore, Berlin (410)641-1441 Sand and Dunes approx. 13 miles of sand/beach driving. $40 permit is required
(rumors that a shovel, tow rope, jack, and jack boar/ deck are also required prior to access). Possible air stations at
beach accesses.

Travel time from Beltway – approx. 3 hrs depending on traffic (what there is traffic in DC/Metro??). Night Access allowed
no camping/sleeping on beach/shore, though. Limits to approx. 140 vehicles – this means lines.

Some information taken from a 1996 ORV brochure:

$4.00 per vehicle just to enter the park (good for 7 days)
$40.00 for a 30 day off road pass
$60.00 for a yearly pass
A shovel with at least a 6″ square and a handle at least 18″ long
A jack able to life one wheel clear off the sand
A jack support at least 12″X12″ of non-bending steel, 5/8″ plywood, or 1 1/2″ hardwood.
A tire gauge with a minimum reading of 15 lbs or less
A tow rope, strap, chain or cable with a minimum pulling strength of 6k lbs and at least 10′ long. Ropes must be a
minimum of 3/4″ in diameter. Nylon or Dacron ropes at least 1/2″ in diameter and 1/4″ carbon steel cable are
acceptable. Chain links must be a minimum of 5/16″ in diameter.

As you can see they are very specific. Overnight camping is not allowed, although overnight stay with a self-contained
camper in the “bull-pen” area is allowed as long is it has a bathroom and permanently installed waste storage system.
Also those who are engaged in surf fishing may stay on the beach after dark. (Fishing is good there…saw a guy catch a
good sized sand shark on squid this past weekend). Towed travel trailers are ok…but not recommended.

One thing…you mentioned that there is possible air gauges there, there is. About 4 of them, and a nice big area to fill
up/air down at. There is 12 miles of sand trail on Assateague Island. It is not serious off-roading, but one of the nicest
beach drivable areas I have seen. But do keep in mind that the state line from MD to VA is located on the island, and I
don’t want to quote anything about the laws that are there. I don’t have a VA brochure, but from the way it sounds in the
brochure you are able to drive into VA with the one permit. Although I do know that pets are permitted on the MD side,
not on the VA side.

Assateague is a really nice place to visit. There is camping, but not on the sand as mentioned earlier. On the bay-side of
the island are 4 canoe-inn campsites for those into canoeing. Fishing there is great too. I highly recommend it to people in
the DC area, but make reservations early for camping, its a popular place.

One last note. The rangers do an inspection of your vehicle to see if you have the necessary equipment when you get the
permit…and they check often after that too. So, anytime you go to Assateauge, bring the stuff!!! They will kick you off if
you don’t have it.

2 Responses to Assateague Island, MD – 4×4 Trails

  1. Chris December 16, 2009 at 2:08 pm #

    The cost of the pass has gone up its a $120 for annual overnite pass & I think $100 for cinderella pass(have to leave by midnight) both passes good for year no you can’t camp on beach but they do have campgrounds(tent only) available on Md. side called back country. Rules aren’t that bad/strict a good tow strap might be $20 u should have 1 anyway a peace of plywood 3/4″ atleast 12″x12″, shovel, jack should have anyway, & it was recomended you drop tire pressure to 15ibs. But there can be lines so show up early I think the total available beach to drive on in off season is around 25 miles cause Va side is only available until September after Piping Plover has left. Nice beach wild horses, sika deer, & all kinds of animals Assateague Island is a wild life refuge for the wild ponies that’s why all the rules & guidelines .

  2. John Hall April 29, 2010 at 2:27 am #

    Yes you will need the permit as well as shovel tow rope and jack and board I live in MD and have visited this area with the inlaws before they do have a air station at inlet