9-10 June 2019
Assateague State Park is Maryland's only oceanfront park. It is located on Assateague Island, a barrier island bordered by the Atlantic Ocean. While there is assorted wildlife in the park, the most famous attraction here is the feral horses. We arrived on a cold and windy day and it turned out that this was going to be the conditions for our two-night stay. We saw our first horses entering the park and they were in the campground often during our stay. There are approximately 75 in the Maryland herd and their numbers are controlled by a contraception program. There are warnings everywhere to stay away from these wild horses. They have been known to attack those who get to close.
I wondered where the horses came from and this is what the state park website says: “Local lore experts theorized the ponies arrived on the island via a shipwrecked vessel in the late 18th or early 19th century. Others attribute their arrival by pirates drawn to the island who ultimately abandoned the animals. A more likely theory is that farmers in colonial times used the island for grazing areas to avoid paying taxes on the land.” I am betting the last one is right on the money.
This was our second stop in a row that we could say we were actually cold. In some ways it was nice after the heat of Florida. We did not bring warm jackets and bought some pullovers at the Cape Henlopen SP, which we used both days here. Halley surprisingly enjoyed the beach and had fun running around.
I do not normally comment on bathhouses, but I must say the one in our camp section is without a doubt the very best I have seen anywhere. Very large, well lit with tile floors and spacious shower stalls. It appears new and well maintained.
The second day we drove over to the Assateague National Seashore, which is adjacent to the state park to see what they had to offer. They also have about 150 feral horses. There is a campground and beach area. We walked the boardwalk thru the wetlands area, watching the families fish and attempt to catch crabs.