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By Scout Williams
Are you looking for a fun and exciting place on an island in the Atlantic? Consider Assateague Island in Maryland.
Assateague’s seashore is a great place place to visit for families of all ages. Even Fido can tag along.
Here are a few of my activities I enjoyed the summer I stayed on the island.
Bike rides — When you visit Assateague, make sure to bring your bike. A bike will be the best way to get around the island. It is hard to find parking places; however, bike racks are everywhere. If camping at the National Seashore, you will want to travel from the ocean side to the bay side in order to experience it all.
Crabbing — Want to see a Maryland blue crab alive and up close? The best way I found was to catch one yourself. You can catch them with just a string and a chicken neck, but the best way I found to land them is with a crabbing net. I found a crabbing net at Walmart for under $5. You can catch and release, or keep them to eat if they are over five inches wide.
If you are new at this, you can take lessons from a ranger at a free program at the National Seashore park. The best place I found to go crabbing was on the bay side at the end of Old Ferry Landing Road in the national park.
Clamming — This is an activity that requires a bit more muscles just to get mussels! You will need a clamming rake and a bucket to collect the clams. I suggest checking with Assateague National Seashore’s visitor center in order to find out their regulations. When I was there, the clams had to be over one inch at the base in order to keep.
Making a fire on the beach — We had a great deal of fun making a fire on the beach. We were not required to have a permit for our fire, but check with the visitor center just to be sure about their regulations. If you are lucky and its a cool night, just maybe some wild Assateague horses will come to warm up by your fire.
Church — While I was in Assateague, they had a wonderful church service that has been offered at the state park on Sundays for many years. During our stay, the service took place under the pavilion next to the nature center. Check with the office at the state park for time and location.
Shelling, boogie boarding, skim boarding and swimming — Be sure to bring a boogie board, or a skim board, and a swim suit because you will want to get the full experience of the white sands and warm water waves. These activities are also a good way to pass the time.
I also enjoyed shelling, and you can find some really beautiful pieces. Keep an eye out for the quahog clam shell. You will identify it from it’s beautiful purple inside color. The indigenous people of the east coast would use this shell to make purple beads for their jewelry.
Surf fishing — I enjoyed spending one of my mornings with a park ranger while taking lessons on surf fishing at the National Seashore Park. A fishing license is required, if you are over the age of 16 and are not in a ranger program.
Kayaking or paddle boarding — You can rent kayaks and paddle boards, for around $20 at the end of the National Seashore Park. There is also a ranger-led program where you can go kayaking for two hours around the coastline. The cost for this activity is also around $20.
Visiting the visitor center — I highly suggest visiting the visitor center. There is so much you can learn about the horses, the beaches, the marine life and the island.
At the center, you can watch a fantastic movie which helps you understand how the horses came to the island, as well as ways the park maintains the population. A Junior Ranger Program is offered, as well as a touch tank and many ranger-led programs.
Assateague is certainly one of my Top 10 places to stay in the United States. It is an island you can loose yourself in.
My family planned to stay for a week and ended up staying for more than a month. From the moment you get off the bridge you will most likely be greeted by horses grazing on marshes.
Knowing there are wild horses roaming on an island, so free, still leaves me in awe.