Assateague Island National Seashore

Im planning a 3 day trip. There will be some mid level paddlers, so Im trying to figue out if the bay side of the island is fairly calm and if their are lots of places you can bail if the weather turns.

Also, how hard is it to find some solid land on the bay side to camp?

Me thinks its a bit early for camping

– Last Updated: Aug-22-08 9:46 AM EST –

Mid level paddlers should have no problem. Chincoteague Bay can be fairly calm but is infamously wind fickle. The water is shallow, so there is a theoretical maximum wave height of a few feet, and that's all you'll ever get, but its enough to make things interesting. South winds blow water in, north winds blow water out. You can be half mile out and have to drag your boat.

Places to bail...hmmm, does he mean empty water out of the boat? Probably not. There are lots of marshy spots where you can get out of the boat, although if there has been a lot of water blow in, your feet might be wet.

NPS maintains four camp sites on the back side, which are the only places you are allowed to camp. Popes Bay is hard to find, the others are not, but it is also not that hard to miss them. Everything looks similar, and the signing leaves some to be desired. Bring a good map, compass (gps if you are so inclined) and pay attention to where you are at all times and you will be okay. If you loose track of where you are on the map, even the best map isn't going to be much help, because it all kind of looks the same.

Most people who have been there during the warm months don't go back to camp until the the bugs subside, around October. The camp sites are basically high spots in a huge marsh full of aggresive biting insects.



– Last Updated: Aug-22-08 12:29 PM EST –

sorry, I didnt mean bail the water out of boat :)

thanks for the info... maybe I'll wait till fall.

Great location for beginners
but heed Chip’s advice. I have never beeen there during the “high bug season”, just at the edges, and they can be obnoxious even then.

He didn’t mention the ticks: At all temperatures above, oh, I guess 45 degF there will be ticks. Repellant and permethrin-treated clothing coupled with body checks are in order. Ponies and deer are to blame.

I have never experienced it, but one of our most experienced Assateague denizens told me of being trapped at a campsite due to wind and being evac’ed by the NPS. Take a weather radio.

Are you having second thoughts now? Don’t. Plan and prepare, and Assateague will be a wonderful trip.