Thursday, April 21, 2011

Our Favorite National Park: Assateague Island National Seashore

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I can imagine myself in a beautiful beach house that sits on a cliff overlooking the ocean below. My dream home would have floor to ceiling windows, minus curtains because it’d be far from civilization. Everything in my home would be white,  or shades of white. The entire home would be pristine. I’ve dreamed of this home since I was a small girl and vacationed with my family for the first time in the Outer Banks and later in Chincoteague, Virginia.

Perhaps it’s because of that incredible vacation, my first real trip out of state and to the ocean that Assateague Island National Seashore holds a special place in my heart. Of all the National Parks that we’ve been to over the years, I’d have to say to date that this one is without a doubt, my favorite.

When my husband and I visited Washington D.C. with our kids several years ago, I’d planned a quick stopover in Assateague for some R & R, somewhere away from the busyness of our nation’s capital. Assateague Island National Seashore in Maryland didn’t disappoint. The first day anyway.

I’d planned to camp at a nearly primitive campsite. It cost less than $20 a night, provided a port-a-pot, cold showers and drinking water. Not ideal, but the beach was literally a two minute walk and that part was nearly perfect.     

We pitched our tent in the beautiful, balmy, seventy degree weather….

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gathered our beach toys….

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and left the Wild Ponies behind in our campsite….

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as we headed for the beach.

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I remember commenting to my husband that we should stay for several days but he cautioned me to take it slow, after all we enjoy camping, but prefer electricity and warm running water.

That night, the wind kicked up and if it hadn’t been for the extra long tent spikes I’d had the forethought to buy, I’m sure our tent would have blown away with us in it. We spent the night rocking back in forth in the minivan and awoke the next morning to a drizzly cold front.

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No, I’m not angry, my face is red because I really was freezing! Needless to say we didn’t stick around long. We trotted down the beach for a quick walk in search of seashells and hightailed it back to the campsite, to tear down and hit the road.

We drove about 2-3 hours to the other side of the park in Virginia. I can’t say it was much warmer but they did have a really nice Visitor’s Center with a touch tank and bird viewing station.

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My kids even completed the Jr. Ranger program.

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We’ve visited Assateague Island National Seashore several times since our camping fiasco. We’ve not ever tried to camp again, but we have enjoyed beachcombing, bird watching and walking along the trails with the wildlife, mainly the famous Assateague ponies.

Just a bit of friendly advice, if you plan to camp at Assateague, you may prefer camping near the bay instead of the ocean side. It’s more protected from the winds that often kick up. Don’t forget your extra long tent stakes and make sure you don’t leave anything uncovered in your campground! We made the mistake of leaving the back of our van open only to find a pony nosing around our things. And he wasn’t in too big of a hurry to leave either!  

Have you ever gone on a vacation and decided it was better after it was over?

12 comments:

  1. Love it...friends of mine camped there last year and loved it...only "issue" they had were the ticks....we love to camp...going in 2 weeks for the 1st time this year!

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  2. We camped there in August and had the time of our lives. My then 4-year old called it "Ponyland."

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  3. Yikes, the ticks. I should have cautioned...it was somewhere along this trip that I got bit and contracted Lyme's Disease. NOT FUN. Make sure you use a good tick repellant and check for ticks regardless of the precautions that you take. The nasty bugs can wreak havoc on your health. We have them all over here in Alabama- it scared me to death when we first moved. I can't live in fear so now we just check ourselves all the time- and use a good spray.

    Hope you have a great time on your camping trip! We've been wanting to get out before it gets to hot and do some camping ourselves. :)

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  4. My kids couldn't get over the ponies! As soon as we crossed the bridge we saw them- and loved it! Glad to hear that you enjoyed your camping experience there. I'd love to go back and try again sometime a bit later in the season. :)

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  5. This is another one we'd like to visit! I'm really enjoying your posts on National Parks!

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  6. Michelle PadrelananApril 22, 2011 at 3:24 AM

    Hi there! It looks like you had fun in your trip. I'm dropping by from our TOS Crew Blog Walk.

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  7. I have always wanted to go there! May have to put it on my to-do list.

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  8. I dreamed of going to Assateague for years after reading Misty of Chincoteague. I got to go for a day when I was living in D.C., and it was truly beautiful. I mostly remember RUNNING back to my car though, to escape the massive cloud of attack mosquitoes!
    I loved seeing pics of your kids when they were younger!

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  9. Kim, Misty of Chincoteague is what prompted this trip! My kids really wanted to go to Chincoteague for the Pony Penning in July but we despise crowds. Would be something to see though!

    Ugghh..I have heard that the mosquitoes can be really bad there. Yikes!

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  10. Thanks Lorus! It's fun to reminisce about some of the places we've been.

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  11. when was this exactly and did you have a confirmed case of Lyme Disease? I had a tick attached for 2 days after visiting Assateague in June 2011 and I have had symptoms since then.

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I love hearing what you think! Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment! Blessings!:)

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