Assateague Island National Park

#5 in Best Things To Do in Ocean City
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Assateague Island National Park2 of 2
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Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
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  • 4.5Value
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  • 5.0Atmosphere

If you tire of tourist-filled Ocean City, you may want to consider a day-trip to nearby Assateague Island National Park. This long, lean island — which begins just south of the resort area and stretches on to Virginia — is famous for its herds of wild horses, which are said to have taken over the island after surviving a Spanish shipwreck several centuries ago. Beautiful views of both the Atlantic Ocean and the Sinepuxent Bay make Assateague a popular hiking spot.

The easiest way to get to Assateague Island is to take the Ocean Gateway to the Stephen Decatur Highway, which leads south to the Verrazano Bridge (about a 10-mile drive). The park is open throughout the year, but hours vary depending on the season. Vehicle entrance to the park costs $15 for a seven-day pass. You can also purchase a Duck Stamp for $30, which serves as an annual pass to Assateague National Park and Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. For more information, visit the park's website.

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Time to Spend
#1 Ocean City Beach

When the summer rolls around, head to the Ocean City Beach for sun, sand and surf. Running along the entire 10-mile-long east coast of the island, you're sure to find the perfect spot to spread your towel. If you're looking for a rowdier atmosphere, recent travelers recommend sticking to the southern end of Ocean City, where the neighboring Boardwalk makes for great people watching and seafront dining. For a quieter, family-friendly beach, head north past the Boardwalk; although there are fewer amenities here, you won't have to deal with the hustle and bustle of passersby.

"Rehoboth and the Jersey beaches just can't touch Ocean City for beauty, safety, and cleanliness, and the city itself is also great: lots of free parking, friendly people, and excellent restaurants," raves one TripAdvisor user. The beaches are free and open to the public between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.; lifeguards patrol the beaches between 10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. You can find easily accessible public restrooms nearby along the Boardwalk.

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