Assateague Island National Seashore

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Assateague Island National Seashore - Maryland Section

Permit Required - see below

The Over-Sand Vehicle (OSV) zone at Assateague Island National Seashore contains miles (13 in Maryland) of unspoiled beaches managed by the National Park Service to accommodate OSV enthusiasts and other beach goers. Assateague's north entrance is at the end of Route 611, eight miles south of Ocean City, MD. (The south entrance is or wil be covered in a Virginia trail article. There is a fence at the state line so you can not cross the state line and must return to the same entrance)

OSV permits are issued for a twelve-month period beginning with the month of purchase. The permit fee is $70. Permits are available at the park office. Regulations are strictly enforced and are mostly related to protecting the fragile environment and wildlife. Don't drive on the dunes or through nesting areas. You are free to fish, sun-tan, etc.

OSV operators in designated zone must carry the following equipment:

  • A shovel with a blade at least 6" square and at least 18" long.
  • A vehicle jack sufficient to lift one wheel clear of the sand.
  • A jack support that is at least 12"x12" of non-bending steel, 5/8" plywood or 1½" hardwood.
  • A tire gauge with a minimum reading of 15 pounds or less.
  • A tow rope or tow strap, chain or cable with a minimum pulling strength of 6,000 pounds and at least 10 feet long.

Due to the proximity to Washington, DC, Baltimore, and Ocean City, MD the park can become very crowded on busy summer weekends. Sometimes the rangers let one truck in for each one that leaves. In non-peak times you can be over a mile from the next truck. There are compressors at the entrance for re-inflating tires after sand driving.

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