An idyllic island where wild horses roam free.

Nestled along the eastern coast of Delmarva – the shared peninsula of Delaware, Maryland and Virginia – lies a long fragile strip of barrier island accessible only by two narrow bridges. There are two unique qualities of Assateague: no development and wild horses roam free. In the midst of our meandering road trip around the country, we made a detour east to spend several days camping at the Assateague Island National Seashore. The wind-swept beaches, brisk Atlantic surf, scrub oaks nestled behind the dunes, and wandering horses create an idyllic landscape of which dreams are made.

But more wonderful than the lore of old men and the lore of books is the secret lore of ocean.

H.P. Lovecraft

Just how the wild horses found Assateague to be there home has long been debated. Local lore paints a fanciful picture of a Spanish galleon shipwrecked offshore in a storm, and the horses swam to their haven and now home. A more plausible explanation could be local mainland ranchers avoiding livestock taxation and regulatory fencing penalties. However, the recent discovery of a Spanish shipwreck off the coast of the island does affirm the local legend as credible. Regardless of their arrival, the horses are well adapted to their life at the beach and the carefully maintained ecosystem along the national seashore.

The campgrounds at the Assateague National Seashore (not to be confused as we were initially with the State Park campgrounds) are spacious, spread out and well maintained. We’re novice campers, but thoroughly enjoyed our time and adventure into the great wild. Albeit we missed the luxuries of a hot shower and electricity! Thankfully the warm weather in early June proved cold showers a refreshing and awakening shock to the system. Open fires on the beach are welcome below the high tide line, which is a wonderful treat to enjoy as at the sunsets over your shoulder and the surf’s hum relaxes your spirit.

We’re novice campers, but thoroughly enjoyed our time and adventure into the great wild.

At night, sleeping among the heavens was a glorious experience. The stars so bright and so close, they are to be plucked right out of the sky. As we were gazing up at the Milky Way I lay there with wonder, questioning why every day is not designed to achieve that very moment.

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