October 22, 2022 Mike O’Grady
We’re always looking for new places to legally wheel and explore. We’ve done rocks, mud, and dirt and at Assateague Island National Seashore we have a chance to do sand. It about three hours from the DC metro area and just south of Ocean City in the town of Berlin, MD. This is the barrier island with the wild ponies. https://www.nps.gov/asis/planyourvisit/hours.htm. Seven rigs were able to make the trip.
- Jeff Kohler 2022 Land Rover Defender
- Steve Schueler 2012 Nissan Frontier SL
- Sam Vincent Volvo
- Dawn Keslar 2015 4Runner
- Mike O’Grady & Sharon Natanblut 2012 Rubicon JKU
- Jake O’Grady & Maritza Villarroel 2009 Honda Pilot
We all live in different parts of the area, so most of us met at the Assateague Ranger Station. From there we caravanned to Berlin. The ride through the eastern shore is quite straightforward and very beautiful. GPS is a little off down there, so to reach the Ranger station you can either enter 38°12’30.6″N 75°09’08.7″W or Stephen Decatur Memorial Rd, Ocean City, MD 21811. We went to the National Park. There are also Maryland and Virginia State Parks with different rules and access. From our research it appeared the National Park allowed the most straightforward access. One thing to keep in mind, the park does not have day passes, only annual passes, which cost $110.
After airing down, most of us were at about 15-20 PSI for the sand. We headed onto the beach. Mike led the way. Sand does take a little getting used to. Similar to snow, but a little more left and right slide in the steering.
The weather was mid-sixties and a little windy. We had a good straight run down the beach for 12 miles until we reached the VA line, which is fenced and posted and looks like a Normandy beachhead.
Driving on the sand is fun and interesting. It has a lot in common with snow driving, but of course you can’t spin your tires until you reach pavement. It’s not hard, but it does really require 4-wheel drive. One of us forgot to put their jeep in 4-wheel drive and was stuck within the first mile. Just put in 4-Hi and was out immediately. Also, always go with someone else who can tow you out if needed. No one needed to be towed out and this was a very good trip for first-time off-roaders.
At the VA border we circled the 4×4’s to block the wind and settled down to a fine picnic lunch. Thanks to Dawn we had a nice campfire to enjoy.
After lunch many of the group explored an abandoned house that had been destroyed by a storm years earlier. In talking to a local woman, we learned that the house was the first step in developing am “Ocean City” style community. They built a road and the first house. Once the house was destroyed by a storm, they gave up on plans to develop that area any further. For more of the story see: https://news.maryland.gov/dnr/2015/09/22/assateague-50th/
On the way back Dawn suggested we do a little exploring down a couple of tracks that took us off the beach in into the wetlands. The sights were beautiful.
The ride back was fun and fast.
It was a great trip. A very manageable and fun day trip to the beach.
Trail Report written by Mike O’Grady. Pictures contributed by Dawn Keslar and Steve Schueler.