Nick and I went away last weekend to celebrate my birthday at one of my favorite camping places, Assateague Island on the eastern shore of Maryland. (We last camped there in 2012).
We love to camp on the sand dunes, right alongside the Atlantic ocean, and we try to make the trip every few years. It’s such a popular destination that it’s difficult to get a site, and you always have to book many months in advance. This year we booked our site in February, as soon as the reservation system opened for the season.
Since we’ve had a slow start to our spring, we were slightly concerned about the cool weather and camping so early in the season, but thankfully we had bright sunny days.
Nick and I made the 3-hour drive from D.C. Friday night and quickly set up our tent and site. While the sandy sites make for more comfortable sleeping than most campgrounds, the oceans winds are strong, especially at night, and it’s important to use deep sand stakes to hold down the tent. (We’ve actually seen a tent filled with sleeping gear blow over and away in the wind).
After we got ready Saturday morning, Nick surprised me with my birthday presents, which he snuck along on the trip. Once again, I was spoiled rotten by him and was gifted a beautiful mint necklace from my favorite store (which I put right on and wore all day) and a new art and travel book. Nick even brought along some birthday cupcakes, which we dined on later in the day!
Unlike our last trip here, we didn’t bring our bikes, so instead we made the 1-hour drive over to nearby Chincoteague Island in Virginia. Assateague has a few small corner stores but is several miles from the nearest town. Chincoteague, however, is a small seashore resort town with several thousand people; it’s part charm and part kitsch.
We drove through the small town and then settled ourselves on the beach for a picnic lunch. Despite the temperature only being in the 60s, there were plenty of other people at the beach fishing, surfing and enjoying picnics.
After soaking up the sun for an hour we jumped in the car and headed back to our site.
On our way back into the park, we ran into a few small horses, but we didn’t see nearly as many as we have on previous trips.
We spent the next couple of hours relaxing on the beach behind our site and flying Nick’s kite, which we picked up a few years ago in the Outer Banks.
We eventually made our way back to our site to prepare a fancy birthday dinner of goat cheese/jalapeño/avocado burgers and sautéed peppers. So yummy!
We sat by the fire the rest of the night and enjoyed a beautiful sunset.
On Sunday morning we woke up to more sunshine. Nick and I bought a small backpacking stove a few years ago, which folds up into a container the size of a soda can, and a four pot/pan cookset that nestles together and works really well for tent campers like ourselves. It’s amazing how many things I’ve prepared with this little cookset.
After a traditional egg and bacon breakfast and a final walk on the beach, we packed up our site and headed back to D.C. But no visit to Assateague is complete without a stop and picture at this shark statue outside of a nearby restaurant. 🙂
So that is how we celebrated my birthday this year and kicked off the camping season. The trip definitely got me excited for summer and more camping. We made it a goal to try to camp at least once a month this summer, so it’s nice that we had a successful first trip!
Anyone else do any early-Spring camping this year?