Assateague State Park: Take MD Route 50 East to Route 113 South (to Berlin). Turn east on Route 376 and travel 4 miles to MD 611. Turn right and drive 5 miles to the Visitors Center. Park here and ride over the bridge to Assateague Island.
Assateague National Seashore & Chincoteague Wildlife Refuge:
Trillions of grains of sand, eroded from Maryland's ancient Appalachian Mountains and deposited by the sea, have created the magical barrier island of Assateague.
The island consists of three major areas:
Assateague Island National Seashore:
Assateague State Park:
Chincoteague Wildlife Refuge:
The Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge is world famous for its great abundance of migratory birds, wild ponies and undeveloped beaches, marshes and forests stretching from Virginia to Maryland.
Don't miss the Herbert H. Bateman Visitor and Administrative Center. This state-of-the-art facility boasts 5,000 square feet of exhibits, a 150 seat auditorium, and a classroom / wet lab. The center is fun and educational for families and wildlife enthusiasts of all ages. For guests with hearing impairments, there are 9 closed captioned videos.
Hiking and cycling trails, lighthouse tours, guided wildlife tours in air conditioned buses and exhibits are offered by the Park Service and Wildlife Refuge throughout the year. There are no food shops, snack bars, or restaurants on the National Seashore or Refuge, so if you're planning on spending a day at the beach, bring your own snacks and drinks.
Pets and alcoholic beverages are prohibited, even in your vehicle. Other regulations are in place to protect this natural resource. See Refuge website (contact info below) for details.
Biking on the Chincoteague Wildlife Refuge offers many views of the island unable to be found anywhere else. There is a paved bike path leading from the town of Chincoteague to Assateague Island. The bridge over Chincoteague Inlet to the Wildlife Loop protects bike and pedestrian traffic from cars and provides a safe biking experience. Bicycle rentals are available seasonally in Chincoteague. Bicyclists entering at the Virginia portion of Assateague are not required to pay an entrance fee.
There are 15 miles of trails that wind through marshes and forest. About half the trails are paved while the rest are open to foot traffic only. Bicycles are permitted on trails and paved roads unless otherwise posted. Bicycling is not permitted on the beach.
Wildlife Loop: 3 1/4 miles
Woodland Trail: 1 1/2 miles
Swan Cove Trail: 1 1/2 miles
Black Duck Marsh Trail: 1 mile
Take some time to hike and explore some of the Refuge's foot trails.
The Lighthouse Trail: 1/4 mile
For hours and tour schedules, call or check in with the Visitors Center.
Chincoteague Pony Penning & Auction
On the Virginia side of Assateague Island, the wild ponies are owned by the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Department. On the last consecutive Wednesday and Thursday of July, thousands of spectators gather on Chincoteague Island to witness and participate in a tradition that has been held since 1925. On Wednesday, the Fire Company rounds up the entire "Chincoteague" pony herd for a swim across the Assateague Channel near Chincoteague Memorial Park (east side of island) at low tide for the Annual Pony Penning Carnival and Auction. Some foals and yearlings are sold at auction to benefit the town's ambulance and fire services.
Free shuttle services provided by the town usually starts running with two buses at 5 a.m., with others beginning at 7 a.m. The routes begin at Chincoteague High School on North Main Street.
For more information:
National Wildlife Refuge System Website: U.S. Fish And Wildlife Service