Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge occupies the Virginia portion of Assateague Island and several barrier islands along the Atlantic coast. Chincoteague ponies and other wildlife can be observed at the 14,000-acre refuge, which protects beaches, dunes, marshes and maritime forests. Sightings of migratory birds include snow geese, great blue herons, sanderlings, peregrine falcons and bald eagles. A 3.2-mile wildlife trail is open to walkers and bicyclists; vehicles are permitted from 3 p.m. until dusk.
The 5-mile beach at Toms Cove offers surf fishing, shell collecting and swimming. Nesting areas for piping plovers and other shorebirds are closed to public access March 15 through August 31. Information about guided walks, talks, tours of the historic Assateague Lighthouse and a 2-hour Wildlife Bus Trek are available from the Herbert H. Bateman Education Center and the National Park Service Visitor Center at Toms Cove.
Pets are not permitted.
Guided tours are available. Picnicking is permitted.