Island is a vital resting and feeding area for a large variety of birds. The Chincoteague
National Wildlife Refuge is located on Assateague Island and is one of the most
popular birding destinations in the United States. Assateague
bird watchers enjoy
the island's wealth of over 300 species of migratory and resident birds.
Assateague is an essential part of the Atlantic flyway; prime habitat for
thousands of waterfowl and other birds with migration instincts that carry them
north and south annually.
Visitors can enjoy the world famous "wild horses" at Assateague. The "wildlife
tour" or kayaking is a great way to see much of the
refuge and its wildlife by boat or kayak. This voyage is often
the best way to see peregrine
egrets, osprey, terns, gulls, waterfowl, marine-life, and (especially)
wild ponies. Wild ponies and other wildlife are often encountered
when visitors join the boat tour along the extensive inland waters
of Assateague Island.
people believe that the wild ponies of Assateague arrived on Assateague Island
when a Spanish galleon cargo ship (with a cargo of horses) sank off
the coast and the horses swam to shore. Others believe the wild horses
arrived there via early colonial settlers. Recently in 1997, a Spanish
shipwreck was discovered off Assateague Island, which lends credit
to the first theory. In any event, the ponies have become well adapted
to the seashore ecosystem. Wild horses feed on saltmarsh cordgrass,
dune grasses, bayberry twigs, rosehips & persimmons.
recreational opportunities on Assateague Island exist, including four
wheel driving on the beach, seashell collecting along seldom
traveled sands, clamming, swimming, surf fishing, beach hiking and
more. Ocean City, Maryland or Chincoteague Island, Virginia are only 1/4 mile away from Assateague Island
(on either end). Ocean City & Chincoteague have convenient travel accommodations with lodging, restaurants, beach supplies and activities.
Visit Assateague Maryland and Ocean City or
drive just one hour south to the Virginia end of Assateague Island. Some say Virginia is the best side because it has about 70 newborn ponies on that end each summer, unspoiled
beaches, a lighthouse and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Refuge. Close by is Chincoteague Island (home of the pony
swim). Chincoteague is known for its great view of the Assateague
Lighthouse. Chincoteague has lodging, seafood, fantastic bird watching
and marine eco-tourism - the latter due to its close proximity to Assateague
and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Refuge.
visit to Assateague is an experience you will treasure for many years.
A destination that offers something for everyone. Recreational opportunities, cultural history, natural attractions, places to stay and eat are nearby at Ocean
City, Maryland and Chincoteague Island, Virginia. Assateague Island
is an iconic place to visit. The National Park and Wildlife Refuge contain an astounding variety of activities with diversity that staggers the imagination and makes your visit an unforgettable vacation.