Fodor's Virginia and Maryland
Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge
Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge Review
Virginia's Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge occupies the southern third of Assateague Island, directly off Chincoteague Island. (The northern two-thirds, part of Maryland, comprise the Assateague Island National Seashore.) Created in 1943 as a resting and breeding area for the imperiled greater snow goose as well as other birds, this refuge's location makes it a prime "fly-over" habitat. It also protects native and migratory non-avian wildlife, including the small Sika deer, which inhabits its interior pine forests. A 3.2-mi self-guided wildlife loop is a great introduction to the refuge. Bike or walk it; it's open to vehicles only between 3 pm and dusk.
The famed Chincoteague ponies occupy a section of the refuge isolated from the public, but they may still be seen in the distance from a number of spots. Swimming, surf fishing, picnicking, and camping are all available on the island.
- Address: Herbert H. Bateman Educational and Administrative Center and entrance:, 8231 Beach Rd., Chincoteague, VA 23336 | Map It
- Phone: 757/336–6122
- Cost: $8 per car, or $15 for weekly pass
- Hours: Refuge hrs: May–Sept., daily 5 am–10 pm; Oct. and Apr., daily 6 am–8 pm; Nov.–Mar., daily 6–6. Visitor center hrs vary seasonally; call for information
- Website: www.fws.gov/northeast/chinco
- Location: Chincoteague
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