Virginia's Eastern Shore Sights

Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge

  • 8231 Beach Rd. Map It
  • Chincoteague
  • Nature Preserve/Wildlife Refuge

Fodor's 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.

Sight Information


Herbert H. Bateman Educational and Administrative Center and entrance:, 8231 Beach Rd., Chincoteague, Virginia, 23336, United States

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Sight Details:

  • $8 per car, or $15 for weekly pass
  • 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


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