Chincoteague Island is the Virginia gateway to Assateague Island National Seashore, a barrier island located on the eastern shore of the Delmarva Peninsula containing more than 48,000 acres of maritime forests, salt marshes and 37 miles of pristine beaches. The Assateague Island National Seashore is part of the National Wildlife Refuge system whose primary goal is "to conserve, protect, and enhance fish and wildlife and their habitat for the continuing benefit of the American people".
Visitors to Chincoteague Fish and Wildlife Refuge, located on Assateague Island can see a broad array of waterfowl including pintail, gadwall, merganser, wigeon, mallards, green-winged teal, blue-winged teal, Canada and snow geese. Other bird species include Bald eagles, American avocets, osprey, bobwhite quail, snowy egrets, yellowlegs, piping plovers, American white pelicans, sanderlings, peregrine falcons, merlins, and others. White-tailed deer, sika deer, red fox, raccoons, Delmarva fox squirrels and others thrive along Assateague's unique Wildlife Refuge.
The Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge is one of the most popular birding destinations in the United States and a vital resting and feeding area for a large variety of birds. Assateague birdwatchers can experience sightings of over 300 species of migratory and resident birds. Assateague is a vital part of the Atlantic Flyway a bird migration route that follows the Atlantic Coast. Tens of thousands of waterfowl and other birds with migratory instincts visit Assateague and the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge on their way south in the fall and north in the spring.
Visitors can explore the island with bikes or walks along its extensive nature trails or explore the refuge and its wildlife by boat. A nature cruise is often the best way to encounter waterfowl, marine-life, peregrine falcons, sandpipers, egrets, osprey, terns, gulls, and wild ponies. Wild ponies, marine-life and other wildlife are often encountered by boat along the extensive inland waters of Assateague Island.
Assateague Island has many recreational opportunities, including four wheeling on the beach, seashell collecting, clamming, swimming, surf fishing, beach hiking and more. A visit to Assateague is an experience your family will treasure for many years.