• Hours

    Refuge Hours

    The refuge is open from 5am to 10pm, 7 days a week. Visitor Center hours are 9am to 5pm, 7 days a week.

    Contact Info, Hours & Directions

  • Wildlife Viewing

    Recent Bird Sightings

    This list shows data from eBird Trail Tracker. Since many refuge locations are included, one species may be listed multiple times.

    Recent Bird Sightings

  • Over sand vehicle icon.

    Virginia OSV Zone Status

    All OSV status updates for the Virginia portion of Assateague Island are posted in real time via the twitter account @ChincoteagueOsv.

    Click for OSV Zone Status Site

  • Monarch with Boy

    Refuge Newsletter

    Read the latest updates from around the refuge!

    January 2018 Newsletter (pdf 259KB)

Around the Refuge


Caution Promo 150x118

A smash-and-grab thief is targeting vehicles parked at the Woodland Trail & Lighthouse Trail parking lots, during daylight hours. Refuge officials report a couple of incidents have occurred in recent months. Be sure to remove all valuables from plain sight and lock your vehicle when leaving to hike the trail. Immediately report any suspicious activity. You can call 911 or in the case of a non-emergency call us at (757) 336-6122, between 9am-4pm. Outside of those hours you can call the Chincoteague Police Department at (757) 336-3155. Measures are being taken to catch the thief and improve visitor safety.

Fishing & Crabbing Updates


The 2018 Refuge-specific fishing and crabbing regulations are now available. This year brings some new rules, so visitors should review both the refuge-specific regulations and state regulations on the Virginia Marine Resources Commission website.

Click here fore details

Protecting Nesting Shorebirds

Nesting AMOY 150x118 Jim Duffy

For Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge spring heralds the return of migratory birds such as piping plovers, American oystercatchers and least terns. Many of the birds who spend summers here also nest on the beach or in the marshes. Some of these bird populations are also declining in numbers and are federally protected, for instance the threatened piping plover. To give these birds a chance at survival we create nesting sanctuaries by closing Toms Cove Hook and Assawoman Island. From March 15 to September 15 we ask that you help us protect nesting shorebirds by staying out of these sensitive areas.

Learn more about piping plovers.
Looking Forward

Beach Relocation Planning

New Beach Experience (Promo 150x118)

A third collaborative, recreational beach planning workshop was held with local, state and federal partners in May 2017 to continue refining design concepts at the new recreational beach location, 1.5 miles north of the current recreational beach. Funding is currently unavailable. More materials available at FHWA Website: https://flh.fhwa.dot.gov/projects/va/chin-10/

2017 Beach Relocation Update (pdf 266KB)

About the Complex

Chincoteague NWR Complex

Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge is managed as part of the Chincoteague NWR Complex .

Read more about the complex
About the NWRS

National Wildlife Refuge System


The National Wildlife Refuge System, within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, manages a national network of lands and waters set aside to conserve America's fish, wildlife, and plants.

Learn more about the NWRS