Rules and Regulations

Beach visitors - USFWS.


Use of alcohol beverages is prohibited. Entering or remaining on the refuge while under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances is prohibited.


Prohibited, even in your vehicle. 

Note: Service animals, as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act, are permitted on the refuge. Service dogs must be kept on a leash no longer than 6 feet at all times! Please pick up after them.

Feeding or harassing wildlife

Strictly prohibited. Feeding animals causes them to lose their fear of humans and makes them more vulnerable to vehicular traffic. Human food also causes digestive problems. Please help keep the animals healthy and safe.

Collecting or disturbing plants and animals (dead or alive), driftwood or artifacts

Strictly prohibited. Leave the area as you found it for others to enjoy. 

Collecting Seashells 

Please limit the number of unoccupied shells collected to one gallon or less per person per day. Shells collected may not be sold or otherwise be used for commercial purposes.

Metal Detectors

Strictly prohibited.

Skateboards/roller skates/in-line skates/scooters

Use prohibited on refuge.

Bicycling on the Beach

Prohibited. Bicycles are permitted on designated trails and roadways. Click here to see the trails webpage.

Mopeds and other motorized vehicles

Prohibited on trails designated for bicycles and/or walking.

Boats and Flotation Devices 

Prohibited within refuge water impoundments. See our Visitor Activities page for specific information on boating and kayaking. Some flotation devices permitted at the recreational beach, please call Assateague Island National Seashore for more information (757-336-6577).

Unmanned Aircraft (Such as drones)

Strictly prohibited to maintain public health and safety and to protect refuge resources. Launching, landing or operating unmanned aircraft from or on lands and waters administered by the US Fish and Wildlife Service within the boundaries of Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge is prohibited.

Fires / Fireworks

Open fires are prohibited except as authorized by special beach party permits which are available from the National Park Service (Assateague Island National Seashore) at Toms Cove Visitor Center, 757-336-6577. Possession or discharge of fireworks or explosive devices is prohibited.


Prohibited on Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. Permits for back country sites in Maryland are available from the National Park Service (Assateague Island National Seashore) at Toms Cove Visitor Center, 757-336-6577.

Sand Dunes

Climbing onto or digging into dunes is prohibited. Please help us protect the fragile dune systems by staying off of all dunes including the interior ones along the hook. Dunes are considered closed areas.