Facility Activities

Whether you're looking for a long kayak paddle, a morning of birdwatching, or a day frolicking by the seashore, we've got something for every type of outdoor adventure!

A variety of paved and unimproved trails are open to hikers and bicyclists. These trails include the Freshwater Marsh, Woodland, Bivalve, Black Duck, Swans Cove and Lighthouse Trails as well as the Wildlife Loop. The Wildlife Loop is also open to vehicles after 3:00pm until dusk. Remember to...

Because of its position on the Atlantic Flyway, Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge is an ideal place for birds to rest, feed, nest, or winter. This makes the refuge a great place for bird watching year round.

Our refuge is located on the history-rich Eastern Shore of Virginia. Visitors quickly discover cultural treasures nestled among our natural wonders such as the iconic Chincoteague ponies and historic Assateague Lighthouse. 

Where might I see the ponies?

Look to the...

Our network of trails are ideal for creating your customized cycling adventure. Enjoy a single trail or explore them all.

We have four paved trails that are wheelchair friendly, the Wildlife Loop, Woodland, Black Duck, Swan Cove Trails. Plus, the mostly flat terrain of Assateague Island makes navigating our trails with assistive equipment an enjoyable experience. Many trails also have benches to provide spaces to...

Because of its position on the Atlantic flyway, our refuge is an ideal place for birds to rest, feed, nest, or winter. This makes the refuge a great place for bird watching, as well as other species of wildlife and plants.

Some of the popular sites to observe wildlife are at Swan Cove...

You can go fishing in designated areas of Toms Cove and Swan Cove or from the beach, outside of life-guarded areas.

Anglers age 16 and older must possess a valid Virginia Saltwater Fishing or Potomac River Fisheries Sport Fishing license. All anglers must register (free...

Our 14,000-acre refuge is a world-class hunting destination. Every fall, huge flocks of waterfowl stop at the refuge along their migration route. The area is one of the best places to bag the beautiful Atlantic brant, a small goose species that feeds on the eelgrass of the estuary flats. Nearly...

Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge has much to offer the amateur and professional photographer. You can expect to see and photograph a variety of herons, egrets, and other wading bird species, several ducks, numerous shorebirds, snow geese and mammals such as sika deer, cottontail rabbit and...

Shells are a beautiful souvenir from your visit to the beach. While building your collection, it's important to remember that, with over one million visitors each year, there are only so many shells to go around. So please remember the following while you comb the beach:

We allow each...

Horseback riding is allowed along the beach in the South Over-sand Vehicle zone. This area may be closed due to hazardous conditions or wildlife management practices, and horses will not be permitted in this area during such closures. For the most recent closure updates, visit the @...

Viewing natural landscapes from the comfort of our cars is is a long-standing tradition in our country. Our Wildlife Loop trail offers visitors this opportunity daily when it opens to vehicles from 3:00 p.m. to dusk. As the loop is always a hiking and biking trail, please drive with caution....

There's nothing quite so relaxing as a day on the water. Your kayaks, canoes and paddleboards can be launched oceanside or into Toms Cove from the areas designated in the boat use map. Refer to this map to determine where you can land your boat during your paddle.

Portions of our...
Crabbing

This popular activity that is permitted in designated areas of Swan Cove and along Beach Road, as well as from the boardwalks near the entrance gates. The query? Blue crabs, which make a tasty meal. Plus, catching these feisty creatures only requires a few tools - a crab line, bait,...

Our over-sand vehicle zones are managed by Assateague Island National Seashore.

The South Zone is for general use. The North Zone is for fishing only and is open seasonally (March 15 - August 31st). In the event of hazardous driving conditions these zones may temporarily close...