Facility Rules and Policies

Help us protect habitat and keep both you and our wildlife safe by following all rules and policies during your visit. Keep in mind that unless explicitly posted as a nature trail, public road, parking lot, or building, all areas of the refuge are closed to public entry. If you can't find information about your desired activity, give us a call!

What's prohibited?
  • Pets, even in your vehicle. Note that 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.

  • Alcohol, marijuana and illicit substance use

  • Feeding or harassing wildlife

  • Collecting or disturbing plants and animals (dead or alive), driftwood or artifacts other than those specified in your hunting or special use permit.

  • Metal detectors

  • Unmanned aircraft, such as drones

  • Fires, except the limited number of open fires authorized by special permits available from the National Park Service's Toms Cove Visitor Center (757) 336-6577

  • Fireworks

  • Camping and overnight parking

  • Skateboards/roller skates/in-line skates/scooters

  • Bicycling on the Beach

  • Mopeds and other motorized vehicles are prohibited on trails designated for bicycles and/or walking

  • Boats and Flotation Devices are prohibited within refuge water impoundments.

  • Climbing onto or digging into dunes. Dunes are considered closed areas.

What's permitted?
  • Wildlife observation and nature photography

  • Interpretation and environmental education

  • Hiking and bicycling

  • Shell collecting: limit 1 gallon of unoccupied shells per-person, per-day. Shells may not be sold or otherwise used for commercial purposes

  • Surf fishing: into the ocean and bay only following Virginia state saltwater fishing regulations

  • Crabbing & shell fishing
  • Hunting: with a valid permit

  • Boating: in Toms Cove and Assateague Channel (non-commercial)
  • Swimming and sunbathing at recreational Beach (lifeguards present seasonally)

  • Over-Sand Vehicle Use (with permit issued by Assateague Island National Seashore)

  • Horseback Riding (in South Over-Sand Vehicle Zone)