Chincoteague and Assateague Islands qualify as two of my favorite places. Chincoteague, VA is a very small town and is a fishing village that has redefined itself. The population is around 4,000 most of the time, not counting tourists. Assateague Island is a barrier island that spreads from near Ocean City, MD in the north to Chincoteague in the South. There are really two different areas in the Virginia section.
The Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge is maintained by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It is the part on the Western section of the island. The Assateague Island National Seashore is the Eastern section. When driving on the island, you can't really tell where one ends and the other begins.
There are wild ponies living on Assateague Island. The Virginia herds are owned and cared for by the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Department. As explained on the pony penning pages on this site, the first year foals are auctioned to help fund the fire department and fund the care of the herd. The pony swim occurs each July.
Most people go to see the ponies. There is no longer any assurance of an up-close encounter. To protect the ponies and the visitors, they are fenced off. If you pay attention, you can usually get a good look, though. If you get desperate and have some energy, you can walk up to see the Northern Herd. From the Wildlife Loop parking lot, its an 8 mile round trip. When you get there, its a very pretty area and you sometimes find ponies in the road. The Southern Herd is the one seen from the Beach Road and Wildlife Loop. If you want to see how "it used to be", we have some old pictures taken several years ago.
Assateague Island is a great place to watch sunrises. When they reflect off the water of Black Duck Pool, it can be spectacular. Black Duck Pool is the first watery area on the left that you come to when driving to the beach on Assateague Island. Sunsets can be very pretty on Assateague and Chincoteague.
There's many birds on Assateague as well. The types depend on the time of year. Great Egrets and Great Blue Herons can usually be found. In the summer, we enjoy the Black Skimmers. In the winter, we enjoy the snow geese. Several pictures of these birds are on this web site.
We (like many) have taken a lot of pictures in Chincoteague and Assateague over the years. The menu above will take you to the various stories and pictures.