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Virginia State Parks

USA Parks
Eastern Shore Region
Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge
Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge Hanging in there © John Laurie
Downey woodpecker looking for lunch
Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge Sand Crab © BILL HUNTER
The children were giving this little guy a run for his life
8231 Beach Road
Chincoteague, Virginia   23336
Chincoteague NWR, located primarily on the Virginia side of Assateague Island, consists of more than 14,000 acres of beach, dunes, marsh, and maritime forest. Chincoteague Refuge, originally established in 1943 to provide habitat for migratory birds (with an emphasis on conserving greater snow geese), today provides habitat for waterfowl, wading birds, shorebirds, and song birds, as well as other species of wildlife and plants. Refuge staff manage this barrier island habitat to allow many species of wildlife to coexist, each establishing their own place in the environment. In fact, more than 320 species of birds are known to occur on the refuge. The refuge has been designated a Globally Important Bird Area, is part of the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network and designated as one of the top ten birding Hotspots by the National Audubon Society.

Refuge management programs restore threatened and endangered species such as the Delmarva Peninsula fox squirrel, the bald eagle and the piping plover. More than 2,600 acres of man-made marshes, or moist soil management units, are managed for wintering waterfowl and shorebirds during migration. Unique residents of the island, the famous Chincoteague ponies, are housed in two areas on the refuge through a special agreement with the ponies' owners, the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company.

With approximately 1.4 million visits a year, Chincoteague NWR is one of the most visited refuges in the nation. Chincoteague Refuge provides visitors with extraordinary educational and recreational opportunities. In addition, a special partnership exists with the National Park Service which allows Assateague Island National Seashore to administer public activities on a five-mile portion of the refuge beach.

The new Herbert H. Bateman Educational and Administrative Center is currently under the construction phase and will open in 2003. The Center will offer educational exhibits, an auditorium and wet laboratory/classroom for visiting groups.
 Hiking Trailyes

Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
January 2 Wonderful History & Wow The Food by FrankLivingFully
We visited this park because it was relatively close to Wallops Island, a NASA launch site for atmospheric rockets. We found a clean little motel only a few miles away and very good restaurants down by the ocean. The style was relaxed and family friendly. We also stayed at a Bed and Breakfast where the main event was feeding the twenty plus cats that the owners had rescued. The cats were friendly and the owners were too. It was a relaxing vacation and we discovered the wild horses were probably from the time of Spanish exploration. Several hundred years and they had still survived. Many happy memories.
July 7 Funny sand crabs by Anna
We really enjoyed Chincoteague this year. You can walk miles in the soft sand and have fun watching the ghost crabs peeping from their hiding places. If you prefer a place where you can have privacy and great seafood, go visit Chincoteague!
May 21 A great place to go by Crystal
I really enjoyed going to Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. I wish I could have seen more but some the trail were closed that day, definately something that I will return to do.


From the Chesapeake Bay Bridge & Tunnel near Norfolk, Virginia, take US 13 North to State Route 175 East to Chincoteague Island. After crossing the bridge to Chincoteague, turn left at the traffic light onto Main Street. At Maddox Blvd. turn right and follow for about 2.5 miles, which will take you directly onto the refuge.


Virginia State Parks