Basic Information


Assateague Island is a 37 mile long island along the coasts of Maryland and Virginia. Most of the Maryland district is managed by the National Park Service as Assateague Island National Seashore. The State of Maryland manages two miles of the Maryland district as Assateague State Park. The Virginia district is managed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service as Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. The National Park Service operates the Toms Cove Visitor Center and a recreational beach within the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. For additional details, download Planning Your Visit.


Assateague Island National Seashore is open year-round. Chincoteague National Wildife Refuge hours change seasonally. There is no vehicle access between the two districts on Assateague Island. Vehicles must return to the mainland to access either the north or south entrance. View the park map for the recommended driving route.

Summers at Assateague are generally hot and humid. Mosquitoes, biting flies, gnats and ticks are abundant from spring through autumn. Insect repellent and/or protective clothing is recommended. It rarely snows in the winter but it is often cold, damp and windy. Sturdy hiking shoes are recommended for long walks in the sand and hard soled water shoes/sandals or for wading in bay waters.


Food and Water

Please bring any necessary food, beverages and water with you. There are limited options to obtain them on the island. Wild horses, gulls and other wildlife will invade food left unattended. Store food in your car or locked tight in a sealed container.

Maryland District
Public water fountains are located at the Barrier Island Visitor Center and at the North Beach Pavilion. Bottled water, beverages and snacks are seasonally available at the Beach Hut at North Beach and at the Assateague Outfitters location on Bayside Drive.

Virginia District
There is no access to food and limited options to access drinking water in the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. Food and beverages are available on neighboring Chincoteague Island. Plan ahead and bring your own food, beverages and water. A public water fountain is seasonally available at the Toms Cove Visitor Center, located a short distance from the ocean along Beach Road. Another public water fountain is available inside the Herbert H. Bateman Educational Center; bottled water may also be available at this location. Note: Alcohol is prohibited in the Virginia District of the island.

Assateague beach with birds at surf's edge
Current Conditions

Barrier islands are all about change. Stay updated on park conditions.

view of the front of the campground office/contact station in the Maryland District
Operating Hours & Seasons

Assateague Island isn't the only thing changing around here - our hours change too! Check out what's open & when.

photo of law enforcement officer giving the thumbs up sign. photo by Krystina Carpenter
Laws and Policies

Learn about the rules and regulations in place for your safety and the safety of the park and its resources.

lifeguard updating beach & surf conditions display board at the beach
Safety: Protect Yourself in Your Park!

You'll enjoy your visit to Assateague more if you are prepared for beach & surf conditions, weather, sun, heat, biting insects and more.

photo of handicapped access parking sign in front of wheelchair accessible boardwalk
Accessibility for Park Visitors

Assateague Island National Seashore visitor centers, most nature trails, bathhouses and wayside exhibits are accessible.

A piping plover exclosure being put up by resource management staff
Resource Management

How is the horse population controlled? What are those cages on the beach? Click to find out how park resources are studied and managed.

Last updated: October 28, 2023

Park footer

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

7206 National Seashore Lane
Berlin, MD 21811


410 641-1441

Contact Us