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.
Barrier islands are all about change. Stay updated on park conditions.
Operating Hours & Seasons
Assateague Island isn't the only thing changing around here - our hours change too! Check out what's open & when.
Laws and Policies
Learn about the rules and regulations in place for your safety and the safety of the park and its resources.
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.
Accessibility for Park Visitors
Assateague Island National Seashore visitor centers, most nature trails, bathhouses and wayside exhibits are accessible.
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