Assateague Island is a 37-mile-long barrier island comprising three major public areas: Assateague Island National Seashore, managed by the National Park Service; Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; and Assateague State Park, managed by Maryland’s Department of National Resources.
The Assateague Island region includes the island and town of Chincoteague, renowned for its annual Pony Swim held by the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company and for Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry. By the way, “Chincoteague” is pronounced “Shincoteague.”
The region also includes Wallops Island to the south, home to NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, which launches suborbital rockets for scientific research and orbital rockets to carry supplies to the International Space Station. To the north lies Ocean City, Maryland, the state’s summer wonderland to which Assateague was connected until 1933. Other Maryland towns in the region include Berlin, home to federal and state park offices, and Snow Hill.
Assateague Island’s managing organizations are supported by non-profit and volunteer groups that raise funds for important programs and generally work to preserve and protect the island’s invaluable natural resources. They are themselves invaluable resources, contributing time and efforts to keep horses safe, restore and replenish shoreline habitat, keep Assateague trash free, and much, much more. You can find more information and links to these organizations on our Resources page.