Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge
Beachfront trail in Virginia
Established in 1943 to provide habitat for migratory birds, this Costal refuge is a rest stop for birds migrating to and from South and Central America. Chincoteague's most famous inhabitants are the wild ponies that run across island, but the birds are what is caters too. Chincoteague is one of the most visited national wildlife refuges in the United States. Located on the Virginia portion of thirty-seven-mile-long Assateague Island, it is a less than a day's drive away for millions of people. \r\ More than 14,000 acres of beach, dunes, marsh, and maritime forest make up Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. The trails extend into Maryland, but the Virginia side is usually ranked higher from visitors. There are 15 miles of trails to explore, and half of those are paved for bicycling and wheelchairs. The 3.2-mile, paved Wildlife Loop gives hikers access to Snow Goose Pool and Swan Cove. Vehicles are permitted on the loop between 3 p.m. and dusk. The waterways and ponds beside the road lways hold a snowy egret, or the elegant great blue heron, or perhaps a flock of Canada geese. You can extend the Wildlife Loop hike, with the Beachfront loop hike for a total of 9.1 miles, which can be done in a day. Back country camping is not allowed in the Virginia side of the refuge, but is allowed in Maryland. Be sure to bring water and DEET, as the insects are active during the hotter months. Also bring your Camera as you won't want to miss the wide variety of birds and other wildlife yo will encounter.