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“Heaven on Earth” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge

Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge
Chincoteague Island, VA 23336
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Type: Beaches, National Parks, Nature/ Wildlife Areas, Outdoors
Activities: Viewing wildlife, Hiking, Birdwatching
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Attraction details
Owner description: Uncrowded wildlife refuge managed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
Senior Contributor
48 reviews 48 reviews
33 attraction reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
70 helpful votes 70 helpful votes
“Heaven on Earth”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 24, 2014

The Chincoteague/Assateague National Wildlife Refuge is heaven on earth during the off-season. This means visit it at any time but summer time when the mosquitoes will feast on you and the hotel rates will jump sky- high.

This refuge is well- maintained, well-run, and well-managed. It is also beautiful, relaxing, and peaceful. Few people are around during the off-season but the wild animals are prolific.

The famous wild horses are everywhere. If you are lucky, you can see them closely. Other animals, especially, the water fowl contribute greatly to the refuge. There are beautiful great white herons, great blue herons, egrets, Canada geese, ducks, and swans. Thrushes, hawks, and vultures fly. In the superb Visitor Center, there is a closed circuit television of an eagle with her two babies nesting in the nest. Raccoons and endangered Delmarva squirrels feed by the roads and trails while you observe them.

The trails are easy to walk. They are flat and short. You do not have to climb or clamber. It is easy walking for the young and old.

The Wildlife Loop which is closed to cars until 3 in the afternoon is wonderful. You have the 2 - 3 mile loop to yourself to stroll, observe, stop, and enjoy. What a super idea to open the loop to only pedestrians. The person who suggested and implemented this is a genius! Both man and beast can enjoy each other's company naturally.

There are beaches here! The Atlantic Ocean is on one side and sand dunes and marshes on the other side. The sand is clean and white. The water is clear and unpolluted. The seagulls swooping around and ducks bobbing on the waves keep you company and entertained. Nobody is on the beach during the off-season. You own the beach just like you own the refuge!

Visited March 2014
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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882 reviews from our community

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Top Contributor
67 reviews 67 reviews
36 attraction reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
39 helpful votes 39 helpful votes
“Always a different experience!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 22, 2014

Due to the "nature" of the refuge you never know what you're going to see. On the first day, I saw about a dozen of the wild ponies, grazing, from about 50 yards away. Then for the next 2 days, nothing. The beach is always awesome, this time of year even more so because there are no crowds or mosquitoes. I came home with quite a few large whelk shells :) It is quiet except for the birds, and walking the trails through the wooded areas is peaceful and relaxing. It is truly a beautiful place to visit.

Visited March 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
College Park, Maryland
15 reviews 15 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
“Wild ponies - what's better than that?”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 22, 2014

First time on Chincoteague did NOT disappoint! We drove into the park on our first day, made a brief stop at the visitor's center to purchase a park pass, and we headed toward the beach. Almost as soon as we pulled away from the visitor's center, we saw a number of the wild ponies in the marsh on the right. They were in good view, and we got excited (naturally) and took a few pictures. Little did I know we should have lingered longer. We never saw them again in 3 more days. Had I realized how special it was to see them, I'd have watched longer and taken more photos. We were spoiled by that quick, easy sighting. Regardless - what a treat! We also loved walking along the beautiful trails, seeing the lighthouse (which is very well kept), and playing on the beach. We had great weather for playing in jeans and sweatshirts, and it was relaxing to dig in the sand while watching the surfers do their thing. A few hours each day of sand play + walking the trails + searching for shells added up to a fantastic trip. Can't wait to go back!

Visited March 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Baltimore, Maryland
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 12, 2014

I suppose from storms the island is basically destroyed, particularly the beach. I hadn't been for about 15 years and every structure the park service built on the beach to provide some amenities (in the old days there were just outhouses) is gone. The dunes are gone, the parking lots are sand and all the sea grasses are gone. Had we known we would not have purchased an annual pass. Further inland is an endless sea of downed trees.

Visited March 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Top Contributor
62 reviews 62 reviews
17 attraction reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
“Awesome Beach”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 9, 2014

Great place to spend the day, wildlife was incredible, the beach and surf was beautiful and breathtaking. We enjoyed the walk to the lighthouse. A Great place to visit

Visited March 2014
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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