Assateague Island's wild ponies share the beautiful beaches and pine forests with silka deer and other wildlife.

Assateague Island National Seashore lies on a long, narrow barrier island that straddles the coasts of Virginia and Maryland. The island is a peaceful, windswept sanctuary to many species of wildlife, none more famous than the wild pony population. According to legend, these shaggy, sturdy animals survived the shipwreck of a Spanish galleon in the 1600s and then swam ashore to Assateague. Other stories relate that colonial farmers turned their livestock out to graze on the island to avoid livestock tariffs.

The ponies now share Assateague with an assortment of wildlife, including the unusual sika deer that makes its home in the island's pine forests. The island is also known for its lovely beaches and hiking trails that allow for plenty of exploring.

Assateague Island National Seashore

Address: 8586 Beach Rd., Chincoteague, VA

Phone: 757/336-6577

Hours of Operation: Jan. - Mar. and Nov. - Dec., 6 a.m. - 6 p.m., Apr. and Oct. 6 a.m. - 8 p.m., May - Sept. 5 a.m. - 10 p.m.

Admission: $10 per vehicle

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