Assateague Island is a place that we have wanted to visit for years. Once we heard about the wild horses that make the island their home, we were raring to go. And, yes, it lives up to the hype! The National Park Service has done an excellent job with maintaining the roads, facilities, and beaches.
Our first stop was the visitor center where we got some information about the island, bought our requisite Christmas ornament, and picked up the park brochure. Then we drove over the Verrazano Bridge to get to the island.
For information about the national seashore, click here: Assateague
Some believe the wild horses that live on Assateague Island, which lies in Maryland and Virginia, and its neighbor, Chincoteague Island in Virginia, are the descendants of horses that came from a Spanish galleon ship that sank offshore. Others believe that farmers who lived nearby turned their stock out to graze on the islands to avoid paying heavy taxes on them. Whether these theories are true or not, it is known that the horses have been on the islands for about 300 years. In Maryland, the horses are owned and managed by the National Park Service. The horses in Virginia are owned and managed by the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Department.
Approximately 80-100 horses live on the Maryland side of Assateague Island, and they are considered wildlife. There is no veterinary or human intervention toward their care, except for birth control. Their short legs and stocky bodies have evolved to enable them to easily navigate the sand dunes and walk through the marshes on the island. They appear to be bloated due to the fact that they drink twice the amount of water as domesticated horses because of their salty diet.
For a super interesting short film about the Assateague horses, click here: Video
The beaches at Assateague Island are beautiful, too. There were no crowds on the day we went, and everything was clean including the beaches, the changing facilities, and showers. We were impressed.
Assateague Island National Seashore abuts Assateague State Park in Maryland. The horses also have free reign in this park, and the facilities and beaches are great here too.
This ends our visit to Assateague Island. We hope you enjoyed your visit and will come back again soon for another fun destination, quick stop, or travel tip. We will leave you with one more shot of the horses, this time standing in a marshy area. Doesn’t the one in the middle have spectacular coloring?
Until next time…
Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road!
Mike and Kellye
As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.