The 37 mile Beach at Assateague National Seashore
This Virginia Beach is Popular with Families
When you drive across the bridge from Chincoteague Island onto Assateague, you’re in one of the few magical places left along the seashore. Fortunately Assateague Beach was saved from development over the years, it’s 37 miles of beautify white sand attracts families from all over. It’s on the same island as the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, and minutes to wonderful housing options from waterfront vacation rentals to small cabins, for every budget.
No wonder the beach on Assateague is the #1 attraction according to Trip Advisor. Most all activities are fee plus something for everyone! There’s parking right behind the dunes, bathrooms, & changing areas, picnic tables with BBQ grills. Different sections have Life Guards for Swimming ; areas for Surfing; Rafting and Boogie boarding and Sea Kayaking; a section great for Surf Fishing; and a large area for driving on the beach. There’s even an air pump for your convenience, but remember you will need a ORV Permit. And, there are Ponies roaming the island and they often walk along the beach or take a dip in the ocean, and great variety of seashells to collect. It’s always fun to watch the dolphins close to the shore.
Assateague Island is very affordable — one price for everyone in your car, and Free for those with Senior National Park Pass, America the Beautiful Lifetime Pass. Or just bike or walk across the bridge from Chincoteague VA and it’s FREE.
There’s an Assateague National Seashore Visitors Center with helpful Rangers across the parking lot from the beach. It’s a great place for children with hands on touch tanks and activities. Plus there’s relaxing rocking chairs for overlooking Tom’s Cove and even telescopes for bird watching. Lots of Ranger’s sponsored activities to sign up for — from learning how to clam to evening campfire.
Tom’s Cove is a unique shallow bay on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean seashore. It’s a great option for younger children as they can spend hours in the shallow water that never seems to get too deep. It’s also a great spot for a windy day! You might even find a live conch or two.
Spend a few hours or the entire day — just toss a cooler in your trunk with your hot dogs and beverages and you’ll be set for the day. Or just cross the free bridge to Chincoteague and pick up some take out picnic boxes or fresh seafood take-out …even fast food.
Assateague Island wasn't always an island.
Assateague broke away from Fenwick Island during a storm in August 1933. In September 1965 it was dedicated as a National Seashore., but it has an interesting history before that.
Around the 1850’s there were residents residing in small villages most supporting themselves as watermen of working at one of the 4 US Life Saving Station. There were some attempts to develop the island until the Ash Wednesday Storm in ’62 made it very clear that this barrier island know as Assateague was constantly changing and not suitable for permanent buildings. The federal government purchased the land, built a bridge from Chincoteague, and created the Assateague National Seashore to preserve it for the over one million visitors who visit the undeveloped beaches.
As there’s no hotels or restaurants on Assateague, the island of Chincoteague just across the bridge rose to the occasion and started providing cabin and vacation rentals, restaurants, and family activities such as miniature golf as well as wonderful fresh seafood restaurants and take-out. As Chincoteague is also an island, all types of boating and fishing opportunities, Chincoteague Island is now one of the most popular summer vacation locations, and because it’s only a few hours drive to Chincoteague and Assateague beach from DC, MD, DE, PA, NC and all of VA it’s even a popular place for weekend getaways.
The pristine soft white sand of Virginia’s Assateague Beach made it one of the winners of the Best National Park Beach Winners in 2016 – ” Assateague Island is currently ranked number 1 by USA Today’s 10 Best National Park Beaches list, beating out competition like Baker Beach — Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Honokohau Beach — Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park and Limantour Beach — Point Reyes National Seashore.” Also Coastal Living Magazine named Assateague Beach in their Top 10.