Must Visit: Assateague Island National Seashore

January 25, 2013 by

Combine wild horses and sandy beaches and you have the makings of a fine summer vacation.

On Assateague and Chincoteague Islands, wild horses that are the descendants of ponies brought to America by colonists roam about the salt marshes, forests and beaches of these barrier islands between Maryland and Virginia.

The feral horses have adapted to the climate changes and environment of the islands, surviving through summer’s harsh heat and winter’s storms.

Visitors flock to these islands to view the wild beauties in their natural habitat. However, as much as visitors would like to, feeding or touching the horses is forbidden, as it would only be detrimental to the horses survival skills and can be dangerous for humans.

Two main herds make up the wild horse society on these two islands. To get up close and personal with the horses, take a nature tour with a guide from May 18 – Oct 6 each year.

In addition to these nature tours, there is a Wild Pony Swim¬†each year when the horses cross the waters between the two islands. Though very crowded during this event, it’s an experience not to be missed for horse lovers.

This year’s Wild Pony Swim is on July 24, 2013.

Photo source: John Riviello

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3 Comments so far

  1. I remember visiting the island as a kid. I would love to take my kids there, too!

  2. John Amrhein says:

    You failed to mention that there is a legend that the horses came from a wrecked Spanish galleon. There was such a galleon. The horses that were on Assateague owned by the Colonists were nearly all wiped out in a great storm of 1749. The Spanish ship wrecked in 1750. This legend has been documented in the book Misty of Chincoteague

  3. John Amrhein says:

    We (John and Delphine) had a great time for sure at OTI. Just love the place. St. Kitts played a major role in the story of the real Treasure Island. Read about it at

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