The Assateague Island is 60 km long and only 2 km wide. There are beautiful sandy beaches, romantic bays and salty swamps that provide refuge to various animal species. The most popular of them are undoubtedly the wild ponies- in fact horses, which are only called ponies for their small build. There are two herds of them- divided according to the state they live in. The traditional event, during which cowboys chase the herd into the mainland, called Ponny Penning, takes place in Virginia every year. The horses must swim across the bay and some of them are then sold in an auction. There is a popular legend that tells the story of how the ponies got to the island after a Spanish ship sank in the seas nearby in the 16th century. However, it is much more probable that the herd of horses got to the island after one of the local farmers let them loose in the 17th century, so that he would not have to pay taxes.
You can get to the island by car from Maryland or Virginia. There are no roads across the island, only paths for cyclists and pedestrians. You can also discover the beauties of the island from water- by canoes or kayaks- or from the back of a horse in the company of a guide. Other activities on the island include fishing, swimming or hunting (with permission only) . The Assateague Island is administrated by three government agencies protecting the environment: the Assateague Island National Seashore and the Assateague State Park in Maryland and the Chinoteague National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia. The entrance fee to the park from either state is 15 dollars per car and is valid for seven days. Entrance for pedestrians and cyclists is free of charge.
Camping on the island is permitted only in the part of the island belonging to Maryland. Accommodation is available in the nearby cities Berlin, Ocean City or Chincoteague Island.
By car, follow road n.376 and 611 from the city Berlin (on the northern part of the island) or take road 175 from Oak Halle (on the southern part of the island) .