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First timer with very basic questions

north carolina
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First timer with very basic questions

My teenage daughter and I are driving from NC to NJ, leaving early this Friday, and decided to go a bit out of our way to see Chincoteage/Assateague. We may only have the afternoon and early evening before heading to a local hotel and continuing on our way on Saturday. We are most interested in seeing ponies and enjoying the sunset.

My questions:

1 - It looks like we can get onto Chincoteague from Rte. 13. From Chincoteague, can we get onto Assateague and drive all the way up to the northern end, and exit there? I'm thinking we could maximize what we see that way, but it's hard to tell from the map if there are roads.

2 - I know this is the Chincoteague forum, but how would you suggest we split our time, in terms of where we go, to maximize our chance of seeing ponies?

I think we will be on Assateague at sunset since we are heading north, so I will post in that forum for viewing recommendations. They don't seem nearly as active, though.

Thanks!

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Refuge Inn
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1. Re: First timer with very basic questions

The MD side and the VA side of Assateague are not connected by road. To see the MD side, you have to come in from the north, near Assateague State Park.

It will probably be more convenient to choose one or the other. I've had better luck seeing ponies on the VA side, but there are herds on both sides, so others may have a different opinion. It's somewhat a matter of luck.

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Assateague State Park
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north carolina
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2. Re: First timer with very basic questions

Can we just drive around the VA side with a decent chance of seeing ponies? I'm thinking we could have lunch in Chincoteague (and that ice cream that sounds so good!) then drive around the VA side of Assateague, in hopes of seeing ponies from the car. I have had recent surgery and won't be able to hike, climb lighthouses, or do many of the wonderful things there, unfortunately. So, we're hoping to be able to take a "nature drive" rather than a nature hike, and see ponies that way. She really prefers to see them unpenned, if that helps.

If this seems like a good plan, we could then watch sunset from Chincoteague.

Thanks.

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3. Re: First timer with very basic questions

Hi- You really couldn't comfortably do both parts of Assateague in one afternoon/evening. As the previous poster mentioned, the roads do not connect. I think you'll have a better experience if you focus on Chincoteague and the wildlife refuge here. It has easy access driving roads through the refuge that connect from the entrance to the beach and also a wildlife loop that you can drive through that is open at 3PM-sunset. The refuge center itself (the Bateman Center) is a great experience - there's an eagle cam and a lot of interactive exhibits. There's also a smaller center close to the beach with a touch tank and a good porch with binoculars to look out over the marshes. The Natural History Assoc. also has bus tours through the back roads of the refuge (www.piping-plover.org/wildlifetours.html), but it looks like they are only on Sat & Sun during June. If you come back another time, I heartily recommend them - they're a lot less expensive than a boat tour, but they usually give a good view of ponies. Sunset is best viewed from the waterfront on Chincoteague rather than Assateague. It's been at around 7-7:30PM. You can sit for free at the park behind the library - maybe bring a snack and relax. Hope you have a great visit!

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4. Re: First timer with very basic questions

Yes, you can drive on Assateague on the Virginia side to where the beach is, and ponies are often seen from the road, not generally up close, however. The national park site may be of help: http://www.nps.gov/asis/learn/index.htm

Depending on your time constraints, you may want to consider a bus tour, but in June, it's on Saturdays at 10 a.m. www.piping-plover.org/wildlifetours.html If that works for you, you see a lot, many photo ops, etc.

Edited: 09 June 2015, 21:35
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north carolina
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5. Re: First timer with very basic questions

Tina, I probably wasn't clear. I was asking if we could do Chincoteague and the VA side of Assateague, seeing ponies from the car, then going back over to Chincoteague for sunset, and not doing the MD side of Assateague. The refuge center and wildlife loop sound great. From your description and Zoey's, it sounds like that could work, with such a limited amount of time.

Thanks!

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6. Re: First timer with very basic questions

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