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Friday, September 12, 2008

Assateague Island National Seashore has Wild Ponies!

When we were in the Florida Keys a cool couple - Glen and Kathy - told us about the wild ponies on Assateague Island (both MD and VA) and that we simply had to see them for ourselves. As you may have read in a recent post, we had an opportunity to stay a mere 4 miles outside the park recently (in Ocean City, MD) and got to have a great visit on the barrier island.

The first stop we made was at the Barrier Island Visitor Center where we learned that we could park our vehicle in the next lot up and bike the island...and that they don't guarantee pony sightings but would be shocked if we came back unhappy.

We parked, unloaded the bikes and took off on a 4 mile (each way) ride - 1 mile to the State Park entrance, 2 miles to the National Seashore entrance and 1 more mile through the park.

There are specific paths - off the roadway - for bicycles and they were smooth going (watch out for the pony scat, tho - they do get around!). The first portion of the path is over the Verrazano Bridge Bikeway...what a view.

As we rode the path we came across several ponies just grazing away. They were close by and in the estuary. Beautiful...

The National Seashore park entrance fee is $15 per vehicle or free if you are bicycling or hiking. You can walk atop the dunes and gaze at the seashore, enjoy an exposed old shipwreck, head to the ferry landing to clam or crab, and more. You can also dry camp in either the state or national park campgrounds.

Visitors can also enter the park in Virginia at Chincoteague and enjoy hiking, swimming and of course, ponies. The last Wednesday and Thursday of July the Chincoteague herd is rounded up for the annual "Pony Swim and Auction".

If you are in the Assateague Island area do stop, take a bike ride and check out the wild ponies!


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