Assateague Island Beaches
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Assateague Island is a barrier island, the northern part of which is in Maryland, with the southern part in Virginia. The island is known for its wild ponies. There are three major public areas on the island. They are:
Assateague State Park (managed by Maryland's Department of Natural Resources)
Assateague Island National Seashore (managed by the National Park Service)
Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge (managed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service)
These agencies work together, along with the Virginia Department of Health, to ensure that the public has a safe and enjoyable time at their beaches. Water samples are taken weekly from the week before Memorial Day to the week after Labor Day. Water is tested for enterococci (a microorganism associated with fecal matter). Swimming advisories are posted when a single sample exceeds 104 enterococci per 100 milliliters of water.
The first two sites listed below, the Concession Stand and F Loop Campground are located within the boundary of Assateague State Park but are sampled and monitored by the Assateague Island National Seashore through a cooperative agreement with Worcester County Environmental Programs. The next four sites: State Park Boundary, Ranger Station, Oceanside Campground, and South Beach, are located within the Maryland portion of Assateague Island National Seashore and are sampled and managed by the National Park Service. Worcester County, Maryland also includes these sites in their program through the cooperative agreement with the National Seashore, and posts the information on their website. The last two sites, Tom's Cove North and Tom's Cove South, are located within the Virginia portion of Assateague Island and are sampled and managed exclusively by the National Park Service in cooperation with the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. The Virginia Department of Health's Eastern Shore Health District also conducts a monitoring program on the Virginia portion of Assateague Island. The Virginia Department of Health uses a slightly different protocol and samples four sites that are different from the National Park Service sites. The National Park Service and the Virginia Department of Health cooperate by sharing their weekly results.
More information about Assateague Island
beaches in Virginia can be found at the websites maintained by the Virginia
Department of Health and the Worcester County Environmental Programs.
Marine Beaches Routinely Monitored (North to South)
- Concession Stand
- F Loop Campground
- State Park Boundary
- Ranger Station
- Oceanside Campground
- South Beach
- Tom's Cove North
- Tom's Cove South
Local Beach Contacts For Assateague Island
Biological Science Technician - Water Resources
National Park Service
Assateague Island National Seashore
7206 National Seashore La.
Berlin, MD 21811
410-641-1443, ext. 212
Fax = 410-641-1099