Assateague Island is a barrier island off the coasts of Virginia and Maryland. Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge is on the Virginia portion of Assateague Island. My fiancee and I had long heard about the wild ponies of Assateague Island so we decided to stop there on our road trip to see the fall foliage.
Although the most exciting time of year on Chincoteague is July when the pony herding, swim across the channel from Assateague Island to Chincoteague Island and auction are held, we were still excited to be going. Perhaps you're familiar with this island through the book, "Misty of Chincoteague" by Marguerite Henry or the movie of the same name.
I have to say we were pretty disappointed in our experience on this southern part of the island. We expected to see wild horses roaming freely all around the island but we only saw a couple. I don't know if it was because the weather was turning cooler or if it's always more difficult to see the wild horses at this end of the island.
I think Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge is a better place if you're interested birdwatching. There are dozens of species of them in the natural habitat of the beaches and dunes on this island.
It's important to realize you can't go from one end of Assateague Island to the other. There is a fence at the state line. This is to keep the two herds of ponies separated.