Weekend Window: Assateague Island

Every day offers a new beginning on Assateague Island, a 37-mile-long barrier island off the coasts of Maryland and Virginia that changes with the wind, water and sea level.

"When a visitor comes to Assateague Island, all of their senses are awakened," said Regina Jones-Brake, a park ranger for the Assateague Island National Seashore. "They see the beach and they see the water. They hear it. They can smell it. And if they keep their mouth open, they can taste the salt air."

If you choose to forgo the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean, the west side of the island offers the calmer waters of the Chincoteague Bay -- two different worlds on one small island.

The island is perhaps best known for the wild horses that inhabit it. They have been on the island since the 1600s -- roaming freely in some parts.

"We don't tell them where to go," Jones-Brake said. "They stop traffic. The herds are all over. You can see them on the road. You can see them on the beaches. You can't duplicate this anywhere."

But the best view of the horses isn't always from land. Some tours guide groups through the water to look at the ponies.

"The visitors that I take out there, I think they really enjoy doing this because they feel like they're hunting for something," said Mark Coulbour, owner of the Assateague Explorer Eco-Tour. "And they go out there, and they're looking for these wild ponies, and they're really excited about finding them."

  • For more information on how you can tour Assateague Island click here.
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