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Chincoteague and Assateague

In-Person Program

Multi-Day Tour

Sunday, April 28, 2024 - 7:30 a.m., to Monday, April 29, 2024 - 9:00 p.m. ET
Code: 1CNCAV
Detailed information for overnight tours
is mailed approximately FOUR WEEKS
prior to departure.
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Double Room Member
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Single Room Member
Single Room Non-Member

Wild horses at Assateague Island National Seashore, Maryland

Assateague Island National Seashore and Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge are home to natural splendor, cultural treasures, and coastal charm. Spend two days with naturalist and educator Liana Vitali immersed in island life, exploring the natural wonders the barrier islands have to offer—and hear the lore of the Chincoteague ponies’ origin.

Upon arriving on Assateague, enjoy an orientation and talk at the visitors center with a park ranger, followed by a guided hike on one of the island’s many trails to explore the extraordinary seashore ecosystem. Don’t forget your binoculars: The barrier island is home to over 320 species of birds during the year and is a vital stopover for migratory shorebirds. At sunset, a pontoon boat ride takes you to see Assateague’s topography, herds of wild horses, and other wildlife—plus dolphins. After dinner, settle in for a lecture on historic shipwrecks near Assateague.

After your overnight stay at the Refuge Inn on Chincoteague—which has its own small herd of ponies—a day filled with exploration awaits. A visit to the Museum of Chincoteague Island includes a tour led by the museum’s executive director, Cindy Faith. She discusses the history and culture of the island, including how pony penning came about. After lunch, stop at the Chincoteague Island Visitor's Center to meet with rangers. Take a leisurely guided hike on one of Chincoteague’s nature trails, watching for ponies, deer, and spring blossoms before returning to Washington.

Know Before You Go

  • Cost includes bus transportation, lodging, all activities, and the following meals: Sunday boxed lunch, Sunday dinner, and Monday breakfast and lunch.
  • Overnight accommodations are at the Refuge Inn on Chincoteague.
  • Tour departs by bus from the Mayflower Hotel, Connecticut Ave. and DeSales St., NW., with a pickup stop at Comfort Inn Conference Center, 4500 Crain Hwy, Bowie, MD at about 8 a.m.
  • Single-room supplement $90 (factored into the Single Room Member and Single Room Non-Member pricing).
  • Singles registering at the double-room rate are paired (on a nonsmoking basis) if possible, but must pay the single-room supplement otherwise.
  • Detailed information is emailed to registrants about four weeks prior to departure.
  • Participants are advised to purchase travel insurance for overnight and multi-day tours from a provider of your choice. Travel insurance provides additional coverage against unforeseen incidents that require last-minute cancellations.

General Information

  • Registration for this tour will end by 2 p.m. ET on Friday, April 26, 2024.
  • The tour departs by motorcoach from downtown Washington, DC with a designated secondary pick-up outside the city. Content delivered by the study leader on the way to the destination, after the secondary pick-up, is an integral part of the study tour experience. Meeting the group once the tour is en route is discouraged.
  • Smithsonian Associates is a mask-friendly environment. Please feel free to bring and wear a mask at any time during a tour, both for your safety or the safety of others.
  • For additional tour information:

Inside Science