Assateague Island is a 37-mile (60 km) long barrier island located off the eastern coast of Maryland and Virginia.It is best known for its herds of feral horses, pristine beaches, and the Assateague Lighthouse. The island also contains numerous marshes, bays and coves, including Toms Cove.Bridge access for cars is possible from both Maryland and Virginia, though no road runs the full length of the island.
Like all barrier islands, Assateague has changed in form over the years.The structure of barrier islands determined by movement of sand in the littoral zone, the land-facing side of the island.At one time,the island was connected to the lowest point of Fenwick Island. However,in August 1933, a hurricane created an inlet south of Ocean City, Maryland.
This inlet separated the two landforms. Normally,it would have silted back in due to the littoral drift that ran from north to south.However, after the storm,between 1933 and 1935 a permanent system of artificial jetties was built to preserve the inlet as a navigation channel.As a result, the island has drifted considerably westward, and the two landmasses are now over 1 km apart. While this process has benefitted Ocean City,creating wider beaches and better fishing access,it caused erosion problems on Assateague.