Photo by Gordon Campbell | At Altitude Gallery

Myrtle and Mink Islands

Owned and managed by: The Nature Conservancy Virginia Coast Reserve.

Myrtle and Mink Islands are open year-round to the public for low-impact, recreational day use, such as hiking, bird watching, surf fishing and photography. All areas above the high tide line are closed April through August. Please help protect sensitive habitats and wildlife by observing all visitation policies and seasonal restrictions.

Visiting Myrtle and Mink Islands

The Seaside is a dynamic landscape with constantly shifting tides, sands and weather. Safety is a top concern when visiting this remote area with limited accessibility and services. Stay alert, come prepared and be aware of island use policies.

Open for recreational DAY use:

   Photography   Wildlife viewing   surf fishing

Prohibited at ALL times:

No camping   No campfires   No vehicles   No dogs

Seasonal restrictions (April through August):
  • CLOSED above high tide line. Remain at the water’s edge and below the high tide line at all times in all areas to avoid bird nesting habitat
  • Do not walk on or traverse upper beaches, dunes or mudflats
  • Respect posted bird nesting areas

For information about our policies, please contact the Virginia Coast Reserve office:

Suggested access points

Access to Myrtle and Mink Islands requires extensive knowledge of the waterways and is not recommended for inexperienced visitors. Please contact The Nature Conservancy for more information.

About Myrtle and Mink Islands

Among the first islands to become part of what is now The Nature Conservancy’s Virginia Coast Reserve, Myrtle and Mink Islands are two of the most remote barrier islands along Virgnia’s Eastern Shore. The islands are separated from the mainland by vast salt marshes and winding creeks, deep channels, shallow bays, extensive mudflats and productive oyster reefs. The highly dynamic habitats on these islands support large numbers of nesting and migrating birds and are among the most important areas for these resources on Virginia’s Seaside. Visiting these remotes sites is only recommended for the most experienced boaters or paddlers. And as with all of Virginia’s Seaside island, before visiting, please familiarize yourself with site use policies and seasonal restrictions in order to help protect sensitive resources.

Mink Island

Mink Island | Photo by Z. Poulton

Discover a Coastal Wilderness

The Atlantic coastline of Virginia’s Eastern Shore is a unique coastal wilderness that spans 70 miles from the Virginia/Maryland border to the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. The region is characterized by vast, mostly undeveloped marshes, barrier island beaches and coastal lagoons that support globally important populations of migratory birds, are the site of intensive large scale oyster reef and eelgrass restoration projects, and provide extensive recreation opportunities in remote settings. Learn more about the natural history of this amazing coastal landscape.



The Nature Conservancy Virginia Coast Reserve

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, the Conservancy creates innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together.

The Virginia Coast Reserve (VCR) is a landscape program within the Virginia Chapter of the Conservancy that is headquartered in Nassawadox, Virginia on the Eastern Shore. VCR is made up of 14 barrier and marsh islands, extensive salt marshes and several mainland properties including the Brownsville Preserve. Programs at VCR address conservation topics on the Eastern Shore such as migratory bird conservation, marine habitat restoration, coastal resilience, land protection and outreach and education. VCR works collaboratively with federal and state partners to manage The Nature Conservancy’s properties, including the barrier islands and Brownsville Preserve, to ensure the protection of sensitive natural resources while also accommodating for low-impact visitor use.

Explore Our Seaside Partners

The seaside of Virginia’s Eastern Shore is almost entirely owned and managed by non-profit, state and federal agencies. These partners share the common goal of protecting natural resources, while balancing sustainable recreational and economic use of the seaside. Learn more about our partnership.