Chincoteague

Chincoteague is an island and small town off the Eastern Shore of Virginia, near the state line with Maryland.

Get in

To get to Chincoteague Island, take 64 east from Richmond until you reach Norfolk. From there, take 13 North. You will need to pay a $12 bridge toll to cross the Chesapeake Bay-Bridge Tunnel. Once on the other side, continue up the Eastern Shore for about an hour and a half. In Oak Hall, there is a Food Lion and Sonic. Turn right onto Rt. 175. Continue following 175 past the NASA base and across the bridges. There is a stoplight after the last bridge--Welcome to Chincoteague Island! Relax, you're on Island Time.

Get around

There are many ways to get around Chincoteague. During the summer months, the roads can get crowded. Bicycles are a great solution (and they get you into the beach for FREE!) Consider renting from the Bike Depot on Maddox Blvd or one of the other rental shops. They have reasonable rates ($3/hour, $14/day).

Pony Express is the island trolley service that runs during the summer. Rides are only a quarter, and many hotels give out tokens for free rides. With the exception of special events, buses run only between 5 PM and 10 PM in the evening. The trolley does not enter Assateague Island. The Pony Express is a great way to get to the carnival, since parking there is limited.

See

Deer and geese on the bayside wetlands

The island, in its entirety. Take a cruise around the island with a local captain.

Wild Pony Auction, day after the swim.

2nd Saturday celebration. Downtown Chincoteague, 2nd Saturday of every month. Local artists and shop owners celebrate the arts and take it to the sidewalks.

Do

Go to the beach. There is no commercialization over there--not even a Coke machine--so be sure to bring plenty of water and snacks. It is a wonderful beach, though you'll have to pay to get on Assateague Island, where the beach and wildlife refuge are located. Be sure to stop at the Herbert H. Bateman Educational and Administrative Center on Assateague--they have activities and exhibits for nature lovers of all ages. You should also include a trip to the Tom's Cove Visitors Center, located near the beach this location boasts a touch tank and other exhibits.

If you're willing to have a little walk you should check out the Wild Beach. Located north of the main beach this secluded strip of sand is perfect for those just wanting to get away from it all. The Wild Beach is also accessible by the 1/2 mile Swan Cove Trail, which spurs off of the Wildlife Loop.

Go to the Fireman's Carnival. It's a small-town festival complete with rides, games, bingo, and delicious oyster and clam fritters. All the rides and stands are run by the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company. Many members of the fire company are World-Famous Salt Water Cowboys.

Riding bikes on the Wildlife Refuge is an unforgettable experience--I highly recommend it. The 3-mile wildlife loop is an easy, flat ride, and the short hike to the Assateague Lighthouse is a lot of fun. Also check out the 1.5 mile Woodland Trail which is located off the main road to the beach and is a prime spot for viewing ponies. The loop also includes two spur trails. The 0.5 mile Swan Cove Trail which goes to the beach, and the 1 mile Black Duck Trail which connects the loop to the road. Another option is the trail that leaves the refuge parking lot and follows the main road before connecting to the Black Duck Trail. Walkers have several options, the 0.5 mile long Marsh Trail, and the 1/4 mile long Snow Goose Trail, both of which connect to the loop. Finally for the brave ones, there is the 7.5 mile long service road. Originating at the wildlife loop and heading north, this trail is only open to walkers, with an exception during Waterfowl Week in November when it is also open to bikes and cars. For families with kids or those unsure of riding with traffic, rent from the Bike Depot. They're close to all the paths and the beach too!

If you have time to spare, though when you are on Chincoteague Island, there is seemingly no concept such as "time," enjoy crabbing off the paths located conveniently on Maddox Boulevard, right before the entrance to Assateague Island. The view is lovely and if you do a 180 degree turn, across the 2-way road, you will most likely see some wild Assateague horses grazing and/or running freely about.

Whatever you do, if it's outside, bring bug spray. The mosquitoes are blood-thirsty!

Buy

Sun Screen. Aloe. Bug Spray. A good beach book.

A t-shirt from the Purple Pony. It's locally owned and has a great selection of quality t-shirts, printed right there at the store. Don't let these tags fool you though, just because they are cheaper does not mean they are cheaply made. And if you don't believe me, take it from the owners! "We believe in value. But value is often confused with 'cheap'. Good value is high quality and good service with low cost. Cheap is just low quality at low cost .Good value lasts. Cheap will do for now. Good value is a bargain and cheap is not."

An authentic Chincoteague Pony. There are several options for this. Most people looking to buy a pony come for pony penning week (Last Wednesday in July.) and buy one at the Wild Pony Auction. For those that can't make it that week, or are interested in a more relaxed buying experience, the Chincoteague Pony Farm is a great alternative. Don Leonard has been raising ponies for decades, and now with the help of his sons and grandchildren, he is making a name for the small farm he's owned since the 60's.

Eat

Ice Cream

The sweet treat followup to your delicious meal. Or whenever you want to!

Sleep

Connect

Talk to the Chamber of Commerce for all questions!

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Friday, February 13, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.