Chincoteague is a small and quiet island town on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, with lots of attractions and activities for families.
Where to stay
Chincoteague has several chain hotels on the island as well as a few smaller privately owned hotels. There are also many cottages available for weekly rentals and many home owners rent out their houses as well. A must visit web site when planning your trip is chincoteague.com, where you can find detailed information on places to stay and things to do.
Chincoteague is a destination best reached by car as there is no major airport close by. If flying in to the area the best airport is Norfolk, VA, which is a good two hours drive away from Chincoteague. You should probably rent a car to make the journey, and as Chincoteague does not have public transportation, having a car on the Island can prove essential.
When to go
Chincoteague is primarily a summer travel destination. You have access to the beach by driving over to Assateague Island, but you have to pay a relatively small fee; $15 for a week or $30 for the entire season.
What to Do
Chincoteague is famous for their annual pony swim, which is held during the last week of July each year. Wild horses are rounded up on Assateague Island and the horses then swim across the Assateague channel into Chincoteague, where some are auctioned off at the local fair before the others swim back to Assateague to run wild for another year.
The swim is always held the last Wednesday in July, but the time of the swim is determined by the tide, so this is something you should check closer to the time. Should weather conditions be extremely poor the swim could be delayed. The best place to view the swim is off of Ridge Road. Parking is limited, but many of the locals will allow you to park on their lawns for a fee. Go early to get the best possible viewing spot.
If being in the water is your thing, take a boat tour of Chincoteague Island. The tours are reasonably priced and will give you a great opportunity to see the island.
A great spot to take the family is the local fair. It runs every weekend in July and the entire week during the last week of July when the pony swim is held. There are a variety of rides and games for the kids and there is also a good selection of food.
If you decide to rent a house or cottage with a kitchen you should plan on cooking at least one night during your stay. Chincoteague is known for their fresh seafood and produce and tou can cook up a feast of clams, shrimp and more. One of the best spots to get fresh seafood in Chincoteague is Gary Howard Seafood on Deep Hole Rd.
If cooking is not your thing Chincoteague offers restaurants that serve everything from sandwiches and pizza to fine dining seafood. A few favorites include AJ’s on the Creek and Bill’s Seafood.
After a day at the beach and a great dinner, hit one of the mini golf courses on Maddox Blvd, then stop by family owned and operated Muller’s Ice Cream on Main Street for a wicked ice cream sundae.
If the weather is bad, or if you need a break from the beach, head to Main Street where they have a wide variety of craft stores and shops to check out. If you are looking for something fun to do then rent a moped or scooter from Fun on Wheels, which is located on Maddox Boulevard.
There are a few museums on Chincoteague Island, including the Memories of Misty Museum which is a great stop if you want to learn about the history of Chincoteague and the ponies.
Chincoteague has something for everyone and is truly a unique travel destination, which is why it was named Number One Happiest Shore Town to Visit in 2014 by Coastal Living.