Chincoteague, located on the eastern shore, is a town that is home to many attractions for tourists as well as residents. As a smaller tourist destination, home to only about 4,000 people, there are not as many problems with big-city traffic, crowded streets and boardwalks.. This quiet town is just over 9 miles away from Wallops Island, or a 16 minute drive. From island trails to beautiful parks, Chincoteague offers plenty of sites to keep you entertained.
Things to do near Chincoteague
Chincoteague is a town for those who love nature. As expected from a town on the shore, Chincoteague boasts beautiful waterfronts, making it perfect for boating. Visitors can choose to lease a boat launching facility for a short time. It is also home to many park and green-spaces. One in particular, the Veteran’s Memorial Park provides space to play sports, a fishing pier, and even a skate park. One of Chincoteague’s main attractions is its nature and wildlife trails. In fact, the island boasts a huge wildlife refuge to keep the outdoorsy types busy.
Approximately 15 miles away from Wallops Island, Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge provides numerous outdoor activities for those looking for an adventure or a relaxing getaway. The refuge is a 14,000-acre wildlife preserve operated by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Access to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge is open from 5 am – 10 pm every day.
The wildlife refuge has hours of fun-filled outdoor activities, from beaches and trails to hunting and fishing. White sandy beaches cover the edge of the refuge. Whether cooling off in the surf, sunbathing, fishing, hunting for seashells, or digging for sandcrabs, anyone can find some fun on the pristine beaches. Campfires are allowed in designated areas to end your fun day in the sun. Over 15 miles of trails that wind through Assateague Island’s marshes and forests provide excellent sights of nature either by foot or bike. An excellent bird’s eye view of Assateague Island can be seen from the top of Assateague Lighthouse. Chincoteague’s famous wild ponies can be seen wandering throughout the park’s marshes and make for wonderful photo opportunities. Each summer Chincoteague’s wild ponies are involved in the Annual Pony Swim. The Pony Swim is a week-long activity involves the round up, swim, penning, and auction of the island’s ponies. This is a very unique experience that can only be found on Chincoteague and it should be on your must-do list.
Places to eat near Chincoteague
Many restaurants can be found near Chincoteague, most of which showcase fresh, local seafood. Places like Chincoteague Diner and Restaurant and AJ’s on the Creek provide wonderful seafood and homestyled meals. Other hotspots include: Steamers, Famous Pizza, The Jackspot, and The Village Restaurant. One highlight of the town its the wide selection of ice cream parlors. After you’ve enjoyed your meal, you can visit the famous Island Creamery. It was recently named one of the best ice cream parlors in the nation by TripAdvisor. Island Creamery, along with Muller’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream Parlor, are two places to try during your visit if you want a decadent, cold, creamy treat. But don’t stop there, there is so much more to explore.
History of Chincoteague
Chincoteague was founded in 1908. Derived from an Indian word meaning “beautiful land across the water”. The land encompassed by the town has changed three times since it’s start, the last of which was to include a resort island. The island, used for livestock grazing in the 17th century, was later settled by families looking to make use of the crabs, clams, and fish that naturally lived there. The seafood industry started through trading with more developed cities nearby and then grew substantially with the help of tourism and development.