While I’m all about being active, sometimes I just want to relax, sleep in, and eat. And Chincoteague is the perfect place to do that! Here's why!
Located on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, Chincoteague is a sleepy little fishing village of less than 3,000 on the island of Chincoteague. Many people may have heard of Chincoteague because of its wild pony population that inhabit Assateague Island (a barrier island to the east of Chincoteague). And for those of us of a certain age, you may remember the movie Misty of Chincoteague? The Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge (CNWR) is located at the southern end of Assateague Island, attracts tons of visitors (1.5 million visitors annually) who come to watch the migration of the feral ponies.
Legend has it that the ponies descend from the survivors of a Spanish galleon that sank off the coast of Virginia about 1750. Another legend goes that they descended from domestic horses that farmers brought to the Eastern Shore to avoid taxes.
Weird fact: Assateague Island is 38 miles long. That’s not the weird part. A fence runs along the Virginia/Maryland State line. As a result, the ponies on Assateague are separated into two herds. Here’s the odd bit - while the Maryland herd is owned by the National Park Service (okay, that makes sense since Assateague is part of a national reserve), the Virginia herd is owned by...wait for it... the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company!
So, what’s there to do?
Well, there’s tons of stuff to do if you want! Or nothing at all. You can...
Head to the beach
Keep a eye out to catch a glimpse of the ponies. We decided to forego the beach, mostly because I would burst into flames in the sun...
but there’s also ...
Bicycle rentals are readily available and since it’s flat, the rides are easy.
Like kayaking, stand up paddleboards, boat tours, crabbing and more...
There are lots of cozy antique, thrift and knick knacky kind of shops in the town of Chincoteague which is where we stayed. There’s also an adorable farmers market with crafts.
We visited the Museum of Chincoteague Island. We had a coupon (of course) for free admission for the Smithsonian Magazine’s National Museum Day.* The museum is small, but we had so much fun! The museum had a scavenger hunt. If you found all of the clues, you could enter to win a prize! Alas, we found all the clues, but didn’t win the prize....
The Smithsonian sponsors a day every year that gives you free entry to participating museums and cultural institutions. You need a ticket like the one below (or a mobile one), but the ticket is good for entry for two people!
What did we do? Hey, I said it was a lazy weekend! So, besides the museum, we went for... the eating and more eating option below! Read on!
Our two favorite to eat places were really worth it, but even in September they were crowded!
Bills Prime delicious (but not easy on the wallet)! I would definitely make reservations. Just be prepared to wait in spite of those reservations! (We forgot to take pics!)
Pico Taqueria which was ridiculously delish, both on the palette and the wallet! Not a reservations kinda place, so be prepared to stand in line!
Always saving room for dessert, we stopped at Island Creamery! I had key lime pie ice cream and the Hubby had Snickers Cheesecake. And yeah, they were as decadent as they sound....
And, if you’re around, there are opportunities for food focused festivals!
Have you been to Chincoteague? Let me what you did when you were there by reaching out to me on Facebook or in Traveleidoscope's comment section!
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