Chincoteague Wildlife Refuge — Photo courtesy of USFWSLocated within easy access from all of the Atlantic seaboard cities, yet a world away, Chincoteague Island is the perfect spot for a pristine beach holiday. And we mean pristine. The island lies just off the Virginia coast, and is basically a low key fishing village which attracts holiday makers looking for something without high rises or traffic snarls.
Chincoteague is the jumping off point to Assateague Island, which is connected to it by a bridge, and is home to the famed Chincoteague Wildlife Refuge, where the wild ponies run free, along with whales, dolphins, and abundant birds and other wildlife. The beach here is completely protected with no commercialization and is one of the most beautiful on the Atlantic, and fits in with the wildlife and nature experience that is the island’s big draw.Chincoteague Pony — Photo courtesy of Emma Kent/USFWS
Back in town, Chincoteague is renowned for its clams and oysters, as well as for its ice cream. Stop in at Muller’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream Parlor or the Island Creamery, which are about as legendary as the wild ponies themselves. Also, make sure to visit the Pony Penning Roundup and Carnival if you are in town in July, where the volunteer fire department, known as the Saltwater Cowboys, herd the wild ponies across the channel between Assateague and Chincoteague in a real visual spectacle.