Assateague Island National Seashore – Chincoteague Island

Chincoteague Islands

Reasons to Visit Chincoteague Island

Ponies in the surfChincoteague is a small town located off the coast of Virginia, near Ocean City MD. The town is best known for its wild ponies. You can see them roaming freely on the beach. Chincoteague is also a popular spot for fishing, crabbing, and boating.

The island has several miles of beaches, as well as a nature preserve that is home to many different species of birds. There are also several shops and restaurants in Chincoteague, making it the perfect place to spend a day or two exploring.

Whether you’re looking to see some wild horses or just enjoy the quiet atmosphere, Chincoteague is definitely worth a visit.

Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge

Heron at National ParkChincoteague National Wildlife Refuge is a nature lover’s paradise. This 14,000-acre refuge is home to a variety of wildlife, including herons, bald eagles, and ospreys.

The refuge also offers miles of hiking trails, kayaking, and bird watching. In addition, Chincoteague has a yearly Pony Swim, which draws visitors from all over the world.

Best Time to Visit Chincoteague

The summer months offer the opportunity to enjoy activities like swimming, boating, and fishing, while the fall months bring stunning scenery as the leaves change color.

Winter can be a great time to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and enjoy some peace and quiet, and spring is perfect for spending time outdoors as the flowers start to bloom.

Best Things to Do in Chincoteague

There’s no shortage of things to do in Chincoteague, Virginia! This beautiful town is teeming with natural beauty, and there’s plenty of activities to keep you busy. Here are some of the best things to do in Chincoteague:

1. Visit the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge

This 14,000 acre refuge is a paradise for nature lovers. It’s home to over 400 species of birds, as well as deer, rabbits, foxes, and more. There are also miles of hiking and biking trails to explore.

2. Take a scenic boat ride

Water surrounds Chincoteague, so there’s no better way to take in the sights than on a boat tour. You can spot dolphins, ospreys, and other wildlife while enjoying the beautiful scenery.

3. Go fishing

The waters around Chincoteague have great fishing. Whether you’re an experienced angler or just getting started, you’re sure to have a great time fishing here. There are charter companies that will take you out on the water.

Ponies Swimming4. Attend the Pony Swim and Auction

This annual event is a must-see for any visitor to Chincoteague. Every year, wild ponies swim from Assateague to Chincoteague Island in a tradition that dates way back. Afterward, there’s an auction where you can bid on your own pony!

5. Explore downtown Chincoteague

Downtown Chincoteague has numerous charming shops and restaurants. Be sure to stop by one of the many ice cream shops for a sweet treat! There’s also a variety of museums and art galleries to check out.

These are just a few of the many great things to do in Chincoteague. Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventure or want to relax and explore town, you’re sure to find something to love about this special place.

How to Get to Chincoteague?

The Chesapeake Bay BridgeIf you’re coming from Washington DC take Route 50 over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. Continue on Route 50 until you reach Route 13. Then take Route 13 until you get to Route 175 which then leads into Chincoteague.

If you’re coming from Baltimore, take Route 97 until you get to Route 50. Then follow the same directions as coming from DC.

Places to Stay in Chincoteague

If you’re looking for a place to stay on Chincoteague, you have plenty of options. There are hotels and motels in town, as well as a number of vacation rentals.

Camping is also an option, and there are several campgrounds on the island.

Nearby Ocean City Maryland has an abundance of accommodations.

Other Attractions Near Chincoteague

Relaxing Day at the BeachVisitors can explore the Assateague Island Lighthouse, which has been in operation since 1833, or take a stroll through the Museum of Chincoteague Island, which chronicles the island’s history and culture.

Nature lovers will enjoy the wildlife refuge, home to many species of birds, while beachgoers can relax on one of the island’s many sandy beaches as well as beaches at the nearby Assateague National Seashore.

Wallops Island and the NASA Flight facility is also nearby. There are regular rocket launches from Wallops island.

Wild Pony Viewing

Maryland Herd of PoniesWild Pony Viewing is a must-do activity when visiting Chincoteague near Ocean City, Maryland! The ponies of Assateague are a beloved part of the region, and there are several opportunities to view them in their natural habitat.

Visitors can take a boat tour of the island, go on a guided hike, or simply explore on their own. The Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company manages the Virginia herd. They also run the annual Pony Swim event in July in which the ponies swim across the channel to Chincoteague.

What Does the Name Chincoteague Mean?

The name Chincoteague derives from the Chincoteague tribe of Native Americans, who inhabited the area prior to European settlement. The Chincoteague were part of the Powhatan Confederacy of tribes. Their language and Algonquian are closely related.

The meaning of the word Chincoteague is uncertain, but it is thought to refer to a body of water or an island.

Assateague Lighthouse Climbs

Assateague Island LighthouseThe Assateague Lighthouse is one of the most popular attractions in the area. Built in 1867, the lighthouse stands at over 167 feet tall.

You can climb to the top of the lighthouse for an incredible view of the surrounding area. And if you’re lucky, you might even see a wild pony!

The lighthouse opens daily from April through November.

Are Chincoteague and Assateague the Same?

Chincoteague and Assateague are two different places. Chincoteague is a barrier island that sits between the Virginia mainland and Assateague. The barrier island of Assateague sits on the Atlantic Ocean and is home to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and the Assateague State Park on the Maryland end as well as the Assateague National Seashore Park.

Which Is Better to Visit Assateague or Chincoteague?

Local Seafood in VirginiaThere is no simple answer to this question. Both Assateague and Chincoteague offer a unique experience.

The town of Chincoteague is well known for its fresh seafood, quaint shops, and comfortable accommodations. Assateague, on the other hand, is best known for its wild horses and natural beauty. So which is better to visit? That depends on what you’re looking for.

If you’re interested in a relaxing vacation with plenty of opportunities for shopping and dining, Chincoteague is a great choice. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a more rustic experience where you can commune with nature, Assateague is the perfect destination.

What’s the Difference Between Chincoteague Island and Assateague Island?

Chincoteague and Assateague are two barrier islands off the coast of Virginia. Chincoteague is a town located on the island of the same name, while Assateague has the Assateague National Seashore and State Park. Chincoteague is a popular tourist destination, with beaches, restaurants, and shops, while Assateague is known for its wilderness and wildlife.

Visitors to Assateague can enjoy hiking, camping, and fishing, as well as birdwatching and exploring the dunes. Chincoteague has boat tours available to see the wild ponies. Chincoteague and Assateague offer two different experiences, but both are worth a visit.

The History of Assateague Island

Few places are as steeped in history as Assateague. For centuries, the island has been a place of refuge and mystery, home to native tribes, early settlers, and wild horses. The island’s history is long and varied, and it has played a significant role in the history of the United States.

The first people to call Assateague home were Native Americans, who used the island as a hunting and fishing ground. Early European settlers also made use of the island’s resources, and by the 1700s, there were several small settlements on the island. It was during this time that the wild horses of Assateague first came to prominence. Today, the ponies are a major draw for visitors to the island.

Assateague has a long and rich history, and it continues to be a place of refuge and beauty. If you’re looking for a place to relax and enjoy nature, there’s no better place than Assateague Island National Seashore-Chincoteague.

How Far Apart Are Assateague and Chincoteague?

Chincoteague is south of Assateague and is about seven miles long and two miles wide. The town of Chincoteague is on the southern tip of the island.

Assateague is a much larger island, measuring nearly 37 miles in length and ranging from one to three miles in width. Chincoteague Bay separates Chincoteague and Assateague, which is about five miles wide at its narrowest point.

How to Get to Assateague Island

Assateague is an island off the coast of Maryland and Virginia, known for its miles of pristine beaches, its wild horses, and its lively atmosphere. Getting to Assateague is easy – it’s just a short drive from Ocean City, Maryland. From Ocean City, follow Route 611 to Assateague State Park.

Map of AINP along the Atlantic Coastline

Can You Get to Assateague Island From Chincoteague?

To get to Assateague from Chincoteague, follow Maddox Blvd to the bridge. The road name changes to Beach Rd when you’re on the Assateague side of the bridge.

Do You Have to Pay to Get Into Assateague Island?

If you’re coming by car you have to pay a fee, or have a pass, to enter and park at the State Park and the National Park.

Are the Horses on Assateague or Chincoteague?

Horses on the BeachThe horses on Assateague are wild ponies. They live in the National Park, the Maryland State Park, and the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.

Every year, they round up the ponies and have them swim across the Assateague Channel to Chincoteague. This event, known as the Pony Swim, takes place on the last Wednesday in July.

Can You Drive Through Assateague Island?

Assateague is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including the famous Assateague ponies. The island is also a popular spot for camping, hiking, and fishing. While it is possible to drive through Assateague Island, there are some restrictions in place. In order to protect the wildlife and natural habitat, only certain roads stay open to vehicles.

The majority of the island is only accessible by foot. However, there are several viewpoints reached by car. From these vantage points, you can enjoy scenic views of the Assateague ponies grazing on the beach or playing in the waves.

Over-Sand Vehicle Use

Tracks left by a beach buggyAssateague Island National Seashore is one of the few places on the East Coast where you can drive a sand vehicle on the beach. While this may sound like a lot of fun, there are some things you need to know before heading out onto the beach.

First, you’ll need to obtain one of the available over-sand vehicle permits from the National Park Service. Next, you’ll need to make sure that your vehicle is suitable for driving on the sand. A beach buggy or four-wheel drive vehicle is typically best.

Finally, be sure to obey all posted signs and regulations while on the beach. By following these simple guidelines, you can have a great time exploring Chincoteague’s beautiful beaches by four-wheel drive.

Campfires on the Beach

Campfire on the beachOne popular activity on the island is beach camping, and campfires are a great way to enjoy the evening hours.

However, there are some rules that you must follow in order to protect the fragile ecosystem of Assateague. Campfires are only allowed on the beach below the high tide line. This is to prevent accidental fires from spreading into the dune vegetation.

In addition, you must completely extinguish all fires before leaving the area. Be sure to bring enough water to douse the fire several times, and stir the ashes until they are cool to the touch.

Herbert H. Bateman Educational and Administrative Center

The Herbert H. Bateman Educational and Administrative Center is a beautiful piece of architecture located in Chincoteague, Virginia. The building itself is a masterpiece of design with its soaring atrium and unique exterior facade.

If you are in the Chincoteague area, check out the Herbert H. Bateman Educational and Administrative Center!

Toms Cove Visitor Center

Nestled on the coast of Virginia, Chincoteague is a haven for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. One of the best ways to experience the area is to visit the Toms Cove Visitor Center.

Located within the Chincoteague Wildlife Refuge, the visitor center offers stunning views of the barrier islands. It also provides a great opportunity to learn about the local wildlife, including the famous Chincoteague ponies. The visitor center opens year-round and offers a variety of programs and activities for all ages.

Birding/Wildlife Viewing

Bird watching, wood duckChincoteague is a beautiful place to go birding or wildlife viewing. The area is home to a variety of birds, including ospreys, herons, bald eagles, and migratory birds. There are also several wildlife refuges in the area, providing habitat for deer, foxes, and other animals.

In addition, the nearby Assateague Island is home to a thriving population of horses. As a result, Chincoteague is a great place to see a wide variety of wildlife.

Fishing, Crabbing & Clamming

Fresh blue crabsChincoteague is a beautiful place to enjoy some of the best fishing, crabbing, and clamming on the East Coast. The waters around Chincoteague are teeming with fish, crabs, and clams, making it a paradise for both recreational and commercial fishermen.

In addition to being a great place to fish, crabbing, and clamming, Chincoteague is also home to some of the best seafood restaurants in the region. So whether you’re catching your own dinner or enjoying someone else’s catch, Chincoteague is the perfect place to enjoy fresh seafood.

Nature Trails

Visitors to Chincoteague will find no shortage of things to do, and one of the most popular activities is exploring the many trails in the area. There are trails to suit all interests and abilities, from easy walks through scenic woodlands to more challenging hikes with sweeping views of the coastline.

Regardless of which trail you choose, you’re sure to enjoy some of the best that Chincoteague has to offer. So grab your walking shoes and head out on one of these wonderful nature trails!


KayaksChincoteague is a beautiful place to live, work, and play. One of the best ways to experience Chincoteague is from the water.

Kayaking is a great way to get out on the water and explore Chincoteague’s natural beauty. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced paddler, Chincoteague has something for everyone.

Camping at Assateague Island

Camping near the beachCamping at Assateague Island is a truly unique experience. The island is home to a variety of wildlife, including the famed Chincoteague ponies, and offers visitors the chance to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Campers can choose from a variety of sites, including primitive sites for those who want to really rough it, or sites with electricity and water hookups for those who want a little more comfort. No matter which type of site you choose, you’re sure to enjoy your stay. Camping at Assateague Island is an experience you won’t soon forget.

The Amazing Chincoteague Island!

Chincoteague is a great place to visit. The Tom’s Cove Visitor Center offers a variety of programs and activities for visitors of all ages, and the nature trails are a great way to explore the island. Fishing, crabbing, and clamming are also popular activities in Chincoteague as well as kayaking. And it’s close to Ocean City MD!

The history of Assateague Island is rich and varied, and the island is best known for its herds of wild horses. So whether you’re looking for a fun day trip or a place to call home, Chincoteague has something for everyone!