A beautiful Watertown is what describes Chincoteague the best. A small town in Accomack County, it is pretty and quaint and set in a wonderful atmosphere. With very less population and many locations to visit, it's a great spot to vacation.
For Children who grew up watching the movie Misty and reading the book, Misty of Chincoteague, will remember fondly the Chincoteague ponies, which were mentioned through the entire book. These ponies are originally from this town from the nearby area of Assateague Island.
Restricted hunting at Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge
Spread over a great and massive area of 14,000 acres, this Wildlife Reserve is operated by the US government and its Fish and Wildlife Service division. Located in the Virginia side of Assateague Island. It is especially famous for the Chincoteague pony mentioned above. It also has various other varieties of wildlife and animals, including waterfowl, which is a part of the restricted hunting. A permit is, however needed for you to hunting these grounds.
But do not despair if you're not able to get it since you can also enjoy a variety of other outdoor activities like boating, bicycling, fishing, swimming and horseback riding. Mopeds, and motorized scooters are also allowed on the Beach Road to get when along if you have. For those interested in skateboarding or roller skates, there are options available too. Camping can also be carried out on the Maryland side of the island.
For those with an aesthetic sense, you can also collect shells from the land, but make sure that you do not use them for commercial purposes. The Wildlife Refuge itself is blessed with a lot of ecological features, and has several different types of habitats, which include freshwater areas, beaches and maritime forests. The beach is abundant with lots of seaweeds like amaranth and shorebirds can also be viewed like peregrine falcons. In the freshwater areas fishes are very common as well as waterfowl.
For those with a keen eye and flora, the shrubs are really pretty and include Dune grasses and more. The maritime forest is home to a variety of cute animals like raccoons, the fox squirrel, the whitetail deer and more. What makes this preserve even more famous is that it is also home to a few rare and endemic species like the sika deer, the red fox, the Atlantic horseshoe crab, the black skimmer and the piping plover.
Fishing at the Assateague Island National Seashore
An extremely popular sport on the seashore is fishing. Saltwater fishes are abundant in these areas and if you have a valid fishing license you can fish here. Other than this, you can also enjoy a refreshing swim in these waters. And it's safe as well since the beaches are lifeguarded in both the MD and the VA areas. Surfing is also allowed but prohibited in these lifeguarded areas.
Moreover, the seashore has a long trail line and hiking can also be carried out over a mile. What makes this trail special is that it mixes a variety of geographical features, like there's a marsh trail for half a mile and then a forest trail for another half mile. The Marsh trail has elevated boardwalk, so you do not have to worry about mosquitoes or the bugs. The forest trail is really beautiful and shaded by woodlands. After this, you will come across a dense trail which is made entirely of sand and spread over three quarters of a mile.
You can find various endemic plants of this habitat and also a section dedicated to the beautiful Baltimore Boulevard. Then plan on spending the night here since camping is a great activity to try and there are as many as 148 campsites available. Imagine waking up and finding horses grazing nearby on the White Sands near the turquoise blue waters. This scene is definitely worth it and we would highly advise you going and opting for camping recreational activities. So make sure that you book the reservations in advance.
Look at a variety of aircraft at the NASA Wallops Flight Facility Visitor Center
Located on the Wallops Island in Virginia, is this Visitor Center where you can look at a variety of exhibits related to aviation and aircraft. These include aircrafts like a sounding rocket, a balloon, and others. On its outside grounds, there is also a rocket garden, which has aircraft and rockets, which have been used during research.
Its most special exhibit is the full scale four stage reentry vehicle that was used to study the Earth's atmosphere at one point of time. Moreover, the Visitor Center also offers educational programs about space science, which can be a useful tool to educate kids if you're on a family trip. It also houses a large area, which is the viewing area for rocket launches.
Some of the other exhibits that you must look at include a moon rock from Apollo 17 an observation deck and also the kids would love the hands on interactive demonstrations that are kept here. There is also the training space suit which was used by an astronaut on the Apollo nine.
Look at Science On a Sphere
Located inside the mere Wallops Flight Facility Visitor Center, this model and exhibit is so special that it deserved a section for its own. It is a really wonderful and interactive project spiritual projection system which was developed by the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
What sets it completely apart from other exhibits is that the video is shown on a suspended globe and not a flat screen. So that it gives a great view and educational information about climatic changes and more.
Look at the Assateague lighthouse
Located inside the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, this huge lighthouse can even be accessed by road from the island. It is active even today and helps in navigation to the US Coast Guard and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. It is 43 meters tall and a beauty to look at. The Keepers quarters are also very well constructed, and act as housing in different seasons to different people like volunteers, temporary employees and more.
Typically painted in the alternating bands of red and white, it is conical in shape and stands tall amidst the blue and white skies. There is also an oil house on site. The lighthouse remains open for public tours only during the summer and the weekend. So time your visit carefully.
Learn about the history of Chincoteague at the Museum of Chincoteague Island
Located in the Maddox Boulevard, the Museum of Chincoteague Island gives an enriching insight into the history and culture of Chincoteague. It has various artifacts and exhibits which have been kept and preserved over time to give an exemplary insight into its history. One of its most famous exhibit is a first order Fresnel lens which was used in the Assateague lighthouse mentioned above.
It also has taxidermied bodies of the Chincoteague ponies, Misty and stormy.
Other than this, the museum also focuses on themes like the island’s rich maritime history, the oyster industry, and more. There is also a section dedicated to the important role of islanders like light keepers and shipwreck rescuers.
Relax on the Assateague beach
A really beautiful and vast expanse of water, the Assateague Beach is a treat for the eyes. During low tides, there are various different clamps and shells that get washed ashore and make for really great additions to your collections. Another unexpected thing that you look at on these beaches are the horses that trot about on the sands, which makes for a really enduring site.
Other wildlife like stingrays and horseshoe crabs are also present in the waters. The changing room and restrooms are well maintained, and clean. You can also host a nice little bonfire at night on the beach, and have a fun evening, singing and dancing with friends.
Look at the Captain Timothy Hill House
A historic home that finds a proud place for itself in the National Register of Historic Places since 2011 is the captain Timothy Hill House built in 1800 originally. It was later moved to its present location in 1980 after it was about to be demolished. Set over one and a half stories, it is built with wood and hewn pine planks. The foundation is made by brick pyre. The roof is modern though and has a steep side Gable along with the weatherboard. There is also a wooden chimney.
What makes it important in history is that there are carvings of sailing ships near the front door which shows that it was important during its era. It is one of the only remaining examples of the log plank style of construction, which still exists in Virginia. And it is also touted to be one of the oldest houses on Chincoteague Island.
Take a tour with Spiders Explorer
The owner of this business, Captain Spider is an expert in navigation and has been exploring the waterways and Chincoteague since a long time now. He pilots and inspects all his boats and the spiders Explorer is also a member of the Chincoteague Island charter boat Association.
They take tours through various places around Chincoteague, and Assateague. Enjoy a sunset relaxed on a boat. The tours have a limited seating of up to six so that you have the entire experience. Book a tour with them to get a complete and discreet view of all the places worth visiting.
Wine Tasting at the Bordeleau winery
The Bordeleau Winery and vineyards is spread over a large area and nestled alongside a Creek. It has organically brewed wine, and all the grapes they use are hand harvested and grown in climates which are similar to those seen France.
You can visit this beautiful vineyard and take a walk among the grape vines, followed by a visit to the tasting facility where you can taste a range of delectable world class wines. The estate is really pretty and you can even enjoy views. The indoor tasting bar is also cozy and well set and open all year round.
Pay a visit to the farmers market at Onancock
Farmers Markets are always a great place to visit if you want to buy some local and fresh produce at really great prices. The market here sells variety of local foods and fruits and vegetables which are fresh and direct from the farmers. They also have pottery products that can be bought to take as souvenirs to your home.
Have a beer at the 3 knots tap house
While in Onancock you can also pay a visit to the nearby 3 knots tap house. It's most special feature is that it has as many as 30 beers available on tap. The brews are all really perfect and well blended. It also has some special brews from black narrows brewing. For those interested in other nearby brewing houses can also go to the Evolution craft brewing in Salisbury.
Have an ice cream at Mister Whippy
We all scream for ice cream and this ice cream is definitely worth screaming for! A great business that has been serving soft serves since 50 years the ice cream here is really famous, enjoyed by tourists and locals alike.
It opens every day at 7am when you can also have a great brew of piping hot coffee and some doughnuts and those only interested in the sweet tooth can drop in at 11am for the ice creams. The prices are also great and the flavors are really amazing like peanut butter, chocolate coconut, chocolate cream and maple bacon.
Seafood lovers should visit the oyster festival
The oyster festival occurs during the month of October and is one of the most underrated things that you can do while in Chincoteague. It is held every year to promote the seafood industry and has an amazing and delectable varieties of oysters in all shapes and sizes. You can enjoy them in a variety of different cooking techniques like steamed or fritters or raw
Do try the clam fritters, the clam chowder and more. But do not despair if you're not an oyster person as there are other options as well. Moreover, if you are visiting during the summer seasons, you can then attend the seafood festival too, which occurs in May and also has a variety of delectable seafood types for you to eat.
Have sandwiches at the Sea star cafe
This is where the ones who are not much into seafood can visit to eat stuff like sandwiches and soups. They have an amazing menu consisting of fresh green salads, wraps, soups and more. They also have options for vegan and vegetarians.
All the dishes are made with the organic and local produce and fresh. Moreover, all the dishes are made by the owners themselves so it's like a personal touch and also ensures that you have the same great taste whenever you visit.