Chincoteague Island, at the northeastern tip of
Virginia's Eastern Shore, is part of Accomack County. It's known worldwide for
wild ponies Marguerite Henry wrote about in the novel, "Misty of
Chincoteague," later made into a film.
Chincoteague Island, a tiny fishing town off Virginia's
Eastern Shore, is steps away from the Atlantic Ocean by bridge to Assateague Island.
The famous Chincoteague ponies live in the Chincoteague National WildlifeRefuge on Assateague Island, easily reached by bike or car from town. The Chincoteague
Refuge is Virginia's entrance to an undeveloped 37-mile-long beach. The
National Park Service and Refuge offer ranger-led programs seasonally. Spring
and fall bird migrations are popular events but the biggest event for the area
is held each July when the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company's Pony Swim and Auction brings scores of spectators to the island town. Saltwater cowboys have
been rounding up ponies and swimming them across the channel from Assateague
Island to Chincoteague Island for auction since 1926.
Visitors to Chincoteague love to dig clams, watch oystermen
and compete in saltwater fishing tournaments for cash prizes. "Patriot
Oysters," so named when Abe Lincoln sent a Union ship to protect the
island's seafood trade, are a must when dining on the island. Water lovers
enjoy kayaking, charter fishing and nature cruising. The Chamber hosts events
year-round and a lively art scene plays out in galleries and at the restored
Island Theatre. Next door on Wallops Island you can see rockets launched into
space from the NASA Wallops Visitors Center.
With its variety of old-fashioned charms, Chincoteague has
been called America's #1 Beach Town; a "slam-dunk" for grandchildren
and one of America's best island towns.
Coastal Living Magazine voted Chincoteague Island "America's Happiest Seaside Town".