Though a quaint, oyster town, Chincoteague Island is not your typical small fishing village. Chincoteague's tradition is unlike any other island that dots the Eastern Shore.
Many first time visitors to the island arrive in July to witness the island's most famous activity, the annual Pony Penning. Thousands visitors pile onto the island and join the locals to watch the ponies swim across the bay from Assateague to Chincoteague guided by the infamous "Saltwater Cowboys". Many linger long after the ponies have returned to their home across the bay, to enjoy the festivities that accompany this annual event, including a carnival that beckons young and old alike.
Even during the frantic excitement that is pony-penning week, Chincoteague maintains its southern tradition... providing a sanctuary for relaxation in the midst of nature's beauty. Opportunities abound for the active and adventurous of spirit as well. You can choose to bike on wooded trails, spend time bird watching for the many native and migratory species which the island supports, embark upon a tour of the famous Assateague lighthouse, or gear up for some crabbing, clamming or fishing. If relaxation is foremost on your agenda, saunter downtown and leisurely slip from shop to shop, or grab a towel, claim a spot and catch some rays on miles of unspoiled beach. No matter what you have in mind, the island provides the perfect escape. Despite remaining true to its simple, uncomplicated style, Chincoteague boasts a bevy of modern services from restaurants offering fine-dining and outfitters chartering deep sea fishing excursions, to resorts offering afternoon tea and waterfront fitness centers, to boutiques offering local art, unique gifts, fine wine, and gourmet foods. If a soft spot for nostalgia remains within your heart, let the island whisk you off to the pleasures of yesteryear. Step back in time to old-fashioned ice-cream parlors, roadside decoy stands, marquis movie theaters, and most importantly, a slower pace.
From your first visit to the island, you are likely to find yourself captivated by its charm and gentle spirit. There is something special about Chincoteague Island that continues to bring travelers back. Though it cannot claim to be just a one-horse town, the island's simple coastal living and laid-back town folk make it a place travelers long to return to. As you cross the bridge onto the island, the world, as you know it, with its fast-paced nature and its never-ending demands seems to remain on the mainland far behind you. You realize that you have entered a world that is untethered by the stresses of a nine-to-five existence... and that is why you are likely to find yourself an islander season after season.