Perhaps the oldest claim to fame for our small island is our seafood.
Chincoteague Oysters are shipped worldwide for their unique, salty flavor. Enjoying them fresh takes them to a whole other level. At our restaurants here on the island, they’re best enjoyed on the half-shell or single-fried. If you’re the adventurous type, you may want to harvest your own clams and oysters on an educational hands-on, feet-wet shellfish experience with Cowboy Cruise Company.
Many folks come back year after year to enjoy our annual Seafood and Oyster Festivals, held in May and October, respectively, by our local Chamber of Commerce.
Our sleepy fishing village was catapulted into the national spotlight with the premiere of the 1961 movie “Misty,” based on the 1947 Marguerite Henry book Misty of Chincoteague. This children’s fictional book is about real-life local children Paul and Maureen Beebe, and their love for a wild Chincoteague Pony named Misty. The book is a national favorite with school children, and is still the first thing most folks think about when they hear Chincoteague.
Chincoteague is a stop-over point for many varieties of migratory birds, most notably snow geese, songbirds, shorebirds, and ducks of all types.
Birdwatchers will want to reserve a room on the pine side for optimal birdwatching opportunities. You may even spot our resident owl! Nature-lovers and adventurers alike will enjoy our local waters. Kayakers love the summer and fall months—you can enjoy a guided tour or head out on your own. Local shops also rent stand-up paddleboards (SUPs,) small fishing boats, and comfortable pontoon boats so you can enjoy the Chincoteague waters at your own pace.
Perhaps the best way to see Chincoteague and Assateague is aboard a guided cruise, narrated and navigated by a local captain. These guys and gals are island experts who will help you fully appreciate the culture, history, and nature of the island while pointing out hard-to-spot wildlife. We highly recommend Cowboy Cruise Company for their Pony, Teaguer, and Shellfish tours, with local Saltwater Cowboys (including the mayor!) as your captains. We also enjoy Daisey’s Island Cruises, which features several local captains aboard a fleet of pontoon boats.
Chincoteague features many other outdoor things to enjoy, including some stellar scenic parks, public docks, fishing piers, nature trails, farmer’s market, mini-golf, go-karts, tennis basketball and pickleball courts, pavilions, playgrounds, and even an annual 10k run.
Duck hunting is a way of life for many locals, and locally trained and licensed hunting guides can see that you get a great shot at a good day’s hunt. We are happy to offer special rates and a super-early breakfast for guests hunting with local guides during waterfowl season. Please call us directly once you’ve secured your guide!
Chincoteague isn’t just for the outdoorsy adventures, either. Shopping is abundant in the spring, summer, and fall months. Big shopping events include our annual Death by Chocolate and In Search of Shamrocks events, held each year on Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day weekends. We have a vibrant local arts and music community, and put on frequent shows, movies, festivals, and workshops.
Check with local organizations for current offerings!
Chincoteague Island Arts Organization: Movies, Music, & Theatre
Chincoteague Cultural Alliance: Music, Farmers Market, Crafts, Kids activities, Storytelling & Classes from local artisans
Downtown Merchants: Scavenger Hunts, Arts Festivals, Wine Tastings, & Second Saturday art strolls
Museum of Chincoteague Island: Island Culture and History focused exhibits, talks & events