We took warm March day this year to “play tourist” with friends visiting from Baltimore, and experience all that the island has to offer in the off-season. It turns out there is a lot!
- Grab breakfast at the Refuge Inn before heading out for the day. We filled up on waffles, yogurt, and fresh fruit.
- Visit Downtown Chincoteague. We visited Wine Cheese and More for some shopping, headed down to Howl Naturale for some doggy treats, and then finished up at Sundial Books, which was really quite a treat. The owners are wonderful and the book selection is huge.
- Grab some delicious lunch at Sea Star at their new location on Maddox Blvd, and eat on the picnic tables behind the Refuge Inn
- Play a game of mini-golf at Surfside golf, on one of two 18-hole courses. Shoot for a hole-in-one, and laugh at your scores, because–really–who is any good at putt putt? 5-over-par happened on a few holes for both kids and adults in our group.
- Enjoy the world’s best ice cream at the Island Creamery. The local favorite is a “channel freeze”–which isn’t on the menu. It’s a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a scoop of orange sherbert, topped off with sprite– put it all into into the milkshake machine, and sipped through a straw. Beware of brain freezes with your channel freeze.
- Head over to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge for some fantastic sights. Walk along the beach (fully clothed!) and see some shorebirds, surfers, and the power of nature. Then head over the wildlife loop after 3PM for some world-class waterfowl sightings, including bald eagles, herons, egrets, mallards, green wing teal, buffleheads, bluebills, kingfishers, yellow-legs, black ducks, pintails, gadwalls, bluejays, cardinals, shovelbills, harry heads, widgeon, swans, Canadian geese, and various types of woodpecker. The lucky visitor can also encounter Sika and white-tail deer–And, of course, wild herds of the famous Chincoteague Ponies.
- Ride around the island to catch a glimpse of daily life. Traffic is virtually non-existent in the Spring, Fall, and Winter months, so you can appreciate the sights better without having to worry about bikers, mopeds, and pedestrians.See the fishing boats doing their thing, or take the kids to Memorial Park to play on the swings and monkey bars.
- Everyone’s favorite time of day, dinner. For seafood, if you’re looking for something casual, hit up Don’s Seafood on Main Street for great fried seafood and a soup and salad bar. For something a little more upscale, head further downtown to Bill’s Prime Seafood & Steaks. They have a great wine selection and delicious seafood.