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Chincoteague Island Vacation - Wild Ponies - Beach with ponies virginia, wild horses, Camping in VA and MD

Updated on June 16, 2011

Chincoteague Island, Virginia

Taking a vacation on Chincoteague Island is a nice change to the Beach Vacation.

Unlike many of the other coastal vacation destinations in the area like, Chincoteague has not be become built up and overly commercial. The Town of Chincoteague is a sharp contrast to Ocean City which is just north or Virginia Beach to the south. There are some new things built each year on the island, but for the most part the island has remained the same for many years and the Island has retained its small town feel.

Photos of Chincoteague Ponies

Click thumbnail to view full-size
One of the Chincoteague Ponies.A Chincoteague Pony.A Chincoteague Pony.Chincoteague Ponies grazing in the wild on Assateague Island.
One of the Chincoteague Ponies.
One of the Chincoteague Ponies.
A Chincoteague Pony.
A Chincoteague Pony.
A Chincoteague Pony.
A Chincoteague Pony.
Chincoteague Ponies grazing in the wild on Assateague Island.
Chincoteague Ponies grazing in the wild on Assateague Island.

Chincoteague Wild Ponies

Chincoteague is best known for it's Wild Ponies.

There are a number of rumors about how the wild ponies got onto the Island. The most popular is that the ponies were shipwrecked on the Island when a Spanish galleon carrying the ponies as cargo sunk just off the Islands shores. Others believe the ponies were kept to graze on the islands by their owners who lived back on the islands to avoid being taxed on the animals.

Where is Chincoteague Island?

Chincoteague Island:
Chincoteague Island, VA, USA

get directions

Chincoteague Annual Pony Swim

Normally the Wild Ponies of Chincoteague live on the sister Island, called Assateague Island. But once a year the Wild Ponies are rounded up and penned. The wranglers that round up the ponies are known as the "Saltwater Cowboys". After the ponies are rounded up they are herded across a narrow part of the Assateague Channel to Chincoteague Island.

The Annual Pony Penning and Pony Swim are a long standing tradition. The annual pony swim began in 1925. The Pony Penning however stretch back to the 1700's.

Chincoteague Pony Auction

After the Pony Swim the ponies are brought to Chincoteague an action is held where foals are sold to the highest bidder. The Chincoteague Ponies are a unique breed of horse and the auctions attract many horse owners looking to buy their own Chincoteague Pony.

The proceeds of the auction go to the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company, which owns and manages the Ponies. In addition to the financial benefits of the auction the Fire Company holds this auction each year to maintain the number of horses on the Island.

Would you like to own your own Chincoteague Pony?

Misty of Chincoteague

The most notable of Chincoteague Ponies is Misty. Misty was made famous by the 1947 Newbury Honor Winning book called Misty Of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry.

You can find The Misty of Chincoteague in many of the shops in Chincoteague, not just the bookstores. There are also two sequels Stormy, Misty's Foal and SeaStar: An Orphan of Chincoteague and other stories about Misty.

I remember reading these books as a child and they are still read by many children today.

Where to go Camping on Chincoteague Island

Maddox Campground:
6742 Maddox Blvd, Chincoteague Island, VA 23336, USA

get directions

Tom's Cove Campground:
8128 Beebe Rd, Chincoteague Island, VA 23336, USA

get directions

Inlet View. chincoteague, va:
Inlet View Dr, Chincoteague Island, VA 23336, USA

get directions

Pine Grove Campground:
5283 Deep Hole Rd, Chincoteague Island, VA 23336, USA

get directions

Camping at Chincoteague

No matter if you go camping by Tent or RV, Chincoteague is a great place to go camping. I spent many of my summer vacations as a child camping on Chincoteague, and I loved every minute of it.

There are four campgrounds on Chincoteague Island. These campgrounds offer Tent Sites and RV sites with Water, Sewer and Power available.

Assateague Island

Assateague Island is the sister Island of Chincoteague and a small bridge connects the two islands. This Island is a National Park and Seashore. It has both a beach, lighthouse, wild ponies, hiking trails and lots of outdoor activities.

No vacation to Chincoteague is complete without a trip over to Assateague Island.


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    • aperturering profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      Thanks Denise and Simone.

      Some of fondest memories as a child were of camping at Chincoteague Island with the wild ponies.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 

      8 years ago from North Carolina

      Cool-I love those ponies! That'll be my next vacation...hopefully with my grandkids.

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      8 years ago from San Francisco

      Whoah- a pony swim! O_O

      Very interesting hub, and great photos!!


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