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Chincoteague Island Virginia
This page describes Chincoteague Island Virginia, a family vacation destination on the East Coast of the USA. The island is world famous for its wild Chincoteague ponies and its pony swim, penning and auction.
The island is also famous for its seafood including salt oysters, clams, sea scallops, flounder, striped bass and other items. Nearby is Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, one of the nation's top rated wildlife areas.
This island town is home to the largest commercial port on the Eastern Shore, handling more than 3,000 vessels a year,
Things to do on Chincoteague Island include shopping, dining, exploring beaches, sunbathing, bird watching, festivals, flounder fishing, deep sea fishing, clamming, crabbing, nature cruises, kayaking, eco-tourism, nature tours and more.
Chincoteague Island, Va is a family-oriented vacation resort along the Atlantic Coast of the USA. This small island is minutes from the Atlantic Ocean, Chincoteague Island National Wildlife Refuge and Assateague Island National Seashore.
Vacations to the island can include recreational activities such as swimming, sunbathing, fishing, clamming, bird watching, nature cruises, eco tours, biking, hiking, boating, kayaking, miniature golf, Chincoteague ponies, the pony swim, fireman's carnival, decoy and art show, arts and crafts shows, seafood and oyster festivals and more.
The island is known for its shops and art galleries where local wildlife artists display art such as decoys and other bird carvings, paintings, photographs and sculptured wildlife pieces.
Chincoteague Island Pony Swim
A world famous Chincoteague Island event is the pony swim and penning, a tradition since 1924.
The swim, penning and auction is held on the last Wednesday and Thursday of July. Ponies are rounded up and swim the channel between Assateague and Chincoteague Islands.
During the week, mares, stallions and young ponies are penned, inspected, fed and given medical attention before the swim. At the auction, most of the foals auctioned off to qualified buyers. The remaining ponies are returned to Assateague Island after the penning to roam free for another year.
Chincoteague Pony Books
Chincoteague Island Links
- Things To Do on Chincoteague Island
Things to do on Chincoteague include annual events, flounder fishing, deep sea fishing, clamming, crabbing, nature cruises, kayaking, eco-tourism, tours of Chincoteague National Wildlife refuge, beaches, sunbathing, bird watching, festivals and more.
Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge
Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge is one of the most popular refuges in the United States, especially among bird watchers. The refuge is either home to or a stop over point for a array of birds and other wildlife. Ducks, geese, swans, egrets, herons, skimmers, plovers, sanderlings and dozens of other shorebirds visit or live on the islands.
The refuge is also home to a variety of mammals and reptiles. The most famous are the Chincoteague ponies, but visitors may also spot whitetail deer, sika deer, foxes, muskrats, cottontail rabbits, box turtles, terrapins, and a few species of harmless snakes.
The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) reported that Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge reported the most recreational visits of roughly 80 national wildlife refuges during 2006. The refuge had about 7.5 million visitors for the year. Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge held the number one spot for jobs at 3,766, economic return, at $315.4 million. Economic benefit was number one among the nations refuges with $155.42 returned for every $1 budgeted expenditures.
In late 2009, multiple noreaster storms devastated Assateague Island. The parking lots and much of the dunes were totally obliterated. Work continues to restore access to the beach for sunbathers, hikers, swimmers, fishermen and nature lovers.
Books about Chincoteague Island
Chincoteague Island Annual Events
Eastern Shore of Virginia Chamber of Commerce Seafood Festival is held annually in May.
Enthusiasts enjoy oysters, clams and fresh fish deliciously served Eastern Shore-style. The event is all-you-can-eat, held at Tom's Cove Campground, Chincoteague Island, VA.
The Annual Chincoteague Island Pony Swim and Penning is the last Wednesday and Thursday of July. Started in the 1924 as a fund raising event, it now also serves to keep the population of the horses down to the 150 adult animals that the Fish and Wildlife Service deems appropriate to protect the island habitat from overgrazing. The ponies are driven across a narrow part of the Assateague Channel at slack tide on Wednesday, corraled and auctioned off on Thursday. This "pony swim" is the highlight of the summer season.
The Chincoteague Island Blueberry Festival is an annual summer event. The 2-day festival is normally held the third full weekend in July, preceding the world famous pony swim and fireman's carnival. The festival has been a Chincoteague Island summer event since 1987. It has grown in size and now draws over 100 artists and crafts specialists.
The Chincoteague Island Virginia Oyster Festival is a popular annual event, held each year in October. The festival, created by the chamber of commerce, features Chincoteague Island's famous oysters. The event promotes the oyster season, which includes the cooler months of fall, winter and spring. The popularity of the event may require obtaining tickets well in advance as the festival often sells out.
National Waterfowl Week at Chincoteague Wildlife Refuge runs from the Saturday before Thanksgiving to the Sunday after Thanksgiving. The wildlife loop is usually open to vehicles all day during the event. This is a once a year opportunity to have vehicle access to the service road which extends northward into the refuge. From the service road, visitors are be able to get a close up view of many of the hidden ponds where they find ducks, geese, brant, shorebirds, wild ponies, deer and other wildlife.
A favorite late season event is the Chincoteague Island Christmas Parade. The parade is held each December along Main Street. This family-oriented event features fire companies from Delmarva, brightly illuminated floats, horses, bands, antique autos and colorful marching groups to begin the island's holiday season.
Assateague Island lighthouse is another attraction for visitors to Chincoteague and Assateague Islands. The lighthouse is located within Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and is a popular tourist stop. The icon is visible from the ocean, the beach and from almost all of Chincoteague Island.
The lighthouse is owned by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and is still actively used by the United States Coast Guard as an aid to navigation. The Lighthouse is 142 feet high on a site 22 feet about sea level.
Chincoteague Island Saltwater Fishing
Chincoteague Virginia is known for its saltwater fishing. Anglers of all ages come to Chincoteague to fish for flounder, croakers, trout, bluefish, black sea bass, kingfish, spot, tautog, spadefish, rockfish, red drum, black drum, sharks, tuna, mahi mahi, wahoo, marlin, swordfish and more.
Anglers fish in nearby creeks, back bays, near the inlet, in the ocean along the coast or go deep sea fishing as far out as Washington and Norfolk Canyons.
Chincoteague Island Fishing Links
- Mid-Atlantic Saltwater Fishing
Mid-Atlantic Saltwater Fishing, Hunting, Boating, Kayaking, Charter Boats, Links
- Virginia Saltwater Fishing
Virginia Saltwater Fishing provides news, events, articles and other information about saltwater fishing in the Chesapeake Bay, coastal waters and offshore areas of Virginia.
Chincoteague Island is known for waterfowl hunting, decoys and other waterfowl and wildlife carvings. Chincoteague Island is one of the few places where hand carved working decoys are still used. Local artists carve all types of waterfowl and wildlife art.
The Chincoteague Island Decoy Carver's Association has over 200 members. Several shows on Chincoteague Island offer visitors with an opportunity to see and purchase decoys and wildfowl art from a number of local artists.
During tourist season, people come from all over ther world to visit the island and enjoy its culture. Visitors often browse the many shops that carry local wildfowl carvings, decoys and other art, many of whom take home a collectible working or decorative decoy.
Chincoteague Island Seafood
Chincoteague Virginia is well known for its excellent quality oysters. The salty ocean water provides an ideal environment for the growth of oysters and other shellfish.
Chincoteague Island is home to a successful aquaculture industry which also includes production of both oysters and clams.
Other local seafood includes flounder, tuna, mahi mahi, striped bass, croakers, spot, scallops, lobsters, clams, blue crabs and other delicacies.
Chincoteague Cultural Alliance
The Chincoteague Cultural Alliance is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization formed to enhance community life by fostering and promoting the growth and vitality of arts and culture on Chincoteague Island and Delmarva's Eastern Shore. The Alliance is the sponsor of the popular Second Saturdays Art Stroll on Chincoteague.
Please tell us about your trips to Chincoteague Island.