Chincoteague Island on Virginia’s eastern shore is a unique dab of land that features a large National Wildlife Refuge, some pretty beaches, and is known for the herd of wild ponies that roams the open spaces.
There are lots of “touristy” type things to do, including a lot of tour boats that will take you out and around the island. Most of these are pontoon boats with a capacity of six passengers. We decided to not take one of these tours but to just drive to the beaches and drive around the Wildlife Refuge.
We parked on the beach lot accessible through the Wildlife Refuge. The beach is really worth the drive: the parking is close to the beach, the sands are clean and it is a great place to grab a bite of lunch.
Our National Parks Service Senior Pass saved us the $8 entrance fee to the National Wildlife Refuge. (Seniors 62 and older can get this pass here: NPS lifetime Senior Pass website)
Our drive around the “Wildlife Loop” did allow us to see two of the wild ponies. They were about 400 yards away from the road, so the picture is not the best quality. We did see them, though, which is alleged to be usually pretty iffy. Other than the two ponies and some white egrets we did not see any other wildlife during our drive.
Our home base on Chincoteague Island was an RV park named Tom’s Cove Park. The park was large, with over 900 spaces. It was a decent park albeit a bit pricy. (We were at a $51 a night spot that included cable and free WiFi)