Chesapeake Bay > The Eastern Shore: Virginia > Chincoteague


[Fig. 23] Visitors to Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge must pass through the colorful village of Chincoteague on Chincoteague Island. The name Chincoteague comes from Gingoteague—a word early white settlers heard local Indians use, which translated to "beautiful land across the water."

Many gift shops and boutiques offer antique wildfowl carvings, art and photography of local artists, and books about the area. It’s easy to find restaurants that serve today’s catch. There are also a wide variety of places to stay, including economically priced motels, private cottages and efficiencies, and bed and breakfast inns. Dancing is available nightly at Chattie’s Lounge in Don’s Seafood Restaurant (757-336-5715) at 4113 Main Street.

Several private campgrounds offer a place to stay for those who relish the idea of dreams punctuated with the sound of wild geese. Toms Cove Campground (757-336-6498) has shaded campsites under pine trees, a boat ramp and marina, piers for fishing and crabbing, and a bait and tackle shop. Maddox Family Campground (757-336-3111) and Inlet View Waterfront Family Campground (757-336-5126) are also located at Chincoteague.

In addition to the popular Volunteer Firemen’s Carnival with the annual pony round-up and swim each July, there is a popular Easter Decoy Festival in spring, the Oyster Festival in October, and a Waterfowl Open House during the week of Thanksgiving, corresponding with Waterfowl Week in the wildlife refuge. The Oyster and Maritime Museum (757-336-6117) at the refuge entrance tells the island history and the importance of oystering and the seafood business to the local economy in the early days.

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