I’ve written elsewhere about what I liked about visiting Chincoteague Island, for which I’ve always had an affinity. But I was looking at it through a tourist’s eyes. It was pretty easy to get a little self-involved about it, because I got to write about what I liked doing.

I’ve been to Don’s a couple of times over the years because it is an easy choice. It’s inexpensive and has great food, beer and a view. Plus, the restaurant is open all year. What I have yet to do is to spend an extended period of time on the island and develop a routine. I sent out a call for Chincoteague locals and regular travelers to tell me some ot their favorite things to do. What the people who participated in the poll told me provided a particular insight. Specifically, when you’re not trying to cram in an entire trip over the course of a couple of hours there still is a lot to keep you occupied.

Here are the top four things locals named:

1. Early-morning bicycle rides around the Wildlife loop

Chincoteague is a seriously bike friendly island. It’s easy to get around walking as well, but there’s something tempting about being out in the silent early morning, seeing the egrets and other waterfowl going about their morning routine. Especially in the off season it can feel as if you have the whole world to yourself.

2. Ice cream at the Island creamery

One of the most popular ice cream stands in the region is on Chincoteague.

This was a bit of a surprise to me, because I thought that this ice cream place was more a tourist than a locals destination. As it turns out, having some of the best ice cream on the eastern seaboard is more than just a source of pride for locals. It also provides the opportunity to walk to and from this premier dessert place.

3. Surf-cast fishing

This is as much an art as a science, but there’s nothing better than getting up and out early, casting out your line and waiting. If you haven’t been before but would like to try your hand, a long weekend is a great opportunity. You can get outfitted right on the island. I found a great guide here.

4. Visit the National Park

There’s so much to do at the National Wildlife Refuge on Chincoteague that it is tough to list. one of the newest attractions is the recently-revived bald eagle nest live feed. Eagles have come back in a big way on Delmarva generally and they’re visible on lots of backroads and fields, but if you have a limited time to see anything, this is the chance to take advantage of your time on the island and watch the bald eagle in its native habitat.
Certainly there is more to do, and if you’re a regular visitor or resident I’d love for you to tell me what I missed in the comments.
In the meanwhile and as a gentle reminder, we are having our next big beer festival right on the island. This is your chance to come taste the best beer the peninsula has to offer while exploring one of the great destinations the East Coast has to offer. Tickets are available here.

Tony Russo
Author: Tony Russo

Tony Russo has worked as a print and digital journalist for the better part of the 21st century, writing for and editing regional weeklies and dailies before joining the team that produces OceanCity.com and ShoreCraftBeer.com among other destination websites. In addition to having documented everything from zoning changes to art movements on the Delmarva Peninsula, Tony has written two books on beer for the History Press. Eastern Shore Beer was published in 2014 and Delaware Beer in 2016. He lives in Delmar, Md. with his wife Kelly and the only of his four daughters who hasn't moved out. Together they keep their two dogs comfortable.

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