Back to school already?!? Make a beeline to Virginia’s Chincoteague Island for one last end-of-summer hurrah with wild horses, zero high rises and the feeling of a good old-fashioned beach getaway. Here are 9 more reasons why you need to pack up and go now.
For sun and sand, head over just a few miles to neighboring Assateague Island, a national wildlife refuge. The beach is pristine, non-commercial and unspoiled. Pack a picnic lunch and don’t forget the boogie board.
Chincoteague is famous for fresh crab, but half the fun is catching them yourself. Pick up crabbing lines and bait (chicken neck!) at a tackle shop — although some local fishermen swear by using bacon. Then head to a designated crabbing spot around the island, and try your luck.
Explore the island the good old-fashioned way— on two feet, or rent a bike and cycle from Chincoteague to Assateague Island. Explore Assateague’s 37 miles of beach, and — pro tip — don’t forget the bug repellant.
Assateague Island is famous for its wild ponies, which can be spotted in the marshlands en route to the beach. If you’d rather ride a horse, head to the Chincoteague Pony Centre.
Climb to the top of the Assateague Lighthouse, which dates back to the 1800s. You’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the beach and wetlands. Nearby, NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility has an educational visitor center, and if you time your trip right, you may see a rocket launch.
Round out a day at the beach with something sweet. Try a made-to-order donut from Sandy Pony Donuts. Or Island Creamery serves small batch ice cream in flavors like bourbon caramel crunch and makes its own waffle cones. Go ahead — you’re on vacation.
You may also like…
Story by Christina Valhouli.
Christina writes about travel, beauty, design, and lifestyle for many publications and travel websites like The New York Times and Departures.com.