Packed Suitcase | 3 Things to Do in Chincoteague This Fall
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3 Things to Do in Chincoteague This Fall

3 Things to Do in Chincoteague This Fall

In the summer months, the town of Chincoteague, Virginia is flooded with visitors, all eager to enjoy the pristine scenery and beachy coastal vibe. However, those looking for a more laid-back escape will love experiencing a different side of this 7-mile long Eastern Shore barrier island in the fall months, when the crowds thin and temperatures cool.

Here are 3 fabulous things to do in Chincoteague this fall.

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1.) Revel in the slow season at the Refuge

The Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge (read: ponies) and Assateague National Seashore (read: beach) is at the heart of what visitors love best about Chincoteague. For the popular summertime Pony Swim, around 40,000 visitors descend on the refuge in a single day.

During the off-season, you’ll feel like you’ve got the place to yourself– and you practically will! Feel free to drive extra slow and pony-spot to your heart’s content. And don’t miss driving through the refuge at night, admiring the reflection of the moon on the water.

Peaceful reflections give way to peaceful reflections. (Deep!)


Having a beach all to yourself is a glorious thing



Supermoon rising


2.) Eat yourself silly at the Chincoteague Oyster Festival

Virginia’s Eastern Shore is a hub of oyster aquaculture. Barrier islands produce the cleanest waters in the Mid-Atlantic, and both bay and ocean-grown oysters produce a range of local beauties suited for all palates. Chincoteague’s annual Oyster Festival is considered the grand opening of oyster season, with all-you-can-eat oysters (steamed, fried and raw) as well as clams, shrimp, hush puppies and more! (2017’s festival is October 7th and tickets are $45/ person.)


3.) Seasonal sunset-spotting, with a side of LOVE

Four 10-foot tall chairs in a scenic locale is like a beacon to photo-happy travelers looking for the perfect shot. Head down to Waterfront Park and enjoy having the Chincoteague LOVEworks sculpture all to yourself. Coordinate your visit for sunset and you’ve struck photography gold.

Feel the LOVE


Pastel autumn sunsets can’t be beat



  • LUNCH: Poseidon’s Pantry, a year-round gourmet market and sandwich shop. Stock up on a well-curated array of locally-sourced products and grab a sandwich to go. My pick? The BLT with house-made pimento cheese and avocado will change your life.


    • DINNER: As Chincoteague’s ultimate “fine dining” local establishment, it should be no surprise that Bill’s PRIME Seafood and Steaks excels at seafood and steak specialties. You won’t go wrong with upscale classics like shrimp scampi, crab cakes, surf & turf and french onion soup. This is one local restaurant that’s packed year round!


    • DESSERT: You can’t come to Chincoteague without stopping by the Island Creamery, named in 2014 as one of Trip Advisors top 10 ice cream parlors in the US. This ice cream shop specializes in homemade, small batch ice cream in unique flavors like “Marsh Mud” (an extra chocolate-y concoction) and Whiskey Brickle. Fall visitors are extra lucky because they’ll get to order one of their seasonal specialties, including Pumpkin Pie, Pumpkin Spice Latte and Apple Cider Sorbet (featuring locally-pressed cider from M&C Vessey Farm).



The aptly-named Refuge Inn is the ultimate place to “get away from it all” in Chincoteague. This inn is located away from the hustle and bustle of town but convenient to all Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge exploration, including the Assateague National Seashore. Accommodations are basic but spacious and clean. And, there are bikes available for rent right next door. And, ponies.



**DISCLAIMER: Many of my meals, accommodations and activities for this trip were provided by the Virginia Tourism Corporation and Visit ESVA. As always, all recommendations and opinions are completely my own.**









  • Laura
    Posted at 14:57h, 14 September

    I love this round up! I haven’t been to Virginia in YEARS and am headed back next spring! This post is getting me so excited! Now I just have to get through another winter first 🙂

  • K. Sorenson
    Posted at 07:36h, 26 November

    There’s a great waterfowl festival and craft fair the day after Thanksgiving. It’s been a family tradition to spend the long weekend in Chincoteague, and the craft fair is a highlight.

  • Linda Norris
    Posted at 16:16h, 27 July

    I love Chincoteague. I am dreaming of post-pandemic travel there.

  • chelle cortez
    Posted at 08:46h, 05 September

    My family makes the 4 hour drive to Chincoteague Island every year. My daughter and I went there in July. The very first place we stop is Mister Whippy. Y’all talk about the Creamery, but Mr. Whippy has the absolute best soft serve in Virginia. Next we go to J&B Subs, for yup, subs. The best ever! Been eating them for 35+ years. Still the best value and taste ever.