The Island: Assateague Island, VA 38.0933° N, 75.2071° W
Where: Eastern Shore of Virginia…across the bridge from Chincoteague
How: Passing through Chincoteague, you go over a bridge and into Assateague, a beautiful uninhabited state park island.
Why: We planned to explore the beach and hiking trails on the island but the wind and mosquitoes made this impossible. Apparently, the island is known for having TERRIBLE mosquitos and it lived up to its name. We didn’t even get past our Jeep without being inundated with the little pests. And YES, we had bug spray.
What: A gorgeous, uninhabited island, we loved the calmness and beautiful scenery. (We had a lovely driving tour :)) This island is also where the infamous Chincoteague ponies live and graze most of the year. Every spring, approximately 70 fouls are born and later swim to Chincoteague for the annual Pony Penning and auction.
The Island: Chincoteague Island, VA
Where: Chincoteague is located on the Eastern Shore of VA. If you take the well known Chesapeake Bay Bridge tunnel and head north to the northern tip of Virginia you land in Chincoteague. (The eastern shore is very sleepy and lovely in general)
How: We headed north from Cape Charles up the Eastern Shore passing many little, sleepy fishing and crabbing towns. As seafood lovers, this was our kind of area. Chincoteague is a town ive wanted to visit for years and I knew it needed to be a stop on our island tour.
Why: Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to see the infamous Chincoteague ponies swim in their annual pony swim. Our daughter has become very interested in horses and it just so happened the annual swim was during the time we were nearby. We awoke at about 5AM drove then took a bus then walked to the marshy area that ponies are known to swim to. After about 3 hours standing in the muck and grass we got word it was time for the swim! We were awestruck watching these little ponies swim in a large pack across teh water while being guided by the Saltwater Cowboys. It was mesmerizing!
What: For hundreds of years, wild ponies have inhabited neighboring Assateague Island. Its believed these ponies originate from a wrecked Spanish galleon from the 1800’s. Pony Penning and auctions date back to the 1800’s and in the early 1900’s after a string of disastrous fires, the Volunteer Fire Dept. turned the pony penning into a national event drawing thousands of people and fundraising dollars. In 1947, a book called Misty of Chincoteague was published and that along with the herd leaders, the Saltwater Cowboys, the event drew international attention. To this day, every year in July thousands come to the small town of Chincoteague to witness and often bid on the ponies. They are well known to be a strong breed and very sought after.
The Island: Isla De Lindsey, Cape Charles, VA 37.2679° N, 76.0174° W
Where: Okay this one we kinda made up! While vacationing in Cape Charles, we were sitting on the beach with all the other vacationers and marveled at the shallow water that went on for what seemed like forever. We decided to move our chairs to a little spit of sand that we could call all our own.
How: While sitting there, over time we kept losing more and more island. It was the perfect little private island in shallow water while it lasted!
Why: This was one of the many reasons we LOVED Cape Charles. The beach is shallow for as far as the eye can see and is perfect for kids and adults alike who want their own space in the water and dont wanna get too deep.
What: This beach is part of the Chesapeake Bay and goes on all along the western side of town. Cape Charles is an adorable little town with restaurants, shops and plenty of seafood. We really enjoyed biking, walking and golf carting as we explored the entire town.
The Island: Jamestowne Island, VA 37.2035° N, 76.7588° W
Where: On the Eastern Shore of Virginia near Williamsburg
How: Rich in History and connected to Virginia by causeway, this island is easily accessible since its a major historic site and National Park. The park offers vehicle tours of the marshlands and walking tours of the settlement.
Why: We were in the area and wanted to show and teach our daughter a bit about the history of the first settlement and where the settlers first came to America.
What: Short on time, we took the scenic driving tour thru the island’s beautiful marshes and wetlands. We will definitely be back to visit more when we have the time!
The Island: Party Island/ Betty’s Island, SML 37.0497° N, 79.6394° W
Where: Betty’s Island, nicknamed Party Island, is a small little island on Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia where you will almost always see several pontoon boats (and an occasional cruiser) up on the beach.
How: We recommend hopping on your jet ski or your friends boat for this spot. Kayaking, swimming etc, to the island isnt recommended.
Why: This is a great spot for boaters who are social butterflies and want to make new friends while enjoying to sand, water and sun of SML. If you love sharing space and making new friends then this is the perfect place for you. Bigger boats CAN anchor but its hard. This spot is best for smaller boats and pontoons.
What: While the island is surrounded by nice swimming water, there is an obvious spot where people tend to beach their boats. There are also some fun swings over the water and some primitive camping.