Seventy-five years ago, Marguerite Henry put the little island of Chincoteague on the map when she penned the award-winning book, Misty of Chincoteague in 1946 while staying at Miss Molly’s Inn. The movie followed in 1961 and a star was born! The fictional story revolved around a real Chincoteague Pony and the family who owned her. Children and parents, immediately fell in love with Misty, the Beebe family, and Chincoteague Island. The island has become a mecca for Misty-lovers on an annual pilgrimage or adults fulfilling bucket-list dreams from their childhood.
Although the annual Pony Swim and Auction takes place on the last Wednesday and Thursday in July, the wild Chincoteague Ponies are visible daily year round in their natural habitat in the marshes and maritime forests on Assateague Island, VA within the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. A grazing permit with US Fish & Wildlife Service allows the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company to graze 150 adult ponies on federal land. Therefore the auction each year serves to maintain that limit and raises necessary funds to help sustain the island fire company.
The island community embraces Misty and the wild ponies at every turn. You will find souvenirs galore in every retail shop sporting a pony or the Saltwater Cowboys. You will find pony-themed food items in local restaurants, and venues featuring pony rides, trail rides, or Chincoteague Pony Drill Team performances. The high school mascot is the “Ponies” and the elementary school mascot is the “Colts”. It is not uncommon to see a local on horseback going through the drive-through at McDonald’s! We love our Chincoteague Ponies and we know you will too.
We can’t wait to see you in our small town exploring the life of Misty of Chincoteague. We even created a Misty Trail Map to help you find all the interesting stops to make your Misty trip one you will never forget. Check out our Chincoteague is for Horse Lovers Itinerary to discover all the unique horse/pony related must-dos while you are here.
Learn about Misty, the Beebe family and our rich island history at the Museum of Chincoteague Island. Visit the local shops. Enjoy casual, coastal dining in an elegant restaurant, take out deli, or quaint little food truck. See the wild ponies (climb to the top of the Assateague Lighthouse when open to get an aerial view across the marsh), enjoy nature trails and miles of pristine beaches, take a boat cruise or kayak around the islands, and end the day with a breath-taking sunset from the balcony of your hotel, Bed & Breakfast or vacation rental. It doesn’t get any better!
Visit www.chincoteaguechamber.com to begin your Misty journey today and see why Marguerite Henry fell in love with our little island so many years ago.
Chincoteague is for Horse Lovers Itinerary
Breakfast at your hotel, B&B, rental house or campground or in one of the many restaurants serving hot, full meals to get you started.
Spend some time on Historic Main Street: learn about the history of Misty of Chincoteague with a visit to Miss Molly’s Inn Bed & Breakfast where Marguerite Henry wrote the world famous children’s book in 1946 and Island Theatre to view Misty’s hoof prints which were cast in concrete at the movie premier of Misty in 1961. See the beautiful Misty statue across the street at Robert N. Reed Downtown Waterfront Park.
Visit the Museum of Chincoteague Island to view the Beebe Ranch exhibit, including Misty and Stormy.
Hike, bike, or drive the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge to see the Chincoteague Ponies grazing on the lush, green marsh grass. The south herd of ponies can typically be seen grazing in the marsh adjacent to Beach Road or from the observation platform on the Woodland Trail. Bicycles are available at one of several bike rental companies.
Picnic at a beautiful waterfront park with a boxed lunch from one of our many fabulous eateries. If weather is not permitting, enjoy indoor dining at one of our wonderful restaurants.
Explore the Misty Trail or take a guided tour to learn more about Misty and the Beebe Ranch.
Enjoy some pony time at the Chincoteague Pony Centre where you can see Chincoteague Ponies, enjoy a pony ride, or take in a Horse and Pony show. The Centre also offers Pony Play Time, riding lessons, and gift shop.
Take a boat cruise or paddle on a guided kayak tour to see Chincoteague Ponies on Assateague Island with one of our knowledgeable boat captains and guides.
Shop for horse-themed and other treasures while you stroll through the shops and boutiques on the island or purchase a photograph of the Chincoteague Ponies from a local photographer. Local shops, bookstores and Chincoteague Island Library offer numerous titles exploring the possible origins of the wild ponies.
Saddle up and take a trail ride through fields and woodlands at Queen Hive Farm in Assawoman, VA; just minutes from Chincoteague Island.
Dine at one of our fine restaurants feasting on fresh from the waters, clams, world-famous Chincoteague Oysters, and the “catch of the day” which could be red drum, flounder, rockfish, or tuna.
Complete your day with an ice cream sundae at one of our ice cream parlors, complete with pony themed flavors and sundaes!
Meet members of the Chincoteague Pony Drill Team and their Chincoteague Ponies at special events hosted on Chincoteague or at their farm in nearby Bloxom, VA.
For the full horse lovers experience, plan your visit around the annual Pony Swim and Auction or one of the Spring or Fall Roundups.
Check our events calendar for other special horse related lectures, programs and events happening throughout the year.
Please note that some of these activities are seasonal or have been affected by the pandemic. Please contact the Chamber office or the business directly for availability.
Explore other Chincoteague Island Itineraries and Trails