Old lore said you could only eat oysters in a month with an “R” meaning September through April. The main reasons being that cooler temperatures kept the wild oysters from spoiling and that oysters were “fatter” during those months as they were out of their reproductive season. Thanks to modern day refrigeration and that sterile oysters are now grown in aqua farms these delicacies can be enjoyed year-round. Chincoteague Island, VA is blessed with diurnal tides which make Chincoteague oysters some of the cleanest you will find and our proximity to the Atlantic Ocean makes them the saltiest. Served in restaurants and raw bars around the globe, Chincoteague Old Salts have acquired an international following and has Chincoteague Island recognized as one of Virginia’s eight distinct oyster regions!
Foodies flock to Chincoteague Island to experience the famous briny bivalves and enjoy them raw, steamed, fried and frittered. From oyster tacos to Oysters Rockefeller and everything in between, oysters are on the menu of almost every restaurant and food truck on this 10.5 square mile paradise.
Enjoy the comfort of choosing from a variety of dining options including dine in, dine out, take out, delivery or prepare your own from our restaurants, cafes, food trucks, seafood markets, and a plethora of food specialty shops that await you on Chincoteague Island.
Plan your coastal cuisine adventures by visiting all our foodie options.
While visiting our charming, small town, you will be enthralled by the natural beauty of your surroundings. Nature trails, a pristine Atlantic Ocean and of course, the wild Chincoteague Ponies await your arrival. Misty of Chincoteague lived here, and you can visit many landmarks around the island that tell her story. Museums share our unique history and culture from decoy carving to working watermen. While there are many opportunities for enjoying the water, they do vary with the season. Visit ChincoteagueChamber.com to plan your adventure to paradise and don’t forget to enjoy some Chincoteague Old Salts while you are here. Once tried, you will understand why they have been enjoyed for generations. Discover your love of Chincoteague Island. We will be waiting for you!
Rent a boat, kayak or canoe and peacefully paddle the Assateague Channel’s calm waters on your own or with a knowledgeable tour guide to look for local oyster grounds. Many oysters reefs are privately owned, so be sure you are on public grounds before harvesting any of your own. Plan your route with the Seaside Water Trail Map.
Stop in the Toms Cove Visitor Center, while exploring the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and Assateague Island National Seashore, to learn about the three living shorelines of oyster castles that U.S. Fish and Wildlife Serve, The Nature Conservancy and Virginia Marine Resources Commission constructed along Beach Road forming 2 ½ acres of oyster reefs. The concrete structures provide an ecosystem for oysters and other marine organisms to grow and increase resiliency of the saltmarsh habitat and shoreline to withstand future storms.
Picnic on the beach with an oyster taco, oyster fritter sandwich or other delicious oyster meal from one of our fabulous eateries.
Visit the Museum of Chincoteague Island, formally known as the Oyster & Maritime Museum, to learn about the history of our watermen and oyster industry as well as other exhibits preserving our rich history, including First Order Fresnel Lens from original Assateague Island Lighthouse and preserved Misty and Stormy.
Shop eclectic boutiques and art galleries along Main Street and Maddox Boulevard offering unique, one-of-a-kind, hand crafted jewelry, art and other treasures featuring oyster shells or hunt for vintage oyster cans and plates at local antique stores.
End your day with a relaxing pontoon cruise around the islands and learn about the history of oysters and aquafarming while capturing a sunset over the Chincoteague Bay or go out with our eco-tour and boat captains to cull your own oysters.
Dine at one of our fine restaurants feasting on fresh from the water world-famous Chincoteague Oysters, clams or the “catch of the day” (red drum, flounder, rockfish, or tuna).
Learn about the biology and methods behind growing cultured oysters at a local aqua farm hatchery. Tours are limited to the hatchery season.
Enjoy a quiet moment at one of our beautiful waterfront parks. Look for watermen hard at work, culling oysters from their oyster beds. A map showing our waterfront parks is located in the center of our Chincoteague Visitor Guide & Membership Directory, which is available online at ChincoteagueChamber.com.
Feast on delicious oysters served in a variety of ways, along with other fresh, local seafood and sides at outdoor festivals throughout the year like the Chincoteague Seafood Festival on the first Saturday in May and the Chincoteague Oyster Festival on the Saturday of Columbus Day weekend. Food, friends, and fabulous memories await!
Check our events calendar for other special oyster 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.