Kayak the Scenic Waterways of Chincoteague and Assateague Islands


One of the best ways to see the unparalleled views of Chincoteague Island is to immerse yourself in nature itself by exploring our waters in a kayak or SUP. Discover waterfowl, dolphins, Chincoteague Ponies, the Assateague Lighthouse, crabs, and more! Beginner and advanced kayakers alike can explore the nature and wonders on the waters surrounding the island, so bring your own kayak, or rent from one of our boat rental companies.

Before you head out, there are a few important tips to keep in mind for your adventures:

1) Wear sneakers or water shoes from our specialty shops to protect your feet from cuts caused by shells or debris.

2) Bring both sun AND bug repellant. Both can be purchased at one of our healthy living vendors on the island. The Natural Spartan makes an incredible bug shield (available at Captain Steve’s Bait & Tackle).

3) Always be sure to carry a life preserver and a whistle. Both can be purchased at our hardware store or bait and tackle shop on the island.

4) Use a paddle leash or tie your paddle.

5) Pack fresh drinking water from some of our convenience stores.

6) Keep your phone safe in a zip lock container.

7) Pick up a tide chart from a bait and tackle shop or from the Chamber office, 6733 Maddox Boulevard.

8) Find additional information on trail and safety tips here.

9) Know where boats and personal watercraft are permitted to "beach" on Assateague Island. (see map below)

Once you have everything you need to explore the surrounding areas, keep these conditions in mind:

Many kayakers recommend Donald Leonard Park. It is located across from the high school. The boat launch on Eastside Drive is also a good place to start, but kayakers should remember to be courteous to people launching boats from that area. Veteran’s Memorial Park, 7427 Memorial Park Drive, and the Queens Sound Boat Ramp, located on the Route 175 causeway, are also great places to begin your adventure. Curtis Merritt Harbor at the southern tip of the island and the Town Dock on Main Street, also offer launch areas but the current is strong in these areas and are not recommended for kayak launching.

If you choose to launch from any of the Town facilities, you will need to purchase a boat ramp/launch permit from the Town Office. An annual permit is $20 and is valid from April 15 of the current year to April 14 of the following year. A temporary pass valid for seven consecutive days from purchase is also available for $5. The permit can be purchased from the Town Office, 6150 Community Drive, or the Curtis Merritt Harbor of Refuge, 2246 Curtis Merritt Harbor Drive. The Chincoteague Police Department, also located at 6150 Community Drive, sells the permits when the other locations are closed on evenings, weekends, and holidays. Queens Sound Boat Ramp does not require a permit.

Locals also enjoy paddling in Fowling Gut which runs through the center of the island. If you are staying in a property located on the gut, you can launch from there. Otherwise, you must own or have permission from the property owners to put in or take out.

Discover all the waterways on the Eastern Shore and in the Commonwealth with the Virginia Water Trail. If you aren’t ready to set off on your own yet, take advantage of guided kayaking tours from the experts!

No matter how you plan to enjoy the waters around Chincoteague, get prepared by visiting one of our local island experts at any of the locations mentioned on our website. Don’t forget, the Chincoteague Chamber of Commerce is here to point you in the right direction. Give us a call at 757-336-6161 or visit www.chincoteaguechamber.com for more information.