Are you looking for ways to maximize your Chincoteague Island vacation fun while minimizing your expenses? Here are a few suggestions on how to stretch those vacation dollars as far as you can.
1) Go fly a kite. The Atlantic wind currents of the shores of Assateague Island were made to be mastered, and if you have the skill, master them you will with a double-or-more stringed sport kite from Chincoteague’s Kite Koop on Maddox Boulevard.
If you’re not up to handling an aircraft which can reach speeds of 60mph, the Kite Koop also has plenty of single line kites, including box and butterfly models in dazzling styles and colors.
No wind? The beach is still the beach, and swimming, sunbathing, or beachcombing will fill the time until the breezes return.
2) Bring your bikes and hiking shoes. The flat landscapes of Chincoteague and Assateague are made for hiking and biking, and there’s no admission fee for accessing the Assateague National Seashore by either foot or bike. You can also rent bikes (helmets are complementary) from several shops on Maddox Boulevard.
Within the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge on Assateague you’ll find four hiking/biking trails ranging from 1 to 3.2 miles. Exploring them will provide opportunities to spot some of the Island’s more than 300 bird species.
If the kids are along, stop in at the Wildlife Refuge Visitors Center before hitting the trails, and ask about the Jr. Birder Booklets. Kids who complete the booklets during their visit are awarded Jr. Birder patches.
3) By planning your Chincoteague Island vacation far enough in advance, you can take advantage of one of the fee-free summer weekends during which there is no fee for bringing your vehicle to the Assateague National Seashore.
Also check before planning your trip to see if any Ranger-guided kids programs are available during your stay. These daily programs offer visiting kids a variety of close-up encounters with the natural world of Assateague. Some programs require advance reservations, but only one of them, “Kayak in the Cove,” requires a $10 fee.
As tourist destinations go, Chincoteague is and always has been a bargain. With a little effort and creativity, you can find many activities for little money. For example, the 22nd Annual Chincoteague Blueberry Festival still has one full day left to go. Kids under 12 are admitted for just $1.00. Pick up a coupon in the Chincoteague Beacon, the island’s free newspaper and adults pay only $4.00 for an incredible amount of entertainment.
Discovering Chincoteague Island on a budget can be fun and won’t break the family budget. Enjoy!