A primary purpose of this website is to promote Chincoteague Commerce by providing information about the area and businesses on Chincoteague Island. The history of commerce in Chincoteague centers on the fishing and seafood industry with periods of growth and decline, and with the development of tourism over the past 50 years.
Chincoteague Island is protected from the Atlantic Ocean by Assateague, a 37-mile long barrier island that reaches from Ocean City Inlet (Maryland) to Chincoteague Inlet in Virginia. These islands are two of the most beautiful islands along Virginia’s Eastern Shore and well known as a paradise for vacationers, fishermen, and naturalists.
For generations the waters around Chincoteague have supported a thriving fishing and oyster industry. The Chincoteague Bay Oyster has always been in high demand and prized for its flavor and quality. During the 19th and early 20th centuries Chincoteague flourished in seafood commerce shipping oysters, crabs and clams to Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York. Several natural events changed the bay’s ecosystem so that the oyster industry could no longer exist. Today the shellfish aquaculture industry is making a come back in the coastal bays of Chincoteague with approximately 250 acres of bay bottom being leased and used primarily for clam culture.
While the seafood trade was the main commerce for decades, in recent years the main commerce or industry for Chincoteague Island is tourism. Each year more than a million visitors come to Virginia’s only island resort. The Islands of Chincoteague and Assateague are now marketed worldwide to attract vacationers, offering many attractions, events, world class accommodations, and restaurants. The tourism industry is very successful because of Chincoteague’s beautiful beaches, water views, diverse wildlife, mild climate and numerous activities and events.
Some of the many attractions visitors can enjoy include birding on Assateague, Cruises & Boat Tours, Fishing & Boating, Lighthouse Tours and Refuge & Seashore Activities, Pony Swim, Auction, & Firemen’s Carnival, Shopping, Chincoteague Shops and Restaurants, Swimming & Surfing on Assateague and Bicycling.
There is something for everyone: For history enthusiasts, there is an Oyster and Maritime Museum, a Waterfowl Museum, and the NASA Museum and Visitors Center. For those who enjoy dining we offer several restaurants noted for the freshest seafood on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. For fishermen, there is the channel, surf fishing on Assateague and deep-sea fishing. The fisherman can rent a boat, fish from the public piers, or compete in various fishing tournaments throughout the year. Crabbing and clamming in the abundant waters surrounding both islands is another popular activity. For those who love water sports such as jet-skiing, kayaking, canoeing or windsurfing rentals are available. The collector can spend days searching the shops for decorative and antique waterfowl carvings and wildlife art. Antiques, hand-made pottery, country and folk-art crafts and Christmas specialty shops are abundant.
Other enjoyable family-sports activities include biking or hiking wilderness trails or swimming in the magnificent Atlantic Ocean. The whole family and especially the kids enjoy miniature golf, go-carts, and pony rides, available for all ages. Chincoteague has a spacious town park, complete with tennis courts and modern playground equipment and offers waterfront recreation for everyone.
Take a scenic cruise around the Chincoteague Channel, enjoy a romantic sunset cruise or take a wildlife tour and discover a bird-watcher’s paradise.