Places to see, paddle on Chincoteague?

Hello, folks! We are due to take a trip next week to the Virginia Eastern Shore to see the ponies swim from Assateague to Chincoteague. We are debating taking the boats (MR Revelation canoe for Mom & Dad, WS Bandit kayaks for the teens). We are not salt-water paddlers, and obviously not equipped for the big water, and are not sure whether there are places to visit with relatively calm waters? We enjoy viewing wildlife, flowers, scenery, etc. We’d hate to miss an opportunity, but also hate to fight the air drag and decreased fuel mileage for nine hours both ways, and not put the boats in.

Any advice would be appreciated, especially if you know of some particular destinations that would suit our needs.

Many thanks! Regan

you would use them…
…even if not in the ocean. The TOWN (meaning not the SP) of Chincoteaque (sp?) and surrounding areas have some protected paddling opportunities that I haven’t explored but would love to. Good fishing, too, from what I’m told.

If you stop in at the Coldwell Banker real estate office that you will pass on your left on the way to the SP entrance, they have an excellent map they sell for $1. or $2. that will show all main waterways & smaller streams (I would take one of these along or you could easily get lost).

Until just a few years ago, my wife & I thought Chincoteaque was just an unpopulated SP with camping like Assateaque & did not realize there was a sizeable town there. One of these years we want to rent a cottage there for a week or two. There is a daily charge to enter the SP but they also have weekly, monthly & annual passes.

Thanks very much for the info, particularly on the maps (I like maps, especially when visiting a new place!).

I was hoping to get some more specific suggestions. Anybody…?

Thanks, Regan

sorry cant remember the specifics but when we were there is was WINDY, my oldest daughter showed me a trick with her cockpit cover:

wanting to see ponies? we saw them literally everywhere, from the parking lot near the NPS headquarters to the shore when we were paddling (sound side)…awesome place…they corral ponies near home in the Grayson Highlands and take some of them to Chiconteague for genetic diversity…made the mistake (good mistake) of feeding one of those ponies a carrot when hiking through the area on the AT, the pony wanted more and snipped my buttock to say ‘gimme another’…

Oyster Bay?
I think it’s called Great Oyster Bay. Out of the channel, the water can be very shallow at low tide. I mean like a foot or so, in some places.

DO NOT forget your bug juice. The legendary mosquitoes, if they are out, WILL eat you alive.

It’s a very nice place to spend a vacation. Good food. People are hardworking, friendly southerners.

Paddled with the ponies in the Maryland
Wow, this filled up fast. Started typing an answer, there were no replies. Post it and there are 5!

Hey Regan, Been awhile. Good to see your post.

I have paddled with the ponies up in Maryland on the north end of Assateague Island. Was so close could reach out and touch the ponies. Had a great time!

It was windy and a lot of chop, but normally nothing you and your family could not handle. You appear to be more sheltered in the south than we were in the north.

Contact Mike McCrea for all the details you can handle. Look up his old reports. That is his, he owns that area! ;^) He takes everyone that will go over to paddle Chincoteague Bay

As for traveling with the big old wind scoop on top. I have been thinking this over for some time. Revisiting it more and more as fuel prices go up and up. The big open boats really do drag on the truck and hurt the gas mileage. Have really noticed a big difference in large vs small canoes. And an extra big difference in decked vs open canoes! I have been giving serious thought to a temp deck for transport. Either a cover tied on real tight or better yet a rigid cover of luan or something similar. They do make canoe socks as well that encase the whole canoe.

Another option might be to stop by to pick up a canoe or three of mine if I have the right mix for you. Could avoid bigger fuel bills for most of the trip. Trying to remember; do you all paddle in one boat or do you take more? Are you taking the southern or northern route to the island?



Oh Yeah! Take your sailing umbrellas!
Ask Mike or read his reports. ;^)



See if you can find the Will Hole
At the Tom’s Cove visitors center they have assembeled and on display the USGS quad maps covering Assateague. One of the frustrations with the quads is that you need a half dozen maps to piece together the island, you always seem to be in the corner of a map, and most of those half dozen maps show empty water. So study up on the maps at the Visitors Center. They also sell the quads, as they do at a small paddling shop in town, the name of which escapes me, but its not that big a town.

People like paddling in Tom’s Cove.

I have heard tidal currents can be tricky if you try to pass into the Ocean.

If you are feeling adventuresome, go find the Will Hole. I think there might be good crabbing there, but it is a wildlife refuge, so I don’t know if it is allowed.

See here for pictures of the Will Hole

See here, near the bottom, for info on launching and getting permits to use town boat ramps. I think the permits are good for a week, and they are only 5 or 10 bucks.

See here for info on Pocomoke paddling, and don’t fall for that lazy float stuff from Mike. It is a lazy float, except when you are hauling your boat around the downed trees.

Personally, I’d vote for some Pocomoke paddling at this time of year. Not so many bugs, shade, and if you decide to swim to cool off, no jelly fish.

~~Chip Walsh, Gambrills, MD

Many thanks!
Thanks, folks, for the information and humor. I always appreciate the help I find here. Happy paddling!