For nearly as long as I’ve known my husband, Matthew, I’ve heard stories about his summertime trips to Assateague Island National Seashore to see the Chincoteague ponies. As somebody unfamiliar with this tiny Maryland-Virginia island (the two states share it), I thought it sounded like a tiny slice of heaven. Ocean! Seashores! Ponies! How is that not perfect? I’ve long had hopes that Matthew and I would one day have the chance to take the kids.
That opportunity finally happened a few weeks ago, as our niece, Katelyn, and her fiancé, Josh, got married in Salisbury, Maryland. Since we were going to the wedding, we decided to turn it into a family road trip. Our kids love road trips. And so do I.
As we were chatting about our trip, Matthew suggested that we bypass Washington DC and instead, venture from Nashville to Maryland’s Eastern Shore via the Chesapeake Bay Tunnel.
“We could stop and see the Chincoteague ponies,” he said.
Two minutes later, I was Googling “Chincoteague” and planning a family movie night to watch the movie “Misty,” which is a 1960’s movie about the most famous of all Chincoteague ponies and the annual summer pony swim.
Well, I can enthusiastically say that Chincoteague lived up to my expectations. The town of Chincoteague is just lovely. It’s small. And quaint. Its streets are filled up with a plethora of the cutest little mom-and-pop stores, including a divine bookstore and library. It also has many excellent restaurants, especially if you love seafood.
And too, Assateague Island National Seashore offers a long list of things to do and see, from hiking, to beautiful beaches, to horseback riding. So, if you’re looking for a family getaway or you live anywhere close to the Delmarva peninsula, you have to put Chincoteague and Assateague on your “to-visit” list. You will love it.
But the best part of our adventure? Hands down the boat tour. We only had an afternoon to stay in Chincoteague and the boat tour was the perfect way to experience the ponies and the islands.
After researching online the numerous boat tours available, I’m so glad to have discovered Saltwater Pony Tours.
They provided our family with a complimentary tour in exchange for this post, and I’m happy to report that their glowing reviews at Google and TripAdviser are spot on. The two-hour cruise is offered four times a day, seven days a week and I highly recommend booking a cruise to see the ponies.
As soon as Captain Henry picked us up at a dock just a block or two away from Chincoteague’s main street, I knew contacting Saltwater Pony Tours was a good choice.
Captain Henry was incredibly warm and friendly. He was especially kind toward our kids, even when they were a tad grumpy from the long drive and warm sun.
His 21-foot boat was impeccably clean, spacious and comfortable, making for a wonderful tour for our family. Salt Water Pony tours accommodate up to six people, which ensures you have a very intimate and positive experience.
A native of the area, Captain Henry was incredibly knowledgeable about Chincoteague and Assateague, telling us all about its history, the community, its ecosystems, and of course, all about the ponies.
We did an afternoon tour, which can mean seeing less ponies, but that was not true for our experience. We saw more than 50 ponies at multiples spots throughout the 2-hour tour. It was especially exciting to see foals, many younger than two weeks old. Captain Henry took us right up to the beach so we could see the beautiful creatures up close.
While many boat tours stop at the first sight of ponies, Saltwater takes you all the way around the islands, which is just glorious. And because of that, we were able to see both herds of Chincoteague ponies—Virginia’s herd and Maryland’s herd.
In addition to the Chincoteague ponies, we saw bald eagles, ospreys, ducks, egrets, herons, and oyster beds. We also caught a magnificent view of Assateague’s lighthouse.
The kids had a blast. Captain Henry even gave Elias and Adeline a chance to play captain, allowing them to steer the boat.
The boat tour was a highlight of our vacation and an experience I will never forget. I definitely recommend Salt Water Pony Tours to see ponies on Chincoteague and Assateague Islands.
To book a tour, contact Salt Water Pony Tours by phone at 757-710-1783 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Mention “The Mom Creative” and get 10% off your tickets!