Posted on 4/8/2024

How to Get Up Close With Chincoteague Ponies: A Guide to Unforgettable Encounters

Renowned for its fabled herd of wild ponies, Chincoteague Island offers visitors a unique opportunity to witness these majestic creatures up close. In this guide, we’ll explore the various ways you can immerse yourself in the magic of the Chincoteague ponies and create memories that your family will cherish forever!


Your first opportunity to see Chincoteague Ponies after arriving on the island will actually be on your way over to the Wildlife Refuge. Park in the McDonalds parking lot and you’ll be able to get up close and personal with a few of the ponies that live next door! We aren't certain, but we don't think there are many places you can grab a burger and see ponies so close. Grab a selfie, feed them some corn (PLEASE don’t hand feed them!), and take a moment to appreciate their beauty before heading over to Wildlife Refuge on Assateague to see more ponies in the wild!

Beach Road
As you drive onto the Wildlife Refuge, you’ll pass points where you can access the Wildlife Loop and Lighthouse Trail. More on the Wildlife Loop later, but you’ll want to pass these to reach one of the most popular spots for locating the ponies. Continue straight, and you’ll reach a clearing where the ponies from the Southern Herd often graze. Quite often, you’ll see cars parked on the side of the road as visitors grab their cameras and binoculars to get a good view!

Boat Tours
If you’re the seafaring type who’s seeking a truly enchanting experience, hop aboard one of the many boat tours offered around the island. These tours take you on a scenic voyage through the waters surrounding the islands, offering stunning views, a bit of education on the island, and of course, some amazing opportunities to see the ponies up close in their natural habitat. You’ll want to make sure you have your phone or camera handy as the captains of these tours are experts at finding the bands and will likely get you photo opportunities that you’ll be sharing with friends as soon as you return home.

Kayak Tours
For the adventurous souls seeking an intimate encounter with the ponies, kayak tours are a thrilling alternative to boat tours. Paddle through tranquil waterways on your own, or book a guided tour! Kayaking will allow you to access marshes and narrow channels that larger boats can’t access, offering a unique perspective.

Service Road
If you’d prefer to explore on your own terms and aren’t opposed to lacing up your walking shoes, the Service Road off of the Wildlife Loop offers a chance to see the ponies in a secluded setting. This road winds through the heart of the Wildlife Refuge, providing ample opportunities to spot all types of wildlife, including the ponies. Please remember to keep your distance from the ponies if you happen to stumble upon any in your travels to ensure their safety and well-being.

Encountering the Chincoteague Ponies up close is a truly magical experience that captures the essence of Chincoteague Island’s natural beauty. Whether you’re viewing them from a boat/kayak or exploring the Service Road on your own, each option offers a unique perspective and an opportunity to forge a deeper connection with these iconic creatures.

Previous A Guide to Experiencing Ocean City's Sunrises and Sunsets Rainy Day Rescue: How to Enjoy Ocean City, MD When It's Pouring Outside! Next