The Best Hotels to Book in Chincoteague, Virginia

The balconies at the Refuge Inn are ideal for observing the wild Chincoteague ponies
The balconies at the Refuge Inn are ideal for observing the wild Chincoteague ponies | Courtesy of Refuge Inn / Expedia
Photo of Hugh McNaughtan
16 December 2021

Chincoteague takes its name from Gingoteague, its Native American title. Settled by Europeans since 1650, it’s best known for its wild ponies (as any horse-loving girl who’s read ‘Misty of Chincoteague’ would know). Roaming the Wildlife Reserve on neighboring Assateague Island, they’re rumored to be the descendants of animals that escaped a Spanish wreck in 1750. Their annual penning is a major event, as are nearby NASA launches. Bag the best top-value hotels in Chincoteague, now bookable with Culture Trip.

Refuge Inn, for spotting wild ponies

Bedroom at the Refuge Inn with two beds and a balcony
Courtesy of Refuge Inn / Expedia

This family-run charmer has been with the Leonards since they first built it in 1973. Now the grandchildren of founders Don and Martha welcome visitors to an immaculate, 72-room timber inn amongst the whispering loblolly pines. Sitting just across the Assateague Channel from the National Wildlife Reserve, it’s ideal for spotting Chincoteague ponies from broad, salt-weathered balconies. The immaculately landscaped gardens contain a picnic area and hibachi grill, and there’s a pony pen where you can greet the islands’ star attractions.

Marina Bay Hotel & Suites, for yachties who love marina views

Bedroom at the Marina Bay Hotel & Suites, with two beds and a grey sofa
Courtesy of Marina Bay Hotel & Suites / Expedia | Courtesy of Marina Bay Hotel & Suites / Expedia

Sitting right on the waterside, facing the Black Narrows separating Chincoteague from the mainland, this is one for the sailors. Decked out in aquamarine and foam-white, with nautical ropes dangling from above, as much thought has been given to atmosphere as comfort. Top-tier rooms such as the king and double-queen suites offer balconies with marina views, while luxury touches such as super-comfortable Simmons Recharge beds and Bath and Body Works elevate all 76 rooms. There’s even a private marina on site

Key West Cottages, for watery pursuits

Lilac-painted timber cottage at Key West Cottages
Courtesy of Key West Cottages / Expedia

These pastel-painted, waterfront cottages offer as much charm as value. In one- and two-bedroom configurations, they make the most of their Chincoteague Bay location – their wrap-around balconies are ideal for watching the sun set over the waters and mainland to the west. Self-contained, they also offer access to communal facilities such as a fitness center, indoor and outdoor pools, a hot tub and a laundry room. Once you’ve seen Chincoteague National Wildlife Reserve and its famous ponies, enjoy onsite fishing and crabbing.

Hampton Inn & Suites Chincoteague-Waterfront, for proximity to the National Wildlife Reserve

Indoor pool at the Hampton Inn & Suites Chincoteague-Waterfront, with the large windows reflecting in the water
Courtesy of Hampton Inn & Suites Chincoteague-Waterfront / Expedia | Courtesy of Hampton Inn & Suites Chincoteague-Waterfront / Expedia

This imposing whitewashed-timber hotel sits right on the waterfront, overlooking the Black Narrows, marshes and Virginia mainland. It maintains professional standards and amenities throughout, with Waterpik showerheads, quality mattresses and water-view balconies in the superior suites. The indoor pool is bathed in natural light from high, arched windows, chandeliers lend class to the dining room, and the onsite fitness center is ideal for travelers who like to keep fit on the road. The National Wildlife Reserve and NASA Visitor Center are both just miles away.

Best Western Chincoteague Island, for sightseeing

Winter garden at the Best Western Chincoteague Island, with wicker furniture and potted plants
Courtesy of Best Western Chincoteague Island / Expedia

It’s all about location at this Best Western. Adjacent to the Museum of Chincoteague Island, it’s also just opposite the Assateague Channel, the pines and ponies of the Chincoteague Wildlife National Reserve and the classic red-banded profile of Assateague Lighthouse, burning brightly since 1867. Indoors, it’s no less attractive. Mahogany-colored timber furniture lends a homely touch to the rooms and suites (although each is uniquely decorated). Mattresses are deep and of high quality, and there are a pool and a gym on site.

Fairfield Inn & Suites Chincoteague Island Waterfront, for contemporary decor

Outdoor pool at the Fairfield Inn & Suites Chincoteague Island Waterfront
Courtesy of Fairfield Inn & Suites Chincoteague Island Waterfront / Expedia | Courtesy of Fairfield Inn & Suites Chincoteague Island Waterfront / Expedia

Modernity meets marine chic at this three-story Fairfield on the Black Narrows. The broad timber deck surrounding the outdoor pool is ideal for an evening drink and sitting under palms as the sun slips below the marshes and mainland Virginia. Of course, you can do this from your own balcony, if you book one of the superior bay-view suites, available in double-queen and king formations. There’s a commendable commitment to accessible accommodation, with numerous rooms fitted with handrails and other aids.

Chincoteague Inn Motel, for motel comforts

Bedroom at the Chincoteague Inn Motel, with two double beds and horse art on the wall
Courtesy of Chincoteague Inn Motel / Expedia

This independent inn is a great example of a good-value, traditional motel. With either double-queen or king (with sofa bed) configurations available, it’s unpretentious and friendly and scrupulously cleaned and maintained. Built of whitewashed timber, it offers broad outdoor areas for good weather, with a pool, volleyball nets and plenty of grass for family picnics. Prints of vintage posters starring the wild ponies from Chincoteague are framed above broad, comfortable beds in the center of traditionally decorated rooms that include mini-fridges and microwaves.

Waterside Inn, for nautical decor

Blueberry Cottage at the Waterside Inn under a blue sky
Courtesy of Waterside Inn / Expedia

Looking directly across the Black Narrows to Marsh Island and the mainland, the family-run Waterside Inn sits right among the marinas of Chincoteague Island’s western fringe. Ideal for those looking to tie up their own boats overnight, it’s also worth considering as a superior, low-cost choice in its own right. Its rooms contain all sorts of nautical touches – aquamarine glass shells on tables, sea-life prints above the beds and the like – and maintain excellent standards of comfort and cleanliness.

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