Ever since I read a book called Misty of Chincoteague as a child, I've wanted to see the Wild Chincoteague Ponies, on the Eastern shore of the United States. I believe there are two herds on Assateague Island, which includes land in both Maryland and Virginia.
We're finally planning a trip, and I'm very excited! We'll only have a few days, and are trying to pick the best time and place for viewing.
Once a year thousands of people come from all over the world to see something called the Pony Swim. We don't really like crowds, and tend to stay away from things like that, preferring to go to tourist areas during the off-season. If it interests that many people, though, it's definitely worth learning more about the event.
What exactly is the Pony Swim, and what will we see if we go during that time?
This is a March 2019 edit in response to Rory Alsop's answer about the Pony Swim being very crowded. We decided to forego the big event and instead went to the Chincoteague (Virginia) side in May of 2018. It was in the 70s F, very comfortable. There were other tourists, but very few, and very friendly. We saw some ponies from a distance, and some closer to the road. They were happily grazing out there, as they have for hundreds of years! It was magnificent!
For handicapped people, one of the main paths is wooden with benches to stop and sit. It's perfect for wheelchairs, which is important to us.
The ponies have regular vet-checks, and any that aren't fully thriving are brought to a safe area in town, where people can touch and feed them. That was a real highlight for us! I recommend it to anyone who wants a hug from an authentic Chincoteague pony!