Chincoteague Island to Tangier Island Day Trip Directions
Head west on VA-75 for 7 miles. Turn left at Atlantic Road and go 2.7 miles to Temperanceville Rd./VA-695. Continue 2.1 miles to Lankford Highway/US-13. Turn right at W. Main St./VA-179 in Onancock and go .9 miles to Market Street. In Onancock you will pick up the ferry to Tangier Island.
Chincoteague Island to Tangier Day Trip
Dry land is in such short supply on tiny Tangier Island that many families have resorted to burying their deceased right at home. That's the charm of Tangier Island. It's a place where the inhabitants are completely authentic, and their way of speaking hasn't changed much since Capt. John Smith discovered Tangier in 1608.
You'll pick up overtones of Elizabethan English in your conversations with the people who live on the "Soft Shell Capital of the World," and you're almost certain to have a discussion with one of them because they'll be greeting you on your arrival with golf carts to give you a spin around Tangier.
Your Chincoteague Island to Tangier Island a trip will begin with a trip from Chincoteague to the Eastern Shore town of Onancock, on Route 13 about 70 miles south of Chincoteague. Onancock, approximately four miles from Tangier Sound, is where you'll board the 25-passenger Joyce Marie II for your 75-minute trip to the middle of Chesapeake Bay and Tangier Island.
Once you arrive on Tangier, you can either pay five dollars for that golf cart-powered mini-tour, or you can get your bearings by visiting the Museum and Visitors Center. If you prefer to explore on your own, feel free because a half-hour walk will be all it takes you to see what Tangier has to offer. Bike rentals are also available, and there’s room on the Joyce Marie II for you to stow your own bike if you prefer.
After deciding on a transportation option, the only choice left facing you will be decision you'll have to make is what to see first. Tangier Island has a network of five water trails which beckon with hours of lazy kayaking through harbors, marches, and lagoons. The Tangier History Museum offers the use of kayaks at no charge, if you're up to doing your own paddling. You may also be able to find an Islander willing to guide you for a fee.
Perhaps you'll pass by the remains of the island’s fish-steaming factory, or the "Upwards," where a tiny hunting lodge is all that remains of a once-bustling community of nearly six hundred. Some of the trails have waterside hiking paths if you'd like to explore on foot, and others may require you to portage your kayak when the tide is low.
Any appetite you work up with all that paddling, Tangier Island’s restaurants are more than ready to accommodate. Soft shell crabs are a specialty at Fishermen's Corner, and for the exceptionally hungry, Hilda Crockett's Chesapeake House offers an all-you-can-eat lunch or dinner which includes homemade blue crab cakes, clam fritters, Virginia ham, and all the trimmings including freshly baked pound cake made with real butter!
Do you really want to leave the "Soft Shell Capital of the World" without getting a first-handbook at the life of a Tangier waterman? At the Fisherman's Corner you can make arrangements for a 45-minute tour of a working crab shanty.
You'll watch the fascinating transformation of the crabs swelling in size as they leave their hard outer shells. The tours are hosted by Tangier's mayor, "Ooker” Eskridge. From time to time, he'll throw in the chance to touch the eels he's also caught in Chesapeake Bay!
What Tangier Island lacks in size, in more than compensates for with its enormous appeal!