Chincoteague Island on Virginia’s Eastern Shore ranks second in a list of top 10 island destinations in the U.S. compiled by the website TripAdvisor.
TripAdvisor.com, which uses reviews from travelers and interactive forums to provide information to consumers. Chincoteague was ranked just ahead of Marco Island , Fla. San Juan Island, Wash., and Maui, Hawaii, round out the top five.
“Wild horses can actually drag you away…to Chincoteague Island,” the website says. “Here, ponies run wild, you can catch or dig up your own seafood, and the beaches bring literal breaths of fresh air.”
The website notes that the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge is a unspoiled spot for bird watching, horseback riding, swimming and biking.
Plus there is the Pony Swim. Every summer since 1925, all of the feral ponies on Assateague are rounded up for a swim across the channel to Chincoteague.
Chincoteague also is in the running now for the title of “happiest seaside town” by Coastal Living magazine, one of 10 communities so honored.
The designation appears in the March 2014 issue of the magazine, which hit newsstands Friday, Feb. 14. It is the magazine’s third annual listing of happiest coastal communities.
Last year a travel website named Assateague one of the “best beaches on Earth.” In 2010, Chincoteague was named America’s Best Beach Town by the AOL Travel website.
The islands on the TripAdvisor list this year are:
1. Marco Island, Fla.
2. Chincoteague Island VA
3. Anna Maria Island, Fla.
4. San Juan Island, Wash.
5. Maui, Hawaii
6. Kauai, Hawaii
7. Island of Hawaii
8. Nantucket, Mass.
9. Hilton Head Island, S.C.
10. Key West, Fla.