7+ Best Boat Tours Chincoteague VA (Cruises, Tours, Ponies & More)

Your search for chincoteague boat tours ends here!

We have enlisted the best areas in Virginia where you can have a unique experience of the famous chincoteague ponies, sunset cruises, tour boats as well as private tour.

Kayaking in Virginia
Image Source: Tripadvisor

The type of boat tours available is Scenic cruise, Public, private or semi-private, Kayak tour, etc.

Chincoteague is a great place to visit all around the year, however, the best time to see ponies is anytime from late April through mid-October.

The tour experience includes:

  • Ponies
  • Dolphins
  • Birds like eagles, pelicans, and others
  • Beautiful scenery

We have included the website as well as the location of each of these island tours, but do not forget to use google map while navigating to these destinations.

#1 Captain Dan’s Tours

4161 Main St, Chincoteague, VA 23336 | Website

Captain Dan Tours offers all visitors public, private, or semi-private tours. The ponies are the best attraction on Captain Dan’s Tours. Public Tours are on boats with 12 passengers. 

Family enjoying whale watching at Capt Dan's Tours in Virginia
Image Source: Captain Dan’s website
  • Public Tour The “Around the Island Tour” is 25 miles trip around the island Chincoteague, with a good chance to find and watch dolphins and ponies. Visitors can also visit the Assateague Lighthouse. Common bird sighting includes bald eagles, osprey, and herons.
  • The “Afternoon Pony Tour” is a public tour with a mission to find and watch ponies. There is no strict path for this tour.
  • Semi-private tours “All Around the Island” are tours on boats with 6 passengers. It can be focused on anything, depending on what passengers are interested in.
  • Private Tours is a luxury boat tour that is all about what visitors wish to see.

We took a semi-private trip with Captain Doug. We saw dolphins, an eagle, a variety of birds, and ponies at a distance. He even brought a jellyfish on board so that we could see it up close (and then quickly released it). He gave us just the right amount of information and answered all of our questions. It was a great time and well worth the cost. Look forward to chartering a trip again next year.


#2 Daisey’s Island Cruises

4103 Main St, Chincoteague, VA 23336 | Website

Daisey’s Island Cruises offer sightseeing tours of Chincoteague Island that are not possible by land. The Island is known for its wild chincoteague ponies.

The eco tours are such that you sail to the shores where you are most likely to see ponies in their natural habitats.

This tour is also a great option to see dolphins and bald eagles.

Bird sitting on a Pony
Image Source: Daisey’s Island Cruises website

Daisey’s Island Cruises offers the Scenic Wildlife Boat Cruise on Board the Martha Lou tour.

This is a boat tour with a larger group of passengers that covers the islands of assateague & chincoteague. The tour lasts two hours.

The “6 Passengers Scenic Wildlife Boat Tour” is a small group tour around Assateague Island past pony habitats. The tour lasts two hours.

“Dolphin/Adventure Tour” is a an hour cruise that will take you in search of dolphins.

Specialty Cruises” is a spring and autumn pony viewing tour, and it is possible to organize special events during this tour such as weddings, and birding. It was a great night, we saw eagles, horses, and an amazing sunset! Our tour guide was great, very nice, and knowledgeable!


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#3 Cowboy Cruise Company

2246 Curtis Merritt Harbor Dr, Chincoteague, VA 23336 | Website

Cowboy Cruise Company offers “Teague’s Tour” which lasts from 3.5 to 4 hours and sails around the entire island of Chincoteague.

  • If the weather permits, you can sail and see the ponies on the island, as well as various other animals, including dolphins, shellfish, eagles, and ospreys.
    This tour is not recommended for children under 12 years of age.
Boat at Cowboy Cruise
Image Source: Cowboy Cruise
  • Cowboy Cruise Company also offers a “Pony Tour” that lasts two hours.
    Sail to the North and South grazing pastures of the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Co. where ponies can be viewed in their natural habitat.
    The passenger limit is 6. This tour is great for kids and adults.
  • The Shellfish Tour is the third tour offered by Cowboy Cruise Company. This tour lasts two hours and visits clam and oyster grow-out locations.
  • Visitors can dig their oysters. It is permitted to take up to 12 clams and 50 oysters. Best fun has visitors 5+ years old.

Our family of 4 – 2 adults and 2 kids (ages 7 and 4), took the clam and oyster tour and loved it! Aiden was the captain and was very knowledgeable about the area and the shellfish. He showed me the best way to shuck oysters and we got to sample them straight from the water. Delicious! Learned lots about clams and my oldest kiddo had fun raking them up from the sand.


#4 Captain Barry’s Back Bay Cruises

6262 Marlin Street, Chincoteague, VA 23336 |Website

Capt. Barry’s Back Bay Cruises are interactive tours around Chincoteague Island during which visitors can enjoy the beautiful sights of the island, as well as learn a lot about this beautiful island and its inhabitants.

Source: Captain Barry’s Backbay Cruises

Tours last two hours. The maximum number of passengers in one tour is 6.

During the tour, you can dig out various creatures from the sand, catch a crab, collect shells on Shell Island, catch jellyfish, and collect Chincoteague oysters. Seat reservation is mandatory.

We’ve been on Captain Barry tours for the last 7 years (see a picture from the first tour and most recent). Our kids think a trip to Chincoteague isn’t complete with Captain Barry’s boat tour. It’s always fun for all ages! We enjoy going to the sunset! We’ve tried other boat tours, but nothing compares to Captain Barry. Thanks for all the great memories, Captain Barry


#5 Chincoteague Island Adventures

4436 Williams Ln, Chincoteague, VA 23336 | Website

Chincoteague Island Adventures are tours on a 24′ Carolina Skiff that can carry up to 6 passengers.

The route is through the waters of Virginia’s chincoteague & assateague Islands, departing from a private dock on the east coast of Chincoteague Island.

Ponies at the Chincoteague Island Adventures
Image Source: Tripadvisor

This tour lasts from 1.5 to 2 hours.

During the cruise, you can see:

  • dolphins
  • eagles
  • oyster catchers
  • ducks
  • geese
  • white-tailed deer
  • sika elks
  • sharks
  • horseshoe crabs.

Visitors of Chincoteague Channel can watch launches of rockets and weather satellites from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s Wallops Flight Facility.

Chincoteague Island Adventures can organize hunts for visitors.

Captain Randy is a hidden treasure. He is funny, knowledgeable, and so personable. My young daughter enjoyed his tour too. We plan to look him up on every trip we take to Chincoteague!


#6 Barnacle Bill’s Wild Pony Boat Tours

2246 Curtis Merritt Harbor Dr, Chincoteague, VA 23336 | Website

Barnacle Bill’s Wild Pony Boat Tours offers a tour “Explore the Island and its wildlife!” through waters around chincoteague national wildlife refuge.

Barnacle Bill and his son will tell you stories about the island and the famous pony swim. Tour starts at 9 am, 11:30 am, and 3:00 pm.

A bird perched up on a pillar at the Barnacle Bill's Wild Pony Boat Tours in Virginia
Image Source: Barnacle Bill’s Wild Pony Boat Tours website

“Sunset Tour and Explore” is the second tour of Barnacle Bill’s Wild Pony Boat Tours. Tour starts at 6:30 pm. Experience beautiful sunsets while you’re on this boat tour.

We had a great experience and a lot of fun. Captain Billy took the time to research where the wild ponies would be located on the morning tour and took us straight to them. He provided background on their history, information about the area’s wildlife, and the history of the Chincoteague and Assateague islands. We would highly recommend him for a great time and tour.


#7 Assateague Explorer Pony Watching Cruise & Kayaking

2246 Curtis Merritt Harbor Dr, Chincoteague, VA 23336 | Website

Assateague Explorer Pony Watching Cruise & Kayaking offers boat tours and kayak tours due to the shallow waters.

Ponies at the Assateague Explorer boating tour in Virginia
Image Source: Assateague Explorer website

Boat tours are Pony Express Nature Cruise, Sunset Wildlife Cruise, and Nature Combo Tour.

Kayak tours are Assateague kayak tours and nature combo tours.

The pony expresses nature cruise is a tour where visitors can enjoy watching wild horses, dolphins, and various birds.

Boat “Misty” departs from Chincoteague Island. The best way to watch the Wildlife of Chincoteague and Assateague is by boat.

The tour starts at 9:30 am, 12:30 pm, 2:30 pm, and sunset. The tour duration is 1.5 hours.

Ponies running wild in water
Image Source: Assateague Explorer website

Sunset wildlife cruise is Assateague Explorer Pony Watching Cruise & Kayaking tour for visitors with a desire to discover sunset wildlife.

On one of their wildlife tours, visitors can see wild ponies, dolphins, migratory birds, and more interesting animals.

Departure is at sunset. The duration of this tour is 1.5 Hours.

Enjoyed the sunset cruise. We saw tons of birds, including bald eagles. Saw ponies off in the distance, we couldn’t get close. Heard a lot of local stories on the ride, overall worth it, kids enjoyed the ride.

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Michaela Lee

Michaela lives in Northern Virginia and is a mom of 2 young kids. She enjoys writing, reading and going new places with her family.