Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge
This Assateague Island refuge off Virginia's coast is one of the most visited in the country. The National Audubon Society named it a top 10 birding hot spot, as more than 320 species have been spotted there. Crabbing, clamming, and beach campfires also bring weekend crowds. But Chincoteague is best known for its wild ponies, descended from horses presumed to have swum ashore from Spanish galleons that sank off the coast in the 15th and 16th centuries.
Best Time to Go: Birding peaks in spring and summer. The annual pony swim to and from Chincoteague Island happens at the end of July. You can tour the historic Assateague Lighthouse daily June through October or on weekends in spring and fall.