Assateague Island named sixth-best by USA TODAY

(June 20, 2014) The results are in, and one local island is receiving national acclaim in several notable publications.

Assateague Island was named the sixth-best island by readers of USA TODAY and 10Best.

“Assateague Island is where lucky visitors find themselves sharing 37 miles of pristine beaches: not with other tourists, but with the island’s famed herds of wild ponies,” according to the publication. “This rare stretch of undeveloped Mid-Atlantic Coast is also home to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and Assateague Island National Seashore, both on the Atlantic Flyway, making it a prime island destination for birdwatchers.”

Puerto Rico was named “best” island.

“We were very excited – I think it’s wonderful,” said Evelyn Shotwell, executive director of the Chincoteague Chamber of Commerce.

Trip Advisor named Assateague Island beach as the 23rd best beach in the United States in 2014. The rating was based on user reviews.

“I hope it means increased tourism this summer and more folks visiting with the extra exposure in the media for these recent nominations,” Shotwell said. “We hope for a banner summer season.”

Shotwell said the island has already seen increased visitation in 2014.

“Memorial Day attendance was up and beaches were nice and full and people were having fun,” she said.

“All the shopkeepers and the business owners that I’ve spoken with have said their numbers were at least comparable if not greater than last year’s.

“The weather’s been beautiful,” Shotwell continued. “I think folks have been inside for the winter long enough and they’re ready to get out and enjoy the outdoors. We’re hoping that means increased visitation during the summer.”

Chincoteague, Va. was also nominated by Coastal Living for “Happiest Seaside Town.” Winners will be announced this month.

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