Distance from Baltimore: 160 miles, three-and-a-half-hour drive Why it's worth the gas: Chincoteague swells with tourists during the summer, yet it never sheds its identity as a watermen's town, built (metaphorically) on oyster beds and clam shoals. The seafood at restaurants and stores could hardly be fresher. Compared with typical beach destinations, the town and the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge are refreshingly natural. Activities include hiking, swimming, biking, kayaking, surfing, fishing, boating and observing wildlife up close. Don't miss: Fans of "Misty of Chincoteague" can see images from the book and movie come to life when the volunteer fire company conducts its annual Pony Swim, above, each July. Information: Chincoteague Chamber of Commerce, 6733 Maddox Blvd., Chincoteague Island, Va. 23336; 757-336-6161 or chincoteaguechamber.com.
Karl Merton Ferron, Baltimore Sun
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