Assateague Island is a National Wildlife preserve on the eastern shore. It is home to wild ponies and more birds than I can identify. It is easily accessible from the small town of Chincoteague, VA. At high tide, you can get back to where the ponies are. At low tide, there are large mud flats. The water isn't exactly flat, but isn't ocean either. The best place to put in is either the dock on East Side Road or at Memorial Park. You can see the ponies from there. The main risk paddling is jet skis in the summer. You will need a permit to launch and you can ask them for directions to the launching areas.
Numerous motels are there as well as a couple of campgrounds. We normally camp at the Maddox Family Campground. The Refuge and Driftwood are pretty nice. WWW.Chincoteague.com has good information.
You will need to pay a $5 daily or $20 annual fee to use the launch. You can get it at the town government offices. Its in the same building as the police department so just ask. The fee is for the car or trailer, not the boat.
From the Norfolk, VA area, use Rt 13 North and watch for the signs to Chincoteague. If you get to Maryland, you went too far. From the north, pick up Rt 13 S. in Salisbury, MD and take it south. It's 40 miles or so. Watch for the sign.
A map of the waterways is available. As you go to the beach, you will come to a traffic circle (the only one). There is a place there which will rent kayaks or lead tours. I don't have anything to do with them but enjoyed an early morning tour. You can learn a little local history and learn your way around the water. I think this is more beneficial to some than a book would be.