- 107 Ratings
Shackleford Banks Wild Horse and Shelling Safari
Journey over white-capped waves on your way to a stunning island that's home to one of the last remaining wild horse populations in America. Get an up-close look at these creatures on a guided tour.
What You Will Do
- Leave dry land behind with a 15-minute ferry ride to the pristine Outer Banks Island of Shackleford Banks, part of the Cape Lookout National Seashore
- Watch a roaming herd of wild horses believed to be descended from ancestors brought here roughly 400 years ago
- See first-hand the fascinating behavior of horses in the wild, a rare experience that you capture through your camera lens
- Head to one of the best shelling beaches in North Carolina to spend some time hunting for seashells along the beach with the Cape Lookout Lighthouse off in the distance
- See if you can find conchs, whelks, Queen’s Helmets, Scotch Bonnets, Olive Shells, Sand Dollars, and more
- Guided tour
- Boat ride
Full refunds for cancellations made at least 48 hours in advance.
- 107 Ratings
Enjoyed it but didn’t see many horses or find many shells. Our tour missed our ferry going back so we waited for the next one.
Charlie was a friendly guide. The trip was family friendly
The day trip was lovely, and the horses cooperated. I just wished the shelling was better, and we were told that was true mostly in the Fall. The ferry operators were friendly, and our guide, Charlie, was a gracious host! I wished there could be some kind of storage locker at the Ferry arrival spot to keep belongings so they don't have to be carried through-out the whole tour.
Enjoyed the whole experience from the ferry ride over to admiring the wild horses
This was a wonderful experience. I loved how organized the trip was and how smoothly everything went. The guides were wonderful and very knowledgeable.
We had such a great time!!! We were able to see a large harem of horses and a few stragglers as well. We would have liked to have had a little more time in one spot to look at shells. The guide was very sweet and informative. I will recommend this trip to my friends!
Purchased tickets online with ease. The boat ride over takes about 30 minutes with the captain narrating s little history. You are assigned a naturalist that will guide you around the island. Charlie was great with a world of knowledge. We were able to see at least 15 horses. The walk around the island is not strenuous. Take water as there is nothing on the island except a bathroom. The shells are few and far between. I highly recommend this trip.
Everyone was very friendly & knowledgeable. There was never a dull moment. I also felt pretty safe as far as the boat ride.
Charles and Kay were great! They taught us so much about the beach, shells, wildlife, vegetation, horses, and more! They were so friendly and patient. For first timer SC this is the way to go. You will feel so educated and experienced for all future trips. They take you from beach to dunes, through dunes, and back to the beach. You learn a ton about the history of the island too! The tour does not stop, so definitely pick up shells along the way. Then, ask to stay longer and tell your guide the later pick up time you desire. They will help arrange it, so you can stay longer after the tour. :)
Charlie was the best !
Charles Lewis was simply great as a tour guide of Shackleford Banks. We saw at least a dozen horses, some up close and others farther away, but all just awe inspiring to watch. Charles' running commentary and information about the island made the whole experience an entertaining and enlightening learning experience that my wife and I will not soon forget.
We visited Shackleford Banks a few years ago for the first time, shuttling to and from the island on a much smaller boat w/ no guided tour. Although we paid extra for this experience, it was well worth the extra money. The ferry's crew was extremely friendly and willing to answer any questions that we had. Charlie was our tour guide and he did a wonderful job of explaining the history of the island as well as current activity on the island. I honestly have never seen the waters off NC's coast being so blue and beautiful!! We took the 9AM ferry across, which made for an early morning being an hour away, but WELL WORTH the extra work to enjoy the cooler time of the day. The Captain's mate who gave lunch suggestions on our ride back to the mainland was on point, the locals know where the good food is located!!
Was a very enjoyable time!
Our guide was very informative and friendly we were able to see some horses and great shelling. Enjoyed the trip.
Charlie was a great tour guide. He answered all he questions we had ad took us to some great locations on the island. We got to see a lot of horses which was awesome! We will be doing the tour again!
The staff was friendly. The tour guide was awesome. The horses was beautiful. The banks was beautiful. Plenty of sunshine and lots of beautiful scenery.
It was so enjoyable and informative. We brought our dogs with us and Charlie ,our guide was so thoughtful to include them in the experience. Thank you so much for this wonderful time
This was a great excursion. The Naturalist,Fran, was very helpful. We did get to see the horses. It was a well organized.
Our tour guide Charles was amazing and provided a ton of history about the island. It was a chilly but very fun tour, thank you!
Our tour guides Charlie and Kay were very informative and attentive. The Captains, Gillian and Lewis were most professional as well as thorough. They answered questions completely. Appreciated the attention to safety. Porter was particularly helpful and provided helpful local knowledge to the group. He was great with the families.
I like that you can walk & enjoy the beach along with the wild horses.
Our guide provided a huge amount of history about the island and the horses. My daughter and I loved the tour.
My husband and I had a wonderful time on the island. The scenery and horses were beautiful. The ferry ride was fun and we enjoyed the captains sharing local history on the way.
I enjoyed the morning, but there are a few things I would include in the description: Wear comfortable shoes that can get wet. Bring water, lots of it. This is a strenuous two mile, two hour, walk through varying landscapes (beach, dunes, hills, and knee to waist deep swells).
We had a lovely time from the boat ride over, to Ms. Kay showing us around the island. We did a bit of trekking through some terrain that wasn't what she had expected, but it was fun none the less. When we finally found the horses it was a beautiful sight to behold. They were stunning. Ms. Kay gave us knowledge on the local shells and the turtles that visit the island. It was very enjoyable, and highly recommend it to those wanting to learn more about the island and some local history.
Ms. Kay our tour guide was awesome and did a really great job of showing us all the parts of the island. The entire tour was extremely interesting and I would recommend it to others in a heartbeat.
Charles was a great source of local history, and nature. He gave us a good tour, all while not making it too strenuous for our 2.5 year old grandbaby.
We enjoyed the tour and the guide was very knowledgeable. Disappointed that we didn't get to see more horse up close, but that's the chance you take.
Our guide was very knowledgeable and friendly. We saw lots of horses, picked up shells, and learned some cool facts.
We had a great time. Our guide was very friendly and informative. Loved seeing the horses and we got some awesome shells. We will definitely be back.
Excellent customer service. Enjoyed the boat ride and our time on the island very much!
We had a great time on Shacklford Banks. Our guide, Fran, was friendly and very knowledgeable. We were also fortunate to have a 9 horse harem grazing at the tidal pool near the ferry drop-off. Fran shared the history of the horses and how they lived. He was also able to identify all of the different shells and show us where to search. The downside of our tour was the other family. They were not prepared for the terrain and had apparently not read the, very clear, instructions on the website regarding shoes, clothing and the potential for a rigorous hike. When given the choice to hike further up the island in search of more horses or go straight to the beach to search for shells they didn't want to hike further. I would have liked to see more of the island and the chance to find more horses. It would have been nice to have that option.
Charlie was our guide but they had us to go at 8:30 and we also joined Kaye's group. Both did an awesome job and we really enjoyed the experience. Thanks so much
We had a wonderful time and thanks to our wonderful Tour Guide Kay it has been very educational in every way :)
Beautiful beach! Amazing history!