- 144 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.
- 144 Ratings
The guide was very knowledgeable and it was awesome seeing the horses, but it was a tour for horses and shelling and we were left with about 15 minutes to do some shelling. That wasn't what we we're expecting and it was disappointing. We didn't have time to really look for shells.
Out guides were great, friendly and very informative. Although we only saw a couple horses they went the extra mile to find them for us. It was a very hot sunny day so we weren't sure if we would see any. We were a little disappointed with the shelling, mone of us found any great shells. I think we were expecting a little more in that part of the tour. The boat captains were great, enjoyable rides both way.
I have been on this tour 3 times now and still love it each time. The guide is very nice with lots of information about the horse's which are so beautiful.
Elaine and John were outstanding naturalists and individuals. We had a fantastic family excursion; saw horses and found beautiful shells. Highly recommend!
Very informative and friendly staff . On time. Charley was our tour guide,and hands down the best. We will be back.
Our guide Mrs. Kay was wonderful and very knowledgeable about the island, the horses, and seashells!
Our guide, Kay, was very knowledgeable on almost every question possible about the Shackleford banks and horses! The island is a must see, and is beautiful! The bugs are no joke, so bug spray is a must.
Our ferry crew were cheerful and prompt. Our guide, Jim, was very knowledgeable on the history of the island and of the animal life there. It was a great day hike, with EXCELLENT shelling opportunities (on the beach and in the surf) and a very safe, beautiful area to enjoy. We saw the horses right at the start of our tour (luck of the day) and our guide was able to answer many of the questions posed by the group as to the herd's behavior. Loved the day and would highly recommend the tour for your first time to see the horses on Shackleford Banks!
Our guide , Mr. Charles Lewis, was so knowledgeable and friendly! He is a treasure! Loved Shackleford. It is a treasure of a natural resource.... just had a great day. You prepared us well and cost was appropriate. Of course, the wild horses were beautiful and healthy looking too.
It was very interesting and informative. We loved that we actually got to see some of the horses, other people said they didn't. Our guide, Charlie, was great, so knowledgeable. Out Ferry Captain and First Mate we're awesome and so much fun!
Charley (naturalist) was wonderful. Be warned. This walk is a lot of exercise. If you take a cooler or other beach stuff that doesn't go in a backpack, you will have to leave it alone on the beach because you can't carry it on the initial hike. We stayed on the island for 4.5 hours total. My athletic 15 year old got her own work out and we required 80 oz of water each. It was a great experience, but go prepared! Thanks Charley!
Our naturalist guide was wonderful, and he explained everything in great detail for us. He shared stories with us, and he pointed out things on the island that most people would not observe or be aware of. Additionally, he grabbed a few conch shells out of the shore for us. The shells were amazing, the ferry ride was fun, and the horses were breathtaking. I would do this again in a heartbeat.
We had best guides. Husband and wife team were so very help and so much fun . They made the trip
Our guides John and Elaine were knowledgeable and friendly. The horses were (amazingly) right near the ferry off loading site, so we were very fortunate and didn’t have to walk very far at all. Shelling was good, too. The regular ferry service makes it very convenient if you’d like to stay longer or leave a little earlier, which was great for our group.
It was awesome. We saw 9 horses got some great pictures and found some amazing seashells.
We had a great time. We learned a lot and saw so many horses. The shelling was amazing. We came home with some unbelievable shells. It was an all around great day. Next time I have visitors in town I think we will do the tour again!
The tour was amazing and better than exoected. The tour guide was erythromycin informative. I'll be coming back and recommending to friends and family.
Charlie is a GREAT guide. Interesting and personable.
We did see five horses. The cruise departure was 9am. There were others that left at 8:30am. I think this cruise should have left earlier because by the time we got there, there were not any good shells to find because they had already been picked over by earlier cruises. The horses had already retreated to the forest. Our guide was knowledgeable. The captain of the ferry gave interesting information. Our only complaint is that it should have been earlier so we could see more horses and so we could actually get shells.
We were a little disappointed in the "shelling". It wasn't much better than at the beach where we were staying.
Our guide Fran made our trip remarkable, he had a good knowledge of the island and the horses.
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!!