A Unique Safari of Wild Horses & Shelling
Take a 15-minute ferry ride over to the pristine Outer Banks Island of Shackleford Banks, which is part of the Cape Lookout National Seashore. There, you are introduced to the wild horses of Shackleford Banks. This free-roaming herd is believed to have descended from horses that were brought here roughly 400 years ago, and still survives as one of the last isolated groups of wild horses in the United States.
You help your guide track the horses and see first-hand the fascinating behavior of horses in the wild, a rare experience with nature that you’ll never forget. Bring your camera for pictures that will forever remind you of this amazing place and its fascinating inhabitants.
After the tour, you are directed to one of the best shelling beaches in all of North Carolina, where you can spend some time shelling your way down the beach with Cape Lookout Lighthouse off in the distance. Shackleford is well known as one of the best shelling destinations on the East Coast. Among other things, you can find conchs, whelks, queen’s helmets, scotch bonnets, olive shells, sand dollars, and more.
Shackleford Wild Horse and Shelling Safari has been licensed by the U.S. Park Service for nearly a decade and a half to conduct tours on the island, and our experience shows!
- Important Information
The Wild Horse & Shelling Safari is a guided tour that takes place on a wild yet beautiful island. There are no sidewalks or boardwalks on the island, and the tour is of a strenuous nature. You will walk up to two miles over soft, deep sand, up and over sand dunes and through potentially muddy salt marshes, hiking into the interior of an uninhabited, undeveloped island.
If you have any trouble walking, or have any pre-existing conditions that affect your health in a way that would make it difficult for you to handle the terrain and physical demands described above, or if it would be dangerous for you to be far away from the possibility of emergency medical attention, then this tour is not recommended for you.
Please be sure that all the members of your group are aware of the warning above, and the members of your group are not placed in danger by overestimating or overstating the abilities of the members of your group.
- Details & Policies FAQ
All ferry boats are fully U.S. Coast Guard inspected and carry all the latest required safety gear.
What do we need to wear?
You should wear what you would normally wear for a day at the beach. Many people like to wear their bathing suit so that they are able to swim if they choose. You will want to wear shoes that you don’t mind getting sandy or wet. We find that the best choices are sandals with a heel strap, Crocs, water shoes, or the equivalent. You probably don’t want to wear sneakers and socks, or any type of shoe with a heel. A hat is a good idea, as there is very little shade on the island.
What do we need to bring?
You are welcome to bring as much or as little as you like with the captain’s discretion. Since you are able to spend additional time on the island after the tour, you are welcome to bring coolers, beach chairs, umbrellas, beach bags, fishing rods, etc.
Many folks like to bring a picnic lunch and stay on the island for an extra hour or two after the tour to have lunch, spend more time looking for shells, go swimming, go fishing, or whatever else. Shackleford is a great place to spend the day relaxing and soaking up the sun. You should definitely bring some water. Other things to consider bringing: sunscreen, camera, binoculars, and snacks.
What’s on the island?
It’s important that you know there are no concessions of any kind on the island, so you will need to bring whatever you need to be comfortable with you.
How long will we be on the island?
The minimum amount of time you will be on the island is two hours. You schedule your pickup time when you check in for the tour, and you are welcome to choose from any available pickup time throughout the day.
- Reservation Details
Reservations are always necessary. Please reserve your tour by booking online or giving us a call.
We operate on a daily schedule. Tours are generally available during the months of June, July, and August. However, this tour will operate year-round as long as we can reach a minimum number of guests. During the months between Labor Day and Memorial Day, please call to make arrangements.
Please be sure that you’re following these directions:
- Meet your guide before boarding the ferry
- Do not purchase separate ferry tickets, as these are included as part of your wild horse and shelling safari
- Cancellation Policy
In order to receive a refund, you must cancel 48 hours before the tour. This is so we have a chance to fill your spots. If you don’t cancel 48 hours before the tour, there will be no refunds available.