Wild horses roam the beaches of the outer Banks and also Crystal Coast. Take it a guided tourism to see them at Corolla and also Shackleford Banks.

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For 500 years, the many enduring – and endearing – citizens of the external Banks, the wild colonial Spanish Mustangs, have called this sliver that land between sound and sea home.

They’re feral equines descended from a herd carried here by explorers as beforehand as the 1520s, and also they"re recognized as the state horse of phibìc Carolina. Exactly how they acquired here is a bit of a mystery. It’s said that part swam ashore indigenous shipwrecks if others to be castoffs of failure settlements, left to grow on this untouched barrier islands for hundreds of years.

A wild equine at Shackleford financial institutions (photo: structure for Shackleford Horses)

Today, you’ll uncover the largest herds the feral steeds at the extreme ends the the outer Banks. Corolla, to the north, and Shackleford Banks, the southernmost of the barrier-island chain, have herds of about 100stallions, mares, and foals that contact their beaches and also dunes home. A smaller, an ext domesticated herd resides on Ocracoke Island.

Adventurous travellers can get a close-up watch of the horses by taking one of plenty of guided tours offered at both Corolla and Shackleford Banks. Remember, the horses are wild animalsand girlfriend should always maintain a safe street of 50 feet. And also while taking images of the steeds is encouraged, feeding them is not.


Wild equine Adventure Tours

The Corolla Wild Horse money (CWHF) has managed and also protected the herd and its habitat since 1989. Indigenous its office, the CWHF uses children’s programs on the early american Spanish horses, and also an interactive museum and also store. Members that the CWHF have the right to accompany the herd manager ~ above a ride-along because that a day of stunning photo opportunities and also insight into the herd indigenous someone who knows the herd intimately.

You can also rent a Jeep and also drive ~ above the beach into the Currituck national Wildlife Refuge on a self-guided tour. Or, instead, rely on competent off-road drivers and arrange a tourism through one of the outfitters in Corolla. Wild equine Adventure Tours uses two-hour family explorations into the love of the horse’s territory for groups of 2 to 14. Corolla Wild horse Tours also offers two-hour group tourswith knowledgeable guides.

Shackleford Banks

Rachel Carson make reservation on Carrot Island crystal Coast

The herd ~ above Shackleford banks lives ~ above the most southern island of the Outer banks in the Cape Lookout national Seashore. Due to the fact that the island is 3 miles offshore and only obtainable by private watercraft or passenger ferry, seeing these steeds really is one adventure. Self-guided tours and photography space a renowned option, and also the Cape Lookout national Seashore’s VisitorCenter on surrounding Harkers Island uses advice, tips and also safety reminders because that your pilgrimage to view the horses.

Guided tours, and also ferries to Shackleford Banks, are obtainable in Beaufort through Shackleford Wild equine & Shelling Safari. Tours are three hours, and also ferries go back to the mainland periodically during the afternoon, therefore you"re complimentary to invest the day experimenting the beach, photographing the horses or gathering several of the finest shells top top the Carolina coast. Nothing forget to carry your hat, sunlight block and plenty that water because that your pilgrimage to Shackleford Banks.

The foundation for Shackleford horses (FSH) is a nonprofit group dedicated to maintaining the horses and also their habitat as one of North Carolina’s environmental and cultural treasures. It funds herd monitoring plans, genes research, health studies and also more. V its solo efforts and also work with various other conservation groups and the national Park Service, FSH is ensuring a safe and healthy future for the Shackleford banks wild horses.

Ocracoke Island

On Ocracoke Island, the herd is smaller sized in number, though larger in stature, thanks to constant feedings and veterinary care. The Ocracoke ponies, as they’re sometimes called, live in a 180-acre enclosure to protect them native N.C. Highway 12. Viewing platforms give visitors a glimpse into the paddocks and the everyday life of these horses, i m sorry is much removed from their wild cousins.

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Jason Frye

Jason Frye is the author of Moon north Carolina, Moon Blue Ridge Parkway roadway Trip and also Moon an excellent Smoky mountains National Park. The lives and also writes in Wilmington.