A remote, pristine island Shackleford Banks is marked by the scent of salt air mingling with the thrill of the unknown. Accessible only by a quick 15-minute ferry ride, Shackleford Banks is the site of one of the most enduring thrills in the Outer Banks – approximately 400 years old, to be exact!

On the OBX wild horses and shelling expedition, seasoned experts will lead you on a journey to track the wild horses of Shackleford Banks, descendants of those that “swam ashore” from shipwrecks nearly four centuries ago. Catching sight of these majestic OBX wild horses roaming free, as they have for centuries, is nothing short of breathtaking.

OBX wild horses on Shackleford Banks

Look, the OBX wild horses are looking for shells, too!

Shift gears and head to one of North Carolina’s premier shelling beaches. Here, against the backdrop of the iconic Cape Lookout Lighthouse, you’ll hunt for treasures like conchs, whelks, queen’s helmets and sand dollars. Each shell you find is a memento of this extraordinary adventure to keep!

The 1.5-hour Wild Horse & Shelling Safari encompasses up to two miles of walking over soft, deep sand dunes and potentially muddy marshes – you’ll want to pack normal attire for a day at the beach, with Crocs or water shoes working best for moving easily across the terrain. Other OBX wild horses adventure essentials include water, sunscreen, binoculars, snacks, and a container or bag for preserving the shells you discover!

Bounty of seashells on the Outer Banks

You're going to need a bigger suitcase to bring home your bounty of seashells!

Outfitter: Shackleford Banks Shelling & Wild Horse Expedition

Address: Island Express Ferry Ticket Booth, 600 Front St Beaufort NC 

Site: shacklefordwildhorseandshellingsafari.com 


Thrill-o-meter: 6

Rates: $34.95 (adult ages 12+), $25.95 (child ages 3-11), $33.95 (senior/active military), FREE (infants 2 & under)

Dates: 9 AM daily June-August; by request between Labor Day and Memorial Day

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