Rachel Carson Reserve

Located across Taylor’s Creek from Beaufort, diverse arrays of important coastal habitats are found at the site including: tidal flats, salt marshes, ocean beach, soft bottom, shell bottom, dredge spoil areas, sand dunes, shrub thicket, submerged aquatic vegetation, and maritime forest. The Rachel Carson Reserve is a complex of islands which includes Carrot Island, Town Marsh, Bird Shoal, and Horse Island. Horses were brought to the site by a local citizen in the 1940s and eventually became wild or “feral,” thus they are considered non-native inhabitants of the islands. Today, the Reserve is home to approximately 30 wild horses. More than 200 species of birds have been observed at the site. Monitored by the State of North Carolina. Serviced by Island Ferry Adventures.

Please respect our islands and wild horses. When enjoying the barrier islands, please be aware:

  • Carry your trash out of the park when visiting these remote beaches.
  • Keep your dog on a 6 ft. leash.
  • Stay 50 ft. away from the wild horses and do not feed them. They really are wild horses.
Drive Time
6 min.
To Ferry Departure
2.2 miles
Five brown horses standing in water and drinking

Locals Recommend

“With no facilities on Rachel Carson Reserve, visitors are encouraged to bring your trash back with you to keep the island pristine.”

Experience Beaufort North Carolina’s Attractions

Discover 300 years of Beaufort’s history and step back in time and experience some amazing local attractions during your stay.