Shackleford Banks

Located at the southern-most barrier island in Cape Lookout National Seashore, Shackleford Banks is home to more than 100 wild horses. Although how the “Banker horses” arrived is still a mystery, legend has it that these horses are descendants of Spanish Mustangs that survived a shipwreck. Venture out by boat or passenger ferry to Shackleford Banks and enjoy the rare privilege of watching horses that live without the help of man. Appreciate the horses’ tenacity and watch their social behaviors. Respectfully stay far enough away to avoid disturbing the horses or endangering yourself, your children, or your pets. This picturesque and undeveloped barrier island shoreline is a popular destination for visitors. Monitored by National Park Service. Serviced by Island Express Ferry Service.

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
wild horse in the grass and the cape lookout lighthouse in the distance

Locals Recommend

“A day trip to Shackleford Banks is perfect for shelling, the beach and watching wild horses in their natural habitat.”

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.