We did the Shackleford Island Horse and Shelling Safari Tour. Checking in at the boat slip is very quick and easy. All of the staff are helpful and nice. The boat ride to and from Shackleford Island is pleasant and takes about 10-15 minutes. They drop you off at the ferry drop off on the inter-coastal waterway side where your guide will meet you. There is a place there where you can leave your stuff while you follow the guide in search of the horses. It is not a place that is locked but most people leave there stuff there and ours was fine and not tampered with when we got back to it. I would recommend taking beach chairs and an umbrella if you plan on spending time on the beach after the tour. When you check in they will ask you what time you want to catch the ferry back which is 20 after the hour each hour beginning at 11:20. You can stay as long as you want. The hike for the horses is on the beach, in and out of water, and across sand dunes. I would suggest wearing something like crocs that can get wet and are good on dry land. I would pack some flip-flops or sandals for afterward. Take plenty of sunscreen and water. The tour advertises 1-1 1/4 miles but our tour was between 3 and 4 miles long. We had a small group so we went a little farther. We saw 4 different herds of horses and were able to get great pictures and get very close. After that you will make your way to the Atlantic Ocean side to look for shells. The guide will give you a shell bag which is just a plastic bag so i you want to get lots of shells take a small backpack like a cinch sac. There are lots of large shells on the beach. To get the conch's and other rare shells you have to look in the water right around the sandbar which is very shallow. As you shell you make your way to your stuff and can swim, sunbathe, picnic or whatever you like until time for your ferry back to Beaufort. There are no buildings at all on the island. There are no bathrooms either. If you are staying a while I would recommend bringing a cooler and some snacks. There is nowhere on the island to spend money and the only cash you need would be if you would like to tip the captains and the tour guide. This Island is gorgeous and the Ocean side has beautiful teal water!! It is definitely worth the money. Don't forget the camera.
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