North Carolina's Wild Horses

Beaufort's Wild Horses of the Rachel Carson Reserve (cont'd.)

     The reserve is part of the N.C. Coastal Reserve and National Estuarine Research Reserve. Two areas within the reserve - Middle Marshes and Horse Island - are protected nesting sites and are off limits to visitors. That in no way limits the diversity of wildlife that can be seen here, nor does it affect the opportunities to view the horses.
     The horses seem very tolerant of visitors, so long as you keep your distance. It's easy to spend hours observing their daily activities, since they carry on with their natural behaviors, even when being watched. It's quite a sight to see the herd galloping across the tidal flats, with water splashing and manes flying. It's not even unusual to catch the stallions sparring, or even outright fighting. Two or three hours of quiet observation can provide visitors with some interesting sights and photographic opportunities. For the serious photographer, reading this article will provide some helpful information about what to expect, and advice on choosing gear, clothing and footwear.
     Viewing wild horses from water level in a kayak at Rachel Carson Reserve is an experience not easily found anywhere else. It's a unique perspective that can provide photographic opportunities for some real conversation pieces. With or without photos, the experience alone is worth the effort.
     From a kayak, it's possible to gain close approaches to birds not so easily achieved by other means, and certainly not with the perspective and views available on such an expansive tidal marsh.
     For the serious nature photographer, the reserve certainly provides some worthwhile opportunities. A few hours spent here will surely bring multiple scenarios for great photos, whether for the amateur or professional. Don't leave your camera behind. You will want to take advantage of all the opportunities the reserve has to offer.

     There is one more important thing to keep in mind - your safety, and the safety of the wild horses. There are rules to follow which are not only good advice, they are the official regulations. Get the right information straight from the "horses mouth" by reading this important FAQ.

How Do I Get There and See the Beaufort/Rachel Carson Reserve Horses?

Resources about the Rachel Carson Reserve:

  • Reserve information brochure and map- PDF
  • article on the reserve

  • Official Information FAQs:
  • Safety Rules and Regulations
  • Town of Beaufort Feral Horses Ordinance
  • All The Cool Facts about the Wild Horses

  • 12All images are copyrighted and may not be copied or used for any purpose.