Wild Horses in Outer Banks: Can you see them?

29 March 2024 | Published By: Hotels OBX

The Outer Banks of North Carolina, also shortened to OBX, are celebrated not only for their pristine beaches and historical lighthouses but also for being the home of majestic wild horses. These beautiful creatures are an integral part of the OBX's natural heritage. In this post, we will discuss where and when you can marvel at these equine wonders and how to do so respectfully.

Where to See Wild Horses in Outer Banks

The appeal of watching wild horses roam free adds an extraordinary touch to any Outer Banks visit. The OBX wild horses are also known as Bankers. Here are the prime spots where you can witness these enchanting animals in their natural surroundings:
  • Corolla: Perhaps no place is as synonymous with wild horses on the Outer Banks as Corolla. These fabled Spanish Mustangs roam the beaches, allowing you a window into their untamed world. The Corolla Wild Horse Fund helps to protect, conserve, and responsibly manage the herd of Corolla wild Horses.

  • Shackleford Banks: Not far away, Shackleford Banks, part of the Cape Lookout National Seashore, hosts another herd. This remote haven is accessible only by ferry but worth every minute of the voyage for the chance to glimpse these majestic beings.

  • Ocracoke Island: The horses on Ocracoke, though not free-roaming like the Corolla herd, are safeguarded in pastureland established for public enjoyment and education.

Can You See the OBX Wild Horses for Free?

Yes, seeing the OBX wild horses is possible without spending a dime. Public beach areas offer views of the horses in Corolla, and if you have a 4WD vehicle, you could venture out to find them on your own. However, remember that certified tours, which require a fee, offer a knowledgeable guide and a responsible way to encounter these splendid wild horses in North Carolina.

Best Time to See the Horses

Early morning or late afternoon are often the best times to see wild horses of the Outer Banks. During these cooler parts of the day, the horses are more likely to be active, grazing or playing along the shores and dunes. Summer months, while popular for tourists, can also be a great time to see the OBX wild horses, though it's important to maintain a respectful distance so as not to disturb their natural behaviors.

While the horses linger in the Outer Banks year-round, early morning or late evening, when the sun is less intense, are ideal times for horse spotting. Not only is the lighting better for photography, but it's when the OBX wild horses are most active. In addition, spring and fall shoulder seasons offer mild temperatures for humans and horses, which could lead to more frequent sightings.

Tips for a Safe and Respectful Visit

Respect and caution are paramount when observing the OBX wild horses:
  • Maintain at least a 50-foot distance to ensure their comfort and your safety.
  • Never feed the horses—it disrupts their natural foraging habits and can be harmful to their health.
  • Avoid sudden movements and loud noises to keep the environment tranquil.
  • Follow guidelines set by wildlife organizations to ensure these magnificent animals flourish for generations.

Supporting Conservation Efforts

While enjoying the beauty and majesty of the OBX wild horses, consider supporting the conservation efforts dedicated to their protection and well-being. Many organizations involved in their preservation rely on donations, volunteer work, and advocacy to continue their mission. Participating in beach clean-ups, advocating for protective legislation, or simply spreading awareness about the horses’ plight can make a significant difference. By contributing in any way possible, you help ensure that future generations can also experience the awe-inspiring sight of these wild horses in their natural habitat.

Personal Anecdote

During my visits, the moments spent observing OBX wild horses have always been profound. Watching them at dawn in Corolla or spotting them from afar on Ocracoke Island serves as a reminder of the wild beauty that still exists in our world.

Book your Stay at OBX Hotels

To make the most of your adventure in the Outer Banks and ensure comfortable, hassle-free accommodations, consider booking your stay at Comfort Inn on the Ocean or Comfort Inn South Oceanfront. Our properties offer a perfect base from which to explore. Enjoy the serene beauty of the coast by day and unwind in the comfort of our facilities by night. We help to ensure your visit is as memorable as the majestic OBX wild horses you've come to see. Visit our website to check availability, make your reservation today, and take the first step toward an unforgettable encounter with nature. The OBX wild horses are a sight to be treasured. This unique experience is a natural beauty you will never forget. For animal lovers, family travelers, nature enthusiasts, and anyone planning an OBX vacation, witnessing the OBX wild horses is a must. When you're ready to plan your expedition to see the wild horses of North Carolina's Outer Banks, book your stay with our OBX hotels for a comfortable retreat after your day's adventure. Whether trotting through the dunes or wading in the surf, the memories you make here will gallop beside you for years to come.  Contact us. at  252-441-6333 or 252-441-6315.

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