The Complete Guide to Horseback Riding in the Outer Banks

The Outer Banks of North Carolina feel much like the wild west. This stretch of barrier islands offers more than 100 miles of open shoreline with charming towns and historic fishing piers scattered throughout. With so many amazing vacation rentals to choose from, small towns to explore, and delicious restaurants to try, it’s no wonder why so many people flock to these shores every year.

Those who frequent the outer banks know one of the best ways to explore the coastline is via horseback. Horseback riding in the Outer Banks is unlike anywhere else in the world.

Riders canter amongst some of the country’s most beautiful natural scenery and historic beachfront homes, piers, and more. Wildlife sightings are common and may include spotting anything from rare birds and sea turtles to the Outer Banks’ famous wild horses.

This guide to horseback riding Outer Banks will help you choose the best riding experience for yourself and your travel partners.

What to Know Before You Go

While maybe you’ve heard about the wild horses that roam the Outer Banks, you can rest assured, we’re not suggesting you ride those! These all are domesticated horses that have been trained for tranquil rides down the shore and through other beautiful, undeveloped scenery.

All horseback riding and equestrian adventure companies in the Outer Banks have varying age requirements, weight limits, and tour options. Weight limits are usually around 200 to 225 pounds, but some companies offer rides for larger individuals.

Riding experience is not necessary to enjoy a horseback riding tour. Expert guides match riders to their horses based on comfort levels and riding experience. Riders undergo a short lesson before hitting the trails or sand.

Cedar Island Stables

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Cedar Island Stables offers some of the best horseback riding excursions on the Outer Banks. The company encourages visitors to take a sunrise or sunset tour to admire the ocean, the Pamlico Sound, and beaches with hardly another person in sight.

Cedar Island Stables’ classic 90-minute ride takes riders beach trail riding, on water crossings, through the maritime forest, and in search of the famed Outer Banks Wild Spanish Horses. Other wildlife sightings may include stingrays, seabirds, sea otters, and dolphins. Private and group rides are available.

Phone: (252) 515-9441

Location: 3557 Cedar Island Rd, Cedar Island, NC 28520

Charlie Horse Stables

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Charlie Horse Stables is on beautiful Ocracoke Island, one of the most undeveloped islands along the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. These horseback riding adventures take visitors cantering along the water’s edge in search of seals, dolphins, and more.

Rides are offered between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. and 5 p.m and 6 p.m. to ensure the temperature is comfortable for the horses and riders.

Phone: (703) 650-8007

Location: 1078 Irvin Garrish Hwy, Ocracoke Island, NC 27960

Equine Adventures

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Equine Adventures on Hatteras Island offers horseback riding tours fit for any bucket list. The expert guides take riders through Frisco’s maritime forest and provide their knowledge of the Outer Banks and its most historic landmarks, including the iconic Cape Hatteras Lighthouse sitting in the distance.

Rides are tailored to the rider’s comfort level, ranging from a stroll along the shoreline to trotting swiftly along the tide line. Equine Adventures is one of few local companies to offer fast-paced riding for experienced riders.

Beach rides are roughly two hours long, and the company enforces a weight limit of 200 pounds. Riders must be at least 10-years-old to join. Equine Adventures is in Frisco, just north of Buxton and south of Avon.

Phone: (252) 995-4897

Location: 52193 Piney Ridge Rd, Frisco, NC 27936

Hatteras Island Horseback

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The expert guides at Hatteras Island Horseback are professionals creating unforgettable horseback riding experiences on the Outer Banks. This company offers riding adventures for kids and adults and special family packages to ensure your whole crew can adventure together for an affordable price.

Hatteras Island Horseback tours are 100 percent on the beach along the pristine Cape Hatteras National Seashore. On clear days, riders can see the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse to the north, the Pamlico Sound to the west, and Ocracoke Island to the south. Of course, the massive expanse of the Atlantic Ocean is to the east as well. Hatteras Island HorseBack is the only company to offer all of these views on a single tour.

Phone: (252) 216-9191

Location: 59200 Museum Dr, Hatteras, NC 27943

Lighthouse Horse Rides

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Family-friendly Hatteras Island horseback riding awaits with horse tours from Lighthouse Horse Rides. This company aims at family rides and never groups separate families or groups together. Lighthouse Horse Rides even offers special horses for children as young as 3-years-old, led with a lead rope. Two horse, three horse, and four-horse rides are available.

Phone: (252) 296-2929

Location: 47371 Buxton Back Rd, Buxton, NC 27920

Virginia Beach and Outer Banks Horseback (OBX Horseback)

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Outer Banks Horseback Riding is located in the larger city of Nags Head, north of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore and south of Kill Devil Hills. The same company offers horseback riding adventures in Virginia Beach. The horses are gentle, and guides take riders on an unforgettable ride along the Outer Banks shoreline. They’ll even take riders into the water on their horses if desired.

Outer Banks Horseback, also known as OBX Horseback, offers tours for all levels of riders. A professional photographer is available for anyone seeking engagement photos, family portraits, or expert photographs to remember the ultimate OBX vacation experience.

Phone: (252) 573-8044

Location: Bodie Island LightHouse Rd. & NC-12, Nags Head, NC 27959

Your Outer Banks Vacation

Beach horseback riding may be what makes your next Outer Banks getaway the best one yet. Those who have never visited the Outer Banks will love the abundance of charming places to stay and things to do. In addition to horseback riding, visitors can venture on fishing charters, kayak adventures in the Pamlico Sound, kiteboarding excursions, and more. There’s something for everyone in the Outer Banks, and that’s what makes this stretch of land sitting 30 miles out to sea so inviting.

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