How to See the Corolla, NC Wild Horses (For Free & For A Fee)

Wild Horse Corolla North Carolina Outer Banks

No question about it, one of the most popular attractions on the Outer Banks is the wild horses of Corolla, North Carolina. Descendants of the original colonial Spanish Mustangs, these fantastic animals running free on the northern OBX beaches have captivated us for decades.

If you’ve never seen these majestic beauties, you’re missing out!

Sure, you may have climbed to the top of Cape Hatteras Lighthouse or tried your hand at riding waves during a surfing lesson. You may have even spent an afternoon learning about the two brothers from Dayton, OH, who came to the Outer Banks at the turn of the last century and changed the world forever with their flying machines.

You may have done these fantastic OBX activities, but have you ever watched a Corolla wild horse jog along the beach? It’s something you have to witness at least once!

If you’d like to see the Corolla wild horses, you have two options:

  1. You can book a wild horse tour with a company like Corolla Outback Adventures
  2. Or you can embark on your own, self-guided journey on the 4×4 beaches of Carova on a quest to find the wild horses!

Seeing the horses isn’t a guarantee with either method, but you will likely spot at least one. The bright side is that even if you don’t see a wild horse, you’ll still be able to enjoy Corolla’s incredible natural beauty and diverse wildlife during your adventure!

Free Self-Guided Corolla Wild Horse Tour

Let’s start by mentioning that you will need a four-wheel-drive vehicle. And before you ask, NO, do not attempt to drive your car, minivan, or any other vehicle that doesn’t specifically have an option for a four-wheel drive on the beach.

Each year, someone takes a photo of a vacationer who attempted to drive on the soft packed sand in Corolla or Hatteras Island in a minivan and ended up getting stuck… Don’t be that guy or girl!

Okay, so drive your four-wheel-drive vehicle to Corolla and keep heading north on NC 12 (past Currituck Beach Lighthouse and the Whalehead) until you come to a point where there is no more paved road. Then, let some air out of your tires to help with traction, head out onto the beach and continue heading north.

Some say that you’ll need to drive at least six miles before you see the horses – others have spotted them within a few hundred feet from where the paved road ends. So keep heading north until you’ve seen enough horses or until there is no more beach to drive on!

Here is an image from Google Maps… You’ll see that the paved road ends right here, and if you want to continue north, you have to drive on the beach.


In addition to the 4×4 area, the Corolla wild horses are regularly spotted in the backyards of homes that are located in subdivisions before the spot where the road ends as well.

Instead of driving aimlessly through the many cul-de-sacs of Corolla in search of the horses, go on the beach instead or reserve a Corolla wild horse tour with a reputable local company (see below).

Guided Corolla Wild Horse Tours

Ponying up the money for a guided Corolla wild horse tour may be the best option for those that are either unfamiliar with the area, not comfortable driving on the beach (or don’t own a four-wheel-drive vehicle) or would like a hassle-free option that requires you to only show up and enjoy the ride.

Many different companies offer guided Corolla wild horse tours, all of which you’re sure to have a memorable experience.

For the most part, when you book a guided Corolla wild horse, expect that you’ll be riding in an open-air, safari-style vehicle that has seating for about 14 patrons. The guides are usually very entertaining and ensure that you have the best possible chance of seeing a wild horse.

Unlike Outer Banks dolphin tours with a company like Kitty Hawk Kites, there is no 99% guarantee that you’ll spot one of these wild Spanish Mustangs. (However, there is an excellent chance!)

Corolla wild horse tours cost about $50 for adults and $25 for children. Many companies offer discounts if you are willing to go on a Saturday, Sunday or Monday. Most companies that offer this service do not do so year-round, in fact, many will close up shop for the season sometime in early to mid-October and then reopen in the spring, sometime around May.

Book your tour online in minutes.

Please keep in mind! (This is important!)

Feeding or coming within 50 feet of a Corolla wild horse is 100% illegal and dangerous for both you and the horse.

The Currituck County Police Department will not hesitate to issue you a ticket if you break this law! There are numerous photos of people petting one of the horses on Facebook and Instagram each summer. Just don’t do it!

Oh, and don’t forget to bring a camera! Pictures of the Corolla wild horses look great in family vacation photo albums! (They also look great on your personal Facebook page wall.)

This video from Wild Horse Adventure Tours will give you an idea of what to expect during a guided wild horse tour.


Best of luck on your adventure!


  • I enjoyed the video, very informative. May I get a suggestion as to the best place to stay for 2 people to be able to view the horses nearby. I only have a 3 day stay. Thank you. November 23-26

    Karina Miller Huff
  • So I finally went and decided that I was going to pet and ride the horses. Even after giving my whole life story in my previous comment, I figured I knew best. I did not. After petting a wild mustang, it kicked ne in my teeth. Upon coming home and telling the story, I was kicked out of my fowl rehab program. Don’t be like me, Sue, don’t pet the horses.

    Sue Dunay
  • Hi, I just planned a surprise trip to NC for my husband and will be in Corolla 12/3 and 12/4 just to see the horses. One co. I called said to book online and another said they are only seasonal. Now, I am panicking! Could you please help me make this happen by recommending a co that is reliable, and open or a location where we can rent a 4/W drive vehicle for a day? I can try and change our rental to a 4/w drive as well. Any information you can give me is very much appreciated. Thank you in advance, Suzanne.

  • Thank u so much, this is helpful and informative.

  • Thank you for a beautiful video. I live in Ohio and had domestic horses most of my life. I then started going to AZ in winter and a year plus of training from a wonderful trainer to learn all about wild horses and I then eventually was accepted into the rescue center taking care of our foals. Making milk everyday watching them working with them the amount this group decided to only do. They keep them as wild as possible for now. So I just do what they are doing for the one man who has been working with wild horses all over the world taught me so much, boy did I get a kick in thinking oh I know so much since I’ve raised domestic for years. I also finished a course with Janes and Shelly in UK on the trust technique which helped me in all my wild and domestic animals. I had received years ago my license on wildlife rehabilitation. I took through our local college. It was fun and I learned so much and saved many animals from local neighbors and released the bird to smaller mammals. I had one on one training with a vet on their work blood testing and diagnosing for some hours on domestic mainly dogs. Dogs, I’m an AKC CGC trainer evaluator for years. I do it free to be bonded and insured on all I do. My dog work seems mainly lately on stress release for so many that expect a dog to just not be stressed in a new setting. :)
    I hope to visit your area soon I was thinking of renting a cottage on the beach. I’d love to visit your center soon in the future it’s beautiful and I really pray someday the small group will change their ways and start doing rehab and adoption in AZ..Sadly it’s so different in ownership and who can afford it in AZ.. I plan on visiting your wild mustang I hope I can find a cabin like my niece did where she awoke with her coffee watching the horses walk right by her as taught by me she respected them, and they of course felt safe to continue slowly on as dawn came to their next destiny of breakfast along fences of homes she said. Again Thank you for your video it’s very informative and I pray AZ and other places pass laws of no feeding the horses 50 feet distance and quit taking land away from them. God Bless & Stay Safe and Well

    Sue Dunay

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