A Day You'll Never Forget

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If you're reading this, you've probably
never visited Bulls Island.

You haven't been on the ferry for the ecotour that takes you through the breathtaking estuary.  Or taken that first step onto the island, map in hand, quietly anticipating the start of your adventure.  You've never walked down Alligator Alley or soaked up the beauty of Boneyard Beach or sat still at the viewing platform to witness Black Skimmers feeding.

It's time to go.



The Bulls Island Ferry
The adventure  begins as you board one of our four passenger ferry boats. As we navigate through the fields of Spartina that edge the estuary creeks to the island, the captain and mate share their knowledge and passion about the refuge, the wildlife and it's history.

The ecotour to the island takes about 30 minutes, and it is not uncommon for us to see loggerhead sea turtles, pods of gregarious bottlenose dolphins, bald eagles and some of the 293 bird species that live in Cape Romain. While on board, you'll be able to move around to take in the pristine views and examine the natural specimens (like an alligator skull and loggerhead sea turtle ribs) on the "touch table".



Exploring Bulls Island
Once on the island, you'll be on your own to explore the 16 miles of trails and seven miles of sandy beach. Guests should be prepared with sunscreen, bottled water, insect repellent, good walking shoes (not sandals), and snacks to ensure a comfortable day.

A short walk from the ferry you will find bathroom facilities, picnic area, and storm shelter.  From there, you can decide to walk straight to the beach, meander down Turkey Walk Trail or head over to the freshwater impoundments of the island's interior.

The well-tended roads and trails and large expanse of pristine beach make Bulls Island perfect for exploration by foot or bike.  Because there are no cars on the island, you can quietly approach a covey of ducks on Jacks Creek or alligators basking in the sun.  Bring your binoculars and a birding book to take full advantage of the observatory platforms on the island.



The jewel of the island is the magnificent Boneyard Beach.  Located at the north end of the island, Boneyard Beach is a forest stranded in the surf.  This majestic area is reason enough to go to Bulls Island and many visitors go directly to the beach to witness this beautiful sight.  If you are planning to enjoy Boneyard Beach, we recommend that you spend a full day on Bulls Island.


The Boneyard is the perfect spot for a picnic lunch as you watch the waves roll over sun-bleached oaks. This three-mile stretch of beach at the northeast corner is the result of the surf that is steadily moving sand away from this end of the island.  The hundreds of oaks, cedars and pines that are left behind are weathered by the salt and sun to create a skeletonized forest in the sand.

It's hard to believe it until you see it.




"Coastal Expeditions' knowledge of barrier islands is unmatched."
-Southern Living


Couldn't be happier with the day we had -- from VERY organized ferry boarding, to outstanding talk on the way by tour guide that was fascinating and not the typical silly, over-the-top clowning kind -- both kids and adults were riveted. Excellent maps and directions to get around the island (and 'gator how-to's!) and an equally wonderful trip back....

-2015 TripAdvisor Review








Since 1994, Coastal Expeditions has proudly served as the concession for Group Services within Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge, in partnership with US Fish & Wildlife Service.  The 66,000 acres of Cape Romain are managed for the protection of endangered species, including wood storks and loggerhead sea turtles, and we feel fortunate to be active stewards and educators in this wildlife refuge.





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CURRENT SCHEDULE
March 1-November 30
Tuesday • Thursday • Friday  Saturday
Departs 9 a.m. & 12:30 p.m.
Returns Noon & 4 p.m.

*If you take the morning boat, you may leave at noon or stay until 4; there is no extra charge to stay the full day

WINTER SCHEDULE
December 1- February 28
Saturdays Only

Departs 10 a.m.
Returns 3 p.m.


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Reservations are highly recommended.


WHAT IF THE FERRY IS SOLD OUT FOR THE DATE/TIME THAT I WANT TO GO?
Call or email the office and let them know that you would like to go that day.  If it is possible, we will add another run to the island.

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Price:

$40 Adults
$20 12 & under

Families of 5 or more:
1 child at no charge


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Departure Point:
Garris Landing in Awendaw, SC
Directions

Note:  Ferry departs Garris Landing and Bulls Island Landing promptly at scheduled times.  Please allow yourself time to walk to the end of the pier by arriving at least 15-30 minutes before scheduled departures.
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What to Wear:
Bulls Island is a 5,000-acre remote barrier island, so dress for hiking.  Dress in layers and wear a hat for sun protection.  Once you get to the beach, you can ditch your shoes and dip your toes in the Atlantic, but you'll want closed-toe walking shoes while you are hiking the roads and trails of the island.
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What to Bring:
Small backpack to carry drinking water, lunch and a few necessities.  Insect repellant and sunblock are recommended during warmer months.  Binoculars, a birding book and a camera are also suggested.

Sunblock, insect repellant and bottled water are available for purchase on the ferry.
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Activity Level: Following a 30-minute eco tour to the island, participants explore the island by foot; There are 16 miles of trails and over 7 miles of beaches.  Your guides can help you plan a route that fits your expections and time on the island.

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Activities Include:
  • On-board Naturalist-led Eco Tour
  • Dolphin Spotting
  • Hiking
  • Shelling
  • Birding
  • Photography
  • Beach Combing
  • Human and Natural History

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Read About Your Guides

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Bicycles:

Bicycles are a great way to explore the island, and are welcome on the ferry but you must have a reservation.  If you do not have a reservation for your bike, you may have to leave it behind.

Fat-tired bikes are recommended as they easier to navigate on island roads.   Look under the FAQ's for more information about bikes on the island.

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Read What Southern Living Thinks About Bulls Island


Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge
Don't Miss the Cape Romain NWR 
Bulls Bay Nature Festival!
Saturday, May 16