Explore Bulls Island

Rate this Adventure South Carolina Bull Island Ferry

Added by Seth Berry

Ranked as one of "The 30 Best Trips of 2015" by Outside Magazine in 2015, a trip to the uninhabited Bulls Island is for wildlife and for you!

Bulls Island is located just 20 miles away from America's #1 small city - Charleston, South Carolina. However, Bulls Island isn't just for anyone, but those who want the chance to get away to an uninhabited island and a Class 1 Wilderness Area. The rewards include numerous kinds of wildlife, a long stretch of undeveloped shoreline including a boneyard beach, and exceptional naturalist-guided tours. It's a photographer's and naturalist's playground.

The best way to explore the island is to plan a ferry ride or kayaking tour with Coastal Expeditions (www.bullsislandferry.com). The ferry ride ranges from $40 with two departure times throughout the day. To maximize your time on the island, it's best to depart with them at 9 a.m. and catch the return ferry at 3 p.m. This will give you a full day of exploring the over 16 miles of maintained trails on the 5000-acre island.

The ferry ride is a informative 30 minute ride on a passenger ferry boats with a crew who share their knowledge and passion about the refuge and the estuary creeks to the island. It's a top-notch operated organization who share very interesting information.

Once you reach the island, you're given a map of the island with trails and key attraction locations and are free to roam around the island! My favorite course of action is to first head through the inland trails toward the infamous "Alligator Alley" (Be sure to bring bug spray and clothes that protect you from mosquitoes and flies). You can also go to a observation tower to do birding and look at wildlife high above the marshland. However, when taking the turn down Alligator Alley, be on the look out. It's called that for a reason as you are now entering alligator territory. Be prepared to see numerous alligators either in the marshy waters, basking in the sun, or even crossing the road path ahead of you! Also remember the alligators won't mess with you if you don't mess with them, so be mindful. Use caution when taking photos or observing these wonderful creatures.

After Alligator Alley, I go straight toward the jewel of the island - Boneyard Beach, located at the north end of the island. It's name comes from an abandoned forest of old growth trees along the battered beaches. Photographers can have a field day with the many amazing photo opportunities. Pictures somewhat give it justice, but you just have to see it for yourself! While exploring the Boneyard Beach, continue making your way down the uninhabited beach line towards the trail that leads back to the ferry dock. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to return so you're not left behind!

The beach is a perfect area to enjoy a picnic and even take a swim in this pristine South Carolina beach water. Bulls Island has plenty for you to do in a day. Actually, you need to take several trips to be able to see it all! Be sure to check out Coastal Expedition's website www.bullsislandferry.com to find out more ways to explore the island that meet your desires.

Pack List

  • Fee for the ferry ride
  • Insect Repellent
  • Sunscreen
  • Bottles of water
  • Backpack/Daypack
  • Food/Snacks/Picnic
  • Bathing Suit
  • Hiking shoes or comfortable walking shoes
  • Camera
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Clothes to cover arms and legs if needed
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More



Chillin, Hiking, Photography, Swimming

Skill Level:



Year Round

Trail Type:



8 Miles


Family Friendly
Picnic Area

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Added by Seth Berry

A nature and travel photographer from South Carolina. Exploring the great outdoors, capturing stunning and breathtaking photos, and inspiring people through photography is my passion. View my work at www.SethBerryPhotography.com

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