Rachel Carson Reserve

The Rachel Carson Reserve, part of the Carolina Estuarine Reserve Foundation, 
 is located near the mouth of the Newport River in southern Carteret County, directly across Taylor's Creek from the historic town of Beaufort. 

The site is a complex of islands and marshes: Town Marsh, Bird Shoal, Carrot Island, Horse Island and Middle Marshes. The islands are more than three miles long and less than a mile wide, covering 2,315 acres.

Town Marsh, the island across from downtown Beaufort, 
has a marked self-guided trail.

The Rachel Carson Reserve is open to the public for enjoyment. Fishing, boating, sailing and kayaking are all common activities on and around the site. Town Marsh, Carrot Island and Bird Shoal receive the most use because of their easy access by boat or kayak.

Image may contain: sky, outdoor, nature and waterVisiting the "Carrot Island Boardwalk" on the east end of Front Street, (across Taylor's Creek from the boat ramp on Lennoxville Road) is a great way to learn about the estuarine environment and the plants and animals found at the reserve. Interpretive signs provide a self-guided tour. The platform at the end of the boardwalk is a great place for birding and view Cape Lookout Lighthouse.

Cape Lookout National Seashore and the Rachel Carson Reserve are both home to wild horses. 

The horses do not swim back and forth between Shackelford Banks and RCR, but they do swim between marsh islands on their respective reserves.

If you get too close to a wild horse, you could be charged, kicked or bitten. 

Watch from at least 50 feet. If horses come toward you, move away or, if you can't, stay very still while they pass. Horses have the right-of-way. If a horse stops what it's doing to stare at you, stop or back up.

The wild horses are protected by law.

Feeding, touching, teasing or intentionally disturbing wildlife, including horses, is dangerous and illegal.  

The best way to enjoy observing the wild horses is to use binoculars and watch them from afar.   

The reserve is not a place for trash.  When visiting, please take your litter with you when you leave.  

Unleashed dogs are also a constant problem on the reserve. Dogs tend to chase colonial nesting birds - disrupting feeding, breeding and nesting.

Rachel Carson Photo Album
86 Images with Informational Captions