Bulls Island FAQs

Where do we meet?

Garris Landing
498 Bulls Island Road
Awendaw, SC 29429

 

Can I go out on the 9am and come back on the 4pm?

Due to our current COVID-19 protocols we require that passengers take their designated return trip so that we can ensure proper social distancing on the boat at all times. 

 

What is your bad weather policy?

If the captain feels that it will be UNSAFE to run (ie. thunder, lightning, or high winds) Coastal Expeditions will cancel at no charge to you. If you decide not to go due to light rain or hot/cold weather you need to cancel 48 hours in advance to avoid being charged. 

 

What is the difference between the regular ferry service and the beach drop?

The Bulls Island Ferry runs every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday and drops you on the back end of the island at the dock. From the dock you can explore the 14 miles of interior hiking trails, or walk the 1.5 miles to the beach. 

The Bulls Island Beach Drop is a tidal-dependent trip that runs approximately twice a month. On this trip you are dropped on the north end of the island, directly on the beach. There are no bathrooms and no access to interior trails on this trip. 

 

How early should we arrive?

Please arrive to Garris Landing 30 minutes prior to departure. Once you arrive, park and walk all the way down to the end of the pier. 

 

What should we bring?

  • Watch the weather and dress for hiking; Long pants and long sleeves are recommended
  • Hiking boots or walking shoes (not flip-flops) and hat
  • Pack plenty of drinking water, lunch and snacks, insect repellent, and sunscreen
  • Other things you may want: towel, bathing suit, or binoculars

When do I pay?

You are required to hold your reservation with a credit card. THIS CARD WILL NOT BE CHARGED unless you cancel within the 48-hour cancellation policy. You will pay on the day of your trip as you get on the boat. 

 

What do I do when I get to Garris Landing?

Once you arrive, please park and walk all the way down to the end of the pier. Please wait at the gate (at the end of the pier) for the captain to come up from the boat. You will pay as you get on the boat. 

 

Is there a bathroom?

There are bathrooms located at Garris Landing and about a 10 minute walk from the dock on Bulls Island. There is no access to a bathroom on the Bulls Island Beach Drop tour. 

 

What is your cancellation policy? 

For most tours, we have a 48-hour cancellation policy.  All cancellations within 48-hour are subject to full payment and the card on file will be charged. 

 

Are reservations required? 

Yes. 

 

How far is the beach? What about the boneyard? 

The beach is a 1.5 mile walk from the dock. The boneyard is an additional 1.5 miles along the beach (total 3 mile walk from the dock to the boneyard). The boneyard is not accessible at high tide, so check your tide chart or give our office a call to check the best day to go! 

 

Can I bring my dog?

There are no dogs allowed on the ferry or in the refuge. 

 

What will I see?

SPRING – migrating shorebirds, alligators, dolphins

SUMMER – dolphins, black skimmers, sea turtles, wood storks

FALL – migrating shorebirds, alligators, dolphins

WINTER – birds of prey, ducks, oystercatchers, dolphins

 

What is there to do?

While you are on the 30 minute ferry ride to the island, the captain and naturalist on board will go over the map with you and give you options based on the time of year. Here are a few examples:

SPRING – Spring is a great time of year to get a mix of trails and beach. Hike Beach Road & Turkey Walk Trail 2.5 miles from the dock to the beach looking for alligators and birds in the freshwater ponds along the way. Once on the beach you could continue up to the Boneyard (1 mile one-way) or relax on the beach before looping back down Beach Road 1.5 miles to the dock.

SUMMER – The breeze and the ocean make the beach the best place to be in the summer months. The quickest way to the beach is 1.5 miles down Beach Road – passing through oak groves and freshwater ponds on the way. From there you can do some shelling to the South end of the island, or head North to see the boneyard (another mile one-way) before the 1.5 mile walk back to the dock.

FALL – Cooler temperatures allow more exploration of the interior trails. Combine Beach Road, Sheepshead Ridge Road, Alligator Alley, and Lighthouse Road to take the long way out to the Boneyard searching for alligators and birds along the way (3 miles). Hike back through the Boneyard, down the beach, and back down Beach Road to the dock (3 miles).

WINTER – Jack’s Creek is a must in the winter. Cool temperatures make the trek out there comfortable and keep the bugs at bay. Use Beach Road and Sheepshead Ridge Road to get out to the the observation tower – a great place to observe the thousands of wintering ducks, as well as alligators (2.5 miles). There are multiple ways to get back to the dock including beach and forest to avoid doubling back (3-5 miles back).

 

Is there anywhere to get food?

Bulls Island is completely undeveloped and you will need to pack everything you need for the day. If you’d like to stop for a sandwich before you head out we would recommend the Sewee Outpost

 

Can I bring my drone?

There are no drones allowed in the refuge. 

 

Are there kayaks on Bulls Island?

There are no kayak rentals on Bulls Island.  If you’d like to kayak to Bulls Island we recommend the Bulls Island Paddle + Hike.  It’s a fantastic tour that combines sea kayaking, hiking and a boat ride back from the island.

 

Is it going to be buggy?

Yes. The island is buggy year round and the mosquitos are at their peak in the summer months. Plan to bring insect repellent and wear long pants/long sleeves while hiking the interior trails. 

 

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@coastalexpeditions

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