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Frequently Asked Questions - Bulls Island Ferry
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Frequently Asked Questions


What Kind of Boat Will We be On?
The Bulls Island Ferry has four Coast Guard Certified vessels in its fleet: Caretta, a 49-passenger covered triple-toon; Yellowlegs, a 10-passenger Carolina Skiff;  Little Blue, an 10-passenger Carolina Skiff; and Skimmer, an 20-passenger Skiff.

When we have more than the smaller boats will hold, we use Caretta to go to the island.  In an effort to respect the environment, we utilize the smaller skiffs when only a few people are going to the island.

What Types of Payment Do You Accept?
We welcome cash, check and major credit cards.  In most cases, whether you have a reservation or are a walk-up, you will pay when you board the boat.

What is the Cancellation Policy?
If you miss your reservation and have not contacted us 24 hours before to cancel, your credit card will be charged.

For multi-day tours like the Bulls Island Overnight at the Dominick House, the cancellation policy is more specific because of the limited space and pre-planning that is required.  Please refer to the Bulls Island Overnight page for more information.

If Coastal Expeditions cancels the trip due to weather or some other reason, we will contact you and you will not be charged.  Coastal Expeditions retains the right to decide if the trip will be cancelled.  We will always try to give you as much notice as possible, but because of the ever changing coastal weather, we may make the call the day of the trip.

Forecasted rain does not necessarily mean that the trip will be cancelled, but high winds and electricity are cause for trip cancellation.  Safety for the captain, mate and participants are paramount.


How Long is the Boat Ride to the Island?
The actual time will depend on the weather and tides, but generally expect to be onboard for about 30 minutes.  During that time, you will be surrounded by the beauty of Cape Romain, and either your captain or naturalist mate will teach you about the history and wildlife of the refuge and prepare you for your day on the island.  The ecotour to and from the island is sure to be a highlight of your day!


What Should I Bring?
Pack a small backpack with just the essentials:  Drinking water, bagged lunch, sunscreen, insect repellent, camera and binoculars.

If you've forgotten something, you can purchase sunscreen, insect repellent and bottled water on-board the boat.  And for a great bagged lunch, stop in at the Sewee Outpost on your way in (at the corner of Highway 17 and Sewee Road) for sandwiches or a biscuit!

If you get to the boat and realize you did not pack water, sunscreen or insect repellent, we strongly recommend that you buy them on the boat.

Is There Potable Water on the Island?  Can I Purchase Food, Water or Souvenirs on the Island?
You will need to bring enough water for your adventure with you.  Please bring more than you think you'll need.  Before you depart the ferry, you can purchase bottled water, sunscreen and insect spray.

There is nothing for sale once you are on the island.  Bulls Island is within Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge and is managed for the protection of native fauna and their habitats.

What Should I Wear?
Dress like you are going hiking, not like you are going to the beach.  Bulls Island is a 5000-acre island with 16 miles of unpaved roads and trails.  We'll help you decide which route you'll want to take, but you'll be doing some walking to get there.  You'll want to protect yourself from sun and insects along they way!

We recommend closed-toe, comfortable walking shoes, hat, and synthetic clothing (long-sleeved shirt, long pants).

During colder months, dress in layers.  In the summer, you may want to wear a bathing suit under your clothes for a dip in the ocean!


Are there bathrooms or other facilities on the island?
Yes, there are four bathrooms and a storm shelter at the heart of the island.  Once your venture beyond that point, your only option will be a "loo with a view."


What is the difference between the regular ferry service and a beach drop?
For the regular ferry service to the island, passengers depart at the dock on Bulls Island and hike through the interior of the island, allowing for a day of maritime forest and beach exploration.  The ferry service gives visitors the opportunity to see alligators, hike inland trails, collect shells and visit the Boneyard with the flexibility of staying for a half or full day.

The Beach Drops are offered once a month (usually on Sundays) and passengers depart directly onto the beach at the north end of the island.  From there, visitors are able to explore the 7 miles of pristine, undeveloped coastline for a day of beachcombing, shelling, swimming and relaxation.  Perfect for those that want to spend the day in the Boneyard or picnicing along the shoreline, the Beach Drops have become a popular way to visit the island.


Are pets allowed on the ferry or on Bulls Island?
No.  Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge is managed for the protection of habitat and wildlife species.  Bringing pets into this environment risks disturbance of nests, feeding and breeding, and it could introduce parasites to the island.

May I collect shells?
Yes.  You may take a one small bag from the beach.  By small bag, we mean the size of a small grocery bag.  Only remove empty shells (no live whelks, for example) and be considerate.

Nothing else may be removed from the island.  This includes, but is not limited to, driftwood, skulls/skeletons and plants.

May I bring carts, coolers and/or beach chairs?
Sure, but you need to be willing to tote them through the island.  It is 1.5 miles from the boat landing to the beach, so if you don't want to carry it, we suggest that you don't bring it.

Are Alligators Dangerous?  What should I do if one is in my path?
In the 21 years that Coastal Expeditions has been taking visitors to Bulls Island, people and alligators have comingled very well together.

Do not feed, touch or harass alligators in your path.  Do not get between basking alligators and the water (that is where they will instinctually go when disturbed).   In most cases, alligators will slide into the water when you approach, but if they do not move you may have to choose an alternate path.  Simply use common sense and you will have a pleasant interaction.

Additional information is available during your ferry ride and intoduction to the island.

Should I Bring My Bicycle?
Bicycles are welcome on the ferry and can be a nice way to explore Bulls Island.  There are few things that you should know before you bring your bike:

Want to Know More?

If you have any questions or concerns prior to your trip to Bulls Island, please call our office!  We have been the concession for group services to Bulls Island for 20 years, and we are happy to talk to you about the ferry and what to expect once you are on the island.

In our experience, we know that you will have a more enjoyable time in the refuge when you know what to expect!

Also visit the website for Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge.  It offers comprehensive information about history, wildlife, guidelines and more for the refuge and is an exceptional resource.


In this social media era, we depend upon your shared experiences on platforms like TripAdvisor and Yelp.  By telling people what you saw, did and learned on your expedition helps us beyond measure.

We're a small, family-owned business supported by a group of excellent, hard-working captains, mates and educators. We'd love to hear your feedback.