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Coastal Cowgirl Adventures: Horseback Riding on the Beach

If you’ve been enjoying the coastal lifestyle for a while, you’re probably a pro at all the typical beach activities like swimming, surfing, kayaking, or boating. Maybe you’re a pro sandcastle architect or a beachfront distance runner. But if you’ve never tried beach horseback riding, you’re missing out on one of the best beach adventures out there.

The beaches of the Southeastern U.S. and Gulf Coast are ideal for this fun and adventurous activity. They’ve got some of the prettiest scenery around, plenty of organized tours to choose from, and year-round mild weather. Read on as we share some of our favorite destinations to ride horses on the beach, as well as some helpful information to guide you on your adventure.

Why You Should Try Horseback Riding on the Beach

Coastal Cowgirl Horseback Riding

Perfect for Coastal Cowgirls – If your happy place is by the ocean but you’re also into the ranch lifestyle, this activity is a perfect mix of the two.

Great Exercise – It may look like a relaxing activity (and it is!) but horseback riding will also give you a workout. Build core strength and cardiovascular endurance while you’re having so much fun that you don’t even realize you’re exercising!

No Experience Necessary – Whether you’re an experienced rider or you’re giving it a try for the first time, you can find a ride that’s right for you. For the newbies, there are beginner-friendly horses and experienced guides to help you every step of the way.

A New Perspective – You already know that you love the beach scenery, but seeing it on horseback is a whole new perspective – and it’s one that’s definitely worth experiencing.

Helpful Things to Know

Horseback Riding Adventure
Photo Credit: Equine Adventures

To get the most out of your horseback riding adventure, you’ll want to make sure you’re prepared with the right clothing and supplies. Here are some tips on things you’ll want to bring with you.

Dress for the occasion – Comfortable, loose-fitting clothing is best for preventing sunburn and windburn. Be sure to wear closed-toe shoes as well, preferably something with a bit of a heel so your feet don’t slip in the stirrups. And don’t forget a hat to keep the sun off your face.

Take the right bag – A fanny pack or small cross body bag is best for holding your phone while keeping your hands free to hold the reins. (And you’ll have some great photo opportunities, so you’ll definitely want to bring your phone.)

Grab some sunscreen and bug spray – You definitely don’t want to be scratching bug bites or worrying about sunburn during your ride so be sure to apply sunscreen and bug spray before you set out. You can also take mini bottles of these items in your fanny pack.

Don’t forget the hair ties – It’s likely to be windy and you’ll want to be able to appreciate the scenery without your hair blowing in your face, so if you’ve got long hair, be sure to keep a hair tie handy.

Favorite Destinations for Beach Horseback Riding

Beach Horseback Riding
Photo Credit: Myrtle Beach Chamber

There are tons of great beaches for horseback riding throughout the South and lots of tour companies that that can help plan your adventure. Many of them offer trail rides as well. Here are a few of our personal favorites that we think you’ll love too.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

The Myrtle Beach area boasts more than 60 miles of beaches and is well-known as a great family-friendly destination. You can also add horseback riding to the list of fun activities for your Myrtle Beach vacation. Try Grand Strand Horseback Riding for some great options.

Virginia Beach, Virginia / Outer Banks, North Carolina

We put these two destinations together because this tour company serves both with some of the best horseback adventures around. All of their horses are rescues, with many that are gentle enough for kids and seniors. Ride along soft white sand of these gorgeous beaches and make fun memories with your friends and family.

Corpus Christi, Texas

The warm waters of the Gulf Coast are perfect for a sunset ride in Corpus Christi, offered by Horses on the Beach. Perfect for all levels and ages, this spot is ideal for our Texan beach lovers.

Amelia Island, Florida

The southern charm of Amelia Island, makes it an ideal place for a romantic getaway, and there are plenty of options for beach horseback riding experiences, including this tour company. Known for its clear water and pristine beaches, Amelia Island is also home to world class resorts and spas that are an ideal place to relax after your ride.

Bradenton, Florida

Bradenton is another top destination for beach horseback riding. Check out the options on The Real Beach Horses which includes Bradenton, as well as other top Florida destinations. A unique feature of this tour is the ability to ride completely into the water. If you’ve never ridden a swimming horse, it’s a truly unforgettable experience.

Bradenton Beach Horseback Riding
Photo Credit: Seeing Spots Photography

Some Considerations to Keep in Mind

Environmental Stewardship

  • Avoid alarming wildlife: Stick to specified riding trails to safeguard nesting spots and local fauna.
  • Minimize impact: Ride at a pace that doesn’t harm the beach or dunes, and avoid sites with vegetation.

Waste Management

  • Leave no trace: Clean up any trash, as well as the horse manure, to keep the beaches clean for all visitors.

Support Local Efforts

  • Join in beach cleanups: Partake in arranged events to empty trash and keep the natural beauty of the beach.

Safety Tips

Prepare Your Horse

  • Ensure your horse is in good condition for the soft sand and possible water crossings.
  • Let your horse become used to the beach setting slowly.

Riding Safely

  • Use split reins: This can control entanglement if your horse gets frightened or decides to swim.

Beach Etiquette

  • Always check regulations and acquire any essential permits for beach riding.
  • Keep a safe distance from beachgoers.

Seasonal Considerations

Spring: Some beaches may have seasonal restrictions for horseback riding to protect wildlife during nesting seasons.

Summer: Ride during cooler hours of the day to avoid overheating for you and your horse. Don’t forget to bring water.

Fall: With fewer crowds, fall can be an ideal time to enjoy a more tranquil ride. Be prepared for sudden shifts in weather, which can be common in coastal areas.

Winter: Some beaches may restrict admission during winter, so it’s necessary to confirm beforehand.

Always stay informed about the specific conditions and rules of the beach you plan to visit. An don’t forget to dress appropriately. Happy horseback riding!

We hope this guide has inspired you to embrace your inner cowgirl and try a beach horseback riding adventure. If you’re already a fan of this activity and you’ve got some of your own recommendations for the best beach horseback riding, drop your suggestions in the comments. For those looking to embrace the Coastal Cowgirl lifestyle, be sure to visit Saltsy for all your accessories and more!

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