For Spring Break, Lagoona invites all of her friends to come with her to the Great Scarrier Reef with a luxurious ship her parents sent. The only one she has not yet invited is Gil, because she wants to surprise him during the pre-spring break school carnival.
Operetta, Spectra, Clawd, and Deuce all received invites to the Great Scarrier Reef, but aren't able to come along because they or their families have other plans already. This leaves Lagoona herself, Cleo, Clawdeen, Draculaura, Frankie, Abbey, and Ghoulia for the trip together. Gil finally receives his invite, and though he cannot refuse his girlfriend, he makes no secret of it either that he doesn't want to go and fears Lagoona's parents reaction to a freshie like him.
Lagoona and Gil discuss the matter on board later, with Gil being adamant that the seas and oceans are scary places where everything tries to harm you. Lagoona is exasperated he thinks so badly of her home, but has to swallow her words when the ship is attacked by a kraken and sinks, leaving the group stuck on a small raft.
Not far from them, two humans are having problems of their own too. A man named Bartleby Farnum is an eccentric show-and salesman with nothing left to show or sell, his frustation over which he takes out on his assistant Kipling, a freak who keeps his head covered by a sack with holes poked into it so that he can see. As Farnum tries to think up something that can earn them some money, he hears shouting outside and is delighted to find the young monsters adrift. Planning to exhibit them, he saves them from the raft. However, his plan to exhibit them is swiftly ditched when he sees Frankie, who looks remarkably similiar to an unnamed explorer from early in the 20th century. This explorer had a particular attachment to a creature Farnum has been wanting to capture for a long time, the Beast of Skull Shores, so he plans to use Frankie as bait.
Pretending to bring the group to the Great Scarrier Reef, Farnum instead takes them to Skull Shores, which he excuses by claiming he has to pick up supplies. Lagoona is suspicious and a bit stressed since her parents are waiting for her, but accepts Farnum's story. Once docked, the group, and Frankie in particular, is welcomed by the local population, the Tiki. Farnum has had previous dealings with the Tiki and knows of their fear of the beast, so he easily convinces them to keep the group entertained so that he can work out a trap for the beast.
However, Farnum's plan missed to take one thing into account: the Monster High students are primarily non-judgemental and nice folks. Their attitude wins over the Tiki, who express concerns over the plan to trick them. Farnum deals with it by reminding the Tiki of their life in constant fear of the beast.
While suspicious of the fact that Skull Shores is littered with statues that look a lot like Frankie, the students are convinced to spent the night on the island because the Tiki are organizing festivities for them. Frankie is declared guest of honor and asked to participate in a performance Farnum and the Tiki want to do. Naturally, she accepts. At the same time, Lagoona's suspicion grows again when Farnum refuses her entry to his boat to check the maps on the distance between Skull Shores and the Great Scarrier Reef. That evening, she and a reluctant Gil sneak aboard to figure out what Farnum's up to and find a recording of the beast and the explorer who befriended him, finding out that Farnum is using Frankie as bait to capture the beast, they then rush off to warn their friend.
At the island, the performance starts with Farnum giving Frankie a necklace. He proceeds to tell the "Tall Tale of the Beast of Skull Shores", which is visualized by the Tiki's shadowgraphy. Farnum reveals the existence of the beast to the students and how only one person has ever been able to soothe it. Frankie's chair suddenly rises in the air and Farnum elaborates that the Tiki gave the girl to the beast to keep him from attacking them. Clawdeen is the first of the students to demand the performance to end because it's starting to become scary, but only a moment later the beast appears, lured by the drums of the Tiki. The students are shocked and Frankie is very afraid in her vulnerable position, until she notices the way the beast is looking at her. Farnum and the Tiki launch their attack, throwing spears at the beast. The spears cannot pierce the beast's skin though, and the beast makes sure no harm comes to Frankie either. After a few seconds, it grabs Frankie and marches off with her. Ghoulia and Abbey are forced into a pitfall trap, but Clawdeen, Draculaura, and Cleo are able to escape. Farnum splits up the Tiki in two groups: one that will remain in the village and keep guard under the Tiki chief's guidance, and one that will follow the beast's trail as well as the tracking device in Frankie's necklace with Farnum. Lagoona and Gil return shortly afterwards to find that they are too late and set off to save Frankie on their own.
The next morning, Frankie awakens in an elaborate tree house made from old ship parts. To her surprise, a shy, handsome boy is with her. She asks who he is, then remembers the monster and tells him they should flee while it is gone. The boy answers that won't be necessary, as the beast and he are the same creature. He introduces himself as Andy, and explains that he is different. He was born some centuries ago with a particular affliction that causes him to change into a huge beast if he experiences hate, anger, or fear, whether his own or another's. Due to this, his family had to move often to escape mob retaliation, which only made the affliction worse because Andy didn't get a chance to learn to trust others. Eventually, he reached Skull Shores in search of a place to live in peace. That dream was shattered when the Tiki found out about him and began to fear him. Nonetheless, he stayed, having nowhere else to go anymore.
Meanwhile, Clawdeen, Cleo, and Draculaura are following the trail of the beast on their own with the help of Clawdeen's superior olfactory sense. Back In the village, Ghoulia and Abbey trick the remaining Tiki down the pit to give them food, at which point Abbey freezes them, allowing the girls to use the tiki as stairs to escape. Abbey intends to go after Farnum immediately, but Ghoulia points out they can't leave the Tiki like this. Abbey agrees and unfreezes them, making sure they get stuck in the pit. She then holds a speech that the Tiki are foolish to trust Farnum and let themselves be treated like this, which moves the Tiki to join forces with the students to stop Farnum. In the jungle, Lagoona and Gil are spying on Farnum from a promontory and realize he has a tracking device planted on Frankie. They intend to follow him, but the rock slips away from under Lagoona and she falls down. On Farnum's orders, Kipling captures Lagoona. Gil runs off, leaving both Lagoona and Farnum certain he's acting on cowardice. As Farnum mocks both Lagoona and Gil, Lagoona tries to convince Kipling to break ties with Farnum, because he isn't anything like his cruel master. Kipling declines, certain he has no one else to rely on.
Out for a walk, Frankie asks Andy about the statues on the island. Andy tells her about his friendship with a girl a long time ago, who was the only one he ever met who wasn't afraid of him. He made the statues after she left, so as to be reminded of her whenever he felt upset. Suddenly, the duo notices movement in the bushes and Andy charges in to attack, only to find the surprised trio of Clawdeen, Draculaura, and Cleo. Any joy about the reunion is squashed mere moments later, when Farnum is spotted. Frankie urges Andy to run since Farnum is only interested in him. Andy does so reluctantly, but doesn't make it far before he has to hide and subsequently overhears the entire exchange between the students and Farnum. Though Farnum initially has the upper hand, Abbey and Ghoulia make their entrance, backed up by the Tiki chief who orders the Tiki with Farnum to turn on him. Only mildly bothered, Farnum takes his special cane and makes a magnet appear, which pulls Frankie to him. Threatening to suck the electricity from her with his cane, Farnum shouts for the beast to appear. Andy is enraged and changes, but like the others finds he can't do anything but obey lest he risks Frankie's very life. He changes back and turns himself in. Farnum is delighted about the beast's dual nature and how that makes him much more manageable than he had thought the beast would be.
Back at Farnum's boat, Farnum is still holding onto Frankie as Andy gets into the boat and her friends watch. However, the group is surprised to see Gil rise from the water. Gil demands that Farnum releases his friends, to which Farnum asks how he intends to enforce his demand. Gil reveals he's not alone - with him is a small army of dolphins as well as the kraken that destroyed the students' boat. This time, the kraken destroys Farnum's boat, then picks up the crook and flings him into the jungle. Kipling runs after his master, despite Lagoona's plea for him to stay. With the threat gone, Gil explains that he ran and swam off to the Great Scarrier Reef to ask Lagoona's parents for help. They talked to the kraken, who felt sorry for what he had done and not only agreed to save Lagoona and co., but also to fix the boat he had destroyed. The students resume their journey, taking Andy with them. Lagoona is overjoyed about the courage and reliability Gil showed her, but also happy he finally stopped being scared of her parents and her home.
At a distance, Farnum and Kipling watch the students, who've forgotten about Frankie's necklace, leave. Farnum swears this isn't the end of the matter.
With Spring Break over, Frankie and her friends try to make Andy feel at home at their school, which turns out to be more work than initially thought. Due to Andy's long-time isolation, he is unfamiliar with 21st century technology. At one point, Headless Headmistress Bloodgood announces something over the intercom, prompting Andy to believe there's a woman stuck in 'that box', which he promptly rips from the wall. The students and teachers take it in stride though, laughing about Andy's antics at worst. Andy starts feeling welcomed, but remains doubtful that the others would like him if they knew about his true nature.
After some days, Headless Headmistress Bloodgood orders everyone to the auditorium for a speech about tolerance by a human guest speaker. While the man appears merely eccentric at first, realization hits when he starts calling the individual students "specimens" and "oddities". He appears particularly intent to torment Andy with his derogative words, leading to Bloodgood demanding he leave as his speech has nothing to do with tolerance. The man joyously explains he must have misspoken: he didn't mean to lecture about tolerance, but about intolerance. Pestering Andy further, he is slammed away by the boy, and finally reveals that he is Farnum. This revelation first draws the ire of the Wolf siblings, who prepare to attack, but Farnum pulls out a dog whistle to keep them at bay. Next, Deuce tries to petrify him, but Farnum pulls out a mirror from his cane, petrifying Deuce instead. Other students have similar success.
Andy, pushed by the chaos, transforms and bursts through the roof, sending the other students and teachers fleeing for their lives as the ceiling comes down on them. Frankie stays and tries to calm Andy, but he picks her up and climbs one of Monster High's towers with her to escape the chaos. Farnum and Kipling show up on the bridge between the towers and Farnum convinces Andy that, just as with Kipling, a freak like him has nowhere else to turn to than to a man like Farnum. Though Frankie tells him not to listen, Andy does and agrees with Farnum's reasoning. Kipling, though, finally realizes he's been wrong to let Farnum's abuse crush his self-confidence. He takes off his hood, revealing his ears are deformed in the form of an elephant's, and picks up Farnum. Spotting one of the carnival stands not yet removed, (which contains a tar pit), he throws Farnum into it. During his fall, Farnum crosses paths with a flock of birds, causing him to end up not only tarred, but feathered too. Aghast about his own freaky look, Farnum runs off, only to be captured by a bunch of humans he probably had called himself to capture Andy.
As Andy, Frankie, and Kipling join the students below, Frankie tells Kipling to stay. While freed from Farnum's influence, Kipling isn't sure he'll be accepted until he spots two monster girls who have elephant ears too and clearly think he's a looker. The happy end seems to be gone with that when Headless Headmistress Bloodgood announces she has grave news. Due to the damages done to the school, Spring Break is extended with a week to get reparations done. As Headless Headmistress Bloodgood ends in an upbeat tone of voice, the students cheer. On recommendation by Abbey, the entire student body decides to enjoy the extra vacation on Skull Shores, much to the Tikis' delight too.
- "Escape From Skull Shores" is based on the late 19th century/early 20th century exotic expedition fiction, particularly the 1933 movie King Kong. The scene in which Andy climbs one of the towers of Monster High with Frankie in his hand mimics the icon scene in King Kong in which Kong climbs the Empire State Building with Ann Darrow in his hand.
- "Escape From Skull Shores" also uses elements from the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, such as Andy's changing from handsome young man to a beast. The scene in which Andy shows horrible table manners at Monster High appears inspired by Disney's movie adaption of the fairy tale.
- The carnival cutout Lagoona and Gil use for a photo is based on the painting American Gothic.
- Four Screamers is likely a play on Four Seasons.
- Heath previously made the exact same mistake of insulting a Wolf girl by questioning her athletic abilities in the Volume 1 webisode "Fur Will Fly". Then, his target was Clawdeen Wolf.
- Heath also earlier had a 'job' as dunk-dummy in "Fright On!".
- Manny's dislike of mazes will be brought up again in "Ghouls Rule".
- In "Fright On!", Abbey could not speak Zombie and needed someone to translate Ghoulia for her. She can understand Ghoulia just fine in "Escape From Skull Shores", meaning she's mastered the language in the meantime.
- Four Screamers was previously mentioned in "Witch Trials", in which Cleo also compared her temporary cabin residence to it.
- Frankie tells Andy how she, during fearleading tryouts, lost her leg and hit the captain in the face. This is a simplified version of an event in "New Ghoul @ School".
- The Great Scarrier Reef is mentioned again in the special of the same name.
- Rochelle Goyle, Bartleby Farnum, Andy Beast, Kipling, and the Tiki make their cartoon debuts.
- Posters depicting Robecca Steam can be seen in Farnum's cabin.
- Rochelle is one of the students almost run over by Nightmare. According to "Friday Night Frights", she shouldn't be a student at Monster High yet.
- Just before Lagoona tells Gil that she'll take him with her to the Great Scarrier Reef to meet her parents, her flower sits on the right side of her head instead of the left.
- Despite going to the Great Scarrier Reef it's referred to as the Great Barrier Reef in the special.
- The web game Fintastic Rescue ties into this TV special.
- The March entry of Freaky Fab 13 contained a trailer of the TV special and a fictional flyer for Skull Shores.
- As with "Why Do Ghouls Fall in Love?", Swapit put up "Escape From Skull Shores" for the UK audience, but initially forgot to region-lock it. The TV special was available to everyone for a few hours on April 13.
- The Gory Gazette article "MHGG Exclusive: Frankie on Planning Spring Break" implies that Andy's old friend is Frankie's mother. However, the article's details don't match the TV special's, and the article's details also don't match with other details known about Frankie's parents. In particular, the old friend does not have scars or neck bolts (which Frankie's mother has according to Frankie's SDCCI diary). Not to mention that Gil identifies the girl in the film as a "normie scientist".