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Island Explorer

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Address: 101 Marshland Road, Hilton Head, SC 29926
Phone Number: +1 843-785-2100
Website
Today
7:00 am - 9:00 pm
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Hours:
Sun - Sat 7:00 am - 9:00 pm
Description: With over 30 years experience in dolphin and nature cruises around Hilton...
With over 30 years experience in dolphin and nature cruises around Hilton Head Island, Capt. Jim Harkins and Island Explorer offers unique and memorable tours. With both 12-passenger and 6-passenger boats, Island Explorer can accommodate large families or groups and still offer initmate experiences.You may choose a 1-Hour Introductory Tour, a 2-Hour Dolphin and Nature Excursion, or one of our 3-Hour and 3.5-Hour Expeditions. On our popular expedition to "Vanishing Island" you'll view the dolphins, cross the Calibogue Sound, and have the opportunity to disembark on a secluded sandbar to search for sand dollars at the low tide. We offer Lowcountry Backwater tours and even a special Nature Photography tour guided by a professional photographer. Evening Sunset Cruises will bring you to beauty of the Hilton Head sunsets along with scenic views of the marshlands, birds, and dolphins that make the Lowcountry special. During the summer months join us for a Tuesday night Fireworks Cruise. Our captains are experienced, friendly, and informative. Our mid-island location is convenient to every resort on Hilton Head. Parking is always free, and there are no gate fees. Our boats are docked at the popular island restaurant, The Old Oyster Factory Restaurant at 101 Marshland Road. With years of experience on Hilton Head Island and variety of unique cruises, Island Explorer will treat you to a memorable experience for your family or group.
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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 387 reviews
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  • 338
    Excellent
  • 30
    Very good
  • 14
    Average
  • 3
    Poor
  • 2
    Terrible
Dolphins, Oysters, and Salt Marsh Ecology

Our two hour tour was great! Captain Jared shared some history, some marine biology and a whole bunch of salt marsh ecology with our group. We saw plenty of dolphins, heron... read more

5 of 5 starsReviewed July 2, 2015
Jen1967
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387 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Level Contributor
21 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 2, 2015 NEW

Our two hour tour was great! Captain Jared shared some history, some marine biology and a whole bunch of salt marsh ecology with our group. We saw plenty of dolphins, heron, ospreys, and pelicans; learned about oyster farming, and how the aquatic environment of Hilton Head differs from other salt marsh locations. We would definitely recommend this tour.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 28, 2015 NEW via mobile

Capt Cathy was fantastic!!! Just completed the the 3 hour tour to the vanishing island and it was and amazing experience. She did a wonderful job of entertaining and educating not only the kids but the 5 adults that were there as well. Great job of identified the wildlife, but also very informed about the history and the role it... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 24, 2015

What a great 3 hour tour with Captain Cathy. It really shows that she loves her job and what she does. She made it a awesome tour...We saw a handful of dolphins on the way out and a few on the way back..When the trip was over it did not seem like 3 hours. We learned a lot about the... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
IslandExplorerHHISC, Public Relations Manager at Island Explorer, responded to this review

Our "Vanishing Island" 3 Hour Tour is our most popular adventure, and Capt. Kathy loves to take our guests there. Everyone at Island Explorer appreciates your kind words and 5-star review,and we are happy to know that Capt. Kathy gave you an "awesome tour." We hope you'll join us again next time you visit Hilton Head Island. More 

Cary, NC
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 19, 2015

We had a great tour on the water and saw numerous Dolphins. The captain was very experienced and knew the waters. We would highly recommend this especially with children.

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
IslandExplorerHHISC, Public Relations Manager at Island Explorer, responded to this review

Island Explorer is glad that you had a great tour with us. We always strive to offer the best experience to our guests, and especially to families with children. We appreciate your taking time to write such a nice review and hope that you'll join us again next time you visit Hilton Head Island. More 

Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 attraction reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 19, 2015

Our first night on Hilton Head Island, we went on the Sunset dolphin watching tour. We saw dolphins, oyster beds, and learned a lot about the island. Great informative tour!

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IslandExplorerHHISC, Public Relations Manager at Island Explorer, responded to this review

Hi Jodi, Everyone at Island Explorer is pleased to know that you and your family had an enjoyable experience on our Sunset Cruise. Choosing the first night of your vacation for a cruise is a great way to get to know the area. We're glad that you chose Island Explorer for your Sunset and Dolphin Watch Tour. We hope you'll... More 

Greenville, South Carolina, United States
Level Contributor
34 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 19, 2015

We took a 6:30 pm 2 hour sunset cruise. It was a beautiful time of day - much cooler than earlier in the day. We saw a lot of dolphins and had a wonderful time. My two kids said it was the best part of our vacation and are already begging to do it again next year. I highly recommend... More 

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IslandExplorerHHISC, Public Relations Manager at Island Explorer, responded to this review

Hi Wendy, Thanks for taking time to write such a nice review of Island Explorer. Many of our guests enjoy the cooler evening tours that include both dolphins and a beautiful sunset. We're all glad to know that you had "a great experience" on your cruise. We'll look forward to seeing you and your family on your next visit to... More 

New Berlin, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
10 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 18, 2015

The tour was excellent, the Captain, Jared, an oyster farmer and an Iraq vet was very knowledgeable and friendly - We saw lots of dolphins, learned about the eco systems of the area. Well worth it. I would highly recommend it.

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
IslandExplorerHHISC, Public Relations Manager at Island Explorer, responded to this review

Island Explorer thanks you for taking time to share your recommendation. We strive to provide all of our guests with an excellent experience. Capt. Jared, as do all of our captains, works hard to offer a safe, fun, and educational tour, and he appreciates your positive review. We hope you'll visit us again next time you are vacationing on Hilton... More 

Annapolis, Maryland
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 15, 2015

Captain Jim did not disappoint on the 3-hr Vanishing Island trip. We saw many dolphins, rays, a baby shark, horseshoe crabs, and sand dollars galore! He is an expert on the island and its wildlife--don't trust your trip to a novice! This is the real deal. This was our second trip and we will be back

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
IslandExplorerHHISC, Public Relations Manager at Island Explorer, responded to this review

Thanks so much for joining us for your second Island Explorer experience and for the wonderful review. Capt. Jim, the owner of Island Explorer, has worked in the waters around Hilton Head Island for over 30 years. It's always a pleasure for him to share his knowledge and experience with our guests. He also trains all of our captains. We... More 

Augusta, Georgia
Level Contributor
20 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 13, 2015

Took the 4pm two hour cruise with Captain Jared. Our party of six were added to another small group. The boat was nice, clean and comfortable. Captain Jared did a great job informing us about dolphins (and many wildlife in the area), explaining the ecosystem and some history of the island. We saw dolphins, jellyfish, manta rays, and many birds.... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
IslandExplorerHHISC, Public Relations Manager at Island Explorer, responded to this review

Thanks for your kind words. Capt. Jared and the whole Island Explorer crew really appreciates your positive review. We try hard to bring the best of the Lowcountry waters to all of our guests. It's great to hear that you saw so much diverse wildlife and had a fun experience with your family. That is our main goal. We hope... More 

Denver, Colorado
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 9, 2015

I took my three kids (9-12) on a sunset tour with Captain Jim, hoping to see some wildlife and enjoy the scenery. The excursion exceeded our expectations, as we learned a lot about the ecosystem, its inhabitants, and history. The kids were asking to go again as we disembarked! We all had a great time and will certainly go again.

Was this review helpful? Yes
IslandExplorerHHISC, Public Relations Manager at Island Explorer, responded to this review

We are so glad that your family enjoyed your sunset cruise with Capt. Jim. Everyone at Island Explorer works hard to provide our guests with the best possible experience. We're especially happy to know that we exceeded your expectations. We hope you'll join us again next time you visit Hilton Head Island. More 

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Additional Information about Island Explorer

Address: Address: 101 Marshland Road, Hilton Head, SC 29926
Phone Number: +1 843-785-2100
Location: United States  >  South Carolina (SC)  >  Coastal South Carolina  >  Hilton Head
Open Hours:
Sunday 7:00 am - 9:00 pm
Monday 7:00 am - 9:00 pm
Tuesday 7:00 am - 9:00 pm
Wednesday 7:00 am - 9:00 pm
Thursday 7:00 am - 9:00 pm
Friday 7:00 am - 9:00 pm
Saturday 7:00 am - 9:00 pm

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Typical questions asked:
  • Will you pick up and drop off at my hotel?
  • I have a family of 7. Can your tour accommodate all of us together?
  • How should I dress for this tour?