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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 377 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 328
    Excellent
  • 30
    Very good
  • 14
    Average
  • 3
    Poor
  • 2
    Terrible
A Great Afternoon Excursion!

We had a wonderful and informative tour with Captain Jim yesterday. It's obvious he loves the area and wants to enlighten others about the eco-system. Worth your time and money... read more

5 of 5 starsReviewed May 29, 2015
Debbie S
,
Anderson, South Carolina
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377 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Date | Rating
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English first
Anderson, South Carolina
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 29, 2015 NEW

We had a wonderful and informative tour with Captain Jim yesterday. It's obvious he loves the area and wants to enlighten others about the eco-system. Worth your time and money! I'm tempted to go again today!

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

Island Explorer appreciates your kind 5-star review. We always strive to offer the best possible experience to all of your guests. Capt. Jim, the owner, has vast experience on the water and also trains all of our captains, so that every guest will have a great experience on Island Explorer. More 

Falmouth, Maine, USA
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
4 attraction reviews
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 27, 2015 NEW

Captain Cathy led an informative two hour cruise through Broad Creek. She made it a point to learn everyone's name and involved each of the passengers in her narrative. Being on a small boat is definitely more fun than juggling for a seat on the larger dolphin tour vessels. Definitely recommend taking this tour.

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

Island Explorer is glad that you enjoyed our small boat experience on the Lowcountry waters around Hilton Head Island. Our 12-passenger boats are perfect for larger families or groups that can't fit on the 6-passenger boats offered elsewhere. Our guests value the up close and personal experience of an Island Explorer tour versus the larger boats that can feel like... More 

1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 27, 2015 NEW via mobile

This was by far the highlight of our memorial trip to Hilton Head. From start to finish Piper helped us find a tour that was perfect for our family and young grandchildren. Jim bent over backwards to get us on the perfect boat. On our boat ride, Captain Kathy did a great job of keeping the children entertained. Seeing lots... More 

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

Our staff was so happy to see your review. We all work very hard to provide our guests with the best possible experience. There are lots of variables in the boating business, and our priorities are your comfort and safety along with having an amazing experience on the water. We'll look forward to seeing you again in August. More 

2 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 22, 2015 via mobile

What a wonderful experience! Captain Kathy was extremely knowledgable and fun. We were very lucky to have wonderful weather and saw several dolphins as nature decided to cooperate. My 8 year old was thrilled with the entire trip as were the adults. I very highly recommend Island Explorers!

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

Our thanks to The Nissley family for joining us on a tour with Island Explorer. Nothing fulfills us more than the excitement of a thrilled 8 year old. Capt. Kathy love kids and always provides a wonderful experience. When we are blessed with beautiful weather and nature cooperates, you'll always have an amazing experience on Island Explorer. More 

1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 21, 2015

Captain Bobby was an excellent host as we cruised the inlets of Hilton Head. Our kids were so excited to see all of the dolphins as we took in the great evening views of the island. You are sure to have a great time with this company!

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

Thanks for the great review. Island Explorer always strives to provide a 5-star experience and we encourage our guests to let us know if we have succeeded. We will do everything in our power to make it right. We're really glad to know that we met and exceeded your expectations. More 

Cleveland, Ohio, United States
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 19, 2015

Kate and Captain Bobby are the best! We scheduled a tour several days in advance, but nobody else was booked, so the tour was canceled. The entire time, Kate could not have been nicer or more enjoyable to talk to, even though we were disappointed about the trip. You could tell she felt badly that it did not work out.... More 

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

We always do the best we can to work things out for our guests. Very occasionally trips will have to be re-scheduled for various reasons, but we will always try to get you on a trip. The Island Explorer staff will always be there for you. We'll look forward to your return visit. More 

Pennsylvania
2 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 19, 2015

What a Great time for all of us, even Grandma! Captain Bobby was absolutely First Class! He knows so much about the eco-system and the changes to it over the last 20 years. We left out at low tide and were able to see the oyster beds and learned so much about the important role they play to the river.... More 

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

Island Explorer is so glad that you had an awesome tour. Capt. Bobby, like all of our great captains, wants you to have the very best experience. Many people enjoy our tours because we start in the calm waters of Broad Creek surrounded by the beautiful salt marshes and nature at it's best. We always try to stop and get... More 

Brentwood, Tennessee
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 18, 2015

This is the second year in a row we've done a tour with Island Explorer and we will keep going back, probably with a different type tour each year. This year, we did a two hour tour from 4-6pm with Captain Jim and it was fabulous -- informative, fun, and relaxing. Saw lots of dolphins and birds and learned a... More 

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

We are so glad you came back to see us again. Every trip is different on Island Explorer, because we never know what nature will bring to us each day. Captain Jim, the owner, is a great resource and trains all of our captains. Maybe next time you'll try a different captain, a different time of day or tide, and... More 

Boardman, Ohio, United States
Top Contributor
58 reviews 58 reviews
36 attraction reviews
51 helpful votes 51 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 17, 2015

I found Island Explorer right here on Trip Advisor. When I called to schedule the 1-hour dolphin tour for a Wednesday, I was told that there was no tour scheduled for that day but that they would try to fit us in between other tours scheduled for that day. That's how my group of 4 ladies ended up having a... More 

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

We always try to accommodate our guests' needs, and will try to schedule extra trips when we can do it. We're glad you were able to join us for a one-hour tour. These tours are designed to give you a taste of the Island Explorer experience. Many guests enjoy the one-hour tours, but often wish they could have stayed out... More 

1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 15, 2015

Had so much fun. Got to see plenty of dolphins on the tour. Will go again next time I'm on the island. Ask for Bobby.

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

We're glad to know that you had so much fun with Island Explorer. All of our captains are friendly, fun, and experienced. We'll look forward to seeing you again when you are back on Hilton Head Island. More 

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