We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Island Explorer

Certificate of Excellence
Improve this listing
Map
Satellite
Map updates are paused. Zoom in to see updated info.
Reset zoom
Updating Map...
Your filters are still active.
There are no pins in your viewport. Try moving the map or changing your filters.
Sponsored by:
Get directions
Address: 101 Marshland Road, Hilton Head, SC 29926
Phone Number: +1 843-785-2100
Website
Today
7:00 am - 9:00 pm
Closed now
See all hours
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.
read more

TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 394 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 344
    Excellent
  • 30
    Very good
  • 15
    Average
  • 3
    Poor
  • 2
    Terrible
Vanishing Island Tour is a Must!

I took this tour with friends and family in early June and just had a blast. We went out on a Sunday and ended up extending our tour - we had lunch on Dafuskie Island (super fun... read more

5 of 5 starsReviewed July 28, 2015
mlfjacobs
,
Atlanta, Georgia
Add Photo Write a Review

394 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Rate and write a review
Roll over, then click to rate
  Click to rate
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Atlanta, Georgia
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 28, 2015 NEW

I took this tour with friends and family in early June and just had a blast. We went out on a Sunday and ended up extending our tour - we had lunch on Dafuskie Island (super fun) and had a great day out on the water. I am a travel concierge in Atlanta, GA and have clients all over the... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
Dayton, Ohio
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 15, 2015

Captain Kathy did a great job showing us around the salt marshes of South Carolina. She kept the tour interesting for everyone on the boat and made sure to make the young kids feel like they were part of the experience. All the kids on the boat even got to "steer" the ship! The part I enjoyed most was that... More 

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

We're so glad to hear that you and your kids had a "great experience" with Island Explorer. Capt. Kathy and the whole crew work hard to give each guest a memorable experience. We love kids, and always try to get them involved in the tour. We try to have a good mix of educational information and just pure fun. We're... More 

Amherst
Level Contributor
34 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 11, 2015

We liked tour. It was almost like a sunset tour combined with some occasional views of dolphins. I don't know if we caught our captain on a bad day but seemed to lack energy and really seemed like he was "going through the motions." For what we paid, we expected some more energy and honestly just a bit more friendliness.

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

We appreciate your feedback. Our captains are almost always energetic and friendly, so we're not quite sure what happened on your tour. We went back through our records and don't have enough information to match up a date for your tour or any particular captain, so please let us know the captain's name. All that being said, our captains always... More 

Bluffton, South Carolina
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 10, 2015

I had a great day with Captain Kathy on the dolphin and nature cruise .I have learned some wonderful things about Hilton Head Island everyone should definitely go and take this island Explorer dolphin and nature cruise . I had the best time. Give her a call her number is 843 785 - 2100 . It's a great adventure if... More 

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

Thanks for your kind words about Capt. Kathy and Island Explorer. We always want everyone to have a "great day" on the waters around Hilton Head Island, and we're glad to know that you did. More 

Dyer, Indiana
Level Contributor
36 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 10, 2015

We enjoyed our 2 hour tour with Captain Kathy with our 3 children. Ct. Kathy is very knowledgeable of the marsh and the island history. You will leave knowing more then when you started. She let each of the kids on the boat be captain for a while. We saw 2 dolphins, 1 near the boat and 1 from a... More 

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

We sincerely appreciate your kind words about Capt. Kathy and Island Explorer. All of our captains strive to be educational and friendly. We love kids! We're glad to hear that you'd "do it again," and we look forward to seeing you on your next visit to Hilton Head Island. More 

A TripAdvisor Member
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 9, 2015

I have had the pleasure of taking a tour with Captain Jim 3 times and one other time with a different Captain. The first time I took the tour it was a sunset tour. I had never been to HHI and this was our first activity. My friend had booked the tour while driving from Ohio and this was our... More 

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

Thanks for sharing your experience with Island Explorer. We will always go out of our way to try and accommodate special needs and situations. Capt. Jim has vast experience in the waters around Hilton Head Island and can always come up with a plan. Thanks for returning to us year after year. We look forward to seeing you again in... More 

Dallas, Texas
Level Contributor
68 reviews
26 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 6, 2015

My wife and 4 year old daughter went out with Captain Kathy last Tuesday and we just had a ball! I had read some great comments about Kathy here on TripAdvisor and she did NOT disappoint. Before we had pushed off she knew everyone on the boat by name and you could see how much she loved the island and... More 

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

We are so glad to know that your family enjoyed the tour to Vanishing Island. Capt. Kathy and the whole Island Explorer crew try hard to be the friendliest captains on the island. Our guests' comfort and safety are our first priority while we strive to create a memorable experience for the whole family. We love your attitude about getting... More 

Level Contributor
22 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 2, 2015

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

Capt. Jared and everyone at Island Explorer sincerely appreciates your great review. We all work hard to make our tours unique and fun as well as educational. Hilton Head Island offers a wonderful opportunity to learn about nature and ecology while enjoying a fun boat trip through the Lowcountry waters. Thanks so much for recommending us. More 

Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 28, 2015 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
IslandExplorerHHISC, Public Relations Manager at Island Explorer, responded to this review

We're glad that you enjoyed your expedition to Vanishing Island. At Island Explorer we always strive to make our tours both educational and fun. We love kids, and always try to make the trip a special memory for the whole family. We're glad that you feel your investment was worthwhile, and we'll look forward to seeing you again next time. More 

Level Contributor
7 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 

Travelers who viewed Island Explorer also viewed

Hilton Head, Coastal South Carolina
Hilton Head, Coastal South Carolina
 
Hilton Head, Coastal South Carolina
Hilton Head, Coastal South Carolina
 

Been to Island Explorer? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about Island Explorer

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

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Register now for free — and start getting automatic notification of new reviews, responding to traveler feedback, adding new photos to your listing and much more.

Manage your listing

Questions & Answers

Here's what previous visitors have asked, with answers from representatives of Island Explorer and other visitors
2 questions
Ask a question

See all questions (2)

Questions? Get answers from Island Explorer staff and past visitors.
Posting guidelines
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?