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Island Explorer

101 Marshland Road, Hilton Head, SC 29926
843-785-2100
Website
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Ranked #12 of 124 Activities in Hilton Head
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Type: Tours
Owner description: With over 30 years experience in dolphin and nature cruises around Hilton Head Island, Capt. Jim Harkins and Island Explorer offers unique and... more » Owner description: 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. « less
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Activities for older children
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333 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Cincinnati, Ohio
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 27, 2014 NEW

Took a simple one-hour dolphin tour with Captain Kathy. This was our second trip with Captain Kathy and our second trip with Island Explorer. The one-hour tour turned into more like an hour and 15 or 20 minutes, so we really got our money's worth. Kathy was very friendly and knowledgable and went out of her way to make sure... More

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East Brunswick, New Jersey
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 27, 2014 NEW

My wife and I took the Sunset Cruise with "Captain Jimmy" on 8/26/14. Our best experience on the Island! My wife is a Life Science Teacher and felt Captain Jimmy was quite knowledgeable and engaging. Well worth your time and money to see a beautiful sunset in a panoramic setting. Joe B...

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Northern Virginia
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
40 helpful votes 40 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 24, 2014

I booked a one hour dolphin tour after reading the reviews on this site and I wasn't disappointed. Captain Bobby was great, he was knowledgeable and fun. It ended up just being my husband, my Dad, my 3 year old and I on the tour. We took a small boat and got up close to the dolphins. My 3 year... More

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2 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 22, 2014 via mobile

Captain Jared was informative, friendly and funny. Our family had a great time on the sunset cruise as he provided local history and ecological facts. An added bonus was seeing alot of dolphins.

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Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 21, 2014

This tour was absolutely amazing! Captain Bobby was extremely friendly and knowledgable. Great for family fun, couples, or singles! Just remember water and sunscreen!!!

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

Hi Geena, Captain Bobby and the entire staff at Island Explorer thanks you for your kind review. It's our goal that every guest has an "Excellent" experience on our tours. Also, thanks for mentioning the water and the sunscreen. It's always a good idea to bring your own when going boating in the summer, and your suggestion will help our... More

Bluffton, South Carolina
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 21, 2014

Captain Kathy was knowledgeable,friendly and caring. She took every precaution to make sure my husband,who is recovering from back surgery, boarded and disembarked the craft safely. My family had a very memorable experience. Thank you Captain Kathy for a most pleasant afternoon.

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

Hi Kay, Thanks for letting us know that you enjoyed our tour on Island Explorer. Each and every guest is very important to us, and we always try to take care of special needs. We'll share your compliments with Captain Kathy. And we'll look forward to seeing you again on Island Explorer. More

Charlotte, North Carolina, United States
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 20, 2014

We loved Captain Kathy. She was very personable and knowledgeable about the island. It was a one hour tour and we sure did see plenty of dolphins. Captain Kathy was very peticular about having us see the dolphins, but not disrupting their travel. We were very impressed with her and the importance of us having a good time, but not... More

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

Hi Deborah, We are so happy to know that your trip on Island Explorer was an "excellent experience." Captain Kathy loves to share her knowledge and experience with our guests, and like all of our captains, takes pride in respecting the dolphins that we love and enjoy seeing. Knowing that this was your first visit to Hilton Head Island, we... More

1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 15, 2014

My parents surprised my family and I with a sunset dolphin & firework cruise while we were on vacation in Hilton Head. We had a private boat with Captain Bobby at the helm! I cannot say enough about our experience. Captain Bobby was professional yet warm & kind. He was so patient with the six children (under the age of... More

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

Hi Tracy, Thank you so much for your kinds words about Island Explorer. Captain Bobby, like all of our captains, works very hard to offer our guests a fun experience while safely guiding your family through the Lowcountry. We are especially happy to hear that your six children were "in awe and so excited." There's nothing that makes us happier... More

Cincinnati, Ohio
Top Contributor
120 reviews 120 reviews
17 attraction reviews
124 helpful votes 124 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 14, 2014

We loved visiting the Vanishing Island! What a fun "three hour tour"! There were two boats of about 12 people each on our trip out. We left from the Old Oyster Factory. We got there at 3 for the 3:45 departure. The deck is nice and the kids loved looking at all the oyster shells. The trip itself was why... More

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

Thanks for joining Island Explorer for our 3-Hour Vanishing Island Tour, and we're glad to know that you had a "great trip" and a "fantastic experience." We do occasionally have to stop for gas, and we're sorry that you felt bad about that. The US Coast Guard restricts the amount of gas we are allowed to carry, and the amount... More

Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 11, 2014

My family took the 3 hour Dolphin Tour with Captain Jared. It was a great time and Jared was an awesome Captain. We saw several dolphins, learned the rich history of the island and met some friends too. My daughters are 12 and 10 and they were intrigued the entire time. The price is a little higher than some of... More

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

Janette, We're glad to know your family had a "great time" with Captain Jared on Island Explorer, and thrilled that you found our tour to be "one of our favorite activities of our whole vacation." We always strive to offer the best experiences to all of our guests. As you mentioned, there may be some lower price options available, but... More

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