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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 364 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 315
    Excellent
  • 30
    Very good
  • 14
    Average
  • 3
    Poor
  • 2
    Terrible
A Great dolphin tour packed with lots of facts and sights.

We know that nature, wildlife and weather are often unpredictable. So we realized we were very lucky to have the best of all 3, including our guide, Capt.Jim Harkins, who is... read more

5 of 5 starsReviewed April 23, 2015
Susiegh
,
Statesboro, Georgia
via mobile
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364 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Date | Rating
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English first
Statesboro, Georgia
Top Contributor
50 reviews 50 reviews
21 attraction reviews
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 23, 2015 via mobile

We know that nature, wildlife and weather are often unpredictable. So we realized we were very lucky to have the best of all 3, including our guide, Capt.Jim Harkins, who is exceptionally knowledgable. It was the perfect tour for Earth Day! We are putting his tour on our activities list for the next years trip!

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

We so happy that you enjoyed your tour with Capt. Jimmy and Island Explorer. We strive to provide a 5-star experience to every guest. We appreciate that you understand the unpredictable nature of nature, and realize what a treat it is when everything comes together on a beautiful day, and Earth Day at that! We'll look forward to seeing you... More 

Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 23, 2015

Best day on the Island! We were lucky with a beautiful day but the whole experience was wonderful, we really recommend the high tide cruise, we saw so much and learned a lot. Jim was an excellent guide.

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

Thank you for sharing your "best day on the island" review. Our high tide cruise offers opportunities for our specially designed boats to explore places no one else will go, and Capt. Jimmy, with his over 30 years of experience will always keep the guest entertained and educated. We're glad that you invested some of your vacation time in Island... More 

Bay City, Michigan
1 review
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 22, 2015

While this was an enjoyable boat ride/tour, we were very disappointed to only see 2-3 dolphins just barely out of the water. I guess I assumed it was guaranteed, as the boat captains knew the area well and where to find them. We had children along and they were very disappointed. The boat captain did a good job giving us... More 

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

We are so sorry to hear that you were disappointed with your tour. We wish you had voiced your concerned at the dock, as Island Explorer will always go the extra mile to make sure you have a 5-star experience. Perhaps we could have scheduled another tour with the hopes of better cooperation from nature. While our captains are all... More 

Finland
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 11, 2015

This was one of the best experiences of our trip to Hilton Head. We visited on Apr.10 with my wife and two young kids - 5 and 1. We took the 2 hr sunset cruise from 6-8 PM. The experience was absolutely fantastic. We saw "Tons" of Dolphins - coming up for air, flapping their tails and often swimming in... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
IslandExplorerHHISC, Guest Relations Manager at Island Explorer, responded to this review

We so glad that your family had an "Awesome" experience with Island Explorer. Our US Coast Guard certified boats are specifically designed for small groups of up to 12 passengers, so they can be perfect for an intimate family experience. All of our captains love kids, and will always go the extra mile to make sure kids are entertained and... More 

Clarksville, Tennessee
Top Contributor
50 reviews 50 reviews
17 attraction reviews
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 11, 2015

We opted to book entire boat for our group of 7. From the reservation to the check in, our experience was top notch. The location can be misleading at first as you depart from the Old Oyster Factory restaurant, but once you find the parking lot, there are signs to the right of the building that are easy to follow.... More 

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

Island Explorer appreciates hearing your feedback on our tour, and we're glad to know that it was a 5-Star experience for you. Our reservationist, Kate, always works hard to make sure every guest experience is top notch. Due to some construction along Mathews Drive and Hilton Head Island's unique sign laws, we realize that it can be difficult to find... More 

1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 9, 2015 via mobile

Vacationing with my teenage daughter, our first time on Hilton Head Island, we were told we HAD to go on a dolphin cruise. This was the perfect trip! We chose the two hour cruise and were happy with the small size of the boat (10 passengers) and the tour. Captain John was great! He was friendly and knowledgable and showed... More 

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

Island Explorer appreciates your kind words and great review. We agree that spending some time out on the beautiful Lowcountry waters is a great part of a Hilton Head Island vacation. Capt. John works hard to provide all of our guests a great experience. Island Explorer is lucky to have some of the best captains on Hilton Head Island. We... More 

Erwin, North Carolina
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 3, 2015

Captain Bobby was great!! Would highly recommend this sunset cruise! We saw Dolphins up and close. Ask for Bobby he was very knowledgeable!

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

We're glad that you enjoyed your Sunset Cruise on Island Explorer. Capt. Bobby, like all of our captains, strives to be knowledgeable and friendly and to provide an awesome experience to every guest. Thanks for making Island Explorer part of your Hilton Head Island vacation. More 

Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
4 attraction reviews
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 1, 2015

Capt. Kathy is everything the reviews say and more. We learned incredible loads of information about the ecosystem and the history of the area. My kids collected tons of Sand Dollars. We saw about 40 live Star Fish and a Grouper stuck in the sand. She stopped every time the Dolphins were near so we could get close. Kathy was... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 6
IslandExplorerHHISC, Public Relations Manager at Island Explorer, responded to this review

Island Explorer appreciates the 5-star review of your tour to Vanishing Island. Capt. Kathy, like all of our captains, always works hard to make sure that every passenger has a wonderful and memorable experience. We apologize for the mechanical issue on the boat. Although all of our boats are nearly new and very well maintained, occasional mechanical issues can happen.... More 

Charlotte, North Carolina
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
3 attraction reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 29, 2015

We wanted to take a boat tour to see a different part of HHI-Captain Kathy led our tour and was AWESOME! If you ca-ask for her-she obviously loves what she does and it shows. Lots of interesting perspective and history of HHI and a keen eye for the nature all around. Our son loved it as well ( age 11).... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
Harrisburg, North Carolina, United States
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 29, 2015

We took the 2 hour tour today & had a fantastic time. Captain Kathy was very friendly & so knowledgeable. We learned a lot about Hilton Head & the wildlife. Our 11 year old son even got to "captain" the boat a bit. He loved it. It was a bit on the cold side but we had prepared with coats... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes

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