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Island Explorer

101 Marshland Road, Hilton Head, SC 29926
843-785-2100
Website
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Ranked #14 of 127 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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344 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Statesville, NC
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
5 attraction reviews
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 20, 2014 NEW

WOW - four of us decided to take this cruise and we all happy we did so. Captain Bobby was fantastic, and very knowledgeable about the area and the waters. Capt'n Bobby is a great Hilton Head historian, and wildlife expert. He answered all (ALL) our questions and provided excellent positioning for photo ops - bird, sunset and dolphins. When... More

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Naperville, Illinois
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 5, 2014

Vanishing Island was little more than a low tide sandbar with very few shells, but Captain Kathy was a great tour guide and treated us to a fun cruise with close up watching of dolphins. The boat was small enough to maneuver quickly to stay with the dolphins. Captain Kathy told us many interesting things about the wildlife, ecology, history,... More

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

Gary, It was such a pleasure to have you, your wife and friends on our trip. I'm so glad you enjoyed learning about our wonderful Island and watching the dolphin. We look forward to seeing y'all again and discovering how different the vanishing island will be as it is ever changing. Captain Kathy More

Bath, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
165 reviews 165 reviews
31 attraction reviews
225 helpful votes 225 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 3, 2014

Captain Kathy took us on our sunset cruise and she was great. The weather had been quite bad a couple of days before when we were due to go out and the boat was larger that night as it was to hold 6 people + captain. However, the night we went out the boat was very small (there were 4... More

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

Thanks for letting us know that you had a "great sunset trip" on Island Explorer. We always try to choose the best boat for our guests as we have both 12-passenger and 6-passenger boats. When we have a smaller group, they usually enjoy the intimate experience of the slightly smaller boat. Captain Kathy appreciates your kind words. More

Florence, South Carolina
2 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 29, 2014 via mobile

We took the 2hr tour and it We took 2hr tour it went by too fast.Captain Chatty Kathy was a great host. We learned a lot about the island and the wildlife. Worth the time and money. We Would do it again.

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

Hi Denise, We are glad to know that you found the Lowcountry waters around Hilton Head to be "beautiful." Captain Kathy loves to share her vast knowledge of our island with our guests. We sure hope to see you again next time you are on Hilton Head. More

Clarkston, Michigan, United States
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
3 attraction reviews
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 25, 2014

Captain Kathy was great. She learned all our names and took us around the marsh area. We saw a lot of Dolphins and many birds. She did a wonderful job explaining the environment to us and you could tell she loved her job and respected the water and creatures in it. We loved it!

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

Hi Joan, Thanks for sharing our experience on Island Explorer. We ALL love our jobs here, and Captain Kathy is no exception. We work hard to give each guest a memorable experience, and we are really glad to know that you "loved it." More

Charlotte, North Carolina
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 20, 2014

Captain Kathy was great! The weather wasn't looking good so she took us out for a short trip so my daughter wouldn't be disappointed. We got a great island history lesson. But, the highlight was when a beautiful dolphin swam right up next to the boat, stopped and looked right at my daughter. The smaller boats are so much better... More

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

Hi Katie, It's nice to hear that you had a "wonderful tour" with Island Explorer. Because your safety and comfort are very important to us, Captain Kathy was being vigilant about the weather. Luckily, since most of our tours are in the calm waters of Broad Creek, we can see a lot of great sights without getting too far from... More

Buffalo, New York
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 17, 2014

Took a 2 hour tour today (Wed Sept 17th, 2014) and it was a great time! Captain Kathy was very nice and knowledgable. We saw a bunch of dolphins and different type of birds! Definitely recommend this tour! Thank You! -Megan

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

Hi Megan, We're glad you had a "great time" on Island Explorer, and we appreciate your recommendation. More

Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 12, 2014

Capt. Kathy was a good captain and also was very knowledgeable of where things were at. We saw dolphins like promised and also manatees. Tiny boat but worth it for a more up close encounter with the dolphins

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

Thanks for your kind words. Our 27-foot, 12-passenger boats are perfect for an up close encounter with dolphins, so we're glad you chose Island Explorer. Captain Kathy is one of our top captains, and she appreciates your 5-star review. More

1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 8, 2014

9 ladies on a weekend trip to HH decided to take a boat tour to see dolphins and a bit of the island. It was Sunday and we had a hard time finding a company for a tour. Either they weren't open Sunday, had bigger boats requiring a larger minimum of passengers or were canceling tours for a little rain.... More

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

We're glad you called Island Explorer. We are open 7 days a week during the busy season, so Sunday tours are no problem for us. We appreciate your patience with the weather. We always do everything we can to ensure you get a safe and pleasurable tour. Captain Bobby is one of our best, and he was happy to entertain... More

Sumter, South Carolina, United States
2 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 2, 2014

My family and I went on the 3 hour Vanishing Island Tour around the middle of August. I think we just had bad luck that day. We only saw a few dolphins, all of us got stung by jelly fish, and the island didn't quite vanish as much as it normally would. We did manage to find some sand dollars,... More

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

Hi Cynthia, Thanks for sharing your experience with Island Explorer. When dealing with nature, we often get a variety of conditions. It sounds like you had a bit of bad luck with the weather on your tour. When the wind is strong from the south the water can be choppy and water will sometimes splash onto the boat - this... More

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