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.
Sponsored by:
Map
Satellite
Map updates are paused. Zoom in to see updated info.
Reset zoom
Updating Map...
Sponsored by:
Get directions
Address: 101 Marshland Rd, Hilton Head, SC 29926-2306
Phone Number: +1 843-785-2100
Website
Today
7:00 am - 9:00 pm
Open 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 557 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 499
    Excellent
  • 38
    Very good
  • 14
    Average
  • 3
    Poor
  • 2
    Terrible
DoLpHiN CruiSe!!

We had a very awesome experience & the guide was very friendly! Caption Kathy is a must have if you want the fun filled experience with the family to make memories with! Very... read more

5 of 5 starsReviewed yesterday
chloecupcakeunicorn
,
Zanesville, Ohio
Add Photo Write a Review

557 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year
Language
Showing 556: English reviews
Zanesville, Ohio
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed yesterday NEW

We had a very awesome experience & the guide was very friendly! Caption Kathy is a must have if you want the fun filled experience with the family to make memories with! Very knowledgeable of the water's & kid friendly! Pictures are worth a thousand words & we'll always cherish the great time we had during our visit!

Helpful?
Thank chloecupcakeunicorn
2 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

Our trip wS relaxing, educational and fun for the whole family. We saw over two dozen dolphin up close, jumping gish, oysters, various breeds of birds. We also learned a great deal about the area's ecosystem. The kids loved gathering shells on Vanishing Island. Captain Jimmy was an outstanding guide. Without a doubt, this was our family's favorite activity on... More 

Helpful?
Thank Bryan P
IslandExplorerHHISC, Owner at Island Explorer, responded to this review

Bryan, Thanks for taking time to write such a nice review. Captain Jimmy appreciate your kind words. As the owner of Island Explorer, and a guide for over 30 years, he is a great resource for education about the area's ecosystem. We're all quite happy that you considered your Vanishing Island Expedition to be your "family's favorite activity on Hilton... More 

Richmond
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

We booked this trip as a surprise for our 6 year old daughter and it was the best tour ever!!!!! Captain Rich was amazing the sites were beautiful! We had to stop in harbour town because the rain and still he made it a great time he was so knowledgeable and stopped for a lot of animal sightings just the... More 

Helpful?
Thank eferg012910
IslandExplorerHHISC, Owner at Island Explorer, responded to this review

Wow! We are really flattered hear that this was "the best tour ever!!!!" At Island Explorer our goal is to give not only educational and entertaining tours but to also help create unique and memorable experiences for your family. In the summer we have to deal with changing weather, but we always have a backup plan. We're glad that you... More 

Indianapolis, Indiana
2 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 6 days ago NEW

My wife and I went on the 2 hour sunset cruise and it was absolutely gorgeous. We saw many dolphins and the sunset. Our captain was Michael and he was excellent. Very knowledgable when speaking but also knew when to let the passengers enjoy the moment in silence. I highly recommend this company and this boat tour.

Helpful?
Thank joshchap2
IslandExplorerHHISC, Owner at Island Explorer, responded to this review

Island Explorer and Captain Michael appreciate your kind words and great review. Thanks for taking time to share your experience so that future visitors can make an informed choice. Sunset Cruises at Island Explorer are a very special time of day, and we try to give our guests both an educational and entertaining experience, but also let them enjoy the... More 

Huntersville
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 6 days ago NEW

Our first visit to Hilton Head and we picked the right dolphin tour. They don't over crowd the boat and we saw so many dolphins. Everytime we saw a dolphin the captain would stop the boat so we could take photos and videos. It was a great time!! Highly recommend this tour!

Helpful?
Thank Missy1281
IslandExplorerHHISC, Owner at Island Explorer, responded to this review

Thanks so much for taking time to leave such a nice review for Island Explorer. It's always a pleasure to have first time visitors aboard our boats. We hope you'll come see us again next time you visit Hilton Head Island. Every day and every trip is a little bit different. Safe travels... More 

Palm Coast, Florida
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago NEW

we had a great time on our cruise. captain rich made sure we got the right sunset picture. even though the fireworks went off late he made sure we got to see them.

Helpful?
Thank daytonasmom
IslandExplorerHHISC, Owner at Island Explorer, responded to this review

Thanks for taking time to write a review for Island Explorer and Captain Rich. We're glad to hear that you got "the right sunset picture" and got to see the fireworks. We always do our best to make sure everything works out, even when things outside of our control (like the fireworks) don't go exactly as planned. We hope you'll... More 

Westport
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago NEW

My husband, myself and our 3 girls took the 3 hr tour and vanishing island Beach walk. Capt Kathy's trio was fun, informative and energetic. We found sand dollars and lots of different shells. A great time!

Helpful?
Thank alli_olefson
IslandExplorerHHISC, Owner at Island Explorer, responded to this review

We're so glad to know that you had "a great time" on Island Explorer with Captain Kathy. Our "Vanishing Island" tour offers a unique experience to see dolphins and nature and also search for sand dollars and shells. We're glad that you found some treasure. Come see us again next time you visit Hilton Head Island. More 

Alpharetta, Georgia
Level Contributor
11 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

We go on this cruise every time we visit Hilton Head. We have gone out with other companies but find this the best tour because we always see a lot of dolphins and the boats are the perfect size ... not too big and not too small. The crew members are very knowledgeable and always friendly. The boats depart from... More 

Helpful?
Thank JimmyJetski
IslandExplorerHHISC, Owner at Island Explorer, responded to this review

The whole crew at Island Explorer thanks you for your kind words and great review. We think our custom-built 12-passenger boats are just the right size - large enough for bigger families and groups, but small enough to offer an up close and personal experience. Our captains are some of the best on Hilton Head and our location at the... More 

Leesburg, Virginia
Level Contributor
10 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

Captain Rich gave our family a wonderful tour and great time on a sunset excursion. We saw lots of dolphins and learned a lot about the local waters and points of interest. Everyone had a very memorable time. We'd recommend to everyone.

Helpful?
Thank David D
IslandExplorerHHISC, Owner at Island Explorer, responded to this review

Hi David, Captain Rich and Island Explorer really appreciate your 5-Star review. It's always our goal to give you and your family a "wonderful tour and great time." We're glad that you had that experience on your Sunset Excursion. Thanks for taking time to write such kind words, and come see us again next time you are on Hilton Head... More 

Walnut Creek
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

We had a large group for a reunion and they were able to accommodate 24 in 2 boats at the same time. The captains were informative and fun. We saw more a dozen dolphins in pairs and even threes. Captain says it is mating season. Kids had a lot of fun and the ride was refreshing. Two big thumbs up.... More 

Helpful?
Thank JennyA1972
IslandExplorerHHISC, Owner at Island Explorer, responded to this review

Hi Jenny, Thanks for taking time to write such a nice review. It was a pleasure to have your group on our boats. We appreciate your kind words and "two big thumbs up." We hope to see you on Island Explorer 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

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim 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?