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“Don't skip this... Best time!”
4 of 5 bubbles Review of Island Explorer

Island Explorer
Ranked #3 of 84 Tours in Hilton Head
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
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 intimate experiences.You may choose a Sunset Cruise, a 1-Hour Introductory Tour (only offered during the summer months), a 2-Hour Dolphin and Nature Excursion, or our 3-Hour Vanishing Island Expedition. 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. 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.
Stoughton, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
46 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Don't skip this... Best time!”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 7, 2010

We were first timers to the island and had done some research on different water activities. The Island Explorer had consistent reviews on this site so we booked a Beach Combing Experience for two adults and two teens (17 and 18). It was by far the best part of our 7 day trip. Captain Chris was a great guide. We saw many pods of dolphins throughout the trip. Capt. Chris was very professional and informative about the surroundings and the wildlife. The island (sandbar) was very interesting and we grabbled over 2 dozen sand dollars each the size of the palm of our hands. Being New Englanders we had never seen sand dollars so large or plentiful. The entire tour was well worth the fee. I would wear sandals that are easy on and off, make sure you have some sort of protection for your camera as the spray can be a hazard. Our trip was three hours but felt like 1 because we had so much fun we didn't want it to end. I would recommend this to any of my friends. I would go on this tour again the next time we visit the island. Bravo Capt. Chris!

Thank morrishouse1276
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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620 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
1 review
“Dolphin stranding?”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 5, 2010

If you don't know what dolphin stranding is then you need to take a trip out with Captain Jim. We went into this tour expecting it to be just like any other however what we got was much more. Between learning all about the local history and then seeing dolphins up close and in action was truely amazing. This is an experience that we will never forget and we highly reccomend it. Jim took us to Vanishing Island and what an experience that was. We saw tons of stingrays, a horseshoe crap, and in total collected 79 sand dollars. Even our 17 year old daughter had a blast. We reccomend this to family's with children of any age.

Thank 11watsonv
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Charlotte, North Carolina
Level Contributor
11 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“A HIT!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 5, 2010

We sent my parents on the vanishing island cruise. Chris was so knowledgeable about everything and could answer any and all questions! Plenty of dolphins and lots of sand dollars! Highly recommended!

Thank ardon5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Acworth, Georgia
2 reviews
“A fabulous way to end our trip”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 3, 2010

We just came back from the sunset dolphin cruise tonight where we had the best time ever!!! Dianne was our guide, and she did a wonderful job.... Seeing the dolphins up close and personal was such a treat for all of us..... It was a trip we will all remember for some time.... It will DEFINATELY be on our list of things to do when we return to Hilton Head.... A fantastic experience WELL worth the money....... Thank you for such a fun night... :)

Thank preemiemommy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Evans GA
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Outstanding experience for the whole family - a definite plus.”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 2, 2010

Hats off to the Island Explorer crew for making our stay at Hilton Head so memorable. We took the 3 hour Vanishing island tour on Wednesday, June 30th and had an awesome time. Our captain, Rick, was knowledgable about a lot of things pertaining to the area....everything from the ecosystem of the surrounding marshes to famous landmarks along the way....
Even our teenage girls were impressed (and sometimes that's hard to do!)...they were especially excited to view dolphins up close and were blown away with the number of shells/sand dollars they were able to collect on Vanishing Island.
Would highly recommend this trip for anyone (don't forget to bring your cooler with snacks and drinks to have along the way)!

Thank cblackwell
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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