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Hilton Head Island

Dolphin & whale watching

Our most recommended Hilton Head Island Dolphin & Whale Watching

Hilton Head Island: Sunset Dolphin Cruise

1. Hilton Head Island: Sunset Dolphin Cruise

Sail towards the open ocean in search of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins on an amazing sightseeing cruise. After seeing these animals in open water, travel to Daufuskie Island and up Bull Creek to Dolphin Hole to watch the setting sun. Admire the incredible landscape of salt estuaries at sunset. Listen to live commentary from your expert captain, and ask the crew any questions you might have. Beer, wine, snacks, and drinks are available for purchase throughout the trip.

Hilton Head Island: Guided Dolphin Tour

2. Hilton Head Island: Guided Dolphin Tour

Take in the beauty of Hilton Head from the perspective of the water on a 1.5-hour, fully narrated boat tour. Delight in up-close encounters with dolphins, and find out about their habits, eating patterns, and more with a local guide. As you explore the island's waterways, learn about the history of the area and the surrounding islands from your guide's narration. Hear about oysters, spartina grass, tides, mud, and more. As well as dolphins, keep on the lookout for other wildlife including pelicans, osprey, stingrays, herons, turtles, and many more besides.

Hilton Head Island: Dolphin Nature Cruise

3. Hilton Head Island: Dolphin Nature Cruise

Take a sightseeing cruise to explore the incredible nature around Hilton Head Island and the surrounding waterways. Hear about the island’s history from your expert crew as you search for Atlantic bottlenose dolphins. Admire the coastal landscape as you learn about the lifecycle of these mammals. Discover why this region is the perfect place for dolphins to settle. With sightings guaranteed, this tour is sure to be a highlight of your vacation.

Hilton Head Island: Dolphin and Nature Tour

4. Hilton Head Island: Dolphin and Nature Tour

Bring inquisitive minds and cameras on this private dolphin tour with a Master Captain and Low Country Master Naturalist. Explore the Calibogue Sound by boat and have the opportunity to observe wild Atlantic bottlenose dolphins swimming, feeding, and socializing. See these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat, and learn about the history of the island, the ecology of the low country, and particularly the salt marsh. Watch the dolphins and learn about their social habits, physiology, diet, and more. Enjoy an opportunity to view other marine animals like rays, sea turtles, manatees, and sharks, who make cameos throughout the season.

Hilton Head: Guided Kayak Tour

5. Hilton Head: Guided Kayak Tour

Get out onto the water with this 90-minute guided kayaking tour - perfect for all ages and experience levels, from first-time paddlers to veteran kayakers.  First, arrive at the meeting point at Hilton Head and get kitted out with a kayak, paddle, and life jacket. Both double and single kayaks are available. Then, launch your kayak into the water and glide through the waters of Skull Creek. Listen as your tour guide enriches your mind with historical and wildlife knowledge of Hilton Head Island. Then, begin to paddle through the rich ecosystem of the saltwater marshlands, observing many indigenous species of bird wildlife. Try to spot brown pelicans, egrets, herons, osprey, bald eagles, and many more. Also, get up close and personal with beloved Atlantic bottlenose dolphins. Hilton Head is home to over 100 local dolphins, living here year-round, and is also located on the migratory path for these spectacular mammals. Don't be surprised to see these curious creatures swimming right alongside your kayak.

Hilton Head Island: 75-Minute Jet Ski Tour

6. Hilton Head Island: 75-Minute Jet Ski Tour

Discover Hilton Head on a thrilling 75-minute jet ski adventure. Depart from Palmetto Bay Marina`with your guide and cruise past beautiful mansions, spartina grass, oyster beds, and luxury boats on the way to your free riding area. Once in the designated area, let loose and zoom around on your very own jet ski or simply take in the beautiful surroundings. Try to spot some of Hilton Head's wildlife including dolphins, birds, and the occasional sea turtle.

Hilton Head Island: 2-Hour Guided Creek Cat Tour

7. Hilton Head Island: 2-Hour Guided Creek Cat Tour

Zip around Hilton Head Island on a 2-hour guided adventure. Ride one of these little boats, known as Creek Cats, on the water and look out for local bottlenose dolphins. Tour the most popular spots at speeds of up to 30 mph. Pass by the Harbour Town Lighthouse, an iconic beacon with a red and white candy-cane exterior. Sail past Bull Island, an uninhabited stretch of land where, according to legend, a host of exotic animals (including zebras) used to roam. Learn more about Hilton Head Island, its wildlife and ecosystem from expert guides throughout the tour. Exploring Hilton Head by Creek Cat allows you to travel through smaller marshes filled with abundant wildlife, areas that are inaccessible in larger vessels. Look out for egrets, eagles, ospreys, and otters along the way.

Hilton Head Island: 1.5-Hour Guided Small-Group Kayak Tour

8. Hilton Head Island: 1.5-Hour Guided Small-Group Kayak Tour

Learn about the rich history and diverse ecosystem of Hilton Head Island from an expert guide as you paddle on this 1.5-hour kayak tour. As you cruise through these pristine saltwater marshlands, your guide will tell you about spartina grass/cordgrass, oysters, and other local wildlife, while answering any questions you may have. Enjoy the opportunity to observe many indigenous bird species, including egrets, herons, ospreys, brown pelicans, and bald eagles. Also, make sure to keep an eye out for the beloved Atlantic bottlenose dolphins swimming playfully. Benefit from a small-group experience for up to 10 people.

Hilton Head Island: Dolphin Cruise & Nature Tour

9. Hilton Head Island: Dolphin Cruise & Nature Tour

Set sail on a 14 passenger boat cruise in the surrounding waters of Hilton Head Island and encounter bottlenose dolphins and other coastal species such as osprey, egrets, pelicans, bald eagles, a variety of shorebirds, and more. Get scenic views of Broad Creek and admire the private residential homes in Long Cove, Wexford Lock System, and Spanish Wells Plantations. See famous attractions including the Harbor Town Lighthouse, Daufuskie Island, the Atlantic Ocean, Tybee Island, and the Savannah River Bridge.

Hilton Head Island: Pontoon Boat Rental

10. Hilton Head Island: Pontoon Boat Rental

Explore the waters off the coast of Hilton Head Island with this pontoon boat rental. Have the option of renting the boat for 2 or 4 hours. Get a professional orientation on navigating Hilton Head Island’s waterways and access to life jackets.  Arrive at the rental shop and fill out the necessary rental paperwork. Listen to an engaging introductory briefing on how to make the most of the boat's features. Chart your own course that can take you all the way up to the mouth of the Atlantic Ocean.  Blast through the waters of Broad Creek. Go behind Daufuskie Island through the Cooper River or up the May River to check out the Sand Bar and Palmetto Bluff. Ask for some superb lunch recommendations on the water. Return the boat at the end of the rental period. 

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Frequently asked questions about Hilton Head Island Dolphin & Whale Watching

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What people are saying about Hilton Head Island

It was a relaxing activity and gave a different of a view of the island-from the water! The guide was great at pointing out different birds and points of interest. Also, it was great getting in and out of the kayak on a platform and launching off from that. It made it easy to get in and out.

The captain and his mate were very informative and helpful! We saw dolphins for sure! Well worth the value! We enjoyed it!

Great narration and fun to see a lot of dolphins. The ship was clean and easy to navigate from spot to spot.

Definitely saw dolphins and the sunset. Very informative on the dolphins and history of the area.

Mark was such a friendly & knowledgeable guide. We had a fabulous time. Highly recommend.