South Carolina
Whale Watching & Dolphin Tours

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Our most recommended South Carolina Dolphin & Whale Watching

Charleston: Daytime or Sunset Historic Harbor Cruise

1. Charleston: Daytime or Sunset Historic Harbor Cruise

Experience Charleston on board a 1920s-Bay-Steamer-replica yacht. Listen carefully as your captain guides you on a journey through more than 300 years of American history. You’ll pass by 75 landmarks and points-of-interest on this 20-mile trip. Get close-up views of the “Holy City,” including Fort Sumter - where the first shots of the Civil War were fired. Glide past Confederate and Union army forts and see the famous “Fighting Lady” of World War II. As you pass by remnants of the Civil and Revolutionary wars, don’t forget to look for dolphins and pelicans splashing nearby. Choose between indoor or outdoor seating. There is also an enclosed observatory and a partially-covered upper deck in case of rain.

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Hilton Head Island: Dolphin Nature Cruise

2. 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.

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Hilton Head Island: Sunset Dolphin Cruise

3. 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.

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Hilton Head Island: Guided Dolphin Tour

4. 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.

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Hilton Head Island: Self-Drive Pontoon Boat Rental

5. Hilton Head Island: Self-Drive Pontoon Boat Rental

Rent a pontoon boat on your trip to Hilton Head Island and explore this luscious landscape at your own pace (note: somebody in the group must have prior boating experience). Choose the rental time that suits you and hop onboard a vessel with capacity for up to 10 passengers. You will receive professional orientation on navigating Hilton Head Island’s waterways, as well as recommendations for some superb lunch spots. Once you’re ready to go, sail through the beautiful waters of Skull Creek, pass Daufuskie Island, travel through Cooper River, or head up May River to check out the sand bar and Palmetto Bluff. Along the way, keep an eye out for Atlantic bottlenose dolphins and other native wildlife. You can also anchor up and take a dip in the refreshing waters, or stay on deck and soak up the glorious South Carolina sunshine.

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Hilton Head Island: Mini Boat Dolphin Tour

6. Hilton Head Island: Mini Boat Dolphin Tour

Start the experience with a short safety briefing and instruction on how to use your mini boat. Set off and get a view of Harbourtown and Daufuskie Island. Try to spot a variety of wildlife including heron, pelican, dolphin, osprey, and turtles. With your experienced guide, try to spot some of the dolphin population up close. Have pictures taken of your trip for and take home the memories of your trip.

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

7. 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.

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Hilton Head Island: Dolphin Tour at Sunset & Fireworks Show

8. Hilton Head Island: Dolphin Tour at Sunset & Fireworks Show

Once you've met your group at the meeting point, travel first around the Hilton Head coast and take in stunning views of the shoreline. Look out for resident Atlantic bottlenose dolphins as they play, feed, and swim around the boat, and make the most of this incredible opportunity to see these friendly creatures in their natural habitat. Along the way, pass by the iconic Harbour Town Lighthouse, an impressive, 90-foot (27.4-meter) tall beacon renowned for its candy-striped exterior. Learn about the rich history and diverse ecosystem of the island from your expert tour guides as you soak in the scenic views and sail past breathtaking landmarks. Then, sit back and relax as the sun begins to set, painting the water’s surface in a vibrant array of hues. Find out why Hilton Head has been named one of the best destinations for sunset viewing along the East Coast of the USA. Finally, after the sun has fully sunk below the horizon, get ready for Hilton Head’s weekly fireworks.

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Hilton Head Island: 75-Minute Jet Ski Tour

9. 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.

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Hilton Head Island: America’s Cup Sailing Yacht Cruise

10. Hilton Head Island: America’s Cup Sailing Yacht Cruise

Step aboard a former America’s Cup sailing yacht for an afternoon cruise. Discover what it takes to sail a racing yacht as you help the crew, or simply sit back and enjoy the ride. See the sights of the Calibogue Sound and learn about the history of these waters. Have your camera ready as you keep an eye out for dolphins. Drinks and merchandise are available for purchase on board.

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Other Sightseeing Options in South Carolina

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What people are saying about South Carolina

The captain and his crew was fantastic. They had snacks and alcholic and non-alcholic beverages. The captain should have been a stand up comedian. My wife and I toured the historic area and we had a blast.

We had a great trip!! Our captain was super friendly and he had a great eye for dolphins. We saw some right away and learned about a lot of great history for the area!!

My husband and I had a great time! Captain JP was awesome. He knows everything about the area and made the cruise a really fun time.

Great dolphin excursion! Tons of dolphins seen! Would definitely do it again..

Relaxing, educational and overall a great experience