Hilton Head Island is not just a perfect summer destination to sunbathe, swim and relax on the beach. It’s also home to one of the best whale watching experiences on the East Coast. The island provides the perfect location to spot a multitude of different whales and dolphins. In this post, we’ll take you through the best whale watching experiences in Hilton Head Island, where you can witness these magnificent creatures up close and personal, and make unforgettable memories with your loved ones. So, let’s dive in and discover why Hilton Head Island is a must-visit location for whale watching enthusiasts.
The 7 Best Whale Watching in Hilton Head Island
- Hilton Head Island Dolphin Tour
- Dolphin Ocean Cruise
- Sunset Dolphin Cruise
- 90 Minute Dolphin Tour
- Hilton Head Island Guided Dolphin Tour
- Hilton Head Island Sunset Dolphin Cruise
- Hilton Head Island Dolphin Nature Cruise
The 7 Best Whale Watching in Hilton Head Island
1. Hilton Head Island Dolphin Tour
Experience the thrill of a 90-minute dolphin watching cruise off the coast of Hilton Head Island. Join a knowledgeable guide who will help you spot dolphins and other marine animals while providing information about the local ecosystem and wildlife. This family-friendly tour is ideal for children, teens, and adults alike, and multiple tour times are offered throughout the day for your convenience. The tour includes a professional guide with live narration, and gratuities are also included. Meet at 86 Helmsman Way in Hilton Head Island, where you’ll find us on the left side of the big plaza. Don’t miss the chance to sail among one of the world’s largest populations of dolphins and other marine animals. Book this unforgettable experience now.
2. Dolphin Ocean Cruise
This ninety-minute narrated Hilton Head dolphin watching cruise offers the perfect opportunity to observe dolphins, egrets, herons, and other animals in the wild while cruising out on the Calibogue Sound and Atlantic Ocean. Your guide will provide information and entertainment while you take in spectacular views of the low-country and pass by landmarks such as Bull Island and the Haig Point Lighthouse. The meeting point is located at 149 Lighthouse Rd, Hilton Head Island, SC 29928, with departure from the Harbour Town Yacht Basin just below the Harbour Town Lighthouse. Please note that there is a $9.00 per vehicle entry fee to the Sea Pines Resort. Book your dolphin ocean cruise today to relax and enjoy a wonderful coastal experience.
3. Sunset Dolphin Cruise
Enjoy a relaxing and picturesque 90-minute sunset cruise off the coast of South Carolina in search of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins. With frequent sightings of these majestic creatures, this cruise is perfect for capturing photos of dolphins as you learn about them and your surroundings from an onboard naturalist. Sip on alcoholic beverages (available for purchase) and take in the stunning views, including the Haig Point lighthouse. Departing from the scenic Harbour Town Yacht Basin, this tour includes a restroom on board and entrance fees into the Sea Pines Resort. Meet at the Harbour Town Lighthouse and enjoy the best dolphin-watching cruise Hilton Head Island has to offer.
4. 90 Minute Dolphin Tour
Looking for an unforgettable experience in Hilton Head Island? Look no further than this 90-minute private dolphin watching tour! Led by a knowledgeable Lowcountry Master Naturalist, this tour offers a unique and intimate wildlife experience as you watch dolphins frolicking in their natural habitat. Along the way, you’ll also have the chance to see other amazing creatures such as rays, sharks, and sea turtles, all while learning about the local ecology. With a private vessel for your family or small group of up to six passengers, this tour promises to be a one-of-a-kind adventure you’ll never forget. All fees and taxes are included in the price, so all you have to do is sit back, relax, and enjoy the show!
5. Hilton Head Island Guided Dolphin Tour
Take in the beauty of Hilton Head Island from a unique perspective on a fully narrated boat tour. Observe Atlantic bottlenose dolphins in their natural habitat and learn about their habits, eating patterns, and more from a knowledgeable local guide. The tour also includes a narration about the history of the surrounding islands, including topics such as oysters, spartina grass, tides, and pluff mud. Don’t miss the chance to spot other types of wildlife, including pelicans, osprey, stingrays, herons, and turtles. The tour includes a boat ride, narration by the guide, and hotel pickup and drop-off, but excludes food, drinks, and tips. Note that the tour is not suitable for wheelchair users.
6. Hilton Head Island Sunset Dolphin Cruise
Discover the incredible wildlife of Hilton Head Island with a sunset dolphin spotting cruise. This tour guarantees dolphin sightings and features live narration by an expert naturalist captain. As you watch the sun set over the horizon, take in the stunning scenery of Daufuskie Island. Food and drinks are available for purchase and there is a Sea Pines Resort vehicle entry fee of $9 (cash only). Gratuity is also included. Don’t miss out on this fantastic nature cruise!
7. Hilton Head Island Dolphin Nature Cruise
Take a sightseeing cruise on a spacious vessel to explore the incredible nature around Hilton Head Island and the surrounding waterways. Benefit from guaranteed dolphin sightings as you hear about the island’s history from the expert crew. Admire the coastal landscape while discovering the lifecycle of these fascinating mammals. With sightings guaranteed, this tour is sure to be a highlight of your vacation. The tour includes a sightseeing cruise, guaranteed dolphin sightings, an expert naturalist captain, and food and drinks available for purchase. Additionally, the Sea Pines Resort vehicle entry fee and gratuities are included. Enjoy live narration by an expert naturalist captain as you take a memorable trip with guaranteed dolphin sightings.
Everything You Need to Know About Whale Watching in Hilton Head Island
If you’re planning a trip to Hilton Head Island and are considering whale watching, you may have some questions about the experience. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about whale watching in Hilton Head Island:
What types of whales can you see in Hilton Head Island?
Hilton Head Island is located on the Atlantic coast and is known for its sightings of humpback whales and right whales. These majestic creatures migrate through the area from mid-December to mid-April, making it the perfect time for whale watching.
What is the best time of the year to go whale watching in Hilton Head Island?
The best time to go whale watching in Hilton Head Island is during the winter and spring months. This is when the humpback and right whales are migrating through the area. While sightings are possible during other times of the year, your chances of seeing whales increase during these months.
What should I bring on a whale watching tour?
When going on a whale watching tour, it’s important to dress for the weather. Even on warmer days, it can be cooler on the water, so wearing layers is a good idea. Sunglasses and sunscreen are also a must, as the sun can be intense on the water. It’s also a good idea to bring a camera to capture any sightings.
What are the best whale watching tours in Hilton Head Island?
There are several companies that offer whale watching tours in Hilton Head Island. Some of the most popular include the Dolphin & Nature Tour, Island Explorer Dolphin and Nature Tours, and Pirates of Hilton Head. It’s important to do some research before booking a tour to ensure that you’re going with a reputable company with experienced guides.
How long do whale watching tours usually last?
Whale watching tours in Hilton Head Island typically last around 2-3 hours. This gives enough time to explore the surrounding area and search for whales without becoming too uncomfortable on the water.
What is the likelihood of seeing whales on a whale watching tour in Hilton Head Island?
While sightings are never guaranteed, Hilton Head Island has a high likelihood of whale sightings during the winter and spring months when the whales are migrating through the area. Many tour companies boast a high success rate of spotting whales, so your chances are good.
What is the best way to view whales on a whale watching tour?
When on a whale watching tour, it’s important to always follow the rules and regulations set forth by the tour company and the National Marine Fisheries Service. This means keeping a safe distance from the whales and not disturbing them in any way. It’s also a good idea to have a pair of binoculars on hand to get a closer look at the whales without intruding on their space.
What else can you see on a whale watching tour in Hilton Head Island?
In addition to humpback and right whales, there is also a diverse population of dolphins in the waters around Hilton Head Island. Many whale watching tours will also offer sightings of these playful creatures, as well as other marine life such as sea turtles and various species of fish.
What should I do if I see a whale on a whale watching tour?
While it’s exciting to see a whale on a whale watching tour, it’s important to always respect their space and not disturb them in any way. This means not getting too close and not trying to touch or feed them. Following the rules and guidelines set forth by the tour company and the National Marine Fisheries Service will help ensure the safety and protection of these magnificent creatures.In conclusion, whale watching in Hilton Head Island is a unique and exciting experience that can provide opportunities to see some of the most impressive creatures in the ocean. By following the rules and guidelines of the tour company and the National Marine Fisheries Service, visitors can help protect and preserve these magnificent animals while enjoying an unforgettable adventure on the water.
How to do Whale Watching in Hilton Head Island
Whale watching in Hilton Head Island is a breathtaking experience that anyone visiting the area should try. The island, located off the coast of South Carolina, offers a unique opportunity to view some of the most remarkable ocean creatures on earth. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do whale watching in Hilton Head Island.
Step 1: Choose the Right Time of Year
Whale watching in Hilton Head Island is seasonal, with the best months spanning from December through April. During this time, the humpback and right whales migrate from cold northern waters to the warmer waters of the south. If you plan on whale watching during other months, chances of seeing a whale are slim to none.
Step 2: Find a Professional Guide
Whale watching tours in Hilton Head Island are run by professional guides who have experience in finding the best whale activity sites. These tours are mostly conducted on boats built specifically for whale watching tours, with some of them offering on-board naturalists to give you an insight into the whales and their behavior.Do thorough research online or by making inquiries with local tour operators to ensure you choose a reputable whale watching tour company.
Step 3: Be Prepared
Whale watching trips can last up to four hours. Dress appropriately for the weather conditions, and carry either sunscreen or warm clothing, depending on your planned time of departure or the whale watching tour package you choose. A good pair of binoculars should also be on your packing list if you want to get a closer look at these magnificent creatures.
Step 4: Enjoy the Experience
Once you have booked a whale watching tour and dressed appropriately, it’s time to depart on your adventure. The boat ride out to the open ocean usually takes about 30 minutes, during which you will be surrounded by stunning views of Hilton Head Island’s shoreline. As you reach the migration route, keep your eyes peeled for the first sighting of a whale’s blowhole. Humpback whales are known to slap their tails during mating rituals and feeding, so you might witness this action during your tour.
Step 5: Observe Appropriate Etiquette
Whale watching tours in Hilton Head Island emphasize maintaining an appropriate distance from the whales to avoid causing agitation or changing their behavior patterns. Respect the whales, and allow them their space when they surface. Remember, these are wild animals, and their behavior can be unpredictable.
Step 6: Capture Memories
Whale watching is an experience that creates long-lasting memories. Be sure to bring your camera along to capture those special moments. However, remember to keep your camera down during the more exciting moments, as there is a high chance of missing the experience while fumbling with your camera.
Step 7: Plan for the Next Trip
Whale watching in Hilton Head Island can quickly turn into an addiction. With the seasonal nature of the activity, planning your next trip ahead of time can be wise. No two whale watching tours are ever the same, and you never know what to expect on your next journey.
Book Your Tour Now
Whale watching in Hilton Head Island is an experience worth trying. From choosing the right time of year to enjoying the experience and capturing memories, these steps will help make your whale watching experience unforgettable. Remember, always observe appropriate etiquette, and never forget to respect the whales and their environment.
Table of Contents