Head to the coast around Tybee Island from Savannah, Georgia and you’ll find that a host of excellent dolphin cruise options awaits.
In the spring of 2021, we ran a survey that discovered Savannah, Georgia to be among the most charming small cities in the United States. The main plaudits were for the colonial mansion-lined streets and old oak trees adorned in garlands of Spanish moss. But follow the Savannah River to the Atlantic Ocean and you’ll discover Tybee and Hilton Head islands, both great places to find a dolphin-spotting tour by sea or air. Here are five of the best options based on multiple factors, including chances of successful sightings, value for money, and duration.
Guided Dolphin Tour from Hilton Head near Savannah
The best value dolphin watching boat tour from Savannah departs from Hilton Head Island. The 90-minute adventure is one of the few options dedicated exclusively to spotting bottlenose dolphins in their native Atlantic Ocean habitat. Your local guide will provide narration, with enlightening information about the feeding patterns and habits of dolphins, as well as other regional marine life as you pass it by. Examples include herons, pelicans, osprey, stingrays, and turtles. There are roughly six daily departures. From $35 per person.
Hilton Head Island Scenic Helicopter Tour
Dolphins from the air? Surely that seems a bit far-fetched? Well not in Hilton Head. This three-minute mini flight gets you up into the air and out over the ocean, where your pilot will point out any marine life that might be hanging out off-shore, including dolphins, manta rays and sharks. Longer flights that include a view of Downtown Savannah are also available. A minimum of two people participating is required for these flights to go ahead. There are multiple daily flights available. From $43 per person.
Savannah Dolphin Watching Boat Tour
Over on Tybee Island, you’ll find one of the most popular dolphin-watching tours around Savannah. This five-hour jaunt starts with pick-up in Savannah. You’ll take a trolley out to Tybee Island from Downtown Savannah and start the trip out the right way: with lunch at the Crab Shack. The restaurant is located right next to an alligator pond, so you’ll start out spotting wildlife before even boarding the boat. During the dolphin cruise, look out for bird life and bottlenose dolphins, plus historic landmarks such as Cockspur Island Lighthouse. From $59 per person.
Tybee Island Paddleboard Tour and Yoga
For a more tranquil approach to the Atlantic Ocean, there is a great yoga and SUP combination tour. While this option is more about the yoga and the paddling, you’ll explore the creeks around Tybee Island, learning how to paddle, before heading out to a good spot for yoga, which have small anchors to help stabilize the board. You’ll get to see plenty of bird life along the way, and there are often good opportunities to spot dolphins as well, although as with all nature tours, sightings are not guaranteed. Thursdays and Sundays only. From $64 per person.
Private Sightseeing Boat Tour in Savannah
One thing about Savannah that makes the city special is its waterways. This private boat tour allows time to explore the winding creeks and rivers before heading out onto the open ocean. This tour lasts for roughly three hours and can accommodate up to six people (the price remains the same regardless). Pass by verdant forests, lavish Victorian-era homes and keep an eye out for wildlife along the way. This vibrant ecosystem is home to bottlenose dolphins, osprey, bald eagles, and turtles, among many other species. From $420 per group.