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Where To See Dolphins In South Carolina – Complete Guide

If you’re looking for somewhere to see dolphins in South Carolina then you’re in the right place.

There’s plenty of places to see dolphins in their natural habitat all over South Carolina, from Charleston to Hilton Head.

This post will tell you all of the best places to see dolphins in South Carolina and includes all the information you’ll need for a fun day out. 

When Is The Best Time Of Year To See Dolphins In South Carolina?

Dolphins can be seen in South Carolina all year round. 

The waters surrounding South Carolina are of a mild temperature, meaning that dolphins can live there throughout the year and don’t need to migrate elsewhere during the winter. 

The entire coast of South Carolina is actually home to a significant population of resident bottlenose dolphins that live there all year round.

Best Places To See Dolphins In South Carolina

You can see dolphins all over the coastline of South Carolina. 

Below I’ve detailed the exact locations where you can observe dolphins in the ocean.

Hilton Head Island

One of the best places in South Carolina to see dolphins is at Hilton Head Island.

Hilton Head Island is a resort town and island in South Carolina known for its white sand beaches and wildlife.

Dolphin sightings are so common here that it’s hard not to see one. Due to Hilton Head’s mild water temperatures, dolphins can be found here all year round.

There’s tons of activities available at Hilton Head which offer a glimpse of a dolphin. You could book onto a dolphin watching tour or for something a bit more special, book a sunset dolphin watching cruise

If you’d prefer, you can also book a private boat tour just for you and your group. 

If you want to do something a bit more active whilst also getting up close and personal with the dolphins, you could join a kayaking tour, try stand-up paddleboarding or even try parasailing.

You can see some of the dolphins of Hilton Head Island in the video below, spotted whilst out on a boat tour:

Myrtle Beach

Another great place in South Carolina where you can see dolphins is Myrtle Beach.

Myrtle Beach is a vacation resort on the Atlantic coast known for white sandy beaches, amusement parks and one of the USA’s tallest ferris wheels.

One of Myrtle Beach’s main attractions is the bottlenose dolphins that live there. You can see them from the beach itself as the dolphins swim quite close to the shore.

It’s common to spot their fins out in the ocean when out dolphin watching on Myrtle Beach.

Alternatively, you can get out into the water and try an activity like stand-up paddle boarding to get an even better view. You could also book a surfing lesson.

Charleston Harbor

A great place in South Carolina where you can see dolphins is Charleston Harbor.

Located in Charleston, Charleston Harbor is a small inlet of the Atlantic Ocean and a popular resort area.

Dolphin sightings are common at Charleston Harbor – you can often see dolphins swimming in the water here. 

You can see the dolphins at a distance from the harbor itself but for the best views you should book onto a boat tour. For something a bit more special, book onto a sunset cruise.

See how close you can get to the dolphins in Charleston Harbor in the video below:

Folly Beach

Another fantastic place in South Carolina where you can often see dolphins is Folly Beach. 

Folly Beach is a city located on Folly Island, just south of Charleston. It features a long pier that stretches over 1,000 feet into the ocean. 

Bottlenose dolphins live in the oceans all around Folly Beach and it is common to see them playing in the ocean, especially when the waters are calm.

You can watch them from the shore or for a more up-close and personal experience, get out into the water!

The best way to get out onto the ocean and see the dolphins close up is to join a kayaking tour or try out stand-up paddleboarding.

You can see the dolphins feeding at Folly Beach in the video below:

Kiawah Island

Another place in South Carolina where you can see dolphins is Kiawah Island.

Kiawah Island is a barrier island located 25 miles from Charleston. This island is famed for its natural beauty including beaches, trails, woodlands and more.

Dolphins can frequently be spotted in the rivers and creeks that surround Kiawah Island. 

One of the most popular places for dolphin spotting is at Captain Sam’s Inlet which is a body of water that separates Kiawah Island from nearby Seabrook Island. 

The dolphins are commonly seen feeding in this area. They do what is known as ‘strand feeding’ which is a rare feeding practice unique to the dolphins who reside in this area.

You can see some dolphins ‘strand feeding’ at this inlet in the video below:

Shem Creek

Another place in South Carolina where you can often see dolphins is Shem Creek.

Shem Creek, located in Charleston, is a popular waterfront dining and drinking district close to Mount Pleasant. 

The waters of Shem Creek are a well-known dolphin waterway and it’s super common to spot a dolphin whilst out eating dinner or sipping on a cocktail at a waterfront bar.

Many people also get out onto the water itself on a boat or kayak for an even closer view.

Pitt Street Bridge

Another place where you can see a dolphin in South Carolina is at Pitt Street Bridge.

Pitt Street Bridge, located in Charleston, was once a trolley bridge that connected Mount Pleasant to nearby Sullivan’s Island. 

Today it is now a scenic public park where people relax, ride bikes, take walks and look out for animal life.

You can often see dolphins swimming close by from the bridge especially during high tide. One of the best times to visit is at sunset. 

Bulls Island

Another place where you can often see dolphins is Bulls Island.

Bulls Island is a 5,000-acre remote barrier island located in Charleston. You can access it by ferry.

The island is made up of a series of creeks, wetlands, forests and beaches which are home to a wide variety of animals including dolphins.

Hop aboard a boat and you’ll be sure to spot a dolphin moving through the creeks of Bulls Island.


Thanks for reading this post on where to see dolphins in South Carolina. 

Wherever you are in South Carolina, there’s plenty of options here to see dolphins in their natural habitat in Hilton Head, Charleston, Myrtle Beach and more. 

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