Helmed by local biologist and US Coast Guard?certified captain Meg Hoyle, Botany Bay Ecotours leverages scientific expertise while exposing Edisto Island's natural beauty through leisurely boat tours and educational kayak excursions. Dolphin eco tours set off in pursuit of clear, memorable glimpses of the bottle-nosed creatures, while sunset tours showcase the exquisite colors of the sun setting over the beach and birds heading to their marshland roosts. Guests looking for a similar experience on dry land can observe turtles on the beach or head off on a private island safari. Guides augment the sightseeing experiences with rich explanations of the history and biology of local wildlife, as well as the region's low-country and Gullah culture.
The 18-hole course at Lady’s Island Country Club meanders through the forested terrain of its namesake isle, presenting a round filled with dense tree lines, contoured greens, and oversized sand traps. Opened in 1970, the Timothy Freeland–designed layout leads golfers over wide fairways lined with stately trees, demanding precise tee shots or enough golf balls to feed a grove of hungry trees. The expansive boundaries create beautifully sculpted fairways cleaved into the natural landscape, creating a track of uniquely designed holes with no two fairways running directly alongside one another.
The midday sun beats down on the hat-clad heads of the passengers, but they barely feel the heat. The rapt crowd has gathered on the top deck of the Holiday, their eyes collectively glued to the waters below them where a glossy fin emerged and disappeared a second ago. The onlookers’ silence suddenly dissolves into a symphony of awed whispers and camera clicks as a trio of playful bottlenose dolphins breaks through the water and splashes about near the ship. Creating moments such as this between humans and nature has been Captain Mark's Dolphin Watch Cruise’s mission since setting sail on its inaugural excursion in 1983.
Based out of Shelter Cove Harbour, Captain Mark's Dolphin Watch Cruise's experienced crew introduces visitors to area wildlife via two varieties of aquatic adventures. Daytime and sunset dolphin watch nature cruises glide past numerous scenic points of interest including Wexford Plantation, marine creatures, oyster beds, and oyster laundry piles. Alternatively, Let’s Go Crabbing trips ferry kids and adults away aboard the Crabber J II for a lively session of crustacean catching.
An armada of sea kayaks quietly slices through the sparkling waters of Broad Creek, suddenly interrupted by the playful splashes of two bottlenose dolphins sidling up to the fleet. As the people in the kayaks erupt into squeals of glee, one of Water Dog Outfitters’ seasoned guides launches into an impromptu lesson explaining dolphin behaviors and why they’ve alighted upon the kayaks. This awe-inspiring interaction is the reason Water Dog Outfitters was founded in 1998, and today its knowledgeable staff continue to lead engaging, history-laced tours around Hilton Head Island, Pinckney Island, and the surrounding lowlands. While the company’s focus remains on maritime exploits along local rivers and impressive puddles, Water Dog’s cadre of naturalists also returns to terra firma to lead bicycle tours and hikes for explorers of all ages and abilities.
Some people spend their days working with computers and copiers; the staff at Parasail Hilton Head prefer parasails, banana boats, and jet skis. Based at Salty Fare Boat Landing, the team shares its sense of adventure with visitors ages 6 and up.
During parasailing outings, Parasail Hilton Head's 31-foot parasail boat zooms through Skull Creek, lifting riders up to 500 feet into the air so that they can ogle the area's million-dollar homes, drifting sailboats, and frolicking dolphins. The company's captains also cut zigzags into the water during wild banana boat rides for up to six people, and they let customers do the driving by renting out jet skis by the hour.
Aboard her 25-foot Stingray 234LR, Captain Megan escorts up to six passengers on more than 10 intimate charters. The USCG-licensed captain navigates waters teeming with Atlantic bottlenose dolphins by day, floats through Calibogue Sound at sunset, and cruises past Shelter Cove's summertime fireworks displays from the water at night. Her Stingray 234LR also pulls one- and two-person tubes along the whitecaps and navigates backwater marshes en route to open areas ready for watersports such as wakeboarding, water skiing, and turtle wrestling.