Best Dolphin Tours on St. Simons Island

As one of the premiere barrier islands in the Golden Isles, St. Simons Island is perfectly situated to enjoy the expansive wildlife that graces Coastal Georgia.

From the inland waters to the salt marshes, St. Simons Island is bursting with diverse species year-round. Between whales, alligators, and green sea turtles, you’ll spot all of your favorite sea animals when you stay at one of our Lighthouse Vacation rentals.

But perhaps the most popular species to spot is the dolphin! Lucky for our guests, there are plenty of local dolphin tours that let you experience this magnificent creature up close. Below, we’ve rounded up the best dolphin tours near St. Simons Island!

All about St. Simons Island Dolphins

While there are many dolphin species that call the Georgia coast home, the most common is the Atlantic bottlenose dolphin.

Bottlenose dolphins are famous for their upturned mouth, resembling a perpetual grin on their faces. They are sociable creatures who travel together in tight-knit groups, so you often spot a dolphin family together. Their average life span is 50 years, making them one of the longest living dolphin species in the world.

While you might get lucky and spot bottlenose dolphins from the beach, the best way to see them up close is through a local boat tour. Winding through local waterways and marshlands, guests can spot dolphins while soaking in the beauty of the natural surroundings.

The best time of year to spot dolphins is May through August, which is mating season for them. If you’re visiting outside of the summer months, no fear! There’s always a chance to spot these beautiful creatures year-round.

Dolphin Tours on St. Simons Island

Lighthouse Trolleys Land & Sea Tours

Photo Credit: chrisdorney

Lighthouse Trolleys is headed up by Cap Fendig, a local whose family has been in the St. Simons Island community for generations. He offers a wide range of boat tours, from fishing charters to sunset cruises.

Voted the “best dolphin tours by locals,” Lighthouse Trolley tours are offered year-round (with the exception of holidays) for both public and private tours. The tours depart from Morningstar Marina and are 90 minutes long within calm inland waters. You’ll not only get a chance to spot dolphins but also catch a glimpse of bird habitats, sharks, and other Georgia coast wildlife.

This family-friendly tour is perfect for all ages and group sizes. Tours are BYOB and food. Reservations are required. Tours take place at 2 PM on Tuesdays and Thursdays and 10 AM on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.

Tour prices are below. If you prefer to book a private boat tour, it is $500 for a 12-person boat.

2024 Tour Pricing:

  • $40 Adults (Ages 18 & up)
  • $35 Teens (Ages 13-17)
  • $20 Child (Ages 3-12)
  • $10 Limit One (Ages 2 and under)

String of Pearls

Photo Credit: suttirat wiriyanon

String of Pearls is another popular local charter company operating out of the Morningstar Marina.

They are known for their sunset tours, where guests enjoy a spectacular sunset aboard a 71-foot yacht while catching glimpses of bottlenose dolphins. The dolphin cruise sets sail at 7 pm during the summer months, with times changing throughout the year to greet the sunset. Guests are welcome to bring their own food and drinks to enjoy. Sunset tours are $95 per person and reservations are required. If you prefer a daytime dolphin cruise instead, String of Pearls offers a daily noon harbor cruise.

And if your group is looking for the perfect way to celebrate, be sure to check out their private charter options for a yacht all to yourselves!

Southeast Adventure Outfitters

Photo Credit: Elena_Alex_Ferns

Located in Pier Village on St. Simons Island, Southeast Adventure Outfitters has been offering boat tours to the local community for many years.

They offer a wide array of boat tours, from fishing trips to kayaking to dolphin tours. They have docking locations in Brunswick and St. Simons Island, allowing guests to explore different waterways during their stay.

For the ultimate dolphin excursion, we recommend the 3-hour boating cruise that takes you to waterways between Sea Island, St. Simons Island, and Little St. Simons. This cruise is $65 per person and departs from Village Creek Landing. If you prefer to spot dolphins from your kayak, no fear!

There are plenty of kayaking options that give you the chance to experience bottlenose dolphins up close. No matter what adventure you choose, you’re sure to have a great time exploring with Southeast Adventure Outfitters. All tour information and booking options can be found here.

Jekyll Island Boat Tours

Photo Credit: Wandel Guides

Just a 30 minute drive from St. Simons Island, Jekyll Island makes for the perfect day trip. It is home to Jekyll Island Boat Tours, which has been named TripAdvisor’s “Best of the Best in the USA for boat tours.” They offer dolphin tours, group tours, and private tours based on your preference.

Their Jekyll Island dolphin tours allow guests to spot bottlenose dolphins, manatees, sea turtles, and more while winding through the scenic waterways of Jekyll Island. Departing from the historic Jekyll Wharf, the dolphin tours last 90 minutes and is packed with education on the history and ecology of the Georgia coast. You can make your boat tour reservations here.

2024 Tour Pricing:

  • 16 years and up ($25)
  • 4-15 years ($15)
  • 3 years and under (Free)

Stay in St. Simons Island

St. Simons Island is the ideal destination for dolphin spotting. Between the inland waters, marshlands, and the beachfront, you’re bound to see a bottlenose dolphin family on your St. Simons Island vacation!

If you want an even better chance to get up close to these magnificent creatures, you can’t go wrong with any of the local dolphin tour options. Whether it’s a sunset cruise or a midday ride, you’ll enjoy beautiful scenery, history lessons from a knowledgeable guide, and wildlife spotting along the way!

What are you waiting for? Book your Lighthouse Vacations rental and discover all of the diverse wildlife that awaits you on the Georgia coast.