Hilton Head Vanishing Island Tours
Take a trip to elusive beaches on our Vanishing Island Tours in Hilton Head, SC. Taking a boat is the only way to reach this unique location which is only exposed for about 1.5 hours each day. You'll see Sand Dollars, starfish and other sea life found nowhere else in Hilton Head!
Advance Booking Strongly Advised!
- 3 Hour Vanishing Island Tours
- Walk along the historic sand before the tide arrives.
- Find Sand Dollars and wildlife!
- Safe and suitable for all ages.
- Dog friendly.
- Passionate guidance from our captains.
The Only Way to Reach Vanishing Island
For around 1.5 hours every day, the low tide reveals and provides access to Hilton Head’s famous Vanishing Island. This historic island can only be reached by a Hilton Head Vanishing Island tour.
Leaving the salt marshes, we’ll cruise out on a relaxing trip that takes us quickly across the Calibogue Sound, beyond Daufuskie Island and Harbour Town, before reaching our legendary destination – Vanishing Island.
After an eye-catching journey, you’ll then get the chance to experience Vanishing Island for yourself! You and your family can walk in the shallow waters and along the famous sands, beachcombing for shells. You’ll feel like you’re walking in the ocean!
These beaches are home to all sorts of rare sea life and artifacts, from Sand Dollars and beautiful seashells to cannonball jellyfish and spider crabs!
Because of the topography and currents of Hilton Head Island, this is likely the only place you’ll get to find such treasures.
Please note: This tour requires you to get out of the boat and walk through around 12 inches of water as the tide moves. It is advised to wear a non-slip shoe that is made for getting wet.
Unfortunately because of these demands, our Hilton Head Vanishing Island is not handicap accessible. However, with our other tours we always strive to make them accessible for all. Feel free to call us to discuss what is possible.
Watch Vanishing Island Disappear
In just a couple of hours, the island vanishes! As the high tide arrives, the secluded beach is swallowed up by the Low Country waters.
As we glide back to our starting point, you’ll see Vanishing Island fade away for another day.
Hilton Head Vanishing Island Tours, Suitable for All Ages
We always aim to have every passenger leave our Hilton Head Vanishing Island Tours feeling better than when they arrived. That’s because we prioritize safety and comfort.
Catering to all ages, kids are welcome to come along and beachcomb the historic Vanishing Island with us.
Our captains are among the friendliest and most knowledgeable you’ll find in Hilton Head. Your kids will learn about marine life, seabirds, tides and much more. That’s not to mention the fun of finding exciting seashells!
More than Just a Vanishing Island Tours
The Vanishing Island is in a prime wildlife viewing location. You’ll see more than just sand and water. On route we often see Osprey, Herons, Egrets, Pelicans, Cormorants, Oystercatchers, Bald Eagles and potentially jumping stingrays!
Best of all, we might see some Dolphins! In the spring and summer particularly, Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins love to swim near the shore. We’ll keep an eye out for dolphins jumping through the air and making their distinct noises while playing. Sometimes, they come right up to the boat to say hi!
Sand dollars are the main attraction of our Hilton Head Vanishing Island tours. Sand dollars are flat sea urchins that burrow in the sands of Vanishing Island. They love the soft, moist sand.
If dead, you’ll find them with a pale white color rather than their regular yellow, brown, or purple color.
Can We Keep Sand Dollars?
You’re allowed to keep the dead sand dollars you find as a memorable souvenir.
It’s illegal in South Carolina to remove live sand dollars, but it’s easy to tell the difference. Check if it’s white first and then flip it over. If the sand dollar’s tiny spines are still moving – it’s live.
Fun fact: You can tell a Sand Dollar’s age by counting the growth rings on the plate of a sand dollar’s test. The bigger the rings, the older it must be. The ocean dwellers can live for 6-10 years.
A rare but exciting find on our Hilton Head Vanishing Island tours is a shark tooth. Sharks develop thousands of teeth in their lives, so they lose a lot too. Due to the currents, these can find their way to Vanishing Island.
Shark teeth are usually around the size of a fingernail. If they’re white, they’re new. If they’re black, they’ve become fossilized.
In the past, some people have joked about calling Vanishing Island’ Starfish Island’. On some days, we can find bucket loads of the star-shaped echinoderms along the sand. If dead, these can make incredible souvenirs. If alive, we’ll enjoy seeing them up close before leaving them in peace.
About Vanishing Island
Located off the southern tip of Hilton Head Island, SC and the nearby Daufuskie Island is Vanishing Island. This unique bit of sand can only be visited via boat at low tides.
Also referred to as ‘Disappearing Island’ and ‘Sand Dollar Island,’ the tides vary throughout the year. In some periods, we can find a great expanse for beachcombing. In others, the water struggles to get low enough to expose the sand fully.
Over time, the size and shape of Vanishing Island have changed. But the topography has retained a quality of collecting shells, sand dollars and more to reward its visitors.
Nautical charts list Vanishing Island as ‘Grenadier Shoal.’ But naturally, Vanishing Island has become the standard term. A shoal is a shallow area of water along the edges of a deeper channel.
Nearby is Barret Shoals, which are rarely exposed by low tide enough to access but still present an obstacle to boats.
One of the best things about Hilton Head Vanishing Island tours is the isolation. At most times, it will be our boat alone. Unlike the other beaches of Hilton Head Island, you’ll feel serenity and solitude. It’s just you and nature.
Whether you’re on the hunt for sand dollars or you want to experience something special, we promise you’ll make memories that last a lifetime.
Vanishing Island Tours in Hilton Head, South Carolina
If you’re interested in a boat tour in Hilton Head, SC, that is truly unforgettable, contact us today to book a Vanishing Island boat tour. Suitable for all ages, booking in advance is strongly recommended to ensure we can accommodate your group.
If you’re looking for an exciting adventure other than our Vanishing Island tours, check out some of our other packages: Hilton Head Dolphin Cruises, Hilton Head Sunset Cruises, Historic Savannah Cruises, Hilton Head Crabbing, Hilton Head Firework Tours, or if you’re looking to relax and let your hair down, we have custom tailored a Hilton Head Booze Cruise just for you!