Tour Beaufort from the Water with Coastal Expeditions South

Spend a day on the River with Coastal Expeditions South


If your idea of fun is getting out on the river to learn about native wildlife and history, Coastal Expeditions South has a tour for you! The highly skilled boat captains and their crew have four options in Beaufort: St. Phillip’s Island, Beaufort Dolphin and History, Hunting Island Dolphin Cruise, or a private boat charter. Coastal Expeditions has been in business in Charleston since 1992. In 2020 they decided to branch farther south to Beaufort and the Sea Islands. Let their experienced guides weave stories of local history and point out wildlife native to the Beaufort coast.



Images from Coastal Expeditions South website.

St Phillip’s Island Tour

St. Phillip’s Island was recently acquired by Hunting Island State Park. For nearly 40 years, conservationist and cable television mogul Ted Turner and his family used this sea island as a retreat. During their ownership, trails were carved throughout the maritime forest and wildlife habitats were restored. St. Phillip’s Island is a nature-lover’s paradise. Walk under canopies of moss-draped live oaks in search of fox squirrels, bobcats, bald eagles, roseate spoonbills, and painted buntings.  Stroll the pristine beach and look for loggerhead sea turtles and wading birds. Walk along the fresh-water ponds and spot alligators sunning along the banks.


This naturalist-led ecotour departs from the Hunting Island State Park Nature Center. Travel by boat along the Story River to the St. Phillip’s dock. A park ranger will greet visitors and provide a 3.5-mile tram ride to the beach. Ramble along the beach, hike the interior trails and enjoy all the island has to offer. At the end of the trip, the park ranger will take visitors back to the dock for the return boat ride. It’s a good idea to bring a backpack with drinking water, lunch, camera, sunblock, and insect repellant.

For departure times visit Coastal Expeditions St Phillip’s Island Tours.


Beaufort Dolphin and History Cruise

Beaufort is a beautiful and historic city that is best viewed from the water. The Beaufort Dolphin and History Cruise departs from the downtown marina. As you cruise along the waterfront, your captain will tell stories from local history from early Native American s and Spanish exploration to French settlement and English colonization. As the boat travels along the river native wildlife will be pointed out and discussed. Many varieties of birds and marine mammals are sure to be spotted.


The cruise passes the ruins of Ft. Frederick, an early American fort made of tabby construction. During the Civil War, this fort was transformed into Fort Saxon and was the training facility of the first black regiment for the Union Army. The Emancipation Proclamation was also read here on January 1, 1862. This cruise is entertaining for all age groups. The boat is Coast Guard-certified, and a master captain is at the helm.  Be sure to pack drinking water, binoculars, camera, and a wind breaker.

Monday/Wednesday/Saturday/Sunday, 11 am – 12:30 pm


Hunting Island Dolphin Cruise

Coastal Expedition South’s Hunting Island Dolphin Cruise is fun for kids of all ages. This is a family-friendly ecotour that explores the estuary of the Story River where bottlenose dolphin flourish.  While searching for dolphin, the tour also searches for bald eagles, ospreys, and other native birds of prey. Often their nests can be spotted as well. Brown pelicans, roseate spoonbills, wood storks, herons and egrets are sure to be spotted as well!


The on-board naturalist will also entertain visitors with stories of local history dating from American Indians to European settlers. Be sure to pack drinking water, binoculars, camera, and a windbreaker.

Wednesdays & Sundays at 10 – 11:30 am


Private Boat Charters

Looking for a private charter on the river? Coastal Expeditions South has a fleet of three boats ready to take you on a tour of the Beaufort area. An outing with family and friends can be easily arranged. A trip can be tailored around the needs and interests of your guests. Private tours can revolve around dolphins, local history, St. Phillip’s Island and more. You can even schedule a sunset cruise.


Private tours are available for booking year-round. Boat captains and mates are trained naturalists and gifted storytellers. Their knowledge of local history and wildlife is extensive and entertaining.


The ladies of the Lowcountry Tourism Commission were treated to a private tour of the Beaufort River. We departed from the downtown marina and headed toward Port Royal Sound. Along the way we were treated to visits by dolphins, snowy egrets, oyster catchers, double-crested cormorants, and a nesting osprey. Along the way, we were delighted with stories of history and nature by the talented and gifted Captain Henry Brandt. He is a natural-born storyteller and comedian, all rolled into one! His knowledge of the Lowcountry shoreline habitat is second to none! His tour was educational and entertaining, and I would definitely recommend his tour services to anyone looking to explore the natural wonder of Beaufort and her surrounding sea islands.


For more information call (843)884-7684, or email




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