Sierra’s Grand Island Adventure with Live Oac
Live Oac’s Grand Island Tour is an exploration of waterways and islands between Hilton Head and the mainland. It’s a full 3-hour tour on the water, with one stop on land, covering all of the major surrounding islands and some of the smaller barrier islands. This trip covers twice as much waterway as their top-rated Dolphin Wildlife Tour. To read about Sierra’s Dolphin Adventure with Live Oac, click here.
It’s the slow pace and charm of the Lowcountry that’s the real focus of this particular tour. The route varies depending on the tides, but you could tour around Daufuskie Island, Potato Island, Savage Island, Jack Crow Island, May River, Bull Island, Bull Creek, Palmetto Bluff, and Haig Point Lighthouse.
As mentioned in previous blogs, we love Live Oac boat tours! They are amazing because of the beautiful views and the Captains’ knowledge of the each area. On the Grand Island Tour, you are exposed to not only Hilton Head Island, but the surrounding islands as well. So grab a water bottle, sunscreen, and a good pair of shoes because we are going on another adventure!
The Grand Island Tour was an extraordinary experience that I will never forget. Captain Scott had barely pulled the boat away from the dock when a pod of dolphins greeted us. They were fearless as they swam by. We resisted the temptation to feed them because doing so is illegal in South Carolina, even if they beg! Once we passed the dolphin pod, we headed under the bridge and began our journey. Along the waterways, Captain Scott pointed out certain types of wildlife that are important to South Carolina’s eco-system. We learned that, surprisingly, the most dangerous animal in our waters is the Oyster! With its sharp edges and hidden underwater homes, oysters have caused many kayaks and boats to get stuck in the water. Captain Scott pulled the boat over to an oyster bed to teach us about Oysters and how they filter the water to benefit our eco-system.
We continued on our way, passing Old House Island and Creek and other private islands until we reached a familiar and iconic Hilton Head landmark: the Harbour Town Lighthouse. The Lighthouse was built in the 70’s and stands as the tallest structure on the island. In my opinion, it’s the coolest gift shop that I have ever seen. Almost directly across Calibogue Sound, we traveled to Daufuskie Island. We saw another famous lighthouse, called the Haig Point Lighthouse. In 1872, construction commenced on the Lighthouse that would guide captains navigating the shifting shoals of the Calibogue. The Lighthouse’s 40-foot tower served mariners traveling around the northern tip of Daufuskie between 1873 to the 1930’s. This popular landmark was restored and still stands today.
After seeing a variety of other small islands and learning about their history, we stopped for the “land portion” of the trip. Captain Scott docked the boat and we walked up the pier to the entrance at Palmetto Bluff. Palmetto Bluff was comprised of 21 plantations during the antebellum era. One of the plantation owners, Thomas Fenwick Drayton, was also the commander of the Confederate soldiers at Fort Walker on Hilton Head Island during the Battle of Port Royal. In the middle of the town square we checked out the history museum, the church, and the Palmetto ruins. The sight is beautiful, so bring your camera and get ready to learn about the history of Palmetto Bluff.
After our trip to Palmetto Bluff, we reboarded the boat and cruised back to the Live Oac dock. If you haven’t been lucky enough to join Live Oac on a water adventure, I urge you to book a tour on your next visit. The Dolphin tour and the Grand Island Tour are family friendly tours. Call (843) 384-1414 to book your reservation today! Don’t forget to leave a review on Trip Advisor after your adventure.
Here are some pictures of my adventure with Captain Scott on the Grand Island Tour:
A pod of Dolphins
Captain Scott explaining the importance of Oysters
Harbour Town Lighthouse
Haig Point Lighthouse
Captain Scott pointing to the Palmetto Bluff Map
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