With long noses, protruding fins, and unmistakable chirps, dolphins are easily the sea’s most playful and endearing creatures. Lucky for us, a lot of them make their home along the shores of North Myrtle Beach.
There are 49 known species of dolphins swimming around the world. In NMB, you’re most likely to spot the iconic bottlenose dolphin which can grow up to 12 feet long and weigh 1,000 pounds, making them the larger of the species.
So, how can you best spot these aquatic mammals? In NMB, it’s a regular occurrence, you just have to know where to look and when to visit.
Where & When to Spot Them
NMB is a natural habitat for dolphins, and pod after pod calls our coast home. But if you want to boost your chances of seeing our fin’d friends, visit in late autumn. While the holidays are already fun around here, communing with dolphins adds even more jolly to the festive season. In addition to the year-round dolphins, many pods migrate along the coast in November and December, making this the best time of year to see dolphins in South Carolina.
Any other time of year, chances are pretty good too. Bottlenose dolphins live along the coast and offshore. If you look closely, you may see some swimming off our beaches. The Cherry Grove Pier is one of their favorite spots because oftentimes fishermen and women throw back their catch, guaranteed dinner for the dolphins, and a great time to see these creatures in action.
While they’re always swimming around, the best time of day to spot dolphins is in the morning or evening during feeding time.
Up Close & Personal
Dolphins all have a mind of their own, so there’s never a guarantee that they’ll pop up when you’re around. However, one way to increase your chances is by going on a dolphin tour helmed by a captain who has cruised the coast and our inland waterways for years. They know where dolphins like to hang out and can take you right into the heart of the action.
Tours are typically between one to three hours. Local outfitters include Voyager Deep Sea Fishing & Dolphin Cruises, Calabash Fishing Fleet, and the Sea Screamer Dolphin Tour, among others. These tours take you close to the dolphin's natural habitat without disturbing them. Swimming with dolphins isn’t allowed in the NMB area to help the local ecosystem flourish.
When you visit NMB, an encounter with a dolphin or pod is possible from the beach, a pier, or a boat. Even if you’re not on a dolphin tour, you want to stay alert because you never know when these creatures will show up to surprise you and your family.