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South Carolina

Spend the Day with Dolphins at Kiawah Island

Kiawah Island is well known for its relaxing beaches, Southern charm, and family fun but perhaps its best-known secret is that it is one of the best places in the world to see dolphins in their natural habitat. 

You don’t have to travel as far down south as Florida or plan an exotic getaway for the chance to get in in touch with these charismatic creatures. If you decide to join us for our annual Continuing Education Company Primary Care CME conference in Kiawah, you’re almost guaranteed to see the legendary bottlenose dolphin as they swim in play in the shallow tides if you know the right place to look.

Besides being the most widely recognized dolphin species on Earth, the bottlenose is celebrated for its intelligence, ingenuity, and curious charm. It’s hard not to fall in love with these animals whether you’ve seen them performing at your local zoo or have been lucky enough to spot them in the wild. Thanks to environmental protection programs and advances in marine biology and ocean exploration we are learning more and more about these creatures as time goes on. Kiawah is one of the best places to see these dolphins in their natural habitat because it lacks the noise and traffic that a lot of other tourist destinations have. The overall relaxing atmosphere isn’t just ideal for families looking for a bit of serenity on their vacation but it makes the dolphins a lot less shy to approach the land.

Strand feeding

Silence isn’t the only draw dolphins have to the island. The shallow waters and abundant sandbars make it one of the most ideal places to witness one of the rarest dolphin behaviors on the planet, strand feeding. Strand feeding is a recently documented learned behavior unique to the bottlenose and takes place when a group of dolphins begins to herd a school of fish or shrimp into shallower and shallower water either near a sandbar or beach. Once the school is trapped with no place to escape the dolphins take turns launching themselves out of the water pushing the fish or shrimp onto the shore where they are devoured. It can be a little harrowing to see dolphins flopping on the dry land but they are far from helpless. After watching the behavior of their elders the youngsters quickly take to the feeding frenzy and are able to navigate back into the water with ease. What makes witnessing strand feeding so special isn’t just its surreal beauty but the fact that it demonstrates intelligence and ingenuity rarely seen outside of primates.

If you’re looking to watch for dolphins yourself while on vacation you’ll get plenty of opportunities either on your own or with a professional guide. You are more than welcome to go searching for the dolphins but be aware that it is against the law to approach, provoke, and feed them in the wild but if one approaches you, you’re more than welcome to stay just let the dolphin make the rules. If you want to watch for dolphins and stretch your legs two of the best places to see them are Beach Walker County Park where they’re often seen passing from one place to another or Captain Sam’s Inlet a few hours before or after low tide where they are often seen strand feeding. If you’re wanting more of an independent adventure you’re more than welcome to rent a kayak and explore the muddy inlets and marshes yourself as you search for these amazing creatures and spot all the other amazing wildlife.

Kiawah Resort

For those looking for something more relaxing or want to learn more about the local wildlife and ecology, you may want to consider booking a local charter. Kiawah Resort offers a 90-minute eco boat tour through the island’s numerous inlets, creeks, and marshes. In these faraway places you’ll get plenty of chances to spot bottlenose dolphins and plenty of other amazing creatures and wildlife. Another highly rated tour is Sonny Boy Charters certified Coast Guard Captain Brad will take you aboard on a wonderful tour all around the island where you’ll get plenty of close encounters with local wildlife including the dolphins. Blue Dot Voyages offers a unique catamaran tour piloted by Captain Stephen Bell and First Officer Dawn Bell. Here you’ll get the chance to watch the sails of the ship unfurl in the wind as your boat gently rocks in the waves. Spot local wildlife along the way and learn all about their unique behaviors from your expert guides. Perhaps the best part about booking a tour with one of these companies is not just their expert knowledge of the area but they know all the best and secret areas to see the bottlenose and if you’re lucky you may get to witness the legendary strand feeding or make a unique vacation memory you’re sure to take with you the rest of your life.

Upcoming CME Conferences & Online Learning

Want to attend a live CME conference in a beautiful locale or complete an online course from the comforts of home?

At Continuing Education Company, we provide you with options to make your medical continuing education fun, engaging, and relevant. Check out our conference calendar to view the dates and locations of upcoming conferences as well as the online learning courses and live streaming that are currently available. And, for a limited period of time, take advantage of our Special Offer! Attend one of our LIVE conferences in person and you will receive a FREE online 15 credit CME course from CME365™.

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