Dolphin Leaping Out of Water On Dolphin Tour

Dolphin Watching Boat Tours

Dolphin watching season has begun on the Atlantic Explorer! Our excursions offer an unforgettable journey in search of Virginia's most common and charismatic marine mammal: the bottlenose dolphin. If you are ready to find adventure, make memories, and inhale the fresh air, then come let the salty ocean mist kiss your cheeks and the offshore breezes fill your lungs. Learn from our knowledgeable educators about our other Virginia coastal animals like majestic seabirds, curious sea turtles, and unique fish species. Dolphin sightings are not guaranteed and all tours are weather-dependent. A portion of all ticket sales supports our education, research, and conservation initiatives.

Our Dolphin Watching Tour Boats

Dolphin swimming in front of the Atlantic Explorer.

Atlantic Explorer

The Atlantic Explorer welcomes guests of all ages and abilities for a 90-minute excursion along Virginia's coastline.

Dolphin swimming in front of the Atlantic Scout.

Atlantic Scout

Check back later this spring for information on our upcoming Scout tours! The Atlantic Scout offers a 70-minute low-riding experience for guests ages 6 and older to enjoy a closer look at marine wildlife.

Tour Rates

Adult (12+) | $28.95

Youth (3-11) | $22.95

Child (0-2) | Free

Adult (12+) | $26.95

Youth (3-11) | $20.95

Child (0-2) | Free

Adult (12+) | $24

Youth (3-11) | $20

Child (0-2) | Free

Adult | $24

Student | $20

Charter | $1,200

Charge Per Guest After 50 Guests | $24 Each

No child rate available for private group charters.

Atlantic Explorer Tour Schedule

Wednesday, Thursday & Friday | 2:00pm

Saturday & Sunday | 11:00am, 2:00pm

Northern Virginia (March 24-30)

Wednesday through Sunday | 11:00am, 2:00pm

Local (March 30-April 6)

Daily | 11:00am, 2:00pm, 4:30pm 

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, & Friday | 2:00pm

Saturday | 11:00am, 2:00pm, 4:30pm

Sunday | 11:00am, 2:00pm

May 25-May 27

Daily | 10:30am, 1:00pm, 3:30pm, 6:00pm (No 6:00pm tour on May 27)

Daily | 10:30am, 1:00pm, 3:30pm

Daily | 10:30am, 1:00pm, 3:30pm

Wednesday & Saturday | Additional tours at 6:00pm

Daily | 10:30am, 1:00pm, 3:30pm

August 31-September 2

Daily | 10:30am, 1:00pm, 3:30pm, 6:00pm (No 6:00pm on September 2)

What to Expect

  • All ages are welcome, but tours may not be appropriate for younger guests.
  • Guest capacity is 80.
  • Restrooms are available on the Explorer, as well as refreshments for purchase. Interior seating is available in our climate-controlled cabin.
  • The Explorer is accessible for manual wheelchairs. The captain and crew can assist anyone needing to transfer from a motorized to a manual wheelchair for the tour.​​
  • Please leave backpacks or large bags locked in your car.
  • Alcohol and large coolers are not permitted aboard the boat.
  • Discounts for Atlantic Explorer tours are available for groups of 15 and more.
  • Advanced online reservations are strongly encouraged.
  • Tickets are non-refundable unless the tour is canceled by the captain.
  • Passengers should report to the Aquarium Boat Dock (near the outdoor Seal Exhibit) at least 30 minutes prior to their scheduled tour.
  • Guests ages 6 and up are welcome.
  • Guest capacity is 38.
  • Restrooms are available for urgent use only.
  • Guests must be able to navigate stairs.
  • Please leave backpacks or large bags locked in your car.
  • Alcohol and large coolers are not permitted aboard the boat.
  • Advanced online reservations are strongly encouraged.
  • Tickets are non-refundable unless the tour is canceled by the captain.
  • Passengers should report to the Aquarium Boat Dock (near the outdoor Seal Exhibit) at least 30 minutes prior to their scheduled tour.

Specialty Boat Tours

Join us for other unique boat tours throughout the year! 

The Atlantic Scout boat cruises through Owls Creek.

Owls Creek Marsh Cruise

Search for osprey, eagles, herons, and other wildlife during this 45-minute boat trip for ages 6 and up on the Atlantic Scout. Join us as we slowly cruise and explore the native habitat and fauna that makes Owls Creek and Lake Rudee, one of Virginia Beach’s most valuable natural resources.

About Owls Creek Marsh Cruises

$19.95 per guest (tours welcoming ages 6 and up). 

Tuesday & Thursday | 11:00am

Saturday & Sunday | 12:00pm, 2:30pm 

Additional 12:00pm tours on April 23 and April 25

A whale breachs in front of the Virginia Beach coastline.

Whale Watching Tours

Our whale watching season has concluded. Check back in fall 2024 for information on our next whale season! This incredible 2-2.5 hour winter season tour brings you as close as possible to commonly observed species like acrobatic humpback whales and bottlenose dolphins, as well as an immense variety of seabirds and waterfowl. Whale sightings are not guaranteed and all tours are weather-dependent. Tour schedules are subject to change. A portion of all ticket sales supports our education, research, and conservation initiatives.

Responsible Whale Watching

Whale SENSE Atlantic Region 2024 logo with whale tail and boat.

We Are Proud Participants Of Whale SENSE!

Whale SENSE is a voluntary education and recognition program offered to commercial whale-watching companies in the U.S. Atlantic and Alaska Regions. Sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Whale and Dolphin Conservation, Whale SENSE recognizes companies committed to responsible whale-watching practices.

Learn More About Whale SENSE
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