In this study, flow features in the dam-break wave tip region were investigated for both dry (frictional) and wet bed conditions. Theoretical models of these two cases were applied, i.e., Wu et al. (1999) for wet bed and Deng et al. (2018) for dry bed. Laboratory experiments were performed to obtain the spatiotemporal characteristics of the dam-break flow. Comparisons of instantaneous shoreline position and surface profile of the wave tip region were conducted between experimental measurement and theoretical estimation to demonstrate the applicability of the theoretical models, and to reveal the hydrodynamic difference between dry and wet bed conditions.