Look out for the bottlenose dolphins living in the waters around Fort Myers on one of these top boat cruises.
Southwestern Florida is the ideal gateway to the stunning marine life that calls the Gulf of Mexico home. And with its location on the broad estuary of the Caloosahatchee River, Fort Myers is a great place to find dolphin tours, thanks to the resident population of bottlenose dolphins that enjoy frolicking in the calmer waters, further protected by offshore islands. Cruises depart on most days of the year, including at sunset when the dolphins are at their most active. Here are five of the best options.
Copacetic Day Sail
Head out from Fort Myers Beach (south of the main city) towards Sanibel Island on this laid-back, two-hour cruise from Copacetic Sailing. There’ll be plenty of great vistas along the way, ideal for photography, as well as the chance to see bottlenose dolphins, which are regularly seen in pods, cavorting in your boat’s wake. The best part is that these sailing catamarans use wind power whenever possible for a gentler, quieter and more nature-friendly experience. From $70 per person.
Cape Coral Free Range Jet Ski Rentals
Just across the Caloosahatchee River from Fort Myers is Cape Coral, another spot from which many dolphin cruises are launched. But for an alternative cruise method, you could try a jet ski, which gives you the freedom to explore the coastline in a far more up-close manner than you would experience on a larger boat. Prices listed apply to either jet skiing solo or for two people sharing, and you can rent for up to six hours at a time, allowing longer to explore. Safety briefings take place before all rides. From $150 per person.
Dolphin Tours from Fort Myers Beach
There are plenty of great cruises departing from Fort Myers Beach that focus solely on seeking out the region’s fabled wildlife. And for those traveling with a larger group of people, it might be worth considering a private charter, which allows for a bespoke cruise that can take in some of the stunning coastal scenery that this region of Florida has to offer. This allows you to head south towards Naples, past Lovers Key and Delnor Wiggins state parks, where dolphins and manatees can regularly be found. Available Mon-Fri. From $350 per group.
Fort Myers Sunset Dolphin Cruise
Dolphins aren’t the only fascinating creatures that you’ll find around Fort Myers. Besides the playful pods of aquatic mammals, manatees, turtle, rays and a variety of birdlife is commonly spotted during cruises from Fort Myers. This private pontoon boat option is good for groups of up to six people. During a 90-minute cruise, your captain will take you out at sunset to the places where wildlife sightings are common and provide plenty of insight into the beautiful and fragile ecosystem around you. From $399 per group.
Half-Day Private Tiki Boat Tour from Fort Myers
Private pontoons are fun, but a private tiki boat is an even more unique way to navigate the waterways of Fort Myers. For families and groups of friends looking to party aboard the boat, this is a great option. Bring your own beverages to chill in the onboard cooler, crank up the music and select any region of the coast that appeals most, looking out for dolphins along the way. This half-day tour allows for a much more in-depth experience of the coastline around Fort Myers. From $575 per group.