At least half the fun here happens on water, so when you aren’t getting your feet sandy in search of shells or just kicking back under the sun, try getting out on the water and exploring by boat. There’s a lot to do out on the sea. Here’s a few suggestions to get you started.
Southwest Florida’s incredible ecosystem is on full display during a wildlife cruise, including the dance of bottlenose dolphins. The naturally curious creature thrives in saltwater, so the chances of catching one in action are great. And it’s not unusual to see dolphins playing alongside or in the wake of your cruise. Fish-Tale Marina offers a 90-minute dolphin cruise that includes the chance to see herons, eagles, manatees and even alligators.
Fishing is one of our favorite pastimes. The number of species you can catch here is too numerous to list, but grouper and snapper are reeled in regularly. Pure Florida is a good option for inshore anglers, and Captain Noah does everything from deep sea to shark fishing charters. But the greatest game is tarpon. In spring, Boca Grande is famous for this fighting fish – so much so, that it’s earned the title of tarpon capital of the world.
Sitting on the beach and watching the sun slip beneath the Gulf of Mexico is unforgettable. Seeing it happen from the sea is an entirely new experience. Captain Jack’s Boat Tours will take you through the beauty of Matlacha Pass and invites you to bring a small cooler on board with any food and beverages you like. Captiva Cruises will let you take in the fresh sea air, a full-service bar and the sounds of local musicians.
A personal charter boat brings you the full freedom of the sea. Many companies, including Port Sanibel Marina, have charters available for 4, 6 or 8 hours. In that time, you’re free to set an agenda of fishing, shelling, waterfront dining, island hopping and more. This is a great choice for a smaller group or a couple of people who want the intimate experience of a day at sea.
Salty Sam’s Marina has a must-see pirate cruise aboard their magnificent 65-foot replica of a Spanish Galleon. The luxurious Sanibel Harbour Princess Yacht has daily sunset dinners and a Sunday brunch cruise. Make a reservation for brunch after a night out on the Lagerhead Cycleboat. This pedal-pub on the sea can even pull up for stops at waterside bars – but family-friendly cruises are available too. Almost every company we’ve mentioned offers multiple types of cruises and even full-boat rentals.
If you’re ready to plan, we have everything you need in one place. Enjoy the water!
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