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Do you wonder where to see dolphins in Florida? Here are the top places for a magnificent dolphin watching experience.


Enjoy Dolphin Watching in Florida


Dolphin watching in Florida is among the most popular outdoor activities and the top Key West things to do. It adds to seeing incredible wildlife, awestruck beaches, premiere destinations, and stunning mountains. Also, these mammals have a brain-body ratio a bit behind humans. Hence, dolphins are among the most intelligent creatures on the globe. For that reason, these exceptional animals are worth visiting in Florida. Seeing them in their natural habitat is one of the most remarkable experiences.


Where to See Dolphins in Florida

Where to See Dolphins in Florida


A family visit to the Sunshine State must be exhilarating, rare, and astonishing. So it pays to have a memorable vacation. It’s achievable by watching dolphins in Florida’s coastal waters. Also, dolphin watching is on people’s bucket lists. It’s among the most humbling experiences for many of us. Besides, only some travelers witness and communicate with wild dolphins.


Moreover, Florida is also one of the best states to observe incredible marine life. It’s where people can get up close and personal with dolphins. But the question is: where to see dolphins in Florida?


Luckily, there are great places across Florida these adorable and intelligent creatures are. Here is a bucket of the best places for seeing dolphins in Florida.


Types of Dolphins in Florida


While about 44 species of dolphins are in the wild, a few have now become endangered. Fishing and environmental destruction are among these friendly mammals’ most significant threats. If you want to swim with these majestic creatures, the Sunshine State is one of the best places to do it. They live in clear, warm water throughout the year. This condition means you can join a boat tour and enjoy dolphin watching in Florida.


It is worth noting that about nine dolphin species call Florida their home. Some of the most common include:


Bottlenose Dolphin


It is common to see bottlenose dolphins in Florida’s coastal waters. These aquatic mammals are gray and can be as long as 12 feet. According to statistics, over 600,000 bottlenose dolphins are available worldwide. That number makes them one of the most common dolphin species. Still, some people call and mistake them for porpoises. Yet they are identifiable by their long beaks.


dolphin watching

Bottlenose Dolphin


Moreover, bottlenose varieties live onshore and offshore. So they are the usual dolphins in Florida people see. When submerged in the water, they come out to breathe every two minutes. But the bottlenose can hold their breath underwater for up to ten minutes.


Common Dolphin


Also called Delphinus Delphis, Common dolphins are another species off the Florida coast. Bear in mind that there are two types of common dolphins. Short-beaked and long-beaked varieties swim the ocean. Hence, there is a significant difference in their beaks.


dolphin watching

Common Dolphin


You can recognize common dolphins by looking at their sides. Looking at their peripheries exposes attractive markings. With a length between 7.5 to 8.5 feet, these dolphins are smaller than the bottlenose. Moreover, since they live offshore, you are less likely to spot a common dolphin near the shore. That said, the best way to experience dolphin watching is by boat.


Spinner Dolphin


The spinner dolphin is one of the most active dolphin species. As its name suggests, it spins and performs incredible feats on its tail. Catching it displaying its talents is one of the best dolphin watching experiences. But, with a length between 4.6 to 6.8 feet, these dolphins are much smaller than other dolphin species.


Spinner Dolphin

Spinner Dolphin


Moreover, these dolphins are dark gray on the back and have white bellies. Also, they may have curved dorsal fins or erect triangular fins.


Atlantic Spotted Dolphin


Unlike other dolphin species, the Atlantic spotted dolphin isn’t always available. Also, it’s viewable at certain times of the year. These dolphins are a bit darker than bottlenose. Still, pinpointing them means looking at their back and seeing spotted markings.


Atlantic Spotted Dolphin

Atlantic Spotted Dolphin


These spotted streaks become more evident as they get older. So, the more spots you see on dolphins, the older they are. Moreover, these mammals have thicker beaks with white ends. The spotted creatures can breed in a pod with up to 50 members. Still, you may also find them living alongside other dolphins.


Dolphin Watching Season in Florida


Florida is a top destination for summer vacation and has many top Key West things to do. The Sunshine State has warm climates and waters in the Gulf of Mexico. So, dolphin watching experience is one of the year-round outdoor activities in Florida. Yet the ideal time to spot these magnificent creatures is sunrise to mid-morning. Experience the crystal-clear waters and white sandy best beaches for swimming in Florida in 2023. Whether looking for a family-friendly beach or a secluded getaway, Florida’s beaches have something for everyone.


During these times, dolphins are more active. You can find them roaming the waters when they move, searching for food. To observe these animals in the wild, early morning is best for viewing. 


So, where to see dolphins in Florida?


Where to See Dolphins in Florida?


There are hundreds of spots to see dolphins, especially along the Florida coast. Yet, if you have no clue where to see dolphins in Florida, here are the top locations:


1. Marco Island and Naples


Marco Island and Naples have feeding grounds for dolphins. That’s why these locations are at the top of our list. Also, many mullets call Marco Island their home. Thus, it is a perfect place for dolphins to eat their favorite food – mullets. Also, Pure Florida’s Naples location allows cruising and sightseeing. So these places offer attractions and convenience for dolphin fans.


Besides, the diversity of dolphin food in that area is vast. So spotting dolphins is a common sight for visitors. Even the time of the day doesn’t matter for dolphin watching here. Hence, it’s where you can be sure to get personal with dolphins. Also, folks look for the best dolphin tours Naples Fl provides for this reason. Bottlenose dolphins swim alongside boats in these areas. Visiting Naples Bay gives fascinating dolphin exposure and quality leisure.


Marco Island

Marco Island


Moreover, Marco Island is famous for housing a variety of wildlife. It’s also where you can expect to see and connect with manatees. Still, the Island is a slice of heaven since it’s where you can look for some of the rarest shells in Florida. So booking a dolphin watching tour will allow you to experience the top Key West things to do. Through it, you may see friendly mammals and hunt for rare shells.


Furthermore, at Marco Island, you can explore a few undiscovered areas. Doing so can let you learn about its fascinating history. Remember that Marco Island is also the biggest Island of the Ten Thousand Islands. Also, Naples has Keewaydin Island. It’s where has virgin, white sands and is an excellent recreational destination. So travelers visit them often.


How to See Dolphins?




A dolphin watching kayak tour at Marco Island offers unique experiences. After all, it can be relaxing and exciting. Also, there you can try kayaking in the peaceful, calm waters of Rockery Bay Reserve. This activity allows for the exploration of pristine mangrove forests. Moreover, it gives a chance to appreciate the beauty of these charming creatures.


Jet Skiing


How do you see dolphins in Florida when at Marco Island? Jet skiing is one of the most fun activities that will let you see dolphins. A Jet Ski tour at Marco Island will guide you deep into the mangrove maze and Rookery Bay Reserve. It will also allow you to explore areas you cannot access by boat. You don’t have to afford a watercraft for this because jet ski rentals are available.




Boating at Marco Island is also fun and allows you to see dolphins. A relaxed cruise tour through pristine Florida waters makes for an enthralling excursion. While enjoying a boating tour, you can spot bottlenose dolphins being active. Tourists can see them swimming, playing, and feeding in their natural habitat. Hence, a dolphin watch cruise has many benefits. It’s an easy way to see and interact with dolphins.


2. Florida Keys


The Florida Keys is another popular destination for dolphin watching in Florida waterways. Also, among the islands, Islamorada and Key Largo are the best places to visit to watch dolphins in the wild. Yet, it is worth mentioning that the Florida Keys is also one of their prominent breeding grounds. For this reason, it’s convenient to witness dolphins swimming year-round. Moreover, vacationing in the Florida Keys will allow you to swim with dolphins.


Dolphin in Key Largo


How to See Dolphins?




Swimming with dolphins in Key Largo is one of the best ways to enjoy a dolphin watching experience. Dolphin Plus Tours offers various marine mammal interaction and swimming programs. Also, the excursion includes Structured Dolphin Swims and Guided Natural Dolphin Swims. These trips usually involve Shallow Water Encounters too. Still, these tours can help educate individuals about dolphins. While the excursion is ongoing, the creatures remain in a safe, natural environment.




Paddleboarding and boat-based kayak tours at Key Largo are fun adventure tours. Through these excursions, guests reach the Everglades. They also grant the discovery of enormous backcountry waters. Still, due to the trips, you can expect other things. You get more than knowing where to see dolphins in Florida. So it’s also possible to spot exotic birds, manatees, crocodiles, and other creatures.


3. Gulf World Marine Park


Gulf World Marine Park in Panama City is another excellent place for seeing dolphins. The park offers shows and interactive learning programs with the animals living there. Likewise, the business can point you where to swim with dolphins. The friendly and caring staff of the park care for marine life. Still, they educate visitors about the nature of these social mammals.


Tour packages may include Bottlenose Dolphin Royal Swim and Bottlenose Dolphin Encounter. Trips may also involve Bottlenose Dolphin Swim Adventure and Rough-Toothed Dolphin Encounter. Still, there’s more for guests if they wish to try them.


The Trainer for a Day package is an excellent option for vacationers too. It often grants a long and fulfilling experience. After all, it’s immersive and includes a complementary Gulf World Marine Park t-shirt. Guests with this tour package get to prepare food for the dolphins.


Besides swimming with dolphins, the park offers many other attractions and marine life. Their availability lets visitors make the most of their visit. For instance, it’s where you can enjoy a Stingray Interactive Program. The park also allows people to attend Sea Line Meet N Greet and join in Harbor Seal Encounter.


4. Amelia Island


Located north of Jacksonville, Amelia Island is a barrier island. It is a popular destination for a variety of stunning wildlife. Hence, its visitors will have a perfect opportunity to explore the northern regions. Guests can observe different birds, marine life, and other aspects of nature there.


Kayak Dolphin Tour at Amelia Island

Kayak Dolphin Tour at Amelia Island


The nature at Amelia Island is pristine. You will love exploring miles of exceptional beaches there. Besides the stunning coasts, it has plenty of restaurants and ocean-front hotels. The place has golf courses too. Moreover, Amelia Island’s most significant attraction is its dunes. Plus, it’s also an ideal spot for dolphin watching in Florida waters.


Moreover, the place turns an excursion memorable. After all, it has a wide range of recreational and outdoor activities. Some things to do there include kayaking, boating, swimming, and diving.


How to See Dolphins?


Boat Tours at Fernanda Beach


Amelia Island Kayak Excursions is a family-owned business. It provides guided kayaks and boating tours for guests. Boat cruises and dolphin tours on the Island also make way for an unforgettable trip. After all, the place offers up-close dolphin encounters. There you will also discover other aquatic animals. Still, it’s where local captains and guides will guide you. The experts there may lead you to the best dolphin-sighting spots.




Whether you want to kayak or canoe, Coastal Florida has so much for visitors to discover and see. The inland waterways and local salt marshes have abundant wildlife and exotic birds. But the kayak tours at Amelia Island allow for dolphin encounters.


5. Sanibel Island


Sanibel Island is up there with the most popular spots where to see dolphins in Florida roaming. The Island is off Fort Myers’s coast as a well-known vacation destination. Also, it’s a hotspot in the Gulf of Mexico for outdoor adventurers.


One of the most enthralling activities at Sanibel Island is boating tours. These trips allow travelers to see and admire dolphins from afar or up close. While boating, you can expect to see dolphins frolicking around offshore. Additionally, it is also possible to see these majestic sea dogs in the distance from the coast. Yet, have a pair of binoculars for viewing. Have them for you to travel prepared and enjoy sightseeing.


Swimming with Dolphins at Sanibel Island

Swimming with Dolphins at Sanibel Island


Furthermore, a paddle or kayak tour is ideal for close dolphin encounters. These adventures grant glimpses of the fascinating mammals. Otherwise, a dolphin watching tour from the mainland of Fort Myers is also a good idea. After all, it’s suitable for you if you can’t visit Sanibel Island but want to see dolphins.


How to See Dolphins?




Snorkeling at Sanibel Island allows visitors to play with dolphins. You can also experience one-on-one interactions like belly rubs and handshakes there. Yet, remember that dolphins are wild mammals. Somehow, snorkeling with dolphins can be dangerous. So, you must follow the local travel guidelines and wear protective gear.


Private Dolphin Sightseeing Tours


Private dolphin sightseeing tours at Sanibel Island provide a relaxing experience to visitors. The excursions let guests sit back and relax while cruising. Also, these trips allow visiting Sanibel Island, Cape Coral, and Captiva Island waters. Moreover, these guided tours drive visitors to check all the different wildlife locations. They can lead to spots where it’s possible to see dolphins and exquisite landscapes. Likewise, tourists will discover Blind Pass, San Carlos Bay, and Pine Island Sound. After all, these adventures lead to various scenic locations.


6. New Smyrna Beach


New Smyrna Beach is yet another popular dolphin watching spot in Florida. It is a surf hub on the Atlantic side of Florida, and dolphins love to surf waves. The playful attitude of these incredible sea dogs sees surfing waves as we do.


These beautiful mammals hit the waves for fun. The purpose of surfing for dolphins is leisure or to enjoy life. As we all know, dolphins have high emotional intelligence. They also love to spend some downtime and recreation. While at New Smyrna Beach, you can get a guaranteed dolphin watching experience. Moreover, dolphins will approach people during a dolphin watching boat tour first. It’s because these creatures are also eager to have some fun.


Florida waters


River cruising is one of the most captivating activities for dolphin watching. As you go on a journey in this part of the Sunshine State, you will witness the beauty of famous sites. It’s possible to visit places like Prince de Leon Inlet Lighthouse. Also, once in the ocean, you will see hundreds of resident bottlenose dolphins.


How to See Dolphins?


Private Charter Boat Cruises


Boat tours at New Smyrna Beach allow visitors to see everything the place offers. These tour guides will tell you about the best dolphin watching spots. Besides dolphin watching, some may also let you enjoy visiting and angling fish. There are plenty of excellent options at New Smyrna Beach. Yet our favorites include Spot Tail, Fishing Charters, and Turtle Mound Tours.


Paddle Boarding


Stand-up paddle boarding at the beach is a trendy activity. This water sport at New Smyrna Beach lets visitors find dolphins and play with them. Besides stand-up paddle boarding, visitors can enjoy eco-tours, fishing, and more.


7. Clearwater City


Clearwater City is another beautiful place for enjoying a fantastic dolphin watching experience. The city is another ideal travel location with stunning dolphin and sunset tours. If you wish to have a meaningful journey, you can join several excursions. Classic Cruises, Calypso Queen Cruises, and Dream Catcher Explorations are examples. Still, there’s Clearwater Beach Marina and more.


Clearwater Marine Beach Dolphin Boat Tours

Clearwater Marine Beach Dolphin Boat Tours


When you are in Clearwater City, Clearwater Marine Aquarium is one of the best places you cannot skip. You will see “Winter,” a dolphin who lost her tail in 2005 to carb a trap. The mammal now lives with a prosthetic tail. Plus, folks can swim with dolphins Clearwater Fl houses. After all, these creatures can interact with people by the poolside.


It is worth mentioning that the Little Toot boat is the only boat in the city that can cruise the Shallows and the Gulf. So, there will be a lot of intimidating dolphin sights.


How to See Dolphins?


Boat Tours


Clearwater city boat tours are fun for the whole family. The family-friendly pirate adventures and romantic sunset cruises create lovely memories. While getting personal with dolphins, Clearwater boating tours allow birding and nature exploration. Moreover, these guided tours will also inform you about the area’s dolphin population.


Swimming at Clearwater Beach


Marine life lovers prefer Swimming with dolphins off the Clearwater coast. It’s where you can expect to meet adorable dolphins. Clearwater beach is a safe, soft, and beautiful beach. The place allows proficient swimmers to swim alone. After all, they are knowledgeable about the local waters and marine mammals. Novices should take guided swimming tours.


8. Sarasota


Situated south of Tampa, Sarasota is a beautiful coastal city in Florida. It is popular among visitors for its cultural institutions. Also, these establishments make the city excellent for adventurous and educational tours. The Ringling Museum of Arts, in particular, is among the most famous institutions in the city.


Dolphin Watching at Sarasota

Dolphin Watching at Sarasota


Moreover, another notable thing about Sarasota is the pod of dolphins. They live off the coast throughout the year. Also, about 150 of them feed, breed, and live here. Swimming in the Sarasota waters may allow you to see bottlenose dolphins from afar. So, folks recommend joining a dolphin watching tour for guaranteed sightings. Many appreciate and recommend this part of Southwest Florida for these reasons.


How to See Dolphins?


Manatee and Dolphin Cruise Tour


Sarasota Bay is a perfect location for dolphin watching in Florida. The Manatee and Dolphin Cruise tour at Sarasota is a 2-hour tour. Likewise, it lets guests see bottlenose dolphins and learn things about them. Visitors often know about the lifestyle and population of these creatures.


DeSoto Kayak Tours


DeSoto Kayak tours are another fun way to watch dolphins. While kayaking, a tourist guide will help you move through mangrove tunnels. You can see manatees, dolphins, and exotic local birds with their guidance. Plus, you may also appreciate the scenic, natural atmosphere. Plus, you may see these creatures in their natural habitat and an uncrowded setting.


9. Fort Myers Beach


Do you know where to see dolphins in Florida while enjoying a fast boat ride? Sea Racer Tours at Fort Myers Beach allow visitors to get close and personal with dolphins. The huge wake will draw dolphins to jump out of the water and play. Moreover, the captains of Sea Race Tours can find the best dolphin watching places.


More than the Sea Racer Tours, Good Time Charters at Fort Myers Beach also help visitors see dolphins. They also encourage folks to enjoy aquatic sports like snorkeling. The experts also guide folks in finding and understanding other marine creatures. After all, there are starfish, sea turtles, and manatees to encounter.


So, these are the top 9 places for having a fantastic dolphin watching experience in Florida. It’s a privilege to see dolphins in Florida going about their business. Yet, it’s also crucial to know how to interact with them without causing harm. Hence, it’s ideal to encounter them when we’re ready to care for them during our meeting.


In this short video, viewers get the chance to witness the best part of someone’s day. Dolphins are seen playing close to the shore, putting on a show for the camera before the departure of the individual. It’s a quick and exciting glimpse into nature’s beauty and the excitement that comes from being able to witness it up close.

Video Credit: @LetsGoPlaces

Wrapping Up


Are you still wondering where to see dolphins in Florida? The Sunshine State has plenty of spots where these sea dogs dwell. Yet many recommend visiting these top hot spots mentioned. After all, these areas lead folks to encounter these majestic and adorable mammals. Other than dolphin watching, these locations also offer unique sightseeing opportunities. They are where guests can immerse in coastal or forested areas and wildlife habitats. Hence, families and friends enjoy them for meaningful trips.

Are you a beach enthusiast looking for a new hobby? Collecting seashells can be a great way to appreciate the beauty of the ocean and preserve a piece of nature, so why not give it a try?


Our write-up mentioned various sites to observe and interact with dolphins. Can you recommend other places in Florida that have these beautiful mammals? Thanks for reading, and we hope you encounter dolphins soon and share your experience with us.


Get your kayak adventure in Florida off to a safe start with these 10 tips on how to stay safe while kayaking. Don’t risk your safety – read this guide now and make sure you’re prepared for your next kayaking trip in the Sunshine State. Also, discover the full potential of underwater photography with the AKASO underwater camera review. Read our comprehensive review now and capture breathtaking moments beneath the surface.



What's excellent about dolphin watching that makes it better than visiting the Florida coasts?

Dolphin watching in Florida can be a unique and exciting experience for several reasons, which make it a great alternative to simply visiting the Florida coasts:


  • Opportunity to see dolphins up close in their natural habitat
  • Chance to observe the playful behavior of these intelligent animals
  • Possibility of witnessing other marine wildlife, such as sea turtles, manatees, and various species of birds
  • Educational experience as knowledgeable guides often provide information about the dolphins’ behaviors, habitat, and conservation efforts
  • Unforgettable memories of a fun and interactive outdoor adventure, different from just soaking up the sun at the beach.
Will I get wet on the dolphin-watching tour?

Only if you want to! Most tours keep a safe distance from the dolphins, but sometimes these playful creatures like to swim close to the boat and splash around.

Is it true that dolphins can communicate with each other using their own language?

Yes, it is! Dolphins have a complex communication system consisting of various clicks, whistles, and body postures. It’s fascinating to observe and learn more about their communication methods during the dolphin-watching tour.

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