Florida Splendors is supported by our audience. When you purchase through one of our links, we may earn a small affiliate commission.  As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Your cost is not affected.

Embark on Florida’s sea life paradise with Dolphin Watching Tours on your scheduled departure and have a great time. In pristine waters, where the ocean meets wonder, encounter so many dolphins gracefully dancing beneath the sun. However, finding the perfect dolphin tours can be a challenge. Families often yearn for a wonderful experience that is family friendly with the balance of excitement and relaxation.

Here are the top places we highly recommend for a magnificent dolphin tour 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 the amazing experience of seeing incredible wildlife, awestruck beaches, premiere destinations, and stunning mountains. These super friendly mammals have a brain-body ratio a bit behind humans. Hence, seeing them in their natural habitat is a remarkable experience.


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. Also, watching so many dolphins up close is an incredible experience on people’s bucket lists.


Types of Dolphins in Florida


It is worth noting that about nine dolphin species call Florida their home. If you want to swim with these majestic creatures and have a great time, the Sunshine State is one of the best places to do it. They live in clear, warm, and beautiful waters throughout the year. 


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.


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, 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 a great time for 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 only at certain times of the year. These dolphins are a bit darker than bottlenose. 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.


Dolphin Watching Season in Florida


Florida is a top destination for summer vacation and has many top Key West things to do. So, dolphin watching experience is one of the year-round outdoor activities in Florida. Yet the ideal time or great time to spot these magnificent creatures is sunrise to mid-morning. 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. Whether looking for a family friendly beach or a secluded getaway, Florida’s beaches have something for an amazing experience for everyone.


Where to See Dolphins in Florida?


There are hundreds of spots along the Florida coast to have a great time and an incredible experience to watch dolphins play. Yet, if you have no clue where to see dolphins in Florida, here are the top locations we highly recommend for witnessing the magic of so many dolphins.”


1. Marco Island and Naples


Marco Island and Naples have feeding grounds for dolphins. 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.


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. 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. Also, Naples has Keewaydin Island. It’s where has virgin, white sands and is an excellent recreational destination.


How to See Dolphins?




A dolphin watching kayak tour at Marco Island offers unique experiences. 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


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. 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. 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. Also, they educate visitors about the nature of these social mammals.


Dolphin 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.


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. The experts there may also 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. 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. Also, a dolphin watching tour from the mainland of Fort Myers is a good idea.


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 as they are not super friendly. 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. These guided tours drive visitors to check all the different wildlife locations. Tourists will discover Blind Pass, San Carlos Bay, and Pine Island Sound.


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.


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.


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. There are also 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.


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.


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. These creatures can also interact with people by the poolside.


It is worth mentioning that the Little Toot Dolphin Adventure 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.


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. However, 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 highly recommend joining a dolphin watching tour for guaranteed sightings. Many appreciate and highly recommend this part of Southwest Florida for these reasons.


How to See Dolphins?


Manatee and Dolphin Cruise Tour


The Manatee and Dolphin Cruise tour at Sarasota is a 2-hour tour. They let 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. You may see these creatures in their natural habitat and in an uncrowded setting.


9. Fort Myers Beach


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.


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.


Video Credits: @LetsGoPlaces

Mesmerizing Journey into Dolphin Haven


Are you still wondering where to watch dolphins play in the pristine waters of Florida for your next trip? The beautiful waters of Florida are undeniably a highly recommend great trip for all. Moreover, the dolphin tours not only offer an unforgettable experience of watching dolphins play but also showcase the diverse array of other wildlife in coastal waters.


Many highly recommend visiting the spots mentioned as you will encounter these majestic and adorable mammals for an unforgettable experience. This family friendly activity also ensures that everyone can participate in witnessing these magnificent creatures in action.


Other than dolphin watching, these locations also offer unique sightseeing opportunities for a more meaningful and great trip. As the waves carry the echoes of laughter and amazement, this adventure is not just a one-time affair but a catalyst for planning the next trip to relive the magic of dolphin encounters.

Frequently Asked Questions

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.

Are Dolphin Watching Tours Suitable for All Ages?

Yes, dolphin watching tours in Florida are typically family-friendly and suitable for all ages. Many tour operators provide comfortable and safe vessels, making it an enjoyable experience for both children and adults. It’s essential to check with specific tour providers regarding age restrictions and accommodations for young passengers.

What Should I Bring on a Dolphin Watching Excursion in Florida?

To make the most of your dolphin watching experience, it’s recommended to bring essentials such as sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, comfortable clothing, and a camera or binoculars for a closer view. Additionally, don’t forget to bring water and snacks, as some tours may last several hours.

Beyond the Brochures: Follow Us for Real-Time Florida Marvels


Embrace the Sunshine State like never before! Follow Florida Splendors on our social media channels and embark on a virtual journey through the captivating beauty of Florida.



Follow us now for Florida’s wonders – your daily dose of sunshine awaits!

Optimized by Optimole

Subscribe To

Florida Splendors' Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team. Watch for special offers, too!

No Spam (we promise!)

You have Successfully Subscribed!