Vacationing on Sanibel can be a boatful of fun. The waters surrounding the islands provide easy boat access to many interesting and fun things. There are cruises that focus on dolphins and wildlife, beaches and shelling, local islands of historical interest, sunsets and other natural phenomenon. All cruises are led by a naturalist who helps you understand the workings of the ecosystem and the wildlife it sustains. It is a thrill to watch a dolphin up close or maybe a manatee or any of the beautiful birds that call the Refuge their home.
Here are some suggestions for cruises in local waters by two groups that have many years of experience – The Tarpon Bay Explorers and The Captiva Cruises.
Ahoy Sanibel! It’s Time For That Vacation Cruise
THE TARPON BAY EXPLORERS have partnered with the Wildlife Refuge for many years. They are located at the end of Tarpon Bay Road. They offer lots of cruises. Most are group tours on pontoon boats but there are also tours with you as an active participant, paddling your own kayak. Their cruises are popular so making a reservation is recommended. Here are three popular cruises that go out about every day.
THE NATURE & SEALIFE CRUISE starts at 11 AM every day for 1-1/2 hours. A pontoon boat takes you to see birds and dolphin in one of the largest mangrove estuaries in the country. The fee is $23 for adults and $15 for children.
THE EVENING CRUISE starts at 4:45 PM every day except Thursday. It’s 2 hours on a pontoon boat to show you a lovely sunset and the birds returning to their rookery. The fee is $30 for adults and $18 for children.
THE KAYAK TRAIL TOUR leaves twice a day, every day, at 10:00 AM and 1:00 PM for 1-1/2 hours. You will paddle a kayak in a flotilla going through Commodore Creek and experience the mangrove forest and its wildlife inhabitants. The fee is $30 for adults and $20 for children under 12 but over 5.
You can get more information about these cruises, and their other cruises, or to make a reservation, by calling the Explorers at 239 472 8900 or going to their website www.tarponbayexplorers.com.
THE CAPTIVA CRUISES has been cruising island waters since 1986. They meet their customers at docks at South Seas Island Resort or McCarthy’s Marina on Captiva Island. Their excursion boats take you on cruises led by a naturalist from the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation. They have seven different cruises. Here are three that are family oriented and really fun. You can go to their website www.captivacruises.com or call them at 239 472 5300 to learn more about these three cruises and their other cruises.
THE OUT-ISLAND CRUISE leaves every day at 10:00 AM for a visit to either Cabbage Key and Mary Roberts Rinehart house (now an inn and restaurant) or Useppa Island, the 1920’s fishing mecca for the rich and famous – now a timeless village of pretty white cottages and pink paths and the famous Collier Inn – now an inn and restaurant. The cruise returns to Captiva at 3:00 PM, after a delicious lunch. The fee is $40 for adults and $25 for children.
THE DOLPHIN WATCH & WILDLIFE ADVENTURE CRUISE leaves every day at 4:00 PM for 1-1/2 hours while you watch dolphins play and jump about in the wake of the boat. You will also see other wildlife in their natural setting doing crazy things. This is a fun family outing. The fee is $27.50 for adults and $18.00 for children under 12.
THE WILDLIFE SUNSET CRUISE leaves just prior to sunset every day (it varies depending on the time of sunset). It’s a wonderful way to relax and end the day as you watch the sunset and the wildlife returning to their natural habitat. The fee is $30.00 for adults and $20.00 for children.
You will have a great time on these cruises experiencing this lovely sub-tropical environment and the plants and creatures that live here, and don’t forget your camera. Book your perfect Sanibel or Captiva Island vacation rentals, and have plenty of space to recuperate from your exciting boat tours and island cruises.
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